Structure was once largest of its kind in the United States.
A few miles southwest of Goliad in the community of Berclair sits a structure seemingly out of place on the plains of South Texas — the Berclair Mansion.
A 75-year-old widow built the mansion in 1936. Etta Wilkinson Terrell built the house to fulfill a promise she made to her fam –
ily many years before after the family home burned. When it was finally finished, the house took up 10,000 square feet, featuring 10 bedrooms and six bathrooms.
The house is fireproof, made of concrete and 60 tons of structural steel. When it was constructed, it was the largest steel structure single-family home in the United States. The cost of construction neared $100,000, an unheard of sum in 1936.
It was a family home of sorts, as Etta lived in the home with her four sister and allowed them to live out their golden years in luxury.
The mansion is filled with antique furnishings, some dating back to the 16th and 17th century with pieces of art once belonging to Kaiser Wilhelm of Germany.
In spite of the grandness of the house and its furnishings, the house and everything in it came close to being destroyed at the end
of the century when the last surviving heir ordered it destroyed in her will.
Thankfully, the house became the property of the Beeville Art Association.
A single piece of artwork discovered in the house was sold at auction for $10 million, enough money plus some to pay for the needed renovations.
Berclair Mansion sits on 3 acres, provided as a gift from the Terrell Estate.
The home’s manicured grounds makes for a venue for weddings and other special gatherings. The home consists of two floors, a basement and an attic. There are 10 bedrooms, 4 full and 2 half bathrooms, a grand reception room, formal and
informal living and dining rooms, 2 sets of staircases and an elevator that is original to the home.
It was adorned with some of the finest pieces of art in the known world, and much of the unique style of the home compliments every piece.
The mansion is an exceptional display of original antiques and artwork acquired by Mrs. Terrell specifically for placement in this home. Many of the pieces come from Europe…France, England, and Germany. Each piece has an amazing history of its own.
The BAA acquired the mansion and 3 acres as a gift from the Terrell Estate. The group managed to raise enough money to get all the needed
work done to the mansion.
It has been open to the public since November 2001.
The mansion is open for tours on the last Sunday of every month from 1-4 p.m. for $10 per person. To arrange tours for other times, call 800-248-5823.
While in the Goliad area, be sure and stop by the Berclair Mansion on Thursday, June 8 for the annual Berclair Boots & BBQ, held on the mansion grounds from 6 to 8 p.m. The evening will feature barbecue, beverages, live music, live and silent auctions and tours of the Berclair Mansion.
Tickets for the event are $40 per person or $75 per couple.
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