Heritage, Volume 5, Number 1, Spring 1987 Page: 13
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priate to the historic nature of the buildings
but also which suggest that they have
been lived in and used for generations as
cultural centers. They have been adapted
to be used as well as visited by the public.
The Clayton House, named by the
Festival-Institute for William Lockhart
Clayton, founder of Anderson Clayton
and Company, noted statesman and the
originator of the Marshall Plan, was the
first historic structure moved to Festival
Hill. The one-story U-shaped county
house was built near La Grange for Louis
S. Homuth in 1885. Mr. Homuth also
built and owned the Opera House in La
Grange. Music and the arts always held
an important place in the life of the
house. Mrs. Homuth was a pianist and in
1892 won an award for excellence in music.
After it left the Homuth family
ownership in 1914, the home had several
owners until it became an obstacle to the
construction of a large department store
chain. The Festival-Institute learned that
the home had to be sold and moved or it
would be demolished within two weeks.
Mr. Dick had often admired the rambling
house with its steep roof in earlier years.
It stood in the midst of live oaks and a
wisteria arbor directly on Highway 71 between
La Grange and Columbus. He and
the directors of the James Dick Foundation
were determined to save the beautiful
old home and moved it in January
1976 to become the inaugural restoration
for the new Festival-Institute campus and
what is now known as Festival Hill.
It was essential that the building be
adaptable for multiple purposes. These
were carefully evaluated, and when completed
the house contained parlors for
teaching and rehearsing, room for recital
programs for up to one hundred people,
accommodations for visiting artists and
faculty members, dormitories for students,
and an outdoor chamber music
courtyard for larger concerts, made possible
by retaining the original U shape
of the house. The dormitory space was
created out of the attic by raising the
roofline three feet and adding gables and
dormers to create windows. Details for
the second-story windows were carefully
copied from local originals.
Major portions of the interior of the
house had fared poorly during the numerous
years of vacancy and neglect. However,
the original wainscoting in both of
the main parlors was still intact and carefully
restored by the Festival-Institute.
The David W. Guion Room in the Festival-Institute Concert Hall is designed with traditional
woodworking techniques passed down from one generation to another. Visible in the rooms' interior
are portions of the extensive collection of music archives and Americana assembled by the noted Texas
composer, David W. Guion.
Unfortunately, neither of the pine fireplace
mantels in the parlors was in good
enough condition to be restored, and the
original chimneys had been removed
when the house came to Festival Hill.
Therefore, to complete the house, it was
possible to incorporate important architectural
artifacts from other historic
structures of the same era. Two Austin
structures provided the needed artifacts.
The John H. Houghton House was built
in 1886-1887 in Austin and razed in
1973 to make way for a parking garage.
The beautiful mantels from that house
had been saved, and two of them were
purchased for the Clayton House. One
was of red and black marbleized slate with
incised highlights of gold, and the other
was a fine, twelve-foot, Texas curly pine
mantel with a matching corner china
cabinet. The Clayton House parlors retain
their unusually high fourteen-foot
ceilings and easily accommodated the
large mantels from the Houghton House.
The original Seton Hospital Chapel in
Austin was built around the turn of the
century with cherry-red bricks manufactured
in Austin in 1901. These bricks are
known for their beautiful blue-red color
and their unusual thickness. They were
purchased from the site of the old chapel
and used to build the chimneys, the en
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Texas Historical Foundation. Heritage, Volume 5, Number 1, Spring 1987, periodical, Spring 1987; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth45438/m1/13/: accessed November 19, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas Historical Foundation.