Salado Historical Society Christmas Tour of Homes will include four private homes, a small museum dedicated to LBJ and Texana, an historic Salado chapel, a chapel decorated with a selection of beautiful religious icons, the historic Salado Masonic Lodge and the historic log cabins owned by the Historical Society.
The Homes Tour will be 5-8 p.m. Dec. 1, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Dec. 2 and 1-4 p.m. Dec. 3. Tickets are $20 per person and can be purchased at any of the stops or at the Visitors Center on South Main in Salado.
Following are the stops on the Tour: the home of Hans and Judy Fields, 818 Blaylock Circle, the home of Nancy Seiler, 207 Royal View, the home of Johnny and Jill Shipman, College Hill DR., the home of Barry and Barbara Starcher, 432 O.W. Lowery DR., the Baines House Museum, Royal and Center Circle, the St. Joseph’s Episcopal Church on N. Main Street, the Salado United Methodist Chapel on Royal St. the Salado Masonic Lodge, 90 S. Church St. and the historic Log Cabins on the grounds of the Salado Civic Center, Van Bibber and Main.
Hans and Judy Fields — 818 Blaylock Dr.
After several years working for a chemical company in Doha, Qatar, Hans and Judy Fields have sequestered themselves in the peaceful red brick retreat at 818 Blaylock Circle. This carefully renovated home will be open to the public during the Salado Historical’s Society’s contribution to the annual Village Christmas Stroll Dec. 1-3.
Entering a black lacquered door with a brass Williamsburg door knocker, a harbinger of the Early American theme to be found inside, guests are immediately aware of the warmth and welcome that fill the cozy home. Cherry hardwood floors enriched by oriental rugs are throughout most of the house, and plush carpeting is in the bedrooms. A focal point of the living room is an ebony baby grand piano.
Treasures bought during the couple’s travels in the Middle East blend with oriental rugs, rosewood furniture and traditional pewter and brass pieces. A whimsical touch in the otherwise 18th Century dining room is a Norman Rockwell print entitled “Yankee Doodle.” Queen Anne-Style dining chairs have needle points pads by Judy, inspired by a 14th Century tapestry. A cheerful invitation to Christmas dinner, Santa and his reindeer command the dining table’s center on a carpet of red velvet.
A designer’s mantra that Christmas and antiques are pleasingly compatible, is borne out in the Field’s home. A large collection of American pewter and brass are showcased behind glass-fronted doors in a newly renovated kitchen, providing a background of black granite countertops sharply contrasting with bright white cabinetry with brushed stainless hardware and fixtures.
A cozy, well equipped media room is just beyond the kitchen. Comfort is the emphasis here, by subtle, calming blue-gray walls, large chairs and ottomans. An American flag (with 48 stars) displayed framed and behind glass was retrieved from the U.S.S. Lexington by Judy’s uncle as the ship was being attacked and sunk during WWII.
Cheery yellow walls are appropriate for the sun room, whose furnishing include a sage green corner hutch with more of the owners’ American pewter collection, a tilt-top maple table and a Civil War marching drum now a convenient end table with a glass top. One surviving drumstick is in the protective confines of the drum.
Plantation-shuttered full-length floor-to-ceiling windows frame the master bedroom. Traditional furniture echoes the 1700’s. A brass chandelier hanging between toile-covered Queen Anne chairs is a replica of the light fixture in the Governor’s Palace in Williamsburg. The room features fine example off Judy’s needlework in crewelwork on an antique fire screen and an embroidered appliqueed coverlet on the bed. Maple card tables grace the bedsides.
Throughout the home walls hold numerous framed samplers, further results of many hours Judy has spent with needle in hand. A bevy of period silhouettes blend with portraits and samplers through the hallways.
Guest rooms, one in green and the other in blue, are replete with examples of early American at its best. The green room features a four-poster bed crowned with a crocheted canopy. Bedding has been embroidered and quilted by Judy. A brass chandelier is a copy of one in Willamsburg’s Raleigh Tavern. The Fields’ youngest granddaughter frequently enjoys a wing-back child’s chair in a corner.
The blue bedroom, its bay window covered by plantation shutters, displays antique cherry bed and matching highboy and a child’s storage chest, holding a Spode children’s wash basin and bowl, at the foot of the bed. A tabletop Christmas tree is adorned with crystal ornaments collected over the years.
Throughout the home seasonal decor, characteristic of colonial days, feature fruit, magnolia leaves and candles.
An attached patio, accessed from the sun room, the master bedroom and the living room, was screened in recently, and the floor tiled, Roman shades with checked-pattern valances lend a casual, relaxed atmosphere to a good place to enjoy morning coffee.
A grove of 100-year-old live oaks surround the home’s outer deck, bordered with lattice, and provide room for several rocking chairs.
Seiler Home — 207 Royal View
At 207 Royal View, in Salado, you will find the Early Texas style home of Nancy Seiler, who moved to Salado in 2015. The home will be on the Christmas Tour of Homes Dec. 1-3, sponsored by the Salado Historical Society.
Nancy lived in Houston from 1981 to 2015 and was ready for the small-town pace of Salado. Before her retirement in 2015 she purchased a duplex here, knowing that this was the place she wanted to live forever. The proximity to Austin, where she graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Petroleum Engineering, and the Dallas area, where her father and step-mother live, made this the perfect location for her. She fell in love with the trees and creeks, the shopping, and the ambiance of the of the area. She immediately made many friends.
Nancy was keeping her eyes open for the perfect house and yard, after all, she rescues Greyhounds and needed a larger place for them to play. She saw the Royal View home sitting on a small rise as the road turned, and the trees and property were exactly what she was looking for. The exterior of the house, with an inviting front porch (complete with rocking chairs) is made of Hill Country Limestone and the backyard is the perfect size for her dogs. There just wasn’t very much grass. Inside, she loved the open, airy, warm feel. It just needed some tweaking.
Ms. Seiler had the whole house gutted and, using only local crafts persons and artisans, Nancy’s dream home evolved. It became the perfect showcase for Salado Glassworks light fixtures and sculptures, custom cabinetry by Sean and Amy Chapman and the art collected on her many travels to exotic locations, local artists, and Pier1. Don’t forget to check out the ceiling in the kitchen and the floors throughout. The grassless back yard became an oasis for the greyhounds, with the installation of “artificial turf grass” and a Koi/goldfish pond.
Always an adventurer, Nancy has traveled to many foreign countries and she has collected beautiful, interesting artifacts on her trips. Her most recent trip was to Cuba, where she picked up portraits of native peoples. Her passion for travel and treasure hunting has taken her to Vietnam, Morocco, Gibraltar, Australia, New Zealand, Indonesia, the Philippines, the Far East, and most of Europe.
This will be the first year that Nancy is staying close to home for the holidays, so she reached out to Jack Husang and his staff at Magnolia’s of Salado for advice on decorating for Christmas. It is guaranteed to be spectacular.
The dare in this home is to go from room to room without saying “WOW!” in each place. Enjoy the adventure.
Other stops on the Tour of Homes include these: the Starcher home, the Fields home, the Shipman house, the Baines House Museum, Salado United Methodist Church historic chapel St. Joseph’s Episcopal Church, Salado Masonic Lodge and the two log cabins owned by the Historical Society.
Shipman Home: College Hill DR.
The Shipman House sits on one acre across the street from StoneCreek Settlement, the Bed and Breakfast built by Johnny and Jill Shipman, on land originally owned by the Robertson family. The house was built in the 1860’s and among the oldest houses in Salado.
After finishing the Bed and Breakfast featuring seven cottages and a conference room, the Shipmans needed a place to live since a customer had purchased the cottage they were living in on Center Circle. The house being directly across the street from the Bed and Breakfast was motivation for Johnny and Jill to do one more project.
The Shipmans had a vision of what the house could be even though it had been vacant for many years, was leaking and in really bad shape. A rose bush was growing inside the bedroom, the back porch had been completely ripped off and you had to walk a plank from the porch to access the kitchen.
The Shipman house will be on the Christmas Tour of Homes, Dec. 1-3, sponsored by the Salado Historical Society.
Both Jill and Johnny are artists. Saving the house was almost a now-or-never opportunity due to the condition of the house, so they began a two year project to restore, add a kitchen/great room and master bedroom. They also added porches on the front, side and back of the house.
The large porch across the entire front of the house has a “sit awhile” feel with wicker furniture and an oriental iron gong made by Johnny. A vintage door opens into the foyer featuring a scalloped rug and a chest topped by a large mirror setting the tone of the rest of the home.
To the left is a bedroom which enjoys one of the six fireplaces in the home. It has an antique bed and armoire with a East Indian feel in the fabrics and other furniture. An adjoining bath, a wing added to give symmetry to the house, is appointed with a spa heart shaped tub surrounded with pressed tin and a copper sink. Across the foyer, is another bed room with a fireplace and antique armoire. The bed, painted a warm dark cream, is made from the eave of an old house.
A quilt by Jill’s mother is displayed on a quilt rack in the room. The quilt is made from squares of fairy tale houses that were hand painted with crayons when her mother was in college. Jill played with those squares as a child and asked her mother to turn them into a quilt.
The adjoining bath is done in travertine, on floors and shower with glass tiles and glass beads worked into the design. Both of these bedrooms were added at a later date. A picture with these additions was taken in 1907 and is on display in the library along with a picture of the house when the Shipman’s bought it.
The library also opens off the foyer and features wall to wall bookshelves full of treasures collected over a lifetime. They are flanked by tall fluted antique columns and the shelves are embellished with carved trim. The floors are original long leaf pine in front four rooms. The double fireplace that divides the library from the dinning room is hand chiseled limestone. The dining room has a nine and a half foot table with magi on large golden camels traipsing across the lush greenery trying not to step on the gold chargers. Several of Jill’s paintings can be seen throughout the home.
The one time back porch has become a handsome kitchen with white cabinets rubbed in dark wax to give an aged look. Across a huge work island with iron bar stools visitors look into the great room.
This rooms focal point is the fireplace surrounded in travertine and ensconced behind milk green glass is a TV. Above that is a favorite painting of Monet’s water lilies by a Texas artist. The floors in this room are also longleaf pine that were re-purposed from a house being torn down by the lake. They were milled and planed to make beautiful flooring. Three Christmas trees, large to small, stand heavily laden in ornaments nestled in the corner just waiting for old St. Nick.
A staircase off the great room leads to a loft with twin beds and lots of toys made especially for their grandchildren. Along the stairs are paintings from several of Jill’s instructors. The antique newel post at the bottom of stairs was replicated by the carpenter for the additional posts and was used on the fireplace as well.
As you leave this area, a wide hallway leads to the Master Suite. Just out the picture window in the hall are three more outdoor Christmas trees ready to be dusted by snow. Mr. and Mrs. Reindeer in the hallway are keeping a close look for snow as she reads a Christmas story to him.
In the Master Bedroom, the coverlet, made by Jill, of cream embossed fabric with silk inlays finished off with a lace ruffle above a dark gold silk ruffle and cog lace completed with a string lace skirt and pillows.
Westlake chests frame the bed with an antique bookshelf to the side with more treasures on display. The fireplace is topped with a magnolia painting and a carving of Indian lovers from peach alabaster done by Jill’s cousin. French doors lead to the wraparound porch.
The master bath features the luxury of a spa with tall columns flanking the deep tub, a shower with travertine tile and river rocks mosaic created by Jill. His and her sinks of copper are topped with large red and gold mirrors with tiffany style lighting over sinks and tub. Both closets join the laundry room.
Coffee is served on the side porch every morning in the comfort of wicker chairs and love seat all covered in a happy red and green print. A fire pit made from the top of a cistern from the property, is between the house and Jill’s studio with additional seating there and across from the porch. On the tractor is “Monkey Business” and in the garden is “Natasha” both sculptures by Jill, all decked out for Christmas. Out by the road don’t miss Johnny’s “Rusty” the Moose complete with neck wreath, a Saguaro Cactus and a nine foot angel.
Starcher Home – 432 O.W. Lowrey DR
The spectacular home at 432 O.W. Lowrey owned by Barbara and Barry Starcher will be part of the Salado Historical Society Tour of Homes Dec. 1-3.
Utilizing the contractors, subcontractors, carpenters, electricians, and plumbers from Salado, the home was rebuilt upon the ruins of a home destroyed in the great flood of Salado.
Some of the tile and frame is from the old home. The rest is brand new construction that incorporates a large amount of antiques brought from Dallas, East Texas, New England, and Salado.
Walk through the front door and the home is laid out before you from right to left. The kitchen to the right incorporates antique French cabinets that are a feast to the eye. Ahead you will see the pool area. It is built with a beach to walk into the pool. The landscaping creates a tropical oasis.
There are two master bedrooms. The master on your right includes a sauna. The king size bed was rebuilt by Barry to an immaculate condition. The antique French cabinets and furniture are all refinished by Barry. There is a private garden in the back that was landscaped by Barbara. It overlooks Smith Bluff Creek.
Further down the walk is a guest bedroom that is also used as an office. The king size bed and French cabinet were rebuilt and refinished by Barry. The antique Swedish Cow Bell and art deco lamps are a part of the decor. The closet in this room stores extensive cooking utensils that are used by Barbara, who enjoys the art of cooking.
Out in back, you will see the beach and to the left you will see a landscaped green garden. Past the small greenhouse is Barry’s shop. In his woodworking shop he refinishes and repairs furniture. He specializes in making guitars, mandolins banjos, and zithers. The shop building houses his office and was, at one time, an RV garage. There is plenty of room here to repair large furniture. One wall was built using the old doors in the damaged home and displays some of the instruments he has built. There is a small recording studio that contains more hand-crafted stringed instruments. Barry’s drafting desk is from Vermont.
The adjacent laundry room utilizes antique cabinets and a convection oven. You may walk into the three car garage. The collection of antique furniture, drafting tables, old clocks, art by Barbara is all stored here waiting for their repair. Barbara collects and repairs old French clocks that you will see throughout the house. You may exit the home through the front door or the open garage.
Baines House Texana Museum — Royal and Center Circle
Something rare and wonderful awaits you in the Carriage House of the Baines House Inn and Gallery at 316 Royal, one of the stops on the Salado Historical Society Christmas Tour of Homes Dec. 1-3.
Discover historic Presidential documents, magazines, photos, White House collectibles, and rare poster sized Christmas cards presented exclusively to the White House staff members by the Kennedys and Johnsons. The story of the Kennedy card is touchingly tragic and thoughtfully memorable at the same time.
The property located on eight village lots in the third block of Royal, was the home of George Washington Baines, United States President Lyndon Baines Johnson’s illustrious great grandfather.
The current owner and proprietor, Virginia Robertson, discovered this special ephemera at the “Most Unique Store” operated by Charles Holman in Billerica, Massachusetts in August.
She was visiting friends and shopping when serendipity happened. Virginia asked about anything having a reference to Lyndon Baines Johnson and the magical show, tell, and sale occurred with the stipulation that these priceless pieces would be displayed in the developing Texana Museum and Gallery at the Baines House Inn which includes early Texas handcrafted furniture; an authentic chuck wagon kitchen; a military fence screw; a child sized rocking chair belonging to Honey (Blanche Thompson Russell) that survived the 1900 Galveston hurricane; personal items from relatives and friends of the Baines family; collectible tools and kitchenware; toys, stuffed bears and dolls; vintage clothing; antique buttons; historic books; and delightful surprises that will evoke smiles and nostalgia.
The carriage building, originally located in Belton, was moved to Salado more than 40 years ago and refurbished and modernized by previous property owners, John and Frances Seaberry and Rod and Sheryl Russell.
The high cove ceiling is covered with metal from a barn in Rosebud, Texas, and it includes finger prints from raccoons. Family collections and personal artifacts are displayed to put the word “USE” in museum. Of course, that means gentle touching and some small or delicate things are under glass.
People will also have the opportunity to visit the ice room which is decorated with a paper holiday banner (circa 1950) rescued from an old store that was closing in Nacogdoches and small wooden ornaments.
The tiny chapel located in the former cool house under the old cistern features a dramatic Pieta surrounded by the subtle light glowing from stenciled windows from an old church and faux candles.
The low doorway requires lookers to duck as they enter the blessed place filled with flowers and simple serenity. Plan to relax or linger on the brick patio while other people are looking since the spaces are small.
This will offer an opportunity to view the outside of the main Baines house which is a classic Texas dog-trot with Greek Revival details and an elegant front porch with square tapered columns. It’s story and a half design is rare for the period. It includes an interior stairway to three rooms. Many houses of this era only had a loft that could be reached from a ladder, often outside.
The Christmas Tour of Homes will be 5-9 p.m. Dec. 1, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Dec. 2 and 1-4 p.m. Dec. 3. Tickets are $20 per person and will be available at each stop on the tour.
Other stops on the Tour of Homes include these: the Fields home, the Starcher home, the Seiler home, the Shipman home, Salado United Methodist Church historic chapel St. Joseph’s Episcopal Church, Salado Masonic Lodge and the two log cabins owned by the Historical Society.
St. Joseph’s Episcopal Church — North Main St.
The courtyard and cozy interior of St. Joseph’s Episcopal Church had humble beginnings, but the gleaming stained glass windows set amongst the wooden ceiling and pews lend an atmosphere of reverence, reminding visitors of the true meaning behind the celebration of the Christmas holiday. The church has experienced quite the transformation during its short history.
Tyler Fletcher was instrumental in getting the Salado church started. The church is located just behind Fletcher’s Books on North Main St. Fletcher, who was youth director for St. Luke’s Episcopal Church in Belton in the mid-1990s, talked about having a chapel in Salado for the use of the E.Y.C. (Episcopal Youth Churchmen) of St. Luke’s.
In the summer of 1995, he converted a storage shed behind Fletcher’s Books into a tiny chapel. Four antique pews from the original St. Luke’s church and a simple altar made up the furnishings.
In 1996, The Rev. Joseph Sheldon celebrated the Ash Wednesday liturgy in the little chapel. This was the beginning of the weekly celebration of the Eucharist in the chapel.
During the spring and summer of 1998, members of St. Joseph’s met in private homes while the building was being enlarged under the direction of Tim Brown of Salado.
Additional pews, and a suspended sanctuary lamp made by Lonnie Edwards of Salado were acquired with funds gathered by the congregation. Father Joe and Mildred Sheldon presented a hand-made ceramic paten to the chapel. A pair of antique French Eucharistic candle sticks were placed on permanent loan by Sandra and Lonnie Edwards. Sandra also carved the threshold stones and donated them to the chapel. A large antique plaster statue of St. Joseph was presented by Mr. and Mrs. Les Johnson of Austin. A statue of St. Mary, formerly in the Incarnate Word Academy in San Antonio, was given by Fletcher in memory of his grandmother, who was an alumna of that institution. On Saturday, March 20, 1999, St. Joseph’s Chapel was dedicated as a Parish Mission of St. Luke’s Episcopal Church, Belton.
The stained glass windows were purchased from various churches throughout Central Texas and incorporated into the chapel as though they were specifically made for it. The chapel grounds include a walking path frequently used for meditation. Despite the proximity to the busy I-35 corridor, the path provides an air of peace and tranquility. The bell tower and its surrounding foliage offer picturesque opportunities for memorable photographs.
Salado United Methodist Chapel — Royal Street
A white frame, gothic design with steeple and bell, the Methodist chapel was built in 1890. The chapel was built with lumber hauled by wagon from Austin at the corner of Church and Thomas Arnold Streets where it remained until its move to Royal St. in 2006. The chapel was restored in 1996 to its original glory. It was relocated to the site of the new SUMC campus on Royal Street in 2006 and has been completely refurbished, again to the 1890 specifications. This move was shown on the History Channel on the program, “Mega Movers”.
The Historic Sanctuary has received markers from the Texas Historical Commission and the National Register of Historic Places.
The soft beige tones of beaded board paneling and original pine floors, prayer rail and pulpit, accented by 18 stained glass windows, give the inside of the chapel an atmosphere of simple elegance, with or without traditional wedding decorations.
The Salado Methodist Church Pocket Garden, maintained by the Garden Guild, enhances the beauty of the historic Carpenter Gothic Sanctuary built in 1890.
Salado Masonic Lodge — 90 S Church St.
Salado Masonic Lodge #296 will be one of the stops on the Christmas Tour of Homes Dec. 1-3 in Salado.
Much of the history of Salado is linked to Salado Masonic Lodge #296. Many of the men who founded Salado were Masons.
The Masonic Lodge marked its 150th anniversary in June 2017.
The petitioners for Dispensation and Charter were: E. Sterling C. Robertson, Harvey Smith, W.A. Davis, O.T. Tyler, A. Rowland, Robert B. Halley, Jno. A. Tyler, F. A. Bigelow, N.R. Land, H.J. Chamberlain, W.R. Karnes, G.W. Wade, M.W. Adams, Jno T. Flint, Geo. W. McWhirter, Welborn Barton, Jas. Tinnin, A. Tinnin, and Jesse Raborn.
The Minutes of Salado Lodge were destroyed in a fire about 1883 and we are deprived of that source of information as to the early activities of the Lodge, after Dispensation.
We may safely assume, however, that education was one of the principal objectives of the Lodge and a matter stressed in its discussions and proceedings.
Thirty-three percent of the teachers and seventy-seven percent of the Trustees of the College were Masons. The founders (of the College), most of whom have been found to be Masons, also made provision in the Deeds of purchase of lots to prohibit the sale of intoxicating beverages by the drink in Salado.
“It seems,” writes Felda Shanklin, Salado historian, “that most all of those early Salado men were Masons.”
The Charter for Salado Masonic Lodge was granted by the Grand Lodge of Texas on June 13, A.D. 1867, and was signed by Grand Master John R. Freitwell.
The first Grand Lodge Report of Salado Lodge after the granting of a Charter shows the following officers: E.S.C. Robertson, W.M.; Harvey Smith, S.W.; W.A. Davis, J.W.; O.T. Tyler, Treas.; W. Barton, Sec.; J.W. Tinnin, S.D.; I. Raborn, J.D.; R.B. Halley, Tiler. This report also shows a membership of 22 M.M. by affiliation, one Fellowcraft, five Enter Apprentices, and one Past Master.
On the back of a Grand Lodge, Report U. D., there is this notation: “The Lodge Room of Salado Lodge is the second story of a stone building twenty by forty feet.” These figures are the same dimensions as those of one wing of the Salado College building and there seems to be no doubt that the College and the Lodge were using the same building in those early days – an arrangement that is not surprising, since both had similar objectives and both had the same man, E. Sterling Robertson, as their highest official.
Later, Salado Lodge secured an interest in the title to the upper story of the Baptist Church in Salado, and for many years met in a Lodge room on the second floor of the church building. In a church rebuilding and enlargement program, the question came up as to how to dispose of the interest of the Lodge in the old building. This problem was solved by literally sawing off the upper half of the building and moving it to, and setting it up as a Lodge room a short distance away on some land donated to the Lodge by Bro. Charlton E. Johnson, Past Master of Salado Masonic Lodge.