Williamson County
Historical Commission

 

 

C.B Atkinson House
Historical Marker Georgetown Texas

circa 1915        

click on thumbnail image for an enlarged view
C.B Atkinson House
911 Walnut 

GPS coordinates
Latitude: 30.63594 by Longitude: -097.67085
UTM Zone: 14
Easting: 0627409 - Northing: 3389799

 

This home is a great example of an
Craftsman-inspired early California 1900 bungalow.

Atkinson House. 911 Walnut. One-story wood-frame dwelling; exterior walls with wood shingle siding; gable roof with composition shingles; exposed rafter ends with stick brackets; extended eaves; front elevation faces west; one interior and one exterior cobblestone chimney; wood-sash double-hung windows with 12/1 lights; two single-door entrances with transom; one-bay porch with gable roof inset within west elevation at south corner; tapered cobble-stone piers. Other noteworthy features include bungalow details; three-sided window bay on south elevation; etched-glass front door; transoms over windows on west elevation; shingled foundation skirt tapers outward; house is set back about 100 ft. from street. Outbuildings include two-story garage apartment with details similar to house, but with aluminum sash windows.

 

Primary area of significance: architecture. The most outstanding example of bungalow architecture in Georgetown. Built by Belford Lumber Co. for merchant C. B. Atkinson.

 

Marker Text
Belford Lumber Co. built this house in 1915 for real estate businessman Charles Byron Atkinson and his wife, Lilburn (Dimmit), daughter of a prominent local family. C.B. died at the age of 35, five years after its completion. Lilburn later remarried, continuing as owner of the home until 1976. An outstanding example of Craftsman bungalow architecture, the house features transoms, an inset porch with gabled roof, and cobblestone piers and chimney. Other noteworthy details include a three-sided window bay, bracketed eaves, a low overhanging roofline and a shingled foundation skirt. Recorded Texas Historic Landmark - 2006

also Recorded Texas Historic Landmark - RTHL Medallion

 

 

Atkinson House History 911 South Walnut Street

 

The Williamson County Sun reported in the February 13, 1920 issue that Charles Byron Atkinson passed away on February 6th, 1920 after being stricken with Influenza. Affectionately known as "Barney" he is described as "big-hearted, sunny natured, robust of health and in the prime of manhood". He passed away while visiting his wife, the former Lilburn Dimmit who was recovering from a prolonged illness in a sanatorium located in San Antonio. The family tragedy was made worse by the fact that his wife could not attend the funeral held on the northbound M.K.& T. train on the Sunday following his death. Born on January 5th 1885 in Florence, Texas, C. B. Atkinson moved to Georgetown with his parents while still quite young. He died a month and a day beyond his 35th birthday, before he had the opportunity to leave a substantial mark on the Georgetown business community. His wife Lilburn remarried and lived on in the house until 1976. According to Williamson County deed records she sold several pieces of property in downtown Georgetown in the late seventies. It is interesting to note that C.B. Atkinson occupied the house for only five years before his untimely death in 1920. The couple had no children.

 

According to an article published in the December 12, 1997 issue of the Williamson County Sun, "Lily" sold the house to the Vaclaviks in 1976 and was at that time 87 years old. She is reported in the same article to have passed away five years after the sale of the house. If this information is correct she was born in 1889 and died in 1981 at the age of 92. In the same article C. B. Atkinson is described simply as a businessman.

 

The builder of the Atkinson home was attributed to Charles Sanford Belford. Mr. Belford was the subject of a biographical sketch written by Clara Sterns Scarbrough in cooperation with the Georgetown Heritage Society and the Mood Museum at Southwestern University. This is one of several biographical sketches produced about persons that have been important to the Georgetown community. It is printed as a separate leaflet titled "Hall of Honor Historical Sketch, Charles Sanford Belford", available from the library at Southwestern University. The following comments are drawn from this source.

 

C. S. Belford was born on February 15, 1857 in Newark, Ohio and died on February 18 1929 in Georgetown. He worked briefly in Albuquerque, New Mexico before moving to Texas. He settled in Georgetown where in 1882 he purchased a lumber company that was to bear his name In 1901 he organized the Georgetown Ice Factory and Bottling Works and was a stockholder in the Georgetown Oil Mill. In 1906 he was made vice president of the First Nat'l. Bank and remained on the Board until his death. Regardless of other entrepreneurial efforts his principal claim to fame came as a result of his expertise as a builder. In addition, to numerous fine residences, modest homes, rural schools, and carriage houses he was responsible for larger structures such as the First Methodist Church, the Masonic Temple and Mood Hall at Southwestern University. He enjoyed a reputation for high quality work. The saying was, " if Belford built it, it's basically in good condition".

 

On page 10 of the National Register for Historic Places Inventory Nomination Form available at the Georgetown Public Library is a comment that ties Belford's skill with the Atkinson home. "Bungalow style dwellings emerged as a strong force in the1910s­1930s. Gifted and versatile builder Belford understood this particular form well. He demonstrated his expertise with near precision at the Atkinson House at 911 Walnut Street, showing his ability to craft a bungalow to a suitable scale, compose the various elements into a harmonious design, and utilize materials and finishes for emphasis."

 


 

 

Addendum

 

Application:

 Application is hereby made to the Texas Historical Commission to recognize the residence located at 911 South-Walnut Street in the City of Georgetown, Williamson County, Texas as a Recorded Texas Historic Landmark (RTHL) with all of the regulations pertaining thereto. A legal description of the property on which the residence rests is included in the appendix of this application (Appendix B).

 

Historic Significance:

The residence was constructed in 1915 for Mr. C. B. Atkinson by C. S. Belford, a well recognized builder in the Georgetown area, and will be referred to in this application as the Atkinson House (AH). 1 (Appendix A) This structure is widely recognized as the best example of an arts and crafts style bungalow existing in Georgetown. Its significance is recognized in a description provided in the text of a booklet titled, "Exploring Historic Georgetown " published by the Georgetown Heritage Society.

 

"This Belford-built structure, early home of a local businessman, shines as the most outstanding example of bungalow architecture remaining in Georgetown. Its low-pitched gable roof and oversized cobblestone porch piers are typical of the Craftsman-inspired bungalows which originated in California in the early 1900's. Cobblestones were also used in the chimneys, one interior and one exterior. 12-over-one light arrangement was chosen for the home's numerous windows. Note the exposed rafter ends and the shingled foundation, whose skirt tapers outward from the base of the exterior walls". 2

 

 

A second objective judgment of the historic-significance of the All was its recognition as a high priority structure in the 1983/84 Historic Resource Inventory. Regarding the significance of this structure the Texas Historic Inventory form states, "The most outstanding example of bungalow architecture in Georgetown". 3 (Appendix A) In view of its high priority status in this inventory it now is included in a list of homes that City regulations will not allow to be demolished without a 6 month examination period. According to Mrs. Vaclavik in a conversation with Mrs. Atkinson/Douglas published in the Williamson County Sun, during prohibition the home hosted numerous social events. A quote attributed to Mrs. Atkinson/Douglas reads, "They would push back the furniture and use the main room for a dance floor and parties."4 (Appendix C). The open floor plan certainly would have been conducive to such activities.

 

It is without question a fine representative of the arts and crafts style both inside and outside. It is virtually a living museum from its original cedar shingle exterior wall coverings to the push button light switches and original light fixtures inside. To step inside is to step back in time to the arts and crafts era of the early 1900,s.

 

Chain of Ownership:
Mrs. Atkinson/Douglas owned the property from 1915 until 1976. The Vaclaviks held the property from 1976 until the Jacksons purchased it in 1998. It was sold to the present owner in 2002.

 

Architectural Integrity:

Over its 91 year history the AH has experienced several alterations. Happily only two of these changes affect the appearance of the original façade. A 2X6 fascia board was attached to the original exposed rafter tails although the rafter overhangs remain exposed. The second change was the addition of windows between the living room and the porch. The latter were installed with such care for the architectural integrity of the home that it is not apparent they were a later addition to the structure. The front porch was screened in by Mrs. Atkinson prior to the mid 1940s because it appears in the 1944 photos of the home. The applicant has removed this feature, revealing the original 1915 facade.

 

Other changes included the addition of a small bathroom and a small bedroom on the rear of the house and a deck on the north side of the house. A car port was added to the garage. None of these additions is visible from the street aspect of the house and have no influence on the attractive appearance of the original façade. As noted by Mrs. Vaclavik in a newspaper article the bedroom and bath are attributable to Mrs. Atkinson while the deck and carport were added by the Vaclaviks. 5 (Appendix C)

 

In 2002 the kitchen wall was bumped out 6 feet on the north side of the house eliminating a portion of the deck added by Vaclavik. Every detail of the new construction matches the original construction of the home. Furthermore it is not visible from the street. It can be observed in photo # 4. It appears as a wall containing a 12 over 1 window. In summary, the façade of the home is as it was in 1915 except for the addition of windows sheltered by the porch and the addition of a fascia board over the ends of the rafter tails.

 

Interior Changes:

Except for the additions already noted, on the exterior of the house, there have been no changes in the basic interior floor plan. The function of some of the rooms has changed. The original bathroom positioned between the bedrooms is now a walk-in closet. The original pantry just off the kitchen is now a second bathroom. A closet used to store dishes etc. has become a furnace room and a small closet was created off the kitchen to house a water heater. Otherwise, it is as it was.

 

Historic Marker Location:

It would be positioned between the door and the window on the shingled wall, visible from 9 1/2 Street.

 

Reference Cited:

Georgetown Heritage Society, Exploring Historic Georgetown: Heritage Printing, Georgetown, 1987.

Article in Williamson Co. Sun, "Home was Site of Prohibition-era Parties and Dances" Dec. 7, 1997. Appendix C

Texas Historic Commission Inventory Form- Texas Historic Commission, USGS Quad # 3097-313, Site # 706, UTM Sector 627-3389. Appendix A

Supporting Study References:

Duchscherer, Paul and Douglas Keister, Inside the Bungalow: Penguin Studio, New York, 1997.

Langley Sommer, Robin, ed., The Arts and Crafts Movement, Barnes & Nobel. New York. 2003.

Mayer, Barbara and Rob Gray, In the Arts and Crafts Style, Chronicle Books, San Francisco, 1993.

Powell, Jane and Linda Svendsen, Bungalow Bathrooms, Gibbs Smith, Layton. Utah. 2001.

Utley, Dan K. ed., Sentimental Journey, A guide to Preserving the Architectural Heritage of Georgetown, Texas, Georgetown Heritage Society, Georgetown Texas, 1988.

Winter, Robert and Alexander Vertikoff, American Bungalow Style, Simon & Schuster, New York, 1996.

 

1) Texas Historic Commission Inventory Form- Texas Historic Commission. USGS Quad # 3097-313. Site # 706, UTM Sector 627-3389 Appendix A

2) Georgetown Heritage Society, Exploring Historic Georgetown: Heritage Printing. Georgetown, 1987.

3) Texas Historic Commission Inventory Form- Texas Historic Commission. USGS Quad # 3097-313, Site # 706, UTM Sector 627-3389. Appendix A

4) Article in Williamson Co. Sun. -Home was Site of Prohibition-era Parties and Dances" Dec. 7, 1997. Appendix C

5) Article in Williamson Co. Sun. "Home was Site of Prohibition-era Parties and Dances" Dec. 7, 1997. Appendix C

 

 

 

 

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Historical Markers in Georgetown
Historical Markers in Williamson County