By the time Bruce Rust and Jane Wedding moved into the Colonial Revival home located at 210 South Hawkins Street in September 2015, its history had long been written.
One of the first aspects of the house that guests will notice after walking under the Queen Anne windows in the entryway of the two-story Victorian built in the 1880s is the grand staircase — in all of its original glory.
“Everywhere,” said Wedding when asked which area of the house is her favorite. “We enjoy every room in this house.”
Wedding is a true historian of the home. She and her husband moved to the Gingerbread City from Fort Worth’s Fairmont historical district and cannot help but point out each of the beautiful intricacies found inside the Hawkins Home.
Wedding will also proudly tell the history to those who visit while on the 2017 Gingerbread Tour of Homes of B.F. Hawkins and his settling on the plot of land just a few blocks from where the historic Ellis County Courthouse sits. B.F. Hawkins was the first county clerk of Ellis County after it became recognized as such in 1849.
Built first as a small home that closely resembled that of the house that currently sits across the street, Wedding explained the family decided on the 13-acre property — that would eventually become known as “Hawkins Row” — because of a fresh-water spring near what has now become Paul Richards Park. The property was purchased from Emory Rogers — the founder of Waxahachie.
After the family had grown to six, Hawkins decided to construct the two-story dwelling complete with a fresh-water well in the front yard, a barn in the rear and magnificent front porch and balcony.
The house was then left to the youngest son, Frank L. Hawkins, who remodeled the home as a gift to his bride in celebration of their 15th wedding anniversary.
The Hawkins House remained in the family until 1953 and was then utilized as apartments over the next six years. Wedding noted it returned to a single-family dwelling in 1959, which she credits as the why the home has remained in such pristine condition.
The home, formerly trimmed in gingerbread, was renovated in the 1980s, but most of the original styling and features remain.
“I think that is why it is in such good shape because it hasn’t changed hands a lot,” said Wedding, as the couple is just the fourth family to reside in the home since the 1950s. “This house has been really well taken care of throughout the years.”
Six of the original fireplaces still remain in the home — four downstairs and two upstairs — and each feature their original tile and inserts, though Wedding noted she will have to wait to replace the chimneys after she “wins the lottery.”
Upstairs, just beyond the handcrafted staircase that features one — and somewhat hidden to the untrained eye — spindled that differs from the rest, there are four bedrooms and one grand balcony. On that second-story outdoor sitting area are four hand-carved cypress pillars that are ornate enough in detail that one would have to display great restraint to keep from reaching out a hand to touch the magnificent work of craftsmanship.
“It’s an honor and a privilege to live in such a historically significant home,” Wedding added. “My husband and I believe that it is our responsibility to be good stewards of this house until we pass it along to the next generation. We are passionate about respecting and preserving all of the original features that still exist in the house.”
Travis M. Smith, @Travis5mith