Lewis-Wagner House

The Lewis-Wagner House has a long history starting with William Townsend in 1834 who constructed one large room, with a fireplace and sleeping loft.

Samuel K. Lewis purchased the Townsend property in 1848 and expanded the house. He developed the property into a large cotton plantation worked by 13 enslaved individuals.

In the mid-1850s, Lewis lobbied for a public road to pass in front of the house, which had become known as a stagecoach stopping place between the towns of La Grange and Brenham. The Winedale community relocated to cluster around this stop. Lewis died in 1867, but his heirs retained the house until 1882 when it was purchased by Joseph G. Wagner, a cobbler from Breslau, Silesia (modern day Wroctaw, Poland).

Through the first half of the twentieth century, the Wagners farmed their land alongside several black tenant families and ran several local businesses.

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In 1961, the Wagner family sold the property to preservationist Hazel Ledbetter, who showed it to her friend Ima Hogg. Captivated by the decorative interior paintings of Rudolph Melchior, circa 1858, Miss Ima decided to buy the house with the initial thought of relocating it to Bayou Bend.

The Lewis-Wagner House was built entirely by hand and exhibits German architectural features from the window details to the woodwork. It is interpreted as it would have been used between 1847 through 1882.

McGregor-Grimm House

In 1968 Miss Ima Hogg acquired this vernacular Greek Revival farmhouse located near the Wesley community in present day Washington County and had it moved to its current site at Winedale.

The house was built in 1861 by Gregor Carmichael McGregor, a doctor and land speculator who was married to Annie Portia Fordtran, daughter of wealthy German immigrants.

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It is divided sharply into formal and informal spaces typical of upper-class houses in the mid-nineteenth century. Miss Ima furnished it with Texas German furniture from her collection to illustrate the lifestyle of an affluent German-American family living in Southeast Texas during and after the Civil War.

Rudolph Melchoir, a member of a family of artists from Burg, Prussia, is believed to have painted, possibly with the assistance of family members, the decorations in the McGregor-Grimm House due to similarities in color, design and technique.

Transverse Crib Barn

The Lewis family built this Transverse Crib Barn sometime prior to 1869. Constructed entirely of hand-hewn timber, the barn is one of the last remaining structures of its kind in Texas. Two pairs of cribs separated by aisles under one roof create four areas for storing corn, cotton seeds and other products. The far corners of the barn were originally used for blacksmithing and cabinet-making. It is a versatile structure that is accessible from all four sides. Christmas at Winedale demonstrations are a popular part of introducing the lifestyles of the original inhabitants of these barns and houses.

Theater Barn

The Theater Barn was originally a hay barn built by the Wagner family in the 1890s from timbers derived from the cotton gin on the property. In the 1960s, Miss Ima converted the hay barn into a theater for plays and concerts, similar to Tanglewood if on a smaller scale. The original sides were extended with vented panels, the loft was partially removed to make room for theater balconies, for seating and a two-tiered stage was built to accommodate dramatic productions. Over the years, many different types of performances have been held in the Theater Barn, the most notable of which is The Shakespeare at Winedale program, which began in 1970. Learn more about the Shakespeare at Winedale program here.

Koneschik Log Kitchen and Boecker Smokehouse

When one faces the log cabins, the building on your left was originally a house built about 1875 by Paul Koneschik on land between Industry and Shelby in Austin County, about ten miles from present-day Winedale. Miss Ima purchased the cabin from the Giese family in 1966 and relocated it to Winedale to serve as a demonstration kitchen for the Lewis-Wagner House.

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A typical single-room log building of mid-nineteenth-century Texas, the present smokehouse was the home of German immigrant August Boecker in 1866. The cabin was located near the Welcome community in Austin County, about 14.5 miles from present-day Winedale. Faith and Charles Bybee purchased the cabin from the Giese family in 1966 and donated it to Winedale, where it was rehabilitated to represent the Lewis-Wagner farmstead’s lost smokehouse.
Winedale School

The board-and-batten structure was constructed in 1868 a quarter mile northeast of its present location on what is now Muske-Ullrich Rd. It was dedicated in 1869 as the Evangelical Lutheran Trinity Church Congregation for the German community. By 1894, the building was utilized as a one-room schoolhouse in addition to hosting church services. In 1943, the Winedale School was consolidated into the Burton Independent School District. After World War II, the building was converted into a hay barn before it was moved to its present location in 1992. Former Winedale School students restored the building and donated it to the University of Texas at Austin in 1994. Its ongoing preservation is supported in part by the Winedale School Endowment established by Mrs. Ruby D. Wagner at The University of Texas at Austin

Hazel’s Lone Oak Cottage

The two front rooms of the cottage feature the “Winedale Story” exhibit with the history of the region, community and how Miss Ima, one of the country’s leading historic preservationists, assembled representative structures into a historical complex to serve as a teaching laboratory for students.

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This house was built in mid-1800s on Jack’s Creek about two miles south of Winedale on land that was originally part of the old Nassau Farm, which served as the headquarters of the German Emigration Company in the 1830s and 1840s. Due to the company’s efforts, Round Top became a largely German community by the 1860s. The structure is now named for Hazel Ledbetter, who presented it to Miss Ima Hogg’s Winedale project in 1965. Hazel’s Lone Oak Cottage has been authentically restored to the simple architectural beauty of a dogtrot style home common to many mid-nineteenth century German-American settlers in Texas.

Additional Buildings

Spies HouseVisitor Center

The Spies house was built by Alfred Wagner around 1930 for Adam and Christina Spies, the parents of his wife Lina, and his sister-in-law, Leona. The house was originally located near the Wagner general store across from the Lewis-Wagner House until Miss Ima Hogg had it moved to its present location. For many years, it served Winedale as the caretaker’s cottage until it became the Winedale Visitor Center in the 1970s. Visitors and staff enjoy the pollinator garden designed , planted and maintained by the Gideon Lincecum Chapter of the Texas Master Gardeners.

Lauderdale House Chimneys

The Lauderdale House was built around 1858 by James Shelby Lauderdale when he settled near Long Point in Washington County, about 17 miles from present-day Winedale. The house’s imposing pediment porch reflected the filtering of Classical Revival architecture into the area. Ima Hogg purchased the house in 1963 and moved it to Winedale before its original location was flooded to create Lake Somerville. The Lauderdale House served as a residence for visiting artists, scholars, and seminar students until it was destroyed by an electrical fire in 1981. Only its two chimneys are left standing.

Joseph Biegel House

Built in the 1830s by Joseph Biegel, Fayette County’s first German settler, this cabin is a log construction with full-dovetail cornering. Donated to Winedale by the John Schumacher family in 1976, the house was removed from the old Biegel Settlement near Halstead in Fayette County before the area was flooded by what is now Cedar Creek Reservoir. It now serves as a residence for visiting scholars. The Ragsdale Foundation, with additional contributions from Dr. Michael and Judy Koehl, has established an endowment to help support ongoing preservation of the Biegel House. Gifts to the endowment are welcome.

Site of Winedale Cotton Gin & Feed Mill
Concrete blocks of old cotton gin
Cotton Gin Remnants

Cotton was the predominant cash crop dating back to the days of Stephen F. Austin’s colony. The Wagner family worked the land and ran several local businesses during the first half of the twentieth century. The family operated the cotton gin and feed mill from 1928 to 1956. Agriculture and related businesses waned, the cotton gin and mill were dismantled in 1958 and sold to Central America for continued operation. What remains are the Bessemer diesel engine mountings of the cotton gin and feed mill.

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