OTHER AWARDS: National Register of Historic Places; Registered Texas Historical Landmark
PUBLICATIONS: Texas Highways, Texas Monthly, Texas Auto Trails, and Bed and Breakfast
HISTORIC SIGNIFICANCE: The structure was the homestead of Captain Lyne Taliaferro ("Tol") Barret, QM, C.S.A., who, in 1866 drilled the first producing oil well in Texas, at Oil Springs in southeast Nacogdoches County. The Barrets moved into the house in 1848, and lived there until their deaths in 1913 and 1920. The house is typical of early Texas, a basic center hall is flanked by two large and two small rooms and fronted with a long wide porch. It is unique in that the vertical exterior and interior wall boards are two inches thick and the two 12 over 12 pane front windows are unusual in farm homes of the 1840s. This house withstood a tornado which flattened most of Melrose about 1854, and it became a storm shelter to neighbors.
HISTORY OF STRUCTURE: Material consists of rough sawn pine boards, mostly of 2" x 12", using box construction. The 16 foot 2' x 12"s vertical boards are nailed to sill and plate with two large square spikes--top and bottom. Corner posts are 5 ½ x 5 ½. All openings, doors and windows, are flanked by 4" x 4" studs. Vertical battens 3" to 4" covered the gap between boards in and out. Fireplaces of handmade brick and cut stone were centered in end walls. The roof was shingled, but later replaced with tin. A separate kitchen of about 15 feet was located behind the rear entrance and was connected to the house by a covered walkway at floor level.
RESTORATION: Captain Charles and Ann Phillips, owners, restored the house now used as a bed and breakfast. Moved about ten miles in November 1975 to prevent its destruction for barn lumber, the Phillips rebuilt fireplaces, chimneys and flues, replaced rotted and termite damaged sills, uncovered the original board and batten, and installed new plumbing and wiring. Governor Bill Cements dedicated the Registered Texas historic Landmark in 1981.