From western forts to Victorian mansions and pivotal battlegrounds, the Texas Historical Commission's 20 state historic sites exemplify a breadth of Texas history. Come explore the real stories at the real places.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

One Trip, Three Unique Historic Homes

By Jennifer O’Hair, web content coordinator

One of my favorite parts of my job is when I get the opportunity to get out from behind my desk and visit our state historic sites. Recently, I took a trip to three of our historic homes in North Texas — Sam Bell Maxey House, Sam Rayburn House Museum and Eisenhower Birthplace. The close proximity of these three sites makes for a great one- or two-day itinerary.

My first stop was Sam Bell Maxey House in Paris. Built in 1868, this home is chock full of fascinating stories and artifacts, including a massive shell once used by the family as a punch bowl and a very unusual-looking service bell.



The town of Paris is also a great place to take in some good eats and shops — it even has its own Eiffel Tower, topped off with a cowboy hat, of course.

About 45 minutes west of Paris is Bonham, home of U.S. Congressman Sam Rayburn’s 1916 home, now the Sam Rayburn House Museum. This historic site is incredibly interesting in that all of the rooms including furnishings, were left virtually as they were when Rayburn and his family lived there. The guest room (shown below) is where former President LBJ and First Lady once stayed. Truly a step back in time.

My last stop was Eisenhower Birthplace, located about 30 minutes northwest of Bonham in Denison. Despite the pouring rain during my visit, this site was full of the energy of the 34th U.S. President. I will make a point to go back there in the springtime when the landscaped grounds are known to be blooming with flowers.

Have you visited these sites yet? If so, leave a comment below and let us know what you thought. To trace my route, see the Google map below. All three sites are located in the Texas Lakes Trail Region.

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