Typed by Faye Cunningham
A beautiful old house known to all as "The Gusman Home," is located at 2120 6th Street, on Lot #7 and east half of Lot $8, in Block #146, in the original townsite of the City of Bay City.
Mr. A. D. Hensley, district clerk of Matagorda County from 1923 to 1936, bought the land from David Swickheimer by Attorney G. M. Magill on January 13, 1898.
In 1905, the Alamo Lumber Company agreed to furnish Mr. A. D. Hensley and his wife, Maggie B. Hensley, all the necessary lumber and other materials to erect the three bedroom house for $930.
Mr. Hensley asked his brother, who was an architect, to plan a house that would catch the breeze from any direction.
The house is a Greek Cross, hexagonal-designed house. A one story frame, gable-roofed structure of Greek Cross plan with five octagonal rooms, and four cross halls; four hexagonal entrance porches have delicate turned posts and hipped roofs.
The living room has eight doors and no windows. Transoms are over the four outside doors. Three of these doors open to hexagon porches, one of the porches is screened. Originally the fourth door opened to a large screened porch extending the full length of the back part of the house. After indoor plumbing was available in Bay City, a bathroom was made from a portion of the porch. Later another section was used to enclose a water heater.
The inside doors lead to three bedrooms and the dining room. From the dining room, one enters the kitchen and to the back entrance. The bathroom is entered from the kitchen or the screened porch.
All rooms, except the kitchen and bathroom, are octagonal shaped. Two bedrooms have five windows and one door. The third bedroom opens onto the back screened porch, so there are only four windows. There are no clothes closets in two of the bedrooms, only large beautiful wardrobes to hold the clothes. The house has a total of nineteen windows. All the rooms have ceilings that are 11 1/2 feet tall.
The only outside physical change was the replacement of the two front wooden porches with concrete, which required removal of the banisters.
James Robert Gusman (March 3, 1862 - November 30, 1944) and Bettie Amanda Harrington (July 26, 1864 - July 18, 1948) married January 12, 1887 in Tuscumbia, Alabama. They lived in Weimar, Texas until their move to Bay City in 1911.
On July 11, 1919, James Robert Gusman paid $2750 in cash to A. D. Hensley and his wife, Maggie B. Hensley for the home, and it has been in the Gusman family ever since.
James and Bettie Gusman had seven children, all born in Weimar, Texas. Several of the children were leaders in Matagorda County. There were no grandchildren.
1. Mary Alizira Gusman (March 21, 1888 - August 11, 1981) taught school 45 years, 43 years in Bay City Independent School District. She did not marry.
2. Lula Adelia Gusman (July 31, 1889 - February 22, 1978) married Charles D. Ammann. They owned a dairy farm at Weimar, Texas. After Ammann died in 1963, Lula made her home in Bay City.
3. Wylie Harrington Gusman (November 12, 1891 - October 13, 1893) died of scarlet fever.
4. Cooper Hill Gusman (October 6, 1894 - November 27,1991) was a civil engineer at Bay City. He did not marry.
5. Oliver Herbert Gusman (November 23, 1899 - November 14, 1991) became a Matagorda County rancher, married Esther Vest, June 2, 1929.
6. Richard Clifton Gusman (December 28, 1904 - July 23, 1984) married Florence Craddock August 22, 1944. Richard was Bay City Mayor from 1947 - 1979.
7. Ethel Virginia Gusman (August 27, 1908 - [April
14, 2002]) taught school 39 years for Boling Independent School
District. She still lives in the Gusman home and stays very active in
the Matagorda County Museum, First Methodist Church and the Bay City
Service Center. She is a member of the Bay City Public Library, D. A.
R., Matagorda County Historical Society and the Matagorda County
Historical Commission. She was named Outstanding Senior Citizen in 1874
and in 1980 the Chamber of Commerce named her Outstanding Woman of the
Copyright 2011 -
Present by Carol Sue Gibbs
Sep. 5, 2011
Dec. 4, 2012