The Hope Floats House is Found in This Tiny Texas Town

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Tony Maples Photography


In 1998, Hollywood found the perfect set for the beloved film “Hope Floats” in the city of Smithville, Texas. The film follows Birdee (Sandra Bullock), a housewife in Chicago who is humiliated on national television when she discovers her best friend had an affair with her husband. Birdee leaves Chicago with her daughter, Bernice (Mae Whitman), and moves to her hometown of Smithville to live with her mother (Gena Rowlands). Smithville is the perfect backdrop to this romantic classic. Let’s point out some of the sets you can still see today, such as the Hope Floats house itself.

Although Birdee was the Queen bee of Smithville in high school, she returns a devastated, soon-to-be-divorcee. She begins rebuilding her life with her daughter when an old flame, Justin (Harry Connick Jr.), enters the picture. Birdee slowly opens up to Justin and sparks fly in the scene when they country dance together, filmed at Cherry Hill Dance Hall.

Birdee’s childhood home is a Neoclassical-style house built in 1908 for J.H. McCollum. The Hope Floats house is known today as the McCollum-Chapman-Trousdale House. The elementary school that Birdee sends Bernice to is the Smithville I.S.D, built in 1924. Saints Peter and Paul was the church in the film, however, it’s about 6 miles outside of Smithville in Kovar, Texas.

The Hope Floats House is Found in This Tiny Texas Town

Photo: @Lightboxx via Twenty20

The Smithville set is almost a character itself in this classic tear-jerking, yet also endearing tale about moving on. The city has been included in 11 other film sets such as, “Tree of Life,” “Bernie,” and “Beneath the Darkness.” Take a trip and visit the Hope Floats Back Door Café on 117 Main St. Honey’s Pizza was the fictional Honey’s Diner. Step into the scene for the Employment Agency on 108 NE 2nd St., and don’t forget to see the faded Star Biscuit Mural downtown, specifically painted for the film.

“Hope Floats” doesn’t have high ranking reviews on rotten tomatoes, but you would be hard-pressed to find a romantic who doesn’t love this film. Connick Jr. captures the southern charmer and all-around good man, and Bullock makes you want to move to Smithville just to be Birdee’s neighbor. Love the Hope Floats house and all the other great set pieces? Head to Smithville.