“The Grande Lady” is one of Texas' incredible wonders. As breathtaking as the present Greek Revival style of architecture is with the addition of a second floor and grand central staircase, this modification was an upgrade by Emmeline Carver in 1912 from the previous, beautiful, one-story, Victorian style house that her husband, Colmon Carver lovingly built for her in 1875. Upon their first encounter, Colmon met “Emmie” along with her mother while they were living in the hand-hewn, 2-room, log cabin her father had built in 1845, prior to his death in 1860. Utilizing the well-built, solid structure of the cabin as a foundation, Colmon decided to build a house that he felt was becoming of his beautiful bride. Colmon seemed to defy his well-known reputation of “miserliness” and toss all frugality aside. He spared no expense in hiring architects, creative designers, craftsmen and carpenters to build the finest home in Hill County for his wife, her mother and their succeeding generations.The story of the Carver Homestead from the time the widowed Mary Beacham acquired the 4,400 acres of a labor and a league of land from the Texas Land Commission in 1838 until the present day unwinds like a dramatic, early, Texas history novel. After purchasing the land at auction the Spencer family settled there and built the log cabin at the confluence of Union soldiers protecting migrating settlers from Indian and Mexican raids. The property was right at the edge of the Texas, frontier wilderness. Emmeline and her mother would have had to defend their lives and property through many years before her suitor, Colmon Carver, as a very successful horse trader and business man would finally return from the Civil War and ask her hand in marriage. The three stages of architectural development from the original, 2-room log cabin that is still standing beneath its elegant, “painted lady” enclosure of the “gingerbread” trimmed, Victorian house built in 1875 to its final regal, 2-story, Greek Revival style we see today has to be one of the most fascinating stories of our state’s history. Presently “The Grande Lady” is no longer offering tours and is under private ownership.
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