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Excelsior House Hotel

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c. 1858; c. 1872 additions. 211 W. Austin St.

The Excelsior House is the oldest hotel in East Texas. The original, two-story, hipped-roofed wing running parallel to W. Austin Street was constructed in the late 1850s for Captain William Perry, who is credited with bringing the first steamboat to Jefferson. The simplified Greek Revival hotel has a strong cornice but no columns or pilasters over its plain walls of wood siding. A second hotel wing perpendicular to W. Austin was built in 1872 for A. A. Terhune, who purchased the Excelsior in 1869. Terhune’s two-story brick building has a corbeled brick cornice and contained nineteen rooms placed along a central corridor, each room equipped with a fireplace and chimney. A covered porch with a cast-iron balustrade, added sometime after the 1872 construction and commonly found on the city’s commercial storefronts, extends across the W. Austin elevation of both wings.

Across the street is railroad mogul Jay Gould’s luxurious personal railroad car. Its presence in Jefferson is ironic, since one of Gould’s railroads, the Texas and Pacific, passed through in 1873 and on to Dallas, causing Jefferson to lose most of its business as the regional transportation hub.

Writing Credits

Gerald Moorhead et al.


What's Nearby


Gerald Moorhead et al., "Excelsior House Hotel", [Jefferson, 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, 99-99.

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