Details for Site of Guitar Mansion

Historical Marker — Atlas Number 5441012217


Marker Number 12217
Atlas Number 5441012217
Marker Title Site of Guitar Mansion
Index Entry Guitar Mansion, Site of
Address 1502 N. 1st St.
City Abilene
County Taylor
UTM Zone
UTM Easting
UTM Northing
Subject Codes houses, residential buildings; design and construction; Business topics, general
Marker Year 1998
Recorded Texas Historic Landmark No
Private Property No
Marker Location
Marker Condition In Situ
Marker Size 27" x 42"
Marker Text John and Laura Hudson Guitar of Missouri moved to Abilene in 1898. John was already a wealthy businessman who owned a number of cotton gins and cotton oil mills throughout Texas, most in towns served by the Texas & Pacific Railroad. He held large farming and ranching interests as well as lucrative Abilene real estate. Laura was a prominent member of Abilene's social and civic organizations and the First Christian Church. The Guitars bought property on this site in 1905 and hired an architectural firm from Kansas City, Missouri, to design their new home. Guitar employees erected a grand mission-style house with Spanish influences at a total cost of $75,000 in 1910. An arcade of concrete arches beneath an elaborate parapet adorned the front of the house. The five-bedroom mansion and carriage house faced the railroad, and the grounds encompassed half a city block. The edifice featured many highly decorative details such as crystal and stained glass windows and fine wood and marble interiors, innovative elements included security lights, intercoms, door bells, a heating system and a bowling alley with an early pin setter. The Guitars reared eight children in the house, a showplace of Abilene society and a significant addition to the city's architectural wealth. John died in 1936, and after Laura's death in 1948 the house remained vacant. Vandalism and deterioration prompted the couple's heirs to raze the house in 1964. Pieces of the structure, including a stone griffin holding a guitar, were placed in both museum and private collections in Abilene. (1999)

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