Historic American Buildings Survey of Cartwright House

In selecting subjects for inclusion in the initial Historic American Buildings Survey (HABS), the Texas State Advisory Committee prepared a priority list of significant structures. For the Dallas-based architects working in East Texas, the Cartwright House in San Augustine was the last building on the priority list, submitted on February 1, 1934.

Under the original agreement for federal funding for this New Deal initiative, work on HABS was to have ended on February 15, 1934, but officials in Washington, D.C., obtained an extension to May 1. So on February 26, Charles Burley Witchell, Clarence Castleman Bulger, and Eugene Osborn Taylor began their onsite work documenting the Cartwright House at 505 East Main Street.

The team recorded the property as the A.H. Cartwright House for its owner at the time of the survey, but the home is more commonly known as the Matthew Cartwright House. Recognizing the potential confusion that might result from the building-naming process, officials with HABS and its parent organization, the National Park Service (NPS), directed that each project "be given an identifying number." The number would begin with the assigned district number and be followed by "a hyphen and a serial number assigned by the District Officer." These serial numbers were to be displayed when photographs were taken and also included on the measured drawing.

Authorities extended the work deadline for HABS, but the NPS directed District Officers to begin the "tapering off process" and it is likely that work for the Cartwright House was incomplete when the project ended. When HABS later received new funding and the next phase of work began in 1936, a new team completed the measured drawings for the Cartwright House and assigned a new serial number which differed from the original format.

But the first team did complete its fieldwork and Bulger also photographed the home, which was noted as an excellent example of Greek Revival architecture. Erected around 1839 by local architect and builder Sidney A. Sweet, the two-story frame structure was the home of merchant Matthew Cartwright and his family. The survey team recorded a one-level addition to the rear and also noted the home's "fine interiors" as well as several outbuildings.

The home descended through the Cartwright family and was later restored by preservation architect Raiford L. Stripling who had once worked with Charles O. Peterson, the NPS architect responsible for the original HABS concept. Added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1971, the Matthew Cartwright House remains a private residence owned by a Cartwright descendant.

Images

Cartwright House South Elevation

Cartwright House South Elevation

Clarence Castleman Bulger photographed the south or front elevation as one part of the HABS documentation work for the Cartwright House. This and four other photos Bulger took are included with the survey records. | Source: Historic American Buildings Survey, Library of Congress View File Details Page

Cartwright House from Southeast

Cartwright House from Southeast

Taken from East Main Street, this photograph shows the Cartwright House from the Southeast. The five-bay front and a relatively recent addition to the east are visible. | Source: Historic American Buildings Survey, Library of Congress View File Details Page

Cartwright House from Northwest

Cartwright House from Northwest

Taken from the northwest, this photo shows the rear of Cartwright House. The original serial number of 33-D-6 is visible on the fence, on the lower part of this image. (May be easier to see by hiding the caption.) | Source: Historic American Buildings Survey, Library of Congress View File Details Page

Cartwright House Entrance

Cartwright House Entrance

This view of the front entrance to the Cartwright House shows the fluted Doric columns typical of Greek Revival architecture. A member of the survey team can be seen holding a foot rule or similar tool used for scale. | Source: Historic American Buildings Survey, Library of Congress View File Details Page

Cartwright House Measured Drawings Cover

Cartwright House Measured Drawings Cover

The original team members who surveyed Cartwright House may not have been able to complete the drawings before the project ended. They are the credited field party on this cover for the drawings, but the drawings were completed in 1936 and carry a different serial number than the original project. | Source: Historic American Buildings Survey, Library of Congress View File Details Page

Cartwright House Measured Drawing of Elevations

Cartwright House Measured Drawing of Elevations

No architect or draftsman is credited with this measured drawing of all four elevations, which shows dimensions and building materials like brick and wood. | Source: Historic American Buildings Survey, Library of Congress View File Details Page

Cartwright House Measured Drawing of Floor Plan

Cartwright House Measured Drawing of Floor Plan

I.L. Day and W. Brown, probably employed with HABS in 1936, are credited with the floor plans seen here and Day also created three pages of design detail drawings. | Source: Historic American Buildings Survey, Library of Congress View File Details Page

Cartwright House Priority Sheet

Cartwright House Priority Sheet

Each district submitted a list of priority projects for HABS work and Marvin Eickenroht, District Officer for Texas, submitted this sheet on February 1, 1934, along with a small black-and-white photo of the Cartwright House. | Source: National Archives and Records Administration View File Details Page

Recent View of Cartwright House

Recent View of Cartwright House

Taken in 2009, this photo shows the front elevation of the Matthew Cartwright House. Built more than 175 years ago, its current owners are descendants of the original occupants. | Source: texastravel via Flickr.com View File Details Page

Cite this Page:

Amy Bertsch, “Historic American Buildings Survey of Cartwright House,” East Texas History, accessed June 25, 2017, http://easttexashistory.org/items/show/118.

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