The ‘Texas White House’ Goes to Auction

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Following a bitter election year, those who desire their candidate’s place in a stately Washington abode now have the opportunity to bid on the closest thing they can find, and it’s right here in Texas. The historic Sterling Mansion in La Porte, Texas overlooking Galveston Bay is now up for auction after failing to sell on the open market. Nick-named the “Texas White House,” this mansion’s design and history takes a page straight from Texas.

Photo: John Daugherty Realtors

Recognized on both the National Register of Historic Places and the Texas Historical Commission, the home’s opulence is a standing reminder to Texas’ 31st governor Ross Sterling and his success as the founder of Humble Oil and Refining Co. (now EXXON). Legend says, after hiring noted architect Albert Finn, Sterling pulled a $20 bill from his pocket and said, “Oh hell, make it look like this.” The iconic design mirrors portions of the actual White House but with a Texas flare.

Photo: John Daugherty Realtors

The estate played host to a variety of Texas-sized shindigs, such as “Back to Earth” parties for returning astronauts during its decades on the Texas coast. According to a New York Times article from 1976, Sterling christened his mansion with a house warming party that included 600 guests.

Standing strong on the Texas coast for 90 years is no small task, but 12-inch limestone walls may be one reason for the mansion’s fortitude over the years. The home also boasts 9 bedrooms, 15 bathrooms and a host of others like a billiard room and a grand salon.

Photo: John Daugherty Realtors

In the 1946 Sterling included the house in the sale of another property to the Houston Optimist Club, who used the estate as a home for troubled boys. After changing hands a number of times, the home failed to sell on the market. The mansion was last listed at nearly $5.5 million.

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