Thursday, September 16, 2010

A Handsome Residence Comes and Goes

Recently I found this series of articles on the Weimar Mercury website. I thought it was worth posting here as it pertains to a Galveston resident, T. H. James, and the architect, Nicholas J. Clayton.

Is the One Now Being Erected for Col. T. H. James.

A MERCURY reporter last Monday morning wended his way to the Western portion of the city, where the commodious residence of Col. T. H. James is in course of construction. Arriving there, we were kindly received by Mr. Jake Wirtz, one of the contractors, who showed us the plans and specifications of the buildings. This handsome residence was designed by N. J. Clayton & Co., the Galveston architects, and they certainly had an eye to beauty and comfort while engaged in the work. Messrs. Wirtz Bros. of Columbus are the contractors, and as they and their work are already so well known in this county, we will only add that a glance at their work will convince any one that they are masters of their profession. Both are Colorado county boys.

The building will be two stories in height. The first floor has a 70 foot gallery on the east. This leads into a reception hall. On the west is a 15x21 foot parlor. Two bed-rooms 15x18, on the south, next come into view. Then on the north is an octagon-shaped dinning-room. In the rear of the first floor are the trunk room, kitchen and gallery, with a neat porch surmounted by a hood on the extreme west.
The second floor has a 70 foot gallery in front, with five bed-rooms, a bath-room, a sewing-room, and a gallery on the south. Small closets are conveniently situated throughout the building. In length the building will be 70 feet from east to west, and 42 from north to south. The roof will be a marvel of mechanical beauty and finish.
Bay windows are to be placed upstairs and downstairs, on both the east and north sides.
The contractors inform us that, with fair weather, the building will be finished about the 15th of December. There are at present only five men at work, but the force will be doubled next week.
Weimar Mercury, October 31, 1891


The fine residence of Col. T. H. James--so much admired by all--was entirely destroyed by fire Tuesday night. The building was erected several months ago by Wirtz Bros. of Columbus at a cost of about $7,000, and was a very beautiful and substantial two-story structure. The fire originated in the second story from a defective flue, and was under good headway when discovered about 83:0 [8:30] o’clock. At the first alarm the fire boys responded, and did all in their power, but the flames had gained too much headway, and as no water could be procured in the neighborhood, the steamer was rendered powerless. Every effort was then made to save the furniture and good on the first floor, with the results that almost everything was removed to a place of safety ere the walls fell in. In about thirty minutes the handsome residence was a glowing bed of embers. The residence of Mr. John H. Fisher would have been destroyed but for the heroic efforts of the firement and citizens, The James’ residence was occupied by Mrs. Falwell and Miss Blanche Rogers, Mr. and Mrs. James being absent on a visit to relatives in Virginia. The loss is estimated at $9,000; Insurance $5,000. The fluthes were observed at Ammansville, Pecan, Schulenburg and other points. Mr. James and family have the sympathy of the community in their misfortune.
Weimar Mercury, July 15, 1893

Mr. Jake Wirtz of Columbus, who was one of the firm of contractors that built the James residence, claims tht the fire was not the result of a defective flue, as the kitchen flue was one of the most substantial ever put up, and he says he stands ready to prove the assertion. If some one removed the cap to the flue, then the fire may have originated from the flue, otherwise not.
Weimar Mercury August 5, 1893

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