Jefferson, Texas Page2
 
Courtesy of James Neel, TX
 
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(2015) Enlarge Early Jefferson Lodge Building, now McGarity's Saloon.

(2015) Enlarge Back of the Early Jefferson Lodge Building

      
 

(2015) Enlarge Haywood House
 
The Haywood House above was built in 1868 as a hotel and was at that time the largest building in town, four stories in height and covering another whole block. During Reconstruction four fires swept downtown seriously damaging the Heywood which today is a private residence only a quarter its original size.

 

(2015) Enlarge Jefferson Hotel
 
The Jefferson Hotel is one of the oldest buildings in Jefferson, built in 1851 as a cotton warehouse. Today it is operated as one of Jefferson's many bed-and-breakfast establishments.
 
 

 

(2015) Enlarge Excelsior House Hotel
 
Probably Jefferson's best-known building is the venerable Excelsior House Hotel, the wooden portion at right built in 1856 and extended by the brick ell at the left around 1870. It has seen such guests as Former Presidents Ulysses S. Grant and Rutherford B. Hayes; railroad tycoon Jay Gould; British writer, critic, and bon vivant Oscar Wilde; and more recently First Lady Ladybird Johnson, a native of the nearby town of Karnack. I too have stayed here on many occasions and although like many extant buildings from its time it has the reputation of being haunted, I certainly couldn't vouch for that personally!

     
 

(2015) Enlarge Excelsior House Hotel
 
The Excelsior's broad veranda extends across its front, the 1856 portion at right and the 1870 addition in the distance. Next photo is a view of the now-beautiful garden in the rear which no doubt looks vastly different than during its heyday when it was where horses were stabled! The old hotel had declined considerably, becoming a boarding house by the mid-1900's before being rescued after WWII as a project of the local Jessie Allen Wise Garden Club whose members continue to operate it as a bed-and-breakfast.

 

(2015) Enlarge Excelsior House Hotel
 
Jefferson was remarkably modern for its time, including having gaslights in many homes and businesses by the 1870's. The gas was produced by burning plentiful pine-knots from the surrounding forests and was carried through cast-iron pipes to iron retorts like that shown above in the residential district which were once seen on many street corners. The Excelsior was only one of the buildings in town to have this innovative feature.

     
 

(2015) Enlarge Iron Retort
 
Jefferson was remarkably modern for its time, including having gaslights in many homes and businesses by the 1870's. The gas was produced by burning plentiful pine-knots from the surrounding forests and was carried through cast-iron pipes to iron retorts like that shown above in the residential district which were once seen on many street corners. The Excelsior was only one of the buildings in town to have this innovative feature.

 

(2015) Enlarge Interpretive Marker: Artificial Gas Plant

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