The Seaquist House Foundation, Inc., a non-profit 501(C)3 organization, was 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 began securing tax deductible monetary donations, memorials and pledges to facilitate full restoration. The home was purchased by the Foundation in January of 2015.
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. The Seaquist House remains one of the major local landmarks of historic tourism in this rural ranching community.
The Seaquist House Foundation Board has received significant public support for the preservation of the Seaquist House, with over sixty local individuals volunteering assistance in the initial stage, including both the County Judge and City Mayor. In May 2015, the Foundation received over $411,000 in pledges, memorials and gifts to begin the initial tasks of making the property secure, cleaning the interior and exterior of the home, and repaying the loan. With additional contributions the electricity was upgraded and in 2019 HVAC was installed. This allowed us to achieve our goal in 2018 to open the House for tours. In 2020, we are working on more facility renovations to allow us to open for weddings, social gatherings and other events. These renovations will continue to be funded by our generous patrons and, hopefully, local grants.
The Seaquist House is on its way to becoming a central focus of historic tourism in the Hill Country. 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 it is commented that “it remains in form and fabric a fine example of … Victorian architecture.” The Seaquist 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 oldest concrete truss bridge in the Southwest is directly adjacent to the Seaquist House property.
As the Seaquist House Foundation improves and operates this historic property, we share our continued deepest appreciation to the generous people who have volunteered and contributed to continuing to make this Victorian landmark beautiful again.