Williamson County
Historical Commission

 

 

Sillure A.W. House
Historical Marker Georgetown, Texas

 

 
 

circa 1912

click on thumbnail image for an enlarged view
1414 Ash Street
A.W. Sillure House

 

GPS Coordinates
North Latitude: 30.630991  - West Longitude: -97.673111
UTM 14 R - Easting: 627001- Northing: 3389678

 

 

A. W. Sillure House. 1414 Ash. Two-and a half-story wood-frame dwelling with Georgian plan; exterior walls with 117/121 siding; hip roof with hip dormers and wood shingles; box eaves with exposed beams; front elevation faces east; interior brick chimney with corbeled cap; wood sash double-hung windows with 1/1 lights; single-door entrance with transom and sidelights; one-story three-bay porch with flat roof across east elevation; two tiered brick piers; 4x4 balustrade. Other noteworthy features include window bays that project slightly from wall on the east and south elevations.

Primary area of significance: architecture. A good example of an early twentieth-century dwelling built by Belford Lumber Co. According to daughter of original owner, house was built for a small price. Similar to Tisdale House (Site No. 378) at 1252 Austin. Home of Alexander Wylie Sillure who was Vice President and bookkeeper of Belford Lumber Co.

Mr. Sillure was vice-president and bookkeeper of the Belford lumber firm, and he was ever mindful of construction costs. This residence was designed and built to demonstrate that a two story frame home could be both spacious and affordable. The labor and materials totaled an amazing $4,500 in 1912. With overhanging eaves and massive squared porch columns are also similar to those found at 1252.

 

 

Texas Historical Marker
Inscription.
Built in 1912 for Alexander W. and Eva Sillure, this house is representative of the city’s early 20th-century architectural heritage. Sillure, general manager and vice president of the Belford Lumber Company, personally supervised construction of this house and drew the plans for many other homes built by the company in Georgetown. The Sillure House reflects the American Foursquare and Prairie School styles in its full-width porch and broad eaves.

     Recorded Texas Historic Landmark - RTHL Medallion

 

 


 

 
 

A. W. SILLURE HOUSE

Historical Narrative --

Researched by

Dan K. Utley and David W. Moore, Austin

Written by: Dan K. Utley March 1990

 

The unique architectural heritage of Georgetown is a legacy of careful planning, a community-wide commitment to excellence, and a strong belief in the quality of life. Among those considered to be the "builders" of this exemplary environment are architects, craftsmen, property owners, lumber merchants, contractors, and artisans. Georgetown has a strong tradition of talented local builders that dates back over a century. One of the most prominent individuals in this regard was A. W. Sillure, a leading businessman who made lasting contributions to the progressive development of Georgetown during the first half of the twentieth century.

 

A native of Duval County, Texas, Alexander Wiley Sillure (1868-1959) moved to Williamson County as a young boy. His family first lived in Round Rock, where Sillure later recalled he saw the outlaw Sam Bass on the day in 1878 that marked the end of the bank robber's infamous career. Sillure moved to Georgetown as a teenager and worked "pulling" ice in the local ice plant. At the age of seventeen he became a night clerk for the Irvine Brothers

Lumber Company, where his hard work, honesty, and natural business skills soon gained the attention and respect of George Irvine, one of the company's founders. A Scotsman by birth, Irvine became one of Georgetown s earliest business leaders and a prominent builder in his own right (The George Irvine House was recently approved for Recorded Texas Historic Landmark status by the Texas Historical Commission). [1]

 

George Irvine took a special interest in Sillure's career development, teaching him all phases of the lumber business and the construction trade, which was a significant part of the operation; many of the town's best remaining examples of turn-of-the-century homes were constructed by the Irvine company. As a result of his successful apprenticeship, Sillure was entrusted with managerial responsibilities at an early age and his role in the firm increased in importance. During his early years with the company he roomed at the Irvine House on University Street. Mere he first met George's daughter, Eva (1872-1958), to whom he was wed in 1897. One child, a daughter they named Berna, was born to the couple. Berna Sillure Cooke still resides in Georgetown, within view of the family's longtime home. [2]

 

In the early 1890s, when Charles S. Belford became proprietor of what had been the Irvine Brothers Lumber Company, A. W. Sillure remained with the firm. Encouraged by his new employer, he enrolled in a Waco business school to study bookkeeping. Around 1914, Sillure became general manager and vice president of the Belford Lumber Company and remained in that capacity until his retirement in 1958, at the age of 90. In all, he worked for the company for 72 years. [3]

 

Through his long association with two of Georgetown's most prominent building firms, Sillure made lasting contributions to the architectural heritage of the city. He drew many of the house plans used by the Belford Lumber Company and set standards for the utilization of quality materials and craftsmanship that assured a lasting reputation for Belford-built homes. Today, many of the houses are listed on the National Register of Historic Places as important elements of the 1984 Georgetown multiple--resource nomination. [4]

 

In June 1912, A. W. and Eva Sillure began work on their new home at 1414 Ash. Belford Lumber Company ledger books show that the project was completed in October of that year at a cost of $3700. According to. family tradition, Sillure personally oversaw the construction of his new home in an effort to demonstrate that his company could build a spacious house at an affordable cost. While he was concerned about expenses, he did not sacrifice quality. The building materials and craftsmanship that went into his home represented the very best available in Georgetown at that time. [5]

 

The A. W. Sillure House is a two-story frame residence with influences of the Prairie School style, especially in the strong horizontal design, the extended eaves, and the low-pitched, hipped roof. The design also exhibits characteristics of the American Four Square style, although the central entry is more representative of the Prairie School. The overall symmetry of the primary facade is broken by the use of three-sided bays on each level. A major feature is the three-bay gallery porch with massive square brick columns that rest on piers. The porch roof is set back on the columns, adding to the strong emphasis of the element.

 

Structural features include false dropped beveled siding, a brick foundation skirt, and a hipped dormer with paired windows. The entry under the central bay of the porch features a single door, with a single-pane light, flanked by a tripartite transom and full-length sidelights. There is a two-story, three-sided bay on the south side of the house and two chimneys, with corbeled caps, that exit the roof on the north and south slopes. Window treatments include both paired and single configurations.

 

Some alterations have been made to the house over the years, but none detract from the original design. The hipped dormer is nut original, but was added by Mr. Sillure in 1940. A 1945 photograph of the front elevation clearly shows the new dormer positioned above the central entry (see photograph attached). The brick piers have been painted, but no date for that change has been determined. crass coach lights and a brass mailbox were added to the front entry during a recent remodel i ng. There is also a one-story addition and a deck on the rear facade of the house. Both are hidden from the adjacent road by a fence and vegetation.

 

Interior elements include brass heater grates and light plates, pocket doors, wooden corner protectors, original chandeliers, eleven- and nine-foot ceilings, and a variety of wood textures. There is a stained glass window in the dining room and decorative tile work around the central fireplace, which was originally designed for burning coal. The home also has a basement, which is unusual for Georgetown.

 

The Sillure's lived in their home until their deaths in the 1950s. Mr. Irvine also lived there with his daughter's family during his later years. Mrs. Sillure (1872-1956), a native of Refugio County in South Texas, served prominently in local civic and social activities, and was a founder of the Initial History Club, later the Georgetown Study Club. Mr. Sillure served as director of both the Georgetown Building and Loan Association and the Georgetown Chamber of Commerce. He was also a member of the Williamson County Old Settlers Association. He remained best known, however, for his capable management of the Belford Lumber Company. His obituary noted: "He was known throughout this section for his sterling qualities and honesty in business dealing. A quiet and friendly man, he was highly esteemed and revered by all who knew him." Both Mr. and Mrs. Sillure were active members of the Methodist church. [6]

Following A. W. Sillure's death in 1959, the family home was inherited by his daughter, Berna Sillure Cooke. She sold it the following year to Robert Lee and Lorene Annie Caddell. The current owners, Hoy and Connie Rogers, purchased the home in 1975. Committed to the sympathetic preservation of the historic residence, they have worked to maintain original fabric and detailing while furnishing the rooms with pieces that enhance its character. [7]

 

The A. W. Sillure House is a good example of a Prairie School residence and an important symbol of the quality design and craftsmanship associated with the Belford Lumber Company, one of Georgetown's most prominent early construction firms. it also serves as a reminder of an important family, led by a man who quietly, but steadily, directed one of the town's leading businesses through the first part of the twentieth century (The Belford Lumber Company eventually closed in the 1970s). As one of Georgetown's "builders," A. W. Sillure was directly responsible for much of the historic fabric that today provides the basis for the town s unique quality of life.

 

Researched by

Dan K. Utley and David W. Moore, Austin

Written by: Dan K. Utley March 1990

 


foot notes PDF

old photos

addendum info

 
 

Historical Markers in Georgetown
Historical Markers in Williamson County