Smith County, Texas

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The Goodman-LeGrand House

The Goodman-LeGrand House, located at 624 North Broadway in Tyler, Texas, is an unusual two-story wood frame house which has evolved from a single Greek Revival cottage into a vernacular classic Revival mansion. The house has had three distinctive forms, and was altered by three generations of the same family before it was bequeathed to the City of Tyler in 1940.

The original structure, which is incorporated into the present house, was a simple four room Greek Revival cottage, built in 1859 by Samuel Galantine Smith on the highest elevation of a thickly wooded nine acre tract. The cottage, called Bonnie Castle by Smith, had a typical Texas Greek Revival plan, with two symmetrical rooms flanking each side of "an wide" central hall or dog trot. The cottage was sold in 1861 to F. Gary, a Tyler resident whidheld the property for speculation, but never actually occupied the house, In 1866 the cottage was acquired by Dr. Samuel Goodman, a prominent local physician and financier. Goodman, also purchased the original nine-acre tract which has remained intact to the present. Dr. Goodman made few exterior alterations to the cottage, but supervised the placing of additional stone piers in the cottages foundations. The structure's sill and floor joists rest directly on stone blocks and boulders, which are plentiful in the area.

In 1873 Dr. Goodman's eldest son, Dr. William Goodman, purchased the cottage from his father. In 1880 William began a major alteration, which amounted to the rebuilding of the cottage. A second story was added, and double galleries were constructed on all sides of the house. The galleries were carried completely across each facade and had five bays on the east and west facades, and four bays on the north and south facades. Both levels on the east and west galleries had six chamfered columns with simple mitred and beveled caps. The north and south galleries had five columns on each level, which were identical to those on the other galleries. Both levels had similar friezes consisting of raised diamond and rectangular-shaped panels on the architraves, and jigsawn brackets supporting deep cornices with cyma recta muoldings. The second level of all four galleries had machine turned wooden balusters. The galleries on the second level are slightly shorter then those of the first, although the first and second-level ceiling heights are identical. The slight reduction of the second floor galleries height makes the second level appear smaller than it is, representing some architectural sophistication on the part of the builder. The two-story home had a graceful concave mansard slate roof with a wide captain's walk and a machine turned wooden balustrade, resembling those of the second floor galleries.

Floor to ceiling length 2/2 light double hung sash windows replaced the original windows on the first floor, and were repeated on the second.

A semi-detached single room, single-story wood frame kitchen was constructed at the west side of the house and was connected by means of a wood frame passage way "to the" main block. The kitchen was removed at the turn of the century.

On the interior, the 1880 alteration provided the Goodman house with six fireplaces, four downstairs and two on the east side of the second floor. The fireplaces had two interior chimneys of brick, which are located at the north and south ends of the captain's walk. The most notable room in the house is the northeast parlor, which has a center catch board ceiling which was painted by an itinerant artist. The ceiling has a border of floral design accented with broad bands of earth stones. At each corner of the ceiling border are square panels of gold with floral painting. At the center of the ceiling is a gilded arabesque medallion with overpainting of a complex interlocking floral design. A crystal chandelier suspends from the medallion. The ceiling itself has only recently been uncovered, after having been masked by wallpaper for several decades. The unusual ceiling is skillfully rendered and is one of the most sophisticated Victorian painted interiors in Texas. While there are several examples of antebellum painted ceilings and walls in Texas the Goodman House's parlor is unique for its style and date.

In 1921 Dr. Goodman died and the house became the property of his daughter Sallie Goodman LeGrand. In 1924 Mrs. LeGrand and her husband James LeGrand, began an architecturally ambitious expansion of the house, which resulted in the removal of much of' the Victorian detailing created in 1880. The western gallery was enclosed on the first level, except for the central bay, which became an inset entrance porch framing the original rear entrance. A semi-circular portico, supported on two massive wooden Roman Doric columns with a plain architrave and bracketed cornice, was extended from the second floor gallery. The rear entrance itself was essentially the same, but the rectangular transom was removed and replaced with a 16-pane fanlight. Four symmetrically-placed windows were inserted in the enclosed western gallery, two on either side of the rear entrance. Three of the windows are 9/9 light double hung sash windows. The fourth window, however, located at the north end of the enclosed gallery, is a 15/15 light double hung sash window. Both this window, and the window at the south end of the enclosed gallery have decorative louvered lunettes. On the western facades second level the 9/9 light windows have replaced all but one of the 1880 2/2 light windows. The window at the northern end of the gallery has been converted to a doorway. The central hall entrance, which gives access to the gallery, has remained unchanged.

The eastern, or main facade has been radically altered. The double galleries were completely removed in 1924, and a semi-circular portico was added, supported on four massive wooden Roman Doric columns, and two Roman Doric pilasters, located at the junction of the east wall, and the portico's entablature. The vernacular entablature consists of the broad curving and unadorned architrave, with a deep but simple cyma recta molded cornice supported on farce sawn brackets.

The 2/2 light windows on the first floor, which were installed in 1880, have been replaced with 9/9 light double hung sash windows. The windows at the north and south ends of the facade have louvered lunettes similar to those on the western side of the house. The centrally placed main entrance is essentially the same as it was in 1880, but the rectangular transom has been replaced by a fanlight identical to the one above the western entrance. On the second level, the centrally placed entrance, which gave access to the second level gallery, now opens on to a semi circular balcony with a machine-turned, wooden balustrade. Flanking each side of the 2nd floor entrance are two of the 2/2 light 1880 windows on each side, During the 1924 renovation, small decorative wrought iron balconies were installed at each window. The south facade of the house has a porte-cochere which was extended outward from the existing south galleries. The entablature is similar to that of the double galleries, but the porte-cochere is supported by Roman Doric wooden columns on pedestals. During the last expansion of the house, the chamfered columns which supported the remaining galleries, were removed and replaced with wooden Roman Doric columns. One half of the southern ground floor gallery has been enclosed.

The northern facade has a single-story wing projecting north from the first floor gallery. One half of the first floor gallery has been incorporated into the flanking wing which has 9/9 light double hung sash windows and a small entrance portico alt the north west end of the western facade. The portico is slightly raised on a brick veneer concrete stoop, with two slim Roman Doric columns supporting the plain entablature.

In plan, the house is divided by a wide central hall on both floors. The original four-room cottage has been incorporated into the east central portion of the first floor. The second floor is essentially that of the 1880 addition with the exception of the previously described changes in the surrounding galleries.

The balustrade of the captain's walk has recently been removed, and a portion of the second floor has been partitioned into an apartment for the home's resident hostess. The house is in good condition and is open to the public seven days a week. Since 1940 the house has been the property of the City of Tyler, which maintains the structure and its extensive grounds as a museum and public park.

The Goodman-LeGrand House, located in Tyler, Texas, is a unique and architecturally ambitious classical Revival mansion which has evolved from a four room, single-story, antebellum cottage, into a two-story Victorian house and finally, into its present form. The house was the residence of a prominent local physician and railroad investor, and has long been the center of Tyler's social and cultural activities. For most of its existence the Goodman-LeGrand house was continuously occupied by one family, until the house became public property in 1940.

The original structure was a modest four-room Greek Revival cottage, built in 1859 on the highest elevation of a thickly wooded nine-acre tract of land owned by Samuel Galantine Smith. Smith called his forest home "Bonnie Castle," but lived there for only two years. When the Civil War broke out, Smith joined the Confederate army, and sold the house to F.N. Gary, a Tyler resident who bought the property as an investment, but never occupied the house. After the fall of New Orleans in 1863, many Confederate refugees streamed into Texas from Arkansas, Louisiana, and Mississippi. Gary housed several families at Bonnie Castle as they passed through Tyler on their way deeper into Texas.

In 1866 the cottage and its nine-acre tract were acquired by Doctor Samuel A. Goodman, who had sold his unprofitable farm in Smith county. Dr. Goodman was a native of Tennessee, and had owned property adjoining Andrew Jackson's Hermitage. Dr. Goodman was a close friend of Sam Houston, and continued to correspond with him, after Dr. Goodman moved to South Carolina in 1822, to establish a medical practice. In 1830 Dr. Goodman married Pamela Jeffries of Charleston, and moved his practice to Union District, South Carolina. After 35 years as a physician, Dr. Goodman decided to retire and relocate in Texas, at the urging of his friend Houston. In 1857 Dr. Goodman, his wife, and their four children, immigrated to Texas. Dr. Goodman devoted himself exclusively to farming, until the Civil War's conclusion, which brought about the collapse of prices for the region's staple crop, cotton. In 1866 Dr. Goodman purchased Bonnie Castle, and moved his family to Tyler, where he opened a drugstore and began to practice medicine again. As the drugstore and medical practice began to flourish, Dr. Goodman again became interested in the condition of farming in Smith county. With several other Tyler residents, he became one of the first stock holders in the Tyler Tap Railroad, which was chartered in 1871 to provice a connection with larger rail lines, for the purpose of transporting local cotton and Produce to distant and more Profitable markets.

Dr. Goodman became a member of the railroad's Board of Directors, and was involved with a series of mergers which culminated, in 1891, in the formation of the St. Louis and Southwestern Railway, more commonly known as the Cotton Belt line. The Cotton Belt became a major transported of Cotton and other agricultural products raised in the central south, and brought prosperity to Tyler. The city became a railroad center and repair terminal for rolling stock.

Dr. Goodman's eldest son, William J. Goodman also became a physician. He attended the Believe Hospital College of Surgeons, and graduated from the New York College of Physicians and Surgeons in 1857. He joined his family on their move to Texas, and made Tyler his home. At the beginning of the Civil War he joined the 13th Texas Infantry as a captain, and served as a surgeon on the Confederate side for the duration of the War.

In 1867 he married Priscilla Gaston of Tyler, and moved into Bonnie Castle, which his family had vacated in favor of a new home. In 1872 he purchased the cottage and grounds from his father for $3000. William and his wife had four children, and expanded the cottage to meet the needs of their growing family. A second story was added in 1880, and double galleries were constructed on all four sides of the house which were Victorian in character and ornament. The renovated house also had an elaborate painted and stenciled parlor ceiling, which was the work of an itinerant artist. Dr. Goodman lived in the house until his death in 1921.

Dr. Goodman's daughter, Sallie Goodman LeGrand, and her husband James, inherited and expanded the home, which became a focal point of social activity in Bryan. Both James and Sallie Goodman LeGrand had large inheritances, and enjoyed entertaining on a large scale. The LeGrands opened their home for charity functions, local debuts, and Tyler rose festival activities, an annual celebration which is a tribute to the city's rose growing industry. To accommodate their taste for entertainment, the LeGrands rebuilt the house in its present form, in 1924. Large semi-circular porticos were built at the east and west sides of the house, and several rooms were added to both floors, around the west, north, and south sides of the structure built in 1880.

Sallie Goodman-LeGrand died five years after her husband James, in 1940. She bequeathed the Goodman-LeGrand home to the City of Tyler as a park, museum, and cultural center. In 1964 the Junior League of Tyler undertook the restoration of the house, and the conversion of the second floor into a local historical museum with many exhibits from the Civil War period. Indian artifacts and a collection of historical photographs are also displayed there. A portion of the second floor has been allocated as apartment space for a resident hostess who supervises activities in the home. The rooms on the first floor are used for public receptions, recitals and the meetings of various cultural, historical and civic organizations. The house and grounds are maintained by the City of Tyler, and are open to the public seven days a week.


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