University adds historic home

It’s big. It’s red. And it’s a new addition to the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor campus. The Curtis Mansion, also known as the Miller-Curtis House, was built in 1902 by William Ray Miller and his wife Ida. The house was built after the good cotton years left the family wealthy.

In its architecture, Queen Anne features are mingled with Shingle style, which were popular in the eastern U.S. during that time. The design included fireplaces in every room. Fine materials and detailing inside and out gave elegance to the structure, according to uncoveredtexas.com.

In 1914, A. Lon and Cora (Lee) Curtis acquired the property. For the next 59 years, the Curtis family occupied the mansion, thus earning the name of the “Curtis Mansion.”

In 1977, The Curtis House became an official historical landmark, and received a medallion and plate on site.

The recent owners, Richard and Pat Dale, former UMHB alumni, have owned the house for over 30 years. Dr. Steve Theodore, Senior Vice President for Administration & Chief Operating Officer, said UMHB has maintained a good relationship with the Dale family over the years.

“It’s a beautiful home, and they’ve kept it immaculate…it’s in great shape, even for an old home”

When the Dale family decided it was finally time to put the house up for sale, UMHB jumped at the chance to own the home in September of 2015. But despite the university’s eagerness to own the property, there aren’t any big plans for the house quite yet. Theodore said the University felt it was important, given the location, to purchase it.

“We’re looking forward to doing something with it. We want to keep the house and keep it in its beautiful condition, and show it off. It’s a great place.”

Several years ago, a cluster of rooms were renovated in the Curtis Mansion, but overall it still needs some work.

“The house will need some upgrades like the air conditioning and probably a new roof. We’ve got some work to do to the house, but it’s a beautiful home.”

As UMHB prepares to work in the Curtis Mansion, they know that changes will need to be made in order to make it appropriate for University usage.

“As we use it for an institutional building, we’ll have to get it ADA (American Disability Act) compliant,” Theodore said. “We’ll have to have ramps, or possibly an elevator.”

Students and those who grew up in the area are excited to see the building become a campus facility.

“As a child, my siblings and I would always talk about living in the house and what it would be like.” said sophomore Criminal justice major Chase McGhee.

The Curtis Mansion, that is located at the edge of campus on Main Street will not only add to the aesthetic, but will preserve a piece of Belton’s history.

Author: Kaylee Blumenfeld

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