Help Restore the Noble House!
The 65-Year Effort to Save Houston’s Oldest Building
Thursday, January 30–Sunday, September 29, 2019
The Heritage Society Museum Gallery
Tuesday–Saturday, 10:00 am–4:00 pm
Sunday, 1:00–5:00 p.m.
Admission: $5 for adults, $2 children 5–18
In 2019, The Heritage Society (THS) will celebrate 65 years of working to preserve Houston’s history, beginning with Houston’s oldest building. The non-profit organization was formed in 1954 to save and restore the Kellum-Noble House, which was facing demolition by the city. Originally built in 1847, the home has many stories to tell. Nathaniel Kellum was an industrious man who operated the brickyard and lime plant that produced the bricks and plaster to construct his house. Both the Kellums and Nobles had domestic slaves and some undoubtedly worked in the brickyard, thus contributing to the home’s construction and its story. Zerviah Noble not only lived in the home for decades, but also operated a small school there teaching young Houstonians to read and write, draw and paint, to embroider and appreciate music. Highlights from the exhibit include original Kellum-Noble bricks, Zerviah’s silver pieces, and a “school room” complete with items from the Middle Bayou School which operated in the late 19th century near Clear Lake.
Over the years, THS has thoughtfully done preservation maintenance, continued historical research, and educated the public about Houston through the lens of the Kellums and the Nobles. Late in 2014, THS began its most ambitious restoration project to date with the goal of stabilizing the building’s foundation. Visitors will see an amazing video that walks you through the work we have done so far and details the future plans for the building.
New Additions to the Kellum-Noble House Exhibit
Furnishing a Texas-Made Home in the Victorian Era
Queen Victoria’s reign of the British Empire represented a period of great economic and social change that reached across the Atlantic to the United States. She was a devoted wife to her husband, Prince Albert, whom she married in 1840. Together they had nine children and set the standard for family life in the 19th century. Social reformers felt the need to reinforce this new family-centered lifestyle, established by the royal family, through new architectural designs for the middle-class home. Additionally, the manner in which the home was furnished was just as important and helped to maintain the etiquette in daily Victorian life.
The furniture on display in our Museum Gallery represents the Texas pioneer version of the same pieces that would have been in any middle-class Victorian home. The native woods, cow-hide seats, and simplistic German style influences show the distinctness of the Texas-made pieces. A pair of quilts made by Leona Boucher when she was just twelve years old in 1857 also illustrate the artistry achieved by young women at the time.
We invite you to come see these rare treasures that had previously been on display in the Kellum-Noble house. If you want to learn more about these pieces and other Texas-made furniture, please visit the William J. Hill Texas Artisans and Artists Archive at http://texasartisans.mfah.org/