|History of The Homestead Cabins
|The Collard House
The front cabin at The Homestead
on 19th was built in 1834 by German
immigrant and Texas Revolution
soldier Lemuel Collard. The house
was built on a 4,428-acre land grant
in south Walker County, just north of
the current town of New Waverly.
During the first year in their new
home, Collard and his wife, Elizabeth
Lindley Collard, lived in what is now
the west room of the front cabin. The
main downstairs room was apparently
divided into two areas, a parlor and a
sleeping space, with an L-shaped
stairway that led to a loft that would
later serve as sleeping quarters for
their 13 children. The 10-foot
covered porch on the front of the
cabin was balanced by a shed, which
served as a storeroom and kitchen,
on the back.
In 1846, the Collards sold the house and 200 acres to H.C Hoskins for $300, and the cabin saw
several owners before its relocation. In 1904 the cabin was extensively remodeled, and was enlarged
again in 1920 with the addition of a large kitchen wing. At that time the cabin also was resided with
"modern" 117 board siding. In 1979, owner H.T. Abbey, who had built a modern brick home beside
the old Collard cabin, began tearing down the structure to salvage the old wood, unaware that he
was uncovering an historic log structure.
When Abbey discovered the original log walls of the building, he stopped his demolition and
contacted the Walker County Historical Commission in order to learn the history of the home. He
also made the decision to sell the structure to someone who might be interested in moving and
restoring the historic home.
Walker County preservationist George Russell purchased the Collard's homestead cabin in 1980 and
relocated it to its beautiful park side setting on 19th Street in Huntsville, across the street from
General Sam Houston's Woodland Home and the Sam Houston Memorial Museum and Park. It
took four long years and extensive research to restore the home to its original condition. Bricks and
stones from the two chimneys were hand numbered before being disassembled at the site, and
original materials were used wherever possible in reconstruction.
|The Dunlap Cabin
The small one-room cabin at the back of the property was built sometime
in the 1870s and came from the Dunlap plantation close to Cincinnati,
Texas, (in the Kittrell area of Walker County) on the Trinity River. James
Dunlap, a wealthy citizen and business owner, built a large main house on
the property and 14 double-penned, dog-trot log cabins. In 1853, a
devastating yellow-fever epidemic reportedly took the lives of half the
population of Cincinnati, and over the course of the next 30 to 35 years, the
plantation was abandoned, along with the town. By 1889, the plantation
had fallen into ruin, and one by one, the log buildings began to disappear.
The cabin was apparently occupied for some time after 1889, as
renovations were made to the structure around this time.
The original cabin boasted an eight-foot wide porch, which ran the length of
the front, with a dog-trot hall occupying the space between two log rooms,
just like the Collard house. There were two rooms on the back porch.
There was no upstairs. Logs were split and planed to give the inside walls a
more finished appearance. Floor and ceiling joists also were made of pine
logs, but the rafters in the roof were made of rough-sawn two-by-fours.
The chimneys were constructed of mud and sticks. The surviving room of
the cabin appears to have been used mainly for storage before 1889, as the
logs of this room were not originally chinked. Around 1899, the space
between the logs was apparently filled, and the exterior of the structure
covered with board and batten siding. A wooden fireplace mantel was
added to the room as well.
By the late 1960s, all that remained of the plantation was the main house and the little log
cabin. After the main house burned in 1968, the little cabin took a place of distinction as sole
reminder of the legacy of the Dunlap family. In 1983, the Dunlap heirs, in an attempt to save
the cabin, offered it for sale to someone who would preserve and restore it, and George
Russell, Huntsville resident and preservationist, took on the task of moving the cabin to its
current site. Like the Collard house, the move and restoration of the Dunlap cabin was a
long and exacting process. The logs were hand numbered before dismantling began, and the
little room was rebuilt on its current site log by log and board by board.
The stately, white board house on the southeast corner of the property was built in the
1870s in Willis, Texas, and was moved its current site by George Russell in the early 1980s.
The house was designed in the style of Confederate President Jefferson Davis's home, but
little else is known of its origins. The Collard and Dunlap cabins have been home to The
Homestead on 19th restaurant since October 1995. The two cabins are among only three
Walker County log structures known to have survived into modern times and as such are the
oldest surviving homes in the county.
The cabin interiors are not open for tour during the day, but visitors are welcome to
tour the grounds and view the exterior of the compound at any time. Visitors to the
restaurant are welcome to tour the cabin interiors during regular business hours.
|The homestead cabin was built of hand-hewn,
square-notched pine logs, and the original
chimney on the east wall was probably a "cat
chimney," fashioned from mud and sticks. The
floors and roof of the cabin were covered with
rived boards, and cracks in the walls between
the logs were covered with wood board
"chinking," inside and out, and were apparently
whitewashed. Remnants of the original white
paint are still visible on areas of the exterior.
Additional mud was applied to the east wall of
the cabin for insulation.
In 1835, the Collards began extensive
renovations to the cabin. A 10-foot wide central
hall, or dog-trot, was added to the west side of
the cabin, as well as a second log room. The
front porch and back "shed" were expanded
across the length of the new structure, and the
wood "chinking" on the first cabin was torn off
and replaced with clapboard siding. The
original "cat chimney" was removed, and two
new brick chimneys were added, giving the
house a new start as a graceful Southern home.