History

Seaquist Mansion: A Diamond in the Rough

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Down a narrow street off the square in a little town in the heart of Texas, stands a 22-room, three-story, Victorian-style mansion.

Seaquist Mansion: A Diamond in the Rough

Photo: Jim Edscom (Pinterest)

Few know of it, but the 120-year-old Seaquist house boasting 15 fireplaces, a ballroom, and a wine cellar, might seem more at home in the foothills of Bavaria. However, the mansion on the dusty banks of Comanche Creek has been a hidden gem in the unassuming town of Mason since its construction in 1887. Now it’s in danger of being abandoned.

Seaquist Mansion: A Diamond in the Rough

Photo: seaquist.org

A local reverend built a stately, one-story house and then sold it in 1891 to a banker from New York working in Mason’s first bank. Although it was already the finest house in town, the banker saw room for improvement. He commissioned German architect Richard Grosse to make significant improvements, and five years later, the house looked much like it does today.

Seaquist Mansion: A Diamond in the Rough

Photo: seaquist.org

The Seaquist house mixes solid, old-world craftsmanship with beauty and sophistication. Built of stone and wood, its doorways, windows, and walls are adorned with intricately carved motifs of roses, grapes, and stars. The limestone’s soft white colors stand in elegant contrast with the darker sandstone bricks that make up most of the walls, and a white-washed porch wraps around the entire building. Inside, cream and parchment colored wallpaper is framed by dark wood fireplaces, bookshelves, and flooring.

Seaquist Mansion: A Diamond in the Rough

Photo: seaquist.org

In 1919, the Seaquist family bought the house and the name stuck. Oscar Seaquist was a boot maker who arrived in Mason after escaping the Swedish army. The Seaquist family made some alterations (including stained glass) to the house and after Oscar’s death in 1933 his wife looked after the residence for forty more years.

Seaquist Mansion: A Diamond in the Rough

Photo: seaquist.org

After her death in the 1970s, the Seaquist’s son and daughter-in-law, Garner and Clara, refurbished the house, and it entered its golden period. Seaquist mansion became a popular venue for dances, weddings, galas, and other events. Visitors came from around the state, some of the rooms were rented out as apartments, and many students studying in Mason used it as a boarding house.

It wasn’t until 2012 that the house was put up for sale after Garner and Clara’s children decided they could not support the costs. It lay vacant until recently, when concerned citizens formed the Seaquist House Foundation in an effort to stop its deterioration. Today, great efforts are being made to refurbish the house and return it to its former glory. If you pass by Mason, don’t miss the chance to see this beautiful and little-known pearl of Texas history.