The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 60, July 1956 - April, 1957 Page: 192
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Southwestern Historical Quarterly
ment, the men of the future will be enabled to gain some
knowledge of the appearance of the town as it was just about
186o. The professional qualifications of the author and artist
assure the production of an authoritative report, gracefully
Mr. Harris presents a drawing or sketch of the exterior of
each of his chosen houses; these sketches aim to bring out the
major elements in the design of the structures, as well as the de-
tail and refinements. He contributes carefully rendered floor
plans (24 in all), drawn to scale. And he offers brief historical
notes which contain information on the nature of the materials
used for the construction, the date of the building, the name of
the builder, and something about the owner and the later history
of the house. Thoroughly versed as he is in the lore of these
buildings, Mr. Harris could with ease have written on them at
length, but on this occasion he chose to be concise. We learn
from him of the cedar and pine timbers that were brought in
from Bastrop, of the rock that was pulled out from neighborhood
quarries, of slave labor that was trained to create elegance in
wood and stone, and of several master builders whose capacities
enriched and adorned the Austin district. Foremost among these
was Abner Hugh Cook, responsible for the governor's mansion,
the Pease house, the Neill-Cochran house, and the John Milton
Swisher house, to mention only those four authenticated edifices
dealt with in this study.
The old stone houses of Austin reflect and express several
architectural styles: Louisiana modes, French modes, classic
modes. Cottage and comfortable dwelling and stately mansion,
the builders knew how to fashion any and all of them. Their ex-
perience, good taste, and familiarity with a living, reasonable
architectural tradition produced charming, dignified results, as
the author's illustrations well attest.
The houses studied range from the simplicity of the Wahr-
mann house, a stone cottage of two rooms, through the two-
story Sneed house of stone, known as "Comal Bluff," on to the
subdued majesty of the governor's mansion and so to a grand
climax in architectural magnificence, the ample, spacious classi-
cally-columned "Woodlawn House," built in 1853.
One may hope that architects residing in other Texas cities
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 60, July 1956 - April, 1957, periodical, 1957; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101163/m1/213/: accessed January 20, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.