Sunday, March 24, 2013

Historical Center for Southeast New Mexico Museum

Construction of this home began in 1910 and was completed in 1912, the year New Mexico became a state.  It was built for Mr. and Mrs. James Phelps White.  Mr. White was a cattle rancher who brought his operation from Texas to the Roswell area in 1881. 
The architecture of the home is called "Prairie" or "Schooner", and is a design developed by Frank Lloyd Wright in the early 1900s.  That style is reflected in this house by its gently sloping and overhanging roofs, various roof levels, and large porches.  The exterior walls are built of yellow brick brought from Fort Worth, Texas. 
This parlor is to the right, as you enter the front doorway.  The color of the three piece parlor set, circa late 1800s, struck me as appearing off for the times!  Within a week of having visited this museum Roy and I were watching the movie, Portrait of a Lady, starring Nicole Kidman.  The movie was set in 1872 England.  Interestingly this lime green color accompanied by the darker green was throughout the English manor in the movie!  The lime green was used for the wall color, drapes, and furniture!!!
This is the front entry hall.  Mr. and Mrs. White's 4 children were said to have spent a lot of time in this room, as they were not allowed in the parlor or the formal dining room except for special occasions!  The house has 14 rooms, three baths, an attic, and a basement.  It was heated by 5 fireplaces and steam heated radiators.  The back wall of the stairway landing was at one time the back of the house.  The house has had four additions.  To the left of the piano is a hallway leading to a bathroom and kitchen.  They were most likely added as modern conveniences came into use.  The family had a servant couple that lived in an upstairs apartment in the carriage house.
This is also the front entry, but facing the front door.  Note the width of the front door.  It is four feet wide to allow a coffin to be carried through.  It is called a casket door.  Funeral services were held in homes during those times.  Note the hanging light fixture, and how it seems to have candles above the electric light globes.  This is a combination gas and electric light fixture!  This type of fixture is throughout the house.
This is the formal dining room.  It is accessed through the parlor or by going to the right of the piano in the entryway.
The bathroom fixtures are said to be original to the home except the toilet.  The use of the phrase "original to the home" has me a bit baffled.  The fixtures, color, and tiles seem more modern than the 1912 date the home was completed.  This bathroom is in a portion of the house that was said to be an addition, which could account for it being considered as original.  A date wasn't stated as to when the addition was built.  Rooms of homes were often turned into bathrooms, as modern conveniences became available in rural areas.  Doing some Internet research into vintage bathrooms garnered some interesting and surprising information!One website stated that by 1910, house plans in almost all publications generally always showed a bathroom much as we see them now!  The earliest kit home companies like Sears and Aladdin (from 1908 to 1915 or so), showed bathrooms on the upper-end plans, but not necessarily the smaller or lower-end homes.  I also read that upper class homes had porcelain fixtures while average homes would have tin. While researching vintage fixtures I came across the tub in the picture!  It appears to be from a 1936 Crane Manufacturing Company line of upscale bathroom fixtures called "Neuvogue."  It's an impressive designer line even for today!  I also found pink to be a tile color choice for 1910, as well as, for many other time periods!  A visit back to this home may be needed to gather some more information! I'm finding that our travels are bringing out the historian in me!
This is the kitchen.
This wood carving hung in the library.  The library could be accessed from the kitchen or by turning left as one enters the front door of the home.  The room is similar in size to the parlor that is to the right of the front entrance.  It is now the museum lobby.
This wood carving was also in the library.  I suppose people of those times were more in touch with where their meat came from, and their sensibilities less offended by the carvings.  The library is said to be comparable to the family room of today, and is where the family spent their evenings together.
This is the stairway to where the bedrooms would have been.
The rooms now contain displays of items from the times.
We enjoyed our self guided tour!  The admission is free.  Some additional notes of interest was that James Phelps White lived from 1856-1934.  He died at age 76.  Lou Lee (Tomlinson) White lived from 1879-1972.  The time periods in history that her life spanned are phenomenal!  She died at age 92.  James and Lou married in 1903.  She was 24 and he was 47.  That was probably not uncommon for the times.  She stayed in this home until her death.  I love life stories, and what a life they must have had!