The Curtis Mansion has been called a Monument to King Cotton because of its costliness at the time it was built. William and Ida (Rogers) Miller, rich from good cotton years at the turn of the century, built this late Victorian house in 1902. In its architecture, Queen Anne features are mingled with Shingle style then popular in the eastern United States.
The Curtis Mansion was built in 1902 by Charles W. Bulger, an architect who practiced in Galveston from 1893 to 1905. The mansion is an identical house to the Isacc Heffron House in Galveston, Texas. Cotton broker William Ray Miller (1868-1954) and his wife
Ida (Rogers) lived here with their large
family about six years. Mrs. Miller was from Galveston, and graduated from
Baylor Female College. Born in Kentucky, Miller grew up in Belton, the son of a
The collapse of the cotton market left Miller bankrupt. A. Lon and Cora (Lee) Curtis acquired the property in 1914 for about $8,000 in back taxes. It became
known as the Curtis Mansion because they and their descendants occupied it for
the next 59 years. Lon Curtis practiced law in Temple, but moved to Belton when he became County Attorney. He and his wife
had one son, Lee.
As new owners, the Curtises brought a decorator from Kansas
City to modify the house to their tastes.
The porch was built of cypress, and parquet floor adorned the reception hall. Oak panel walls were originally painted, but were hand stripped and refinished by hand in 1914. The stained glass window on the stair landing is a Tiffany type. Light fixtures were installed in the house in 1904. The roof is red Italian tile, and the basic lines of the house remain unchanged. Unusual features of the house include: the original oak doors, the umbrella drain the entrance hall, the Old Maid's Gallery on the second floor, and fine old mantle mirrors throughout.
Noted for its hospitality as well as
its architecture, it remained a show place of the city. In 1973, Lee Curtis
sold the mansion to Richard Dale. The University of Mary Hardin-Baylor acquired the property in 2015, and according to The Temple Daily Telegram began a restoration project in September 2018. The house has two Texas Historical Markers and is on the National Register of Historic Places