The Seaquist House, located at 410 Broad Street, Mason, Texas, is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, has a State of Texas Historical Marker, and is a major feature of the established Historic District. It is a remarkable Victorian residence that is one of the best examples of Italianate architecture in the region. Monumental in scale with 22 rooms, 15 fireplaces, a third-floor b…allroom and game room, a wine cellar, and a three story water tower with shower room, it was begun in 1887 along the banks of Comanche Creek. The asymmetrical sandstone mansion was further improved by later owners who added wrap-around porches, hand cut and carved stone, stained glass and turret towers. Today it is no longer occupied, although it remains one of the major local landmarks of historic tourism in this rural ranching community.
The Foundation Board has received significant public support for the preservation of the Seaquist House, with over sixty local individuals volunteering assistance in this initial stage, including both the County Judge and City Mayor. The community has already made commitments for over $185,000 (as of 9-25-14) in pledges, memorials and gifts to the Foundation toward the purchase, which represents over 40% of the contracted purchase price, and the fund raising is still in its initial stages. It is the intention of the Foundation to purchase the property as soon as possible and to stabilize any structural issues. We then intend to proceed with necessary cleaning, renovation and improvements (such as adding public handicap restrooms, and providing ADA compliant access) with the goal of opening the House for tours and providing the facility as a venue for weddings, social gatherings and other events. Rentals from these activities is anticipated to fund the operating expenses (utilities, insurance and cleaning) with the funding for major renovation projects coming from grants and additional fund raising.
It is anticipated that the Sequist House will become the central focus of historic tourism in the area. The House was included as early as 1965 in a statewide survey of the significant 19th century homes conducted by the Amon Carter Museum and the University of Texas where is was commented that “it remains in form and fabric a fine example of … Victorian architecture.” Recently the House was named as one of Preservation Texas’ Most Endangered Historic Places for the year 2014. The community already benefits from such important tourism assets as the frontier Fort Mason founded in 1851 and commanded by Robert E. Lee just prior to the Civil War, being the home of Fred Gibson who wrote the best seller “Old Yeller” and several other legendary stories, and having the only natural sources of blue topaz which is the state gem of Texas. The Historic District is also the location of the oldest concrete truss bridge in the Southwest which is slated for closure to vehicular traffic in the next year, and the City of Mason has committed to turn the street approaches into a “mini-park” which will be directly adjacent to the Seaquist House property.