Ulysses Cephas House
Ulysses Cephas was a blacksmith and leader within the African American community in the Dunbar neighborhood of San Marcos. This neighborhood was home to many influential residents, including composer Eddie Durham who pioneered many of the elements of jazz and swing music from the 1930s to the 1950s. In response from residents of this neighborhood, who expressed concerns about the loss of many of the original and historic properties in this neighborhood, the city of San Marcos purchased the home with funds from the Community Development Block Grant and began efforts to restore the home.
Backstory and Context
Cephas became an independent business owner in 1933, when he purchased the shop he had previously rented. His business allowed him to provide for his five children, establish himself as a local musician, and serve as a active member of the First Missionary Baptist Church. When Cephas passed away in 1952, he not only owned a home and rental property, but had amassed ten thousand dollars to pass on to his heirs.
The effort to preserve the home began with residents of San Marcos, such as the late Johnnie Armstead. Armstead's legacy lives on across the street from this home, as his Calaboose African American History Museum. The home can serve a number of purposes, including as an annex for the museum, a place to house art courses and host cultural events, and as community meeting space for events within the Dunbar Neighborhood.
Bill Peterson, "City Restoring Cephas House," San Marcos Mercury January 8, 2013. (accessed 11/16/2016).