Hearth and Home


62nd annual tour features five homes, old jail, market


Now in its 62nd year, the Christmas Home Tour and Market will showcase Fredericksburg homes decorated in the spirit of Christmas.

The Christmas Home Tour will take place from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 7.

The Market, from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 7, will be held in the Gillespie County Historical Society/Pioneer Museum Historic Sanctuary and Social Hall at 312 West San Antonio Street.

The tour is self-guided.

A tour map and booklet with description of each home is provided to participants.

Tour tickets are $30 per person (after Nov. 25, tickets are $35 per person).

Tickets may be purchased online at www.pioneermuseum.net or by calling 830-990-8441.

Entrance to the Market is included in the ticket.

For those just wanting to shop the Market, tickets may be purchased at the door for $5.


Christmas Home Tour

The Christmas Home Tour on Saturday, Dec. 7, will feature “unique” homes — town and country, historic and contemporary, plus the Old Jail — all decorated for Christmas.

Musicians will be featured in several homes.

“We are grateful to our homeowners for their hospitality and support,” said Jill Carr, 2019 chair. “We look forward to welcoming our neighbors and our visitors from all around the state.”

This year’s Home Tour sponsor is Arrowhead Bank.



The Market

The Market will feature 21 boutique vendors offering gifts, specialty foods and holiday items, plus a coffee bar and musicians to entertain.

“Your favorite vendors return this year along with some new fabulous faces,” says Chris Berger, Market chair. “Whether you begin or end your day shopping at the Market, you will not want to miss it.”

Richy Rhyne and Carole Harrington will provide entertainment.

Participants include Fickle International LLC, Blue Chelsea Treasures, Main Street Antiques & Cotton Pickin’s, Dankworth Dry Goods, Mallory Et Cie Jewelry, Things In A Room, Candace Cline and Saving Pearls.

Also, Elegant SheepSkins - Linen&Leather - Urban Expressions (Shapes of Nature), Home Simple Goods + Design, Chintz, Texas Olive Ranch, Dolores Unique Designs, Ruby Lee’s Creations, Plata del Carmen, Cherry Lane Vintage Treasures, URBANHerbal, The New World Bakery, KaffeeHaus and Bowman Copper Bracelets.

Garbo’s food truck from Austin will be serving their New England cuisine with an Austin twist, including lobster rolls.

For the third year, Fickle is the Market sponsor.


Market Preview Party

The Market Preview Party returns Friday evening, Dec. 6, and is sponsored by McLane Ford.

The party takes place in the Historic Sanctuary from 5-6:30 p.m., just before the Lighted Christmas Parade begins down Main Street.

Tickets are $35 and can be purchased at the museum and online.


Homes on Tour

Following is a brief history of the homes on the tour.

The information was provided by the Gillespie County Historical Society.


Troy and Suzanne Cobb

Troy and Suzanne Cobb wanted to build a space for their family and friends to be comfortable. The idea for this house was to take a traditional Texas farm house and add wings as if a family had expanded and added rooms.

The kitchen became the focus of the house.

The deep covered patio gets the afternoon breeze and shades the great room which helps keep the house cool.

The decorations in each room have stories attached. Furniture and art are family hand-me-downs.

 Troy’s early love of horses, and his later love of flying are also on display. Suzanne is very active with her sorority and her school and has symbols and logos throughout the house.


Tyler and Melissa Whatley

The Whatleys purchased their historic homestead in 2016.

Tyler and his younger brother, Logan, both in the construction business, put their skills to use to rebuild the 1860’s home.

The reconstruction was done with the original stones and the old ceilings remain. They purchased reclaimed wood for the “new” flooring downstairs as upstairs is original and the original roof material is the ceiling.

Two kerosene chandeliers that have been reworked for electric provide lighting downstairs. They added a half bath downstairs as the original home had no interior plumbing.

They created a dog trot breezeway to connect to their new construction, built with mostly reclaimed materials, to make a comfortable dwelling for their family visits.

Downstairs is a master suite, open family room with living, eating and kitchen areas, and an outdoor covered patio. Upstairs is another master suite as well as Jack and Jill bedrooms with connecting bath.

Ladder-like stairsteps lead up to a loft hidden in the cupola.

Outside the breezeway, the Whatleys saved what they could of the original smoke house and turned it into an outdoor kitchen. This overlooks the original and also restored well, and off in the distance is the original homestead that was then rebuilt as a hay barn, and now has also been restored into a one-bedroom home.


Eric and Carol Hammersen

A Craftsman house with German and Texas influences, Cornflower Cottage (the Hammersens’ 24th home) is based on research of 1920’s floor plans, vintage furniture catalogues and photos, as well as Fredericksburg’s many surviving Craftsman houses.

Cass Phillips helped turn their concepts into a design. David and Cathy Curl and their sons built their forever home.

Exterior walls, constructed of ICF by Mike Pilley Enterprises, ensure safety and energy efficiency. The great room, foyer, dining room and library are traditional, with plate and picture rails, period windows and lighting, pocket doors and Craftsman furnishings.

They honor their German heritage with items collected during 15 years in Europe, and German Christmas decorations are displayed throughout the house. 

Their kitchen mixes white Craftsman cabinets and black countertops with period lighting. The century-old design of the copper sink and range hood complement antique German and Russian copper pieces. The handmade table and pie safe were wedding presents to his great-grandmother.

The double mantles in the great room and master bedroom are from trees that grew on the property.

Guest quarters feature hand-carved Hungarian farmhouse beds, antique linens, German wardrobes, and some Dutch-influenced décor.


The Dwyer-Durst Home

This is the Fredericksburg home of the Dwyer family.

The original limestone structure was built in 1906, as can be seen by the lentil over the front door.

In the 1930’s, the second story, constructed of Basse block, was added to accommodate a large family of 12 children.

It is from a descendant of this family that the Dwyers purchased the house in 2012.

John Klein, architect, and David Ross, designer, were brought in to work on the idea of marrying the old with the new. Daniel Jenschke, builder, was charged with the task of completing the vision.

The entry hall, dining room, parlor, office and kitchen are all located in the original rock structure. During the renovation, the interior wall plaster was removed and original rock walls exposed. The bead board ceilings mirror the original home.  

Walking through the entry hall, visitors pass into a contemporary great room, which connects the old with the new.

This four-bedroom house has two bedrooms in the original historical structure as well as two in the new addition.

Extensive outside porches add to the living space. 

A swimming pool in the back yard was designed by Jodee Kowert of JK Pools, Inc.  Landscaping was designed and implemented by JR Spisak of Sunnyside Lawn & Landscape.


The Market

GCHS/Pioneer Museum’s 1855 First Methodist Church Sanctuary and Social Hall

Everyone is welcome to the 2019 Market being held in this historical building often referred to as the Sanctuary and Social Hall.

The Gillespie County Historical Society bought the building and property, which adjoins the Pioneer Museum grounds, from the First Methodist congregation on March 1, 1978, and converted the space for new use.

In 1855, during the pastorate of Rev. C.A. Grote, the 40x60-foot church was built using native stone quarried in Gillespie County.

In 1880, the congregation built their first parsonage to the right of the church.

During the renovations and remodelings of 1912-1914, 1923-1924, and 1949, the stone was covered with plaster, the windows were reshaped, the front steps and columns were added, and the educational building, which is behind the sanctuary, was enlarged.

The Gillespie County Historical Society has continued preservation and renovation work on the building throughout the years. Offices of the museum’s curator and archivist are located in the former parsonage of the church. The Social Hall and Sanctuary have recently been renovated and are used to hold GCHS membership meetings, Kinderfest, educational lectures and various fundraisers for the museum.

The spaces are available for rental.


Hal and Carolyn Edwards

Memories of family gatherings spanning over 30 years make the Gold-Grobe home special to its owners, Hal and Carolyn Edwards.

Since assuming ownership of the home in 2016, the Edwards have “refreshed” the house that Carolyn’s parents, Joe and Betty Clark, bought in 1987.

Taking care to maintain the historic significance of the house, the Clarks undertook an extensive restoration and remodeling which lasted from the date of purchase through all of 1988.

As there was no crawl space under the house to permit air conditioning, to keep the tall ceilings and eliminate the need for furring down to accommodate ducts, 30 inches of dirt under the house was excavated, and new floor joists and foundations were put in.

The original workable wooden outside shutters were hand restored, and sections of the original picket fence found on an old chicken house were duplicated exactly. The project included adding a guest house, garage, and courtyard just behind the original home.

The Texas Historical Commission dedicated a marker at the home in 1989. 

This native limestone house was built in 1902 by Peter Gold Sr. as a one-story center passage plan structure. Friedrich William Grobe bought the house in 1914.

In 1916, he added a second floor and rear wing using concrete blocks manufactured by the local Basse Brothers Cement Yard.

A descendant of Fredericksburg pioneers, Grobe was a blacksmith, surveyor and farmer and served as postmaster of the nearby town of Rheingold.  When Grobe died in 1944, the house was sold seven months later to the Ketron family who owned it until the Clarks bought it, making four family owners over its 117-year history.


1885 Gillespie County Jail

One of Fredericksburg’s most unique buildings was constructed by the firm C.F. Priess and Brothers at a cost of $9,962 and was used for prisoner lockup until 1939.

This is the fourth jail built in town after previous structures proved inadequate and one burned down.

The 2,000-square-foot building comprises four rooms downstairs and five cells upstairs. The ground floor housed a holding cell which later became a female cell.

Rooms at the rear of the ground floor were used for the jailer’s living quarters.

The second floor has two steel clad cells located against the east wall and a maximum security cell in the center.

The five-foot stone wall surrounding the jail was topped with embedded broken glass to discourage prisoners from attempting to scale the wall to escape. The glass has been removed in recent years.

The jail and property wall were restored by the Fredericksburg Heritage Foundation in the late 1970s and the Old Jail was recorded as a Texas Historical Landmark in 1980.

Until recently, the building was used by Gillespie County for storage. As of Aug. 12, 2019, it is now under the Gillespie County Historical Society.