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Downes-Aldrich House

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1893, George F. Barber; 2009 rehabilitated. 206 N. 7th St.

One of the most spectacular Barber houses in Texas, this is Design No. 53 published in Barber’s Cottage Souvenir No. 2 (1891), reversed in plan so the tower can face the street corner. An unusual feature of this design is the elongated ogee dome on the three-story octagonal tower. The wood siding, fish scale shingles, and stringcourses have a horizontal emphasis complementing the vertical massing. Contrasting large and small circular shapes in porch brackets and bargeboards activate the scheme. A seldom-constructed feature is the large three-quarter circular trim at the porch entrance. The effect of the shape is Moorish and is repeated on the large hall window behind. The turned porch posts, railing spindles (between diminutive Moorish arches), jigsaw-cut scroll brackets under the eaves at chamfered corners, and rake boards with incised lines are all Eastlake features. The color scheme is tan with white trim and brown accents on the porch posts and window sashes.

The house was built for merchant James E. Downes. The county used the second floor of his store for six years before the courthouse (LC4) could be built. Downes relocated to Dallas in 1911 and sold the house to Armistead A. Aldrich. In 1977 the Aldrich family deeded it to the state, which passed conservatorship in 1980 to the Historical and Cultural Activities Center of Houston County. Rehabilitation work in 2009 was done with labor from the Texas Department of Criminal Justice Correctional Institutions. The furnished house is periodically open for tours.

Writing Credits

Gerald Moorhead et al.


What's Nearby


Gerald Moorhead et al., "Downes-Aldrich House", [Crockett, Texas], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—,

Print Source

Buildings of Texas

Buildings of Texas: East, North Central, Panhandle and South Plains, and West, Gerald Moorhead and contributors. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2019, 37-38.

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