Cyrus Allen House at 402 Cedar Street in Hearne is an extremely
well-preserved example of an eclectic, turn- of-the-century residence
with Queen Anne, Shingle Style, and Colonial Revival influences. The
two and-a-half-story house displays a variety of textures and
materials, such as brick, stucco, shingle siding, and finely crafted
carved wood ornamentation. The house faces east and stands at the
southwest corner of Cedar and Second Streets within a neighborhood of
other (although much more modest) early turn of-the century residences.
With only a few minor alterations to its original appearance, the
Robert C. Allen House retains its historic character and integrity to
an unusual degree.
has an asymmetrical plan, and its foundation rests upon brick piers.
Rising about sixteen inches from the ground, a stuccoed brick
foundation wall has been scored to appear as large coursed stone.
Likewise, the first floor brick walls have been stuccoed and scored;
however, its surface resembles running or stretcher-bond masonry with
beaded joints. A slightly flared skirt with regular, lapped shingles
divides the two floors and contrasts to the upper level's shingle
siding laid with staggered butts. The pyramidal hipped roof and gabled
extensions have a composition shingle covering.
one-story porch with broad frieze and molded cornice extends across the
entire front (east) facade and wraps around the south side of the house
where it terminates at a side entry. Tusca columns in groups of view,
two, or three support the porch and rest upon stuccoed brick plinths
which extend to the ground. Turned wood balusters and molded wood rails
link the plinths and encircle the porch. With a grid pattern of
recessed panels and "button" detailing in its tympanum, a small gabled
portico projects from the porch above the front entrance. The main
entry features a segmental arch brick hoodmold with an off-center
doorway, as well as a double-hung sidelight/window with stained glass
lights. The majority of the ground level openings have segmental arch
brick hoodmolds. The north gabled bay is pierced on the first floor by
a Chicago window type opening with narrow double-hung windows which
frame either side of a broader single light window and a carved wood
floor exhibits some of the house's most noteworthy detailing. The front
gable end features a solid, carved wood bargeboard; double-hung,
twelve-over one light windows which flank either side of a central,
square, carved wood panel; and triangular panels with the familiar grid
and "button" detailing. At the southeast corner of the front's upper
floor, a diagonal corner with a double-hung window has solid carved
wood brackets and a small pendant at the corner. The original
one-over-one light windows remain intact; stained glass windows with
carved wood panels underneath pierce both walls of the northeast corner
bedroom. With detailing similar to the front gable, the bay extensions
from the south and north walls feature carved wood sunbursts and other
ornamental panels. Massive interior chimneys with corbeled brick caps
extend from the roof.
House stands virtually unaltered, but a remodeling project in 1933
resulted in a few minor changes to the residence. A late 1920's
photograph reveals the small inset balcony which pierced the north side
of the front gabled bay's second floor. This balcony displayed Tuscan
columns similar to those of the ground level porch and turned wood
balustrade. Large double-hung windows allowed access to the porch. When
enclosed, this space was covered with shingle siding laid with
staggered butts which helped maintain the historic character of the
house. The fenestration of the second floor of the north elevation was
also changed at this time as two windows (in the gabled bay and at the
east corner) were enclosed and shingled. Also, the ground level was
stuccoed during the 1933 renovation. A latticed porch off the kitchen
was also enclosed in 1933, and both levels covered with cypress
shingles. The roof of the projecting brick kitchen was raised and space
on the upper floor -enclosed for an additional bedroom. A shed roof
porch which leads to the wood frame carport was recently attached onto
the south facade. Otherwise, no other significant additions or
alterations have affected the integrity of the house.
interior also remains virtually unaltered. Paneled wainscoting,
built-in cupboards, the stair balustrade, and four pairs of sliding
pocket doors are among the examples of ornately carved Texas Longleaf
Pine which highlight the larger rooms of the ground. Superb examples of
Eastlake style spindlework appear over several of the interior
doorways, particularly those connected to the central hallway. The
three maple and four oak fireplaces, all with labeled mirrors, were
imported from Chicago. In 1933 hardwood flooring was placed over the
original pine. More recently, the floor was covered with carpet. Many
of the original furnishings are still in the house.
pool, wood frame bath-workshop area with horizontal siding, and two
covered patios, which were originally detached double garages, have
been erected at the rear of the house. Originally, an artesian well,
windmill, and barn were located on the property but no longer exist.
1901 for a prominent Hearne mercantile businessman and railroad
developer, the Robert C. Allen House at 402 Cedar is an excellent
example of an eclectic, turn-of-the century residence in the city. The
house is also significant for its association with its owner, Robert C.
Allen, who played a vital role in the early development of Hearne, and
W. W. Larmour, its architect. The house presents massing which, in many
ways, typifies Queen Anne style residences; however, the use of
shingles on the second floor reflects a Shingle Style influence, and
the Classically detailed porch is characteristic of early twentieth
century Colonial Revival architecture. Today, the Allen House stands in
excellent condition and is one of the best preserved turn of-the
century residences in Hearne.
November 4, 1871 in Bryan, Texas, Robert Cyrus Allen moved to Hearne as
a child and later attended college in Boston. He returned to Hearne
after his schooling to join his father's successful mercantile
operation, R. A. Allen and Son Hardware and Household Furniture. Under
his leadership after the death of his father, the hardware business
became one of the largest and most successful between Dallas and
Houston. The historic 1872 commercial structure which housed the
business has been designated a Recorded Texas Historic Landmark. Robert
C. Allen and a group of other prominent local businessmen created the
Hearne and Brazos Valley Railroad in 1891. Allen also served as mayor
of Hearne and was president of the First National Bank.
Robert C. Allen decided to build a house on lots one through seven of
block 418 which his father had purchased in 1882, and Allen hired
William W. Larmour, a well-known Waco architect, to design his home.
Costing approximately $7,500, the house when completed was one of
Hearne's finest and most impressive residences. Robert C. Allen died in
March 1933, and his wife continued to live in the house. Soon after her
husband's death, Florence Allen decided to have the house remodeled,
and she hired the architectural film of Atkinson and Sanders of Bryan,
Texas to design the work. She died in 1958 but her daughter, Alice
Allen Westbrook, continued to live in the house until 1979 when she
sold it to its present owners, Jack and Norma Holloway.
original architect for the house was William W. Larmour. Born in
Haclcensack, New Jersey on May 28, 1842, he began his five-year
apprenticeship as a carpenter and joiner at the age of fifteen. After
working as a journeyman on the Broadway Tabernacle in New York City,
Larmour entered the trade of woodcarving which he mastered while
attending architecture school. During Larmour's employment with the
firm of Andrew Durham in Ramapo, New York, he erected 130 residences
and a series of railroad shops. He was subsequently employed by the
largest carved hardwood dealer in New York State, Mr. Ichabod T.
Williams. In 1878 Larmour came to Austin, Texas for the purpose of
entering into competition for the plans of the new State Capitol
building. In April 1879 Lanmour moved to Waco where he designed several
buildings of Baylor University including Old Main as well as the post
office, city hall, and more than 200 residences and commercial
structures. Distinguished in October, 1886 as a fellow of the American
Institute of Architects, Larmour was also a founding member of the
Texas State Association of Architects.
Allen House, built near the end of Larmour's brilliant career, remains
as an outstanding example of his knowledge and skill.
W. A History of Robertson County, Texas. January, 1971.
Lavonia Jenkins. Early Homes of Waco and the People Who Lived in Them.
Waco, Texas: Texan Press, 1970.
records. Office of the County Clerk. Robertson County Courthouse,
Jack. Allen Family Records and Blueprints. A private collection in the
possession of Jack and Norma Holloway, Hearne, Texas.
W. W. Architectural Waco. Waco, Texas: Brooks and Wallace Printing
Public Library: manuscript collection.
TEXAS HISTORIC SITES ATLAS, TEXAS HISTORICAL COMMISSION, http://atlas.thc.state.tx.us