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Matagorda County Recorded Texas Historic Landmark

Kilbride-Barkley House

1704 3rd Street           28°58’42.42”N        95°58’10.29”W






Inscription typed by Faye Cunningham

Photo at right courtesy of
Matagorda County Museum


Kilbride-Barkley House

The Kilbride-Barkley-Bailey home located on Block 87, Lots 4, 5 and 6 was built in 1910 according to the tax records of Matagorda County. The block, part of the original townsite of Bay City was sold by David Swickheimer to W. C. Williams in 1896 and in 1909, Williams sold it to A. J. Ditch. The value of the lots and property was recorded as $1500. In 1910 Mrs. A. E. Kilbride acquired the land with the same value, but in 1911 the value was recorded as $13,000.

In 1979 the Houston-Galveston Area Council and the Texas Historical Commission conducted a cultural resource inventory of Matagorda County, along with twelve other counties. In the interim report prepared by Woods K. Wellborn, Jr., preservation planning consultant, he gave the following description of the home—“…two-story, five bay, wood frame classic revival residence featuring fanlighted tripartite windows; front porches with paired two-story columns and triangular pediment; and hipped roof. The significance of the home with the integrity of design, quality of construction and detail, setting and general character of property makes this a locally important structure.” He also recommended it for the National Register and to consider for a State Historical Marker.

Deed Records in the County Clerk’s office, Matagorda County, show that the land was transferred to A. J. Ditch September 1, 1909 and on September 29, 1909, Edward John Kilbride purchased the land and put it in his wife’s name, Ann Elizabeth Kilbride. Mr. Kilbride died March 24, 1939 and his interest in the house was given to their daughter, Margaret Kilbride Barkley. In 1941, Margaret Kilbride Barkley and family moved into the lower floor of the home. In 1934, another daughter, Betty, had moved into the house and shared the upper floor with her mother. She later moved into a townhouse on lot 3 at the back of the home, after she had given her half of the big house to Margaret for Margaret’s half of the townhouse. Mrs. Kilbride lived in the home until her death on August 18, 1960. The Barkley family owned the home until it was purchased by Dr. R. J. “Jerry” Bailey and his wife, Sue C. Bailey, in December, 1992. They began renovation immediately with the help of their daughter, Debra L. Bailey, an architect.

The cypress wood frame four gabled two-story structure of symmetrical design features a six column entrance under the front gable flounced on either side by sunburst leaded glass windows and a small one over the doorway. The house is raised on concrete blocks that allow circulation as well as space for a small cellar or furnace room. The front and back gables feature a three-paned rectangle window with one of the semi-circle design above it. Under the back gable and on either side are upper and lower porches extending from one side to the other completely screened with bannistering columns.

The floor plans remains the same as when built in 1910. The lower floor has a large entrance hall with double sliding doors opening into the parlor and the dining room. The parlor leads into the library through double doors providing an openness of entertaining. The dining room through a swinging door goes into a large and spacious kitchen. To the right of the entrance at the foot of the stairway is a bedroom and partial bath.

The upper floor is reached by a one-turn wide stairway that opens into the hallway leading to all the bedrooms and baths. The stairway is bannistered. A large linen and storage closet was built to serve all the rooms. The master bedroom opens through double doors into a smaller bedroom. The bath is reached through this room as well as the hall. There are fireplaces in all the bedrooms except the children’s room; a total of six fireplaces throughout the house. The middle bedroom opens into the hall. The master bedroom and the guest room and bath have high ceilings, large windows and openness which gives the house ventilation needed in the Gulf Coast climate.

Some changes were made to convert the uses of a room from time to time, but no major changes have been made of the original floor plans. Some of the original light fixtures that were both gas and electric are still in place. The servants’ quarters and stable were built to the rear of the house. The upper story was a large living sleeping room with bath. The lower section was the wash and ironing rooms with two stalls for the horses. Later this building was moved to the back lot and made into two apartments. In 1933 a townhouse with four bedrooms, two baths, living, dining and kitchen [was built]. The water tank was located at the back of the big house before utilities arrived in Bay City. The other building on the grounds was a single car garage built at the same time the house was built.

Edward John Kilbride was a cattle rancher and store owner. Ann Elizabeth Holt was born November 24, 1874 on Caney to John Francis and Helen Wilkinson Holt who were descendants of early Matagorda families. She married Kilbride on June 7, 1894 and they were the parents of four children, Helen Holt, John Francis Holt, Margaret Dale and Ann Elizabeth. Their son died in 1906. The Kilbride family moved to Bay City in 1910 and as soon as they arrived they became involved in the community. They were charter members of St. Mark’s Episcopal Church. Ann Elizabeth (Bess or Bessie) was a charter member of the Bay City Library Association, serving as librarian and on the book selection committee. The public school benefited from their support. She was a member of the DAR, Colonial Dames, DRT and UDC organizations. Mr. Kilbride was a Mason and Shriner.

The Kilbrides shared their home for many charitable benefits and entertained the young folk with house parties and dances. It was always a gathering place for the young.

E. J. Kilbride Passes Away This Morning
Pioneer of Matagorda County Dies Following Lengthy Illness

Mr. Edward John Kilbride, age 68 years, 9 months and 17 days, died at his family residence here at Ave. F. and 3rd., this morning at approximately 6 o’clock. “Mr. Ed,” as he was affectionately known by the entire county, died after many months of suffering and illness.

Born in the town of Matagorda June 7, 1870, Mr. Kilbride was a life long resident of this county. In his younger days he was ranchman and an extensive landowner.

A man, generous and thoughtful, loving and kind, he drew to him friends and associates who knew and loved him.

Surviving him, are his wife, three daughters, Mrs. Helen Cates, Mrs. Norman Barkley, Mrs. Weldon Smith, two granddaughters, Helen Cates, Betty Gene Smith and two grandsons, C. C. Cates and Norman Barkley. He is also survived two sisters, Mrs. Mamie Klein of this city, and Mrs. Alex Hooper of Waco; and one brother, George Kilbride of Matagorda.

Funeral services will be held at the Episcopal Church, Saturday morning at 10 o’clock. Interment will be in the Matagorda Cemetery. Taylor Bros., are in charge of arrangements.

The Daily Tribune, March 24, 1939

Death Ends Long Social Career

Death Thursday ended the life of a life-long Matagorda County resident, whose plantation home as a child and as a young woman was glowingly described in Arda Talbot Allen’s “Miss Ella of the Deep South [of Texas],” and whose spacious colonial home in Bay City after her marriage was equally prominent as a social center for a large group of cultured and refined friends.

Mrs. Ann Elizabeth Holt Kilbride, born in Matagorda County in 1874 was the daughter of plantation parents, Colonel and Mrs. Frank Holt.

In childhood, she was tutored by the gentle and colorful “Miss Ella” Talbot and then attended school in Salem, North Carolina. Later, she went to Bellewood Seminary in Anchorage, Kentucky, where she graduated with honors.

She was married to Edward J. Kilbride of Matagorda June 7, 1893; and the couple were blessed with one son, Frank Holt Kilbride, who died at the age of four, and with three daughters, Mrs. Helen Cates and Mrs. Norman Barkley of Bay City and Mrs. Weldon Smith of Houston.

In addition to her daughters, she is survived by seven grandchildren and eight great grandchildren.

Mrs. Kilbride’s contributions to community life were well woven into the pattern of the community. She was an active member of the Episcopal Church; a member of the D. A. R.; the Colonial Dames, and the D. R. T. She helped to found and was a charter member of the Bay City Public Library; and served for years as Librarian.

Mrs. Kilbride is described by a friend as “a great lady in her own right; cultured, highly intelligent, and gracious. She had a charming personality and a warm humanity.”

Interment was in Matagorda Cemetery, Friday, August 19.

The Daily Tribune, August 18, 1960

Bailey House to Receive Historical Marker, Opens as Bed & Breakfast

The Matagorda County Historical Commission and Dr. and Mrs. R. G. Bailey announce the official opening of Bailey House Bed and Breakfast on Sunday (May 21) in Bay City. The announcement coincides with the Texas State Historical Marker Dedication on the same day.

The Kilbride-Barkley-Bailey House was completed in 1909 at its present location of 1704 Third Street in Bay City. The two-story white-columned neo-classical construction with an elaborate rear porch was built by prominent ranchers, merchants and civic leaders, Edward John and Ann Elizabeth (Holt) Kilbride. Some of the homes original features which are still intact include several handblown glass windows and the foyer wallpaper. The grand staircase is one of the most beautiful features. The house was one of the first to have indoor plumbing and electric lighting in Bay City. The original light fixtures are still hanging—the gas fixtures were converted to electricity.

The Marker Dedication ceremony will take place on the home site from 2-3 p.m. Sunday (May 21). Chairman of the Matagorda County Historical Commission, Everett Cordray, will preside. District Judge JoAnn Ottis will give the dedicatory address followed by the unveiling of the marker. A special guest speaker from the Kilbride-Barkley family, Helen Cates Neary, will provide an added vignette on the early history surrounding the home. A reception and tours of the home will follow the formal presentation.

Bailey House Bed and Breakfast will operate with three guest rooms and a continental breakfast service on a reservation-only basis. Rooms are spacious and decorated in period furnishings. The downtown access makes for a quaint stay within walking distance from the historic square in Bay City.

Palacios Beacon, May 17, 1995

Bailey House Receives Marker
By Alicia Collier, The Daily Tribune

A dream of Sue Bailey’s will come true May 21 as the new Bailey House Bed & Breakfast opens and receives its Texas State Historical Marker the same day.

“We’re been knocking around the world a number of years,” Bailey says of herself and co-owner Dr. R. G. Bailey, her husband, “and we’ve stayed in a lot of bed and breakfasts.” The Baileys wanted to retire to the area some day and knew that a bed and breakfast run from their home would allow them to meet different people without ever leaving.

The Kilbride-Barkley-Bailey house was completed in 1909 at its present site at 1704 Third Street in Bay City. The two-story, white-columned, neoclassical construction with an elaborate rear porch was built by prominent ranchers, merchants and civil leaders Edward John and Ann Elizabeth Kilbride. Some of the original features of the home are still intact and include several handblown glass windows and foyer wallpaper.

The three guest bedrooms at the house will be rented year round on a reservation-only basis and will include a continental breakfast. Rooms are spacious and decorated in period pieces.

The marker dedication ceremony will be from 2-4 p.m. May 21. Chairman of the Matagorda County Historical Society [Commission], Everett Cordray, will preside. District Judge JoAnn Ottis will give a dedicatory address followed by the unveiling of the marker. A special guest speaker from the Kilbride-Barkley family, Helen Cates Neary, will provide an added vignette on the home’s early history. A reception and tours of the home will follow the formal presentation.

The Daily Tribune, Sunday, May 21, 1995


Copyright 2011 - Present by Carol Sue Gibbs
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Sep. 5, 2011
Feb. 2, 2012