Preserved in Time was originally created for the sole
purpose of protecting and restoring the
. The old mansion is currently listed
on the Greater Houston Preservation Alliances Endangered Buildings List. It is also listed on the National Registry of
Historic Places and is listed as a Recorded Texas Historic Landmark. Please see
the Greater Houston Preservation Alliances website for additional information.
James Marion West, Sr., began planning and constructing the
stately Italian Renaissance mansion following a European family vacation in
1924. Designed by architect Joseph Finger, the 17,000 square foot structure was
completed in 1930. It took 3 years to complete at a cost of $250,000.00. The
mansion boasted 6 bedrooms, a sleeping porch, 12 bathrooms, a solarium, a
mahogany paneled study, ballroom, huge dining room, music room, two-story
living room and a private barbers room. Rare
work decorated some of the mantels.
It stood on a 30,000 acre ranch that stretched from what is now Ellington Field
to what is now
On Sundays motorists would drive slowly past the mansion to view its splendor.
Following Jim West’s death the family honored the wishes he had outlined in his
will and vacated the property with a few belongings. Vagrants and vandals
ransacked the mansion during the 1940s and 1950s. The furniture, furnishings,
linens left on the beds and utensils left in the kitchens slowly disappeared.
Mr. West was born in
in 1871. His family
when he was 9 years old. In
later years he started on his road to fortune when he took on a partner and
established a lumber mill in
. He died in
business trip in 1941. Prior to his death, Jim West had owned 8 lumber mills,
produced oil, raised cattle, and purchased two newspapers. He bought the Dallas
Dispatch-Journal and changed the name to the Journal. He also purchased the
Austin Tribune. Among many other civic duties, James Marion West was the 16th president of the
and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association.