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The Kirby Mansion in Houston, TX

August, 1999

Submitted by Teddy L. Barclay Ed. D.

Foreword: The Kirby Mansion in Houston, TX, was built in1926. In the 1960's, the former Kirby home was the headquarters for the American Red Cross. The writer went to a meeting there. She commented to Garland Hayes, now of Woodville but then of Houston, of the beautiful and unusual building where she had been to the meeting. He told her that when he was a youth, he and eleven other young men from Tyler County spent a week there. He said ; " That was the John Henry Kirby Home".

The companion article about that occasion contains references to the Kirby Home. John Henry Kirby wanted some Tyler County boys to see the workings of the Democratic Party first hand. He arranged for them to be ushers at the Democratic Convention of 1928. They were guests of JHK for the week at his home. See the details of that event online. It is entitled:

Tyler County Boys Attend the Democratic Convention of 1928.

The Kirby Home in Houston, TX


Here is a recent picture of the John Henry Kirby home today. It is next to the Pierce Elevated freeway. It stands at the edge of downtown Houston. The home is "picturesquely massive and opulently decorated". It is a neo-Jacobean country home. It is in excellent condition.

The house was built for John Henry Kirby, a lawyer, lumberman and oilman from East Texas who emerged at the turn of the century as Houston's first tycoon. He and his family lived in a florid Victorian house at this site from 1897 to 1926. That home was replaced with this rambling, 36-room English manor house.

Kirby instructed the architectural firm James Ruskin Bailey to retain part of the old house in the new structure because he was superstitious about living in a totally new house.

Since 1948, the Kirby Home has been used as an office building. It was rehabilitated in 1978. The mansion's major reception rooms were preserved. The once-famous gardens were converted to surface parking lots.

The End

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