Step back into the year 1843 and imagine the Giddings family as they lived, laughed and loved, had parties and family gatherings and reared their children in the stately Giddings-Wilkin House. Then follow them to the Giddings Stone Mansion, a beautiful example of Greek Revival exterior and Victorian interior, where three successive generations of the family lived until 1976. Perhaps, as Hardy says, we “can’t go home again,” but with the preservation of these historic homes, we can indeed go back, experience the gracious era of another time and remember the way we were.
Giddings Stone Mansion
Mr. Giddings began plans for the home in 1868 after the yellow fever epidemic struck Brenham. He purchased the 320 acre tract, the highest point in Washington County, hoping to protect his family from the dread disease. Construction began in 1869 and was completed in 1870. The original home was a stern and severe square structure.The Giddings Stone Mansion graces the hills of Brenham, a link to its rich heritage and an inspiration for its future. The Mansion was built in 1869 by Jabez Deming Giddings, a young attorney and surveyor from Pennsylvania who came to Texas in 1837 to claim land due his deceased brother for service to Texas in the fight for independence. Giddings was industrious and resourceful, prospering in banking, real estate, railroads, and cattle, and became a very wealthy man. His first home, built in 1843 at 805 Crockett Street, is the oldest house in Brenham.
He lived in the home with his wife and family only eight short years. In 1878, his carriage overturned on the curving drive toward town, and J. D. Giddings died, leaving his widow, Anne M. Giddings, and his daughter Mary Louise alone. Mary Louise married Heber Stone I, banker, lawyer, son of Galveston Mayor D.C. Stone, and later Brenham businessman and State Senator, a year later in 1879. Together they reared their family in the home.
Giddings Wilkin House Museum
Built in 1843 by J. D. Giddings, the Giddings-Wilkin house is believed to be the oldest still standing in Brenham. It is of both historic and architectural note, having a water reservoir roof, one of three such known structures in Texas. The house was originally four rooms, two upstairs and two downstairs on either side of the center hall on both levels. The back was later enclosed and incorporated into the house. It is listed on the National Register of Historic Sites and is recorded by the State of Texas as historically significant.
The house was bought in 1870 by John Bush Wilkin and remained in the family until it was sold in 1945 to the Robert Geisler family. The Heritage Society was organized in 1970 to purchase the house. It has been restored and furnished with period and Giddings and Wilkin family pieces. The house is located at 805 Crockett Street.
The 1898 Ross Carroll Bennett House