Heritage, Volume 12, Number 1, Winter 1994 Page: 21
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local entrepreneur and poker player
extraordinaire, James Harris Draughon, it
is estimated that $10,000 was spent for the
six-month construction of the 6,000-square
foot home. The Draughon family moved
in onJuly 4,1885. In 1894, it was purchased
by attorney Henry Moore and occupied by
his family for 91 years.
The three-story Italianate Victorian
style structure has a one-of-a-kind floor
plan, inspired by a playing card club. The
floor plan consists of three octagonal rooms
and one long rectangular room per floor
arranged around a central octagon that
houses the staircase. A bathroom wing and
a kitchen wing were added to the house in
the 1890s, and the original iron galleries
were replaced in the 1920s with MoorishSpanish
revival style porches.
The Texarkana Historical Society and
Museum took great pride in their unique
winnings and dutifully began the process
of creating a "living house" museum. They
had already accomplished placing the house
on the National Register of Historic Places
and having it recorded as a Texas Historical
Landmark. Now the task at hand was restoration.
Restoration of the house was begun in
1987. Substantial repairs to roofing,
drainage, plumbing, and electrical as well
as installation of new heating and cooling
were accomplished. Original exterior colors
were restored and the long-missing
cupola finial was recreated and restored to
the rooftop. Although the staircase had
survived with an ebonized finish dating
from 1901, most of the existing interior
colors and finishes were historically and
architecturally inappropriate. After careful
investigation, it was determined that it
was possible to restore the interior decoration
to coincide with the 1901 Edwardian
era "Guilded Age" appearance of the house.
Many details, such as drapery rods and
rings were surviving or could be restored.
There would be few exceptions to the 1901
decoration so that the house itself could
tell most of its history. The library was
restored to an 1880's style. The kitchen
had much of its 1920 style surviving and
was restored accordingly. The 1930's
stream-lined modern bath-dressing room
was intact except for color, which was
restored. And all of the furnishings
throughout the entire house were returned
to their appropriate place. In 1993, the
Texarkana Museums System celebrated
the Draughon family move-in date of July
4 with the development of "Live!! At the
Ace!", a year-round living history program
where actors portray former residents and
workers of the Ace of Clubs House. Costumed
in period clothing and with special
attention to hairstyles, accents, and dialogues,
the actors' interpretive techniques
enhance the visitor's knowledge and experience
of the lifestyles represented by the
Ace of Clubs House.
Basking in the glow of their success, the
Texarkana Historical Society and Museum
was given a third opportunity when the
Lawrence family donated to the Society the
former Bryce's Cafeteria, located directly
across from the Texarkana Historical Museum.
Realizing the needs of the community
and continuing with its mission toward
education, the Texarkana Historical Society
and Museum created Discovery Place,
an interactive museum addressing broad
themes contained in the studies of life and
physical science and social studies. Opening
in September 1990, Discovery Place
features more than 40 hands-on permanent
exhibits that fire the imagination; it has
housed traveling exhibits such as
Dinamation International's "Downtown
Dinos," "Wild & Woolly Mammals," and
most recently the Austin Children's
Museum's "Jungle Impressions." Current
renovations include an aesthetic face lift
and the addition of "All Systems Go," a
health science exhibit.
The Texarkana Museums System's great
enterprise is a testament to what the dedication
of members, contributors, volunteers,
and cities can accomplish when given
Tina M. Veal is the director of development/
public relations for the Texarkana Museums
HERITAGE * WINTER 1994 21
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Texas Historical Foundation. Heritage, Volume 12, Number 1, Winter 1994, periodical, Winter 1994; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth46807/m1/21/: accessed June 22, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas Historical Foundation.