The Seaquist House Foundation, Inc., a non-profit 501(C)3 organization, has been formed to purchase, renovate and open to the public a significant local residence from the early settlement of the Hill Country area of Central Texas. In working towards this goal, the Foundation Board has begun securing monetary donations, memorials and pledges to facilitate full restoration. The home was purchased by the Foundation in January of 2015. All contributions are tax deductible.
The Seaquist House, located at 405 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 ballroom 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 $411,000 (as of 4-23-15) in pledges, memorials and gifts to the Foundation, with an initial goal of raising $1 million dollars. Current tasks include making the property secure and the general cleaning of both the interior and exterior of the home. Our goal is to open the House for tours and to provide 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 Seaquist House will become the central focus of historic tourism in the area. In 1976 the House was included 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 such as the frontier Fort Mason, (founded in 1851 and commanded by Robert E. Lee just prior to the Civil War), the home of Fred Gibson (author of “Old Yeller”), the Mason County War, and the only natural sources of blue topaz (the state gem of Texas). The Historic District is also the location of the oldest concrete truss bridge in the Southwest, which is slated to become the primary approach of a “mini-park”, which will be directly adjacent to the Seaquist House property.
It seems to be a very common opinion within the community that the addition of the Seaquist House Foundation as a non-profit entity owning, improving and operating this historic property will be a significant asset to the historic nature of our town and will provide a location and venue for many new activities in the coming years. This is the basis of our goal of renewing this Texas landmark for a better tomorrow.