Many in Fort Worth have always referred to the stately house at 5800 Merrymount Road as “The White House,” though it looks more like Tara to me. The property, which just came on the market this week, straddles Westover and the city of Westover Hills, just behind the Westover Hills Police Station, though the estate has its own guard house. With its array of meticulously landscaped terraces and vistas, the grounds feel larger than their 2.5 acre spread. In fact, the estate once extended to over 7 acres.
Built in the 1920s and augmented over time, the home seems from another era. Indeed the house and its owners are both fixed in local legend and history. Guy Waggoner, scion of the legendary ranching family, built the original 3,500-square-foot structure. The F. Kirk Johnsons bought the house in the late 1930s and nearly doubled the square footage, adding the pool and poolhouse. The exact square footage of the vast, six-bedroom , six-and-one-half-bath house is not precisely known.
For nearly 50 years, the Holt Hickmans have owned the property. In 1964, Holt purchased the automotive air-conditioning division of Leonard’s Department Store and founded Lone Star Manufacturing Co. Lone Star became the world’s largest automotive HVAC system company, servicing customers such as Chrysler, Isuzu, Mazda, Mitsubishi, Subaru, Volvo, KMart, Target, and Montgomery Ward. A gifted entrepreneur, he would eventually found 70 companies. Mr. Hickman was major benefactor in Fort Worth, which he called “the center of the universe.” Honored for his extensive philanthropy, which included substantial gifts to SMU, his alma mater, he would serve on the board of the Fort Worth Convention and Visitors Bureau and spearhead efforts to improve and rejuvenate the Fort Worth Stockyards. (more…)