Sunday, December 9, 2012

Advent Calendar: Granbury Candlelight Tour

It's the annual Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories!  I've participated the past three years (2009, 2010, and 2011), and rather than simply re-post, I'm going to link to the older posts, and - when applicable - post about something else that's somewhat related.

The prompt for today is:   December 9 – Grab Bag
Author’s choice. Please post from a topic that helps you remember Christmases past!

In past years I wrote about holiday activities in Corpus Christi, Texas, where I lived in my early and mid 20s.  This time I'm going to write about a holiday activity in my current home town, Granbury, Texas.

The Historic Granbury Merchants Association holds the Candlelight Tour of Homes and Historic Sites the first weekend of every December.  Last year I was able to visit a number of the sites.  This year, I was only able to tour the interior of one, but it's a house that's piqued my curiosity for some time, as it's practically at the end of my street:

The Heavenhill Guest House is located at 620 E. Bridge Street in Granbury (Bridge is the street that runs along the north side of our courthouse, about half a mile away).  Deed records the owner recently found date the property to at least 1889.  The two front rooms (kitchen and living area) have walls made of scrap lumber that came off shipping crates out of boxcars at the Granbury Depot.  Planked floors and beadboard ceilings are also original to the house.

It was on one of those beadboards, in the hallway, that the owner found a penciled inscription: "Josephine Heavenhill + Little Louise Miller Jan. 1 1897 Cross of the Heart."

There is a Josephine Heavenhill, who was born in Texas October 6, 1889, and was living with her parents and five siblings in Runnels County, Texas, on the 1900 Census. She earned a bachelor of arts from the University of Texas in 1916, and a master of arts from Columbia University in New York City in June 1921 (where her thesis was entitled, Country Life in the Literature of New England, 1866-1914).

Josephine lived in Abilene from at least 1928 to at least 1942 (where she was city editor for the Reporter-News and dabbled in real estate), and in San Angelo from at least 1949 (where she worked at The Book Center) to at least 1959.  She died in Tom Green County (where San Angelo is located) on May 29, 1965, and is buried with her parents and older brother at Northview Cemetery in Winters, Texas (in Runnels County).

However, I can't find any indication that Josephine or the Heavenhill family actually lived in Granbury, so I'm not sure how the board with the inscription got there.  There were a number of Miller families living in Granbury in 1900 (according to the census), although I can't find a family with a Louise.  There is one with a daughter named Lucy L, born October 1894, but no addresses are given on the census.  So who knows how the beadboard got here?
The owner's write-up for the tour brochure indicates the back part of the house might not be original to the site - perhaps it was moved here from somewhere else, where Josephine and Little Louise might have been, or the beadboard was from another home.  The house was last occupied in June 2001, and the current owner's mother bought it as an investment in 2002 (she owns the antique store behind it).  The current owner has done extensive innovations to the interior, and operates it as an unhosted guest house (two bedrooms, two bathrooms) for overnights or day use for photo sessions, parties, etc.

© Amanda Pape - 2012 - click here to e-mail me.

The Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories (ACCM) allows you to share your family’s holiday history 24 different ways during 24 days in December! Learn more at

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