Historic homes available for Winterfest tour


Six beautiful historic homes in Gonzales, Texas, will be available to tour during the 2021 Winterfest celebration from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday, Dec.4, and Sunday, Dec. 5.

Homes featured on this year’s historic tour will include Belle Oaks Inn at 222 St. Peter, built in 1912; St. James Inn at 723 St. James, built in 1914; The J.H. Boothe House at 706 St. George, built in 1912; the Frank Fly House at 827 St. Joseph, built in 1914; the Fauth House at 521 St. Peter, with a construction date of 1868; and the T.N. Matthews/J.B. Wells House, 833 Mitchell, built in 1885.

Almost two centuries of Christmas can be celebrated in this history-rich little city. Historic homes filled with renovated innovations, others resplendent in their restored elegance, and one that is almost untouched-by-the-years, are part of this year’s holiday home tour.

Stories of cattle drives, holiday carols, and Dutch Oven cobblers are holiday specialties planned for the Matthews-Wells House at 833 Mitchell Street. Admission is $5 per person and includes a tour of the house and Dutch Oven cobbler.

By the mid-1800s the American Christmas tradition included much of the same customs and festivities of today.  Every home would prepare a feast for the holiday — bringing out preserved fruits and vegetables, fresh game, and for those that could afford it, maybe even beef or ham.

The Wells family were fortunate as they raised 1,500 head of cattle, 500 head of hogs and 1,000 head of steers as well as other cattle for eating and milking. Mr. Wells also farmed 20,000 bushels of corn, ribbon cane, onions, cabbage, tabasco peppers and strawberries.

Gifts were not readily available in the 1800s and were often homemade, including corn husk dolls, sachets, carved wooden toys, pillows, and embroidered hankies. However, if the family had a good year and they lived near a general store, the children might find candies or fruit in their stockings.

Plan to experience these 1800s Christmas traditions at the Matthews-Wells House. Tour the 14-room Cattle Baron’s mansion furnished in original furnishings. Celebrate the holidays tasting Dutch Oven cobbler served from the Outdoor Kitchen and enjoying Christmas carols.

Hoping to allow more visitors than ever before to enjoy the authenticity of not only the museum house and holdings, but the authentic Christmas trim, this treasure will be open not only for the Winterfest 2021 tour times of two to six, but they will open as they do every Saturday at 10 a.m. for early visitors.

For more information about the homes on tour, check out the Gonzales Historic Homes Facebook page or view the new website at gonzaleshistorichomes.org.