Carla Stevens owns the 1889 Hollon House, and what a house it is. In fact, I’ve driven by this very home for years and years and wondered and wondered….all because the fabulous wraparound porch caught my attention. Now I’ve finally been invited inside, told the history of the home, and given permission to bring it to you!
The house was built in 1889, but little seems to be known about it before the Hollon family purchased it. However, Carla’s grandmother, her dad’s mother, moved to Dublin when she was about three. She remembered that there was a rock quarry at Proctor and she could also remember the rocks being brought in from Proctor to build the foundation of the house.
However, for Carla Stevens’ family it all began in 1924 when her grandparents, Willie Kate Hollon and George Lester Hollon, came to Dublin, Texas where Willie’s sister ran a boarding house located near today’s City Hall and called the Wiley Cottage.
“I assume that is why they came to Dublin, but I don’t guess I really know that for sure. My mother was in about the third grade. She was five years older than her brother, and both were raised in the Hollon house.”
I asked Carla how it was that her grandparents came to take in boarders.
“A lady here in town was going out of the boarding house business and she asked if Grandmother would be interested in taking her boarders. Obviously, Grandmother said yes, and this was a boarding house for many years.
“After Grandmother opened the home as a boarding house, she put an apartment in the back and that stopped the wrap-around from going all the way around the house as it did originally.
“My grandmother used to keep the cowboys from the World Championship Rodeo. Of course the house was full, but she would sell them the porch for $2.50 per night. The porch railing would be full of saddles draped over it. A lot of famous cowboys stayed here.”
In addition to keeping boarders, Carla’s grandmother was also very civic minded. She was the founder of the local Garden Club, and according to Patty Hirst, the founder of the Dublin PTA as well. She was also the state president of the PTA.
“Mom was a freshman in high school and dad was a senior when they started dating. Mom had to be home by nine o’clock so dad would bring her home and she would sit on the porch and watch him and his second date cruise the streets. This made her furious!”
Eventually the young couple apparently worked out their problems and they were married for over fifty years.
“Dad was a tease. When he and mom first married (and if they had a spat), he would go to my grandmother and tell her what happened, making sure she heard his side of the story first. Mom said she would know when the phone rang that her mother was going to tell her to lighten up on him.”
Carla’s family lived within a stone’s throw of the home where her mother grew up in the Hollon House so she was always in the house as a child.
“I loved my grandmother dearly, and stayed with her often. She even brought me breakfast in bed.
“I had it made until my brother came along.”
By the time Carla’s brother Richard was born, the family lived right by the Dublin football field.
“Dad was a contractor and he built that house and he loved it. He built the house, bought a new car, and had a baby the same year. He was so proud of himself!”
“After they were older, his friends would steal the Truck Crossing sign from the Highway Department. Dad would have to call them each week and tell them to come get it. He finally just gave up on it. The sign is still hanging out back!”
In case you don’t already know, Truck Stevens went on from Dublin High School to play for the Baylor Bears and then spent six years playing for the Philadelphia Eagles.
“Grandmother passed away in 1947 and my grandfather continued to rent the rooms, but the place no longer served meals. Eventually, Grandfather married a friend of my grandmother’s. When she passed away, he gradually quit taking boarders.
Once again according to Patty Hirst, Dublin basically shut down for Winnie Hollon’s funeral; she had done that much for the town.
“When they were building the new Post Office across the street, my grandfather sat on this porch and saw every brick they laid.”
“After Grandfather passed away, my family moved into the house; I was a sophomore at Tarleton.
“My sister was very young when we moved here and she would have slumber parties on the porch. Everyone loved that!”
“It was Halloween night and my dad slept in this back bedroom. He woke up and there was a lady in the house.
“Dad screamed to my mother that there was a woman in the house. Sure enough, an elderly lady had left the hospital. She had Alzheimer’s and she told dad that she had been in the house millions of times. She assured him that she lived there and was looking for the bathroom. Mom escorted her out of the house and she went on down the street.
“Another Halloween night two cats managed to get into the attic. We have a pull down staircase and someway they bounced on the staircase and bounced down and ended up in bed with Dad. He ended up being scratched all over!
“The Iris in the bed came from my aunt and the rose bushes were planted by my grandmother. My grandmother also had chickens in the back. I remember feeding them with her. She used them to feed her boarders, and I can remember her wringing their necks there.
“Lots of romances started here. People still stop and tell me that they stayed here or that they met their spouses here.
“About a year ago a lady stopped by and asked if she could come in because it was where she met her husband.”
Apparently once upon a time, the boarders had a game where the transom was opened and a ladder put on each side of it. They drew numbers and those with matching numbers climbed the ladders on both sides and kissed.
Obviously, this lady kissed the right one, but her children and grandchildren did not know what a transom was. Carla placed a ladder for the woman to climb and then took a picture of her at the open transom to show her family.
I’ve said it before and I will probably say it many times again, IF ONLY THESE OLD HOUSES COULD TALK!
And what an absolutely wonderful old house the Hollon House is.