This is the oldest building in Corpus Christi, and it was the first major residence on the bluff. Built by Virginia-born Captain Forbes Britton, who came with General Zachary Taylor's army in 1845, the house was erected on land purchased from Henry L. Kinney, who promoted the city to veterans returning from the Mexican War. The two-story, central-hall house with double gallery served as refuge and hospital for Confederate soldiers during the Civil War. The eighteen-inch exterior walls are built of large blocks of shellcrete, composed of lime, oyster shell, and sand, a material also used in other Texas coastal towns, and surfaced with a scored, light plaster finish. Named “Centennial House” in 1949 in honor of its one hundredth anniversary, the house was purchased in 1965 by the Corpus Christi Area Heritage Society for use as a historic house museum with period furnishings. It is now closely encroached by high-rise buildings.
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