Once in each town's lifetime, one leading family gets the opportunity to leave their Texas-sized legacy written upon the history of their region. The Watson Brothers, entrepreneurs building upon the coal then oil boom carrying Strawn, Texas fortunes high above its poor frontier past had such an opportunity. Their prosperity, their philanthropic love for their community left behind such a Texas historical legacy, now ready for its next chapter, its next family to move it forward.
A little over an hour out of the DFW Metroplex in Palo Pinto County's rough and ready Strawn, Texas lies one of the areas finest estate homes of its day, The Watson Home, begun in 1919, completed in 1920.
This locally-famous 5,432 square foot Georgian Colonial style estate home stands proudly on a 1.942 acre +/- homesite, looking down from its back windows onto winding, wandering Palo Pinto Creek, the mighty lion of waterways in this stretch of country. Large sprawling native oak trees frame each elevation of this historic home. Massive white columns rise majestically in regal salute to a businessman made good, though human touches like a butlers pantry, fireplaces in most of the rooms and stunning views from sunrooms on each floor show the loving detail Mr. Watson tried to deliver to his family's comfort.
This home was constructed at the high end of state-of-the-art for the time massive foundation work (see the basement), two layers of red brick, a carriage house, originally built as a servants quarters, a covered portico (passing the outside cistern) so the family and the servants stayed out of the rain.
The Watson Home is located high atop the southern shore of Palo Pinto Creek. Strawn's old water tower still stands landmark duty between The Watson Home and Highway 16 leading north to Highway 180. Strawn is but a few minutes north of I-20, an easy commute to DFW or Midland-Odessa. An even shorter commute to some of the great ranches of the Palo Pinto country that once shopped at the Watson Brothers Mercantile in downtown Strawn.
The Watson Homes antebellum design was adopted from a West Virginian plantation home. The home had seven fireplaces of imported Italian marble, its mantles shipped from New York (not fighting words, back then). The foundation is a reinforced concrete pier and beam design. A central heat and air unit is located in the basement. Floor vents and push button electric switches (see photos) put this home on the leading edge of construction technology for the time.
The columned railings on the porches are imported Italian granite. There are eleven rooms inside sheathed with plaster, plaster moldings and trim work from the period. The entry stair case foyer opens left and right to spacious living areas, fireplaces the centerpiece of each room. The ground floor hides a servants stairway behind closed doors, another hidden stairway to the basement tucked elsewhere, a half bath off the Foyer and two wing rooms boasting wall-to-wall paned windows that could be used as studies, studios or other eclectic uses. This was a home designed for entertaining the movers and shakers of its day.
The bathrooms retain some of the original fixtures and some of the original hexagonal tile. There are two full baths upstairs. The home still has the original slate roof. Two rooms on each wing of the second floor could be sunrooms, writing rooms or small studios with views out three sides. Two majestic brick chimneys rise skyward from each end of the tall landmark roofline.
George Watson bought the land on the street now called Watson Place from Strawn founder Bethel Strawn in 1917. Mr. Watson began building the home in 1919 at a price of $125,000 (in 1920's dollars). Mr. Watson opened the Watson Brothers Mercantile Store in downtown Strawn with his brother, a general store offering groceries, dry goods, hardware, caskets and lumber. The mercantile later added funerals to their menu of local services.
The Watson Home is one of the premier homes at the center of the Palo Pinto Mountains history. As with many historic homes, there are items of deferred maintenance or in need of restoration.
Built by one of this areas first entrepreneurs, The Watson Home awaits its next chapter of life. The home would make a great family estate house, a hunt club, an in town headquarters for a large ranch or a bed-and-breakfast complex.
Please contact Jeff Clark at Ranger Realty at 254-433-2561 for immediate assistance. Serious principals or their agents only, please.
(Any Buyers Agent must be identified on first contact & must accompany buying prospect on all showings to be allowed full participation. If this condition is not met, fee participation will be at the sole discretion of Roaring Ranger Realty, LLC, Broker). No trespassing. Seller's agent must be present for showings.)
The information contained herein is understood to be accurate and reliable, but it is not guaranteed. Please verify all information before using the information contained herein for decision-making purposes.
Directions to the Land
Watson Place is off of Highway 16 on the north end of Strawn, just before the Palo Pinto Creek bridge. Contact Jeff Clark at 254-433-2561 to schedule a visit please.