Inside the Centennial House
Situated high upon the bluff in modern day uptown, the Britton-Evans Centennial House is the oldest home in Corpus Christi still in its original location. Plan your visit to Corpus Christi today and tour the interior of the Britton-Evans Centennial House on the first Sunday of every month.
Originally built by the Britton family in 1849, the Centennial House was home to several of Corpus Christi’s most influential residents including the Howells, Staples and Evans families. With so much history captured in one location, it’s hard to narrow down the most fascinating. Six specifics that stand out are:
1. As you enter the house, take a look at the petticoat tables in the foyer. These particular pieces of furniture are more than just decorative. Ladies of the 1800s used the tables to make sure their petticoats weren’t peeking out from under their skirts.
2. The Britton family resemblance is strong. Step into the parlor off the foyer and notice the side by side photos of Forbes Britton and his great grandson. Minus the ball cap, they are practically identical.
3. Not everything in the Centennial House is part of the original design. As the final lady of the house, Mrs. Evans removed the original spiral staircase to replace it with a more modern wooden staircase. Why? She liked to make an entrance, of course!
4. Looking for light switches? Think again. Unlike most modern houses, which have electrical wiring in the walls, the wiring in this home is beneath the floorboards. Electricity wasn’t available when the home was originally built, so when Mrs. Evans decided to upgrade all of the wiring was installed in the basement. Look for the light controls in the floorboards near the entrance to each room.
5. Don’t overlook the porcelain dolls in the upstairs master bedroom. These lovely little ladies aren’t just decorative either. Each tiny dress is made to showcase a larger design that ladies might choose to have custom made. Porcelain dolls were the original mannequins so the dressmakers didn’t have to waste fabric on a life-size display.
6. You’ve heard the phrase sleep tight, right? Step into the second upstairs bedroom to see where the expression comes from. Beds of the period didn’t have modern mattresses, but rather a series of interwoven ropes that required periodic tightening to ensure a good night’s sleep.
Rumor has it, the rocking chair that sits on the landing at the top of the stairs once belonged to the infamous pirate, Jean Lafitte.