When a home has its own Wikipedia entry, you know you are in for something special. Our Monday Morning Millionaire is The Baldridge House, a spectacular 1910 Georgian mansion at 5100 Crestline Road.
If only walls could talk.
Fortunately, The Baldridge House has a voice of sorts. It has been designated a Texas Historic Landmark and a City of Fort Worth Landmark. Not only has the house been beautifully preserved and updated, but the history is also intact. So, a lot is known about this Forth Worth showplace and considering my deep fondness for historical homes, I’m tickled pink to share it with you!
To fully appreciate the Baldridge House, you have to consider that build date of 1910. Fort Worth was the Wild West, filled with cattle barons and wildcatters. You had to be a big butter-and-egg man, as they say, to afford the construction of a three-story mansion. Earl Baldridge was just that. He was a cattleman and a rancher who later became a banker.
Baldridge and his wife, Florence, hired the architectural firm of Sanguinet & Staats to design their home. Sanguinet & Staats also built Thistle Hill in Fort Worth, and are best remembered as the firm that contributed to the design of steel-framed skyscrapers. If a tall building in Fort Worth was constructed before 1930, you can bet it’s their design. Colonel William P. Bryce was the contractor and later became a mayor of Fort Worth. Hey, it was a small town back then.
The Baldridge House was THE home when it was completed in 1913, and you know that some major wheeling and dealing went down here along with incredible parties, poker games, and politics. And you do have to consider those politics when you discover a bridge across the Trinity River was constructed, using public funds, to transport materials for the construction of the home. It was considered quite a scandal at the time.
Awe-inspiring is the only adjective I can think of that comes close to describing the façade of The Baldridge House. Six 30-foot tall, massive, solid limestone columns line the 150-foot wide façade. They were cut from a solid piece of limestone at the quarry in Ohio and shipped to Fort Worth. You have to wonder how long that took in 1910. The house is built like a fortress, which is no doubt why it is still in stellar shape in 2019.
According to the historical records:
The exterior walls bear no wood at all, but are set on foundations of concrete and hand twisted steel with nearly a four-foot base, which rises from bedrock to support walls which are immensely thick and built entirely of large ceramic tiles cemented together with heavy mortar filtered through a mesh screening to lock the tiles in place.
You could never afford to construct a home this way today. Never.
The Baldridge House was a home built to last the ages, and it has. That’s thanks largely to the families that have owned this incredible home over the decades. A few, in particular, have had a profound influence.
W.C. Stonestreet, a prominent Fort Worth clothier, lived here with his wife, Eusabia, whose family purchased the home from the Baldridges. W.C. added the elevator and a walk-in safe, and you may wonder why. Well, he and Eusabia (love that name!) lived in the house through World War II, and more importantly through Prohibition. Therein lies a tale that is actually reported in the historical record. There was a vault in the basement with an actual bank vault door. Or was it a vault?
Poor Eusabia became crippled in a buggy accident. She was confined to a wheelchair, and could not negotiate the stairs in the home, so W.C had the first residential elevator in Fort Worth installed between the first and second floors. Why only two floors? So Eusabia would never know that W.C. had built a bank vault, and inside that vault, he built a copper still to make his favorite Muscatel wine and white lightning moonshine!
Another important player in the history of the Baldridge House is Dr. Marvin Overton. He added the home to the historical record and found that still when he had the bank vault door drilled! Dr. Overton spent two years meticulously restoring the home.
The current owners have also invested in the home, bringing it up to the standards of a modern luxury residence and then some!
“It’s a really magnificent house,” Giordano, Wegman and Walsh Associates listing agent Eric Walsh said. “There are so many features that are over the top and unique. The sheer magnitude of the house is one aspect, and of course the history and incredible detail of the home. There is nothing like it. It’s close to 15,000 square feet. There is an incredible wine room that holds about 1,400 bottles, and it has a four-bay garage with lifts, to hold eight cars. There is also a workshop and a wash bay for the cars!”
The Baldridge House sits on 1.5 acres of beautifully landscaped grounds with intricate fountains, manicured gardens, an oversized pool, an outdoor kitchen with a pizza oven, deep fryer and outdoor grill because this is Texas and you need to deep fry and a grill!
There are six bedrooms, six bathrooms, two powder baths, three living areas, a library, a game room, a gym, a steam room, staff quarters, a guest house and of course, there is that vault!
One of my favorite passages in the official paperwork requesting historical designation is the following:
The reason for wishing to commemorate this home is that it is the most architecturally pure structure of its type in the area, and one of the few homes of this magnitude built at the time, which was the early booming of the frontier west, and the center of activity for cattle barons and wildcatters.
The Baldridge House offers a once in a lifetime opportunity to purchase a prized, historic, architectural treasure, a Texas landmark that is comfortable, up-to-date and of course, there is that vault!
You could never recreate a home like this for the asking price of $7.95 million. In my opinion, it’s fantastic deal.
Karen Eubank is the owner of Eubank Staging and Design. She has been an award-winning professional home stager and writer for over 25 years. Karen teaches the popular Staging to Sell class and is the creator of the online course, The Beginners Guide to Buying Wholesale. Her love of dogs, international travel, history, white paint, champagne, artificial turf, and historical homes knows no bounds. Her father was a spy, so she keeps secrets very well! Find Karen at www.eubankstaging.com