The Goodman – LeGrand House & Museum

by admin on October 3, 2010

in Attractions

The Goodman – LeGrand House & Museum

624 N. Broadway Avenue

Tyler, Texas 75702

(903) 531-1286

Hours: Tuesday – Saturday from 10:00am till 4:00pm

My wife has been wanting to visit The Goodman-Legrand House for years. We finally got a couple of days alone together to celebrate our anniversary. It was the perfect time for her to finally get to see that beautiful, historic old home. I’m glad we did.

Goodman Legrand Museum Tyler Texas

Goodman Legrand Museum Tyler Texas

The house was built shortly before the Civil War in 1859 by Samuel Gallatin Smith. Smith was a well-to-do bachelor and attorney in Tyler. Smith built his “Bonnie Castle” on the highest point of the nine acres of land he had purchased. Back then it was just a one story, four bedroom home. When the Civil War began, Smith went off to war.  Before he headed off to battle, however, Smith sold his beloved home to a man named Franklin N. Gary. In 1866, after the war, Franklin N. Gary sold the house to Dr. Samuel Adams Goodman.

In 1867, Dr. Samuel Goodman sold the house to his son Dr. William Jeffries Goodman. William Goodman bought the home to live in with his new bride. He had been a major in the Confederate Army as well as a general surgeon. He was not only a doctor, though. He was also a prosperous farmer. William and Mary had three children which they raised in this home. Their names were Sallie, Will, and Etta Goodman.

In 1893, the Goodman’s eldest daughter Sallie married James LeGrand and the two moved into the home along with William and Mary. It was Sallie who eventually inherited the house after her father’s death in 1921. Around 1880, a second story had been added to the house, and Sallie Goodman-LeGrand had the house remodeled again in 1926, changing it to a Greek Revival style with huge two-story columns, and rounded porticos. This was the final remodeling of the house. It has been kept to this day just the way it looked then.

Sallie and James LeGrand had one son, but unfortunately the child died at age two and the couple was never able to have anymore. When Sallie Goodman-LeGrand passed away in 1939 she left her home, the nine acres it sat on, and all the home’s furnishings and belongings to the city of the Tyler. It was her wish that the house would be turned into a museum to be enjoyed by future generations of Tylerites, Texans, and tourists.

The house is now a time capsule. The curator of the museum and her assistants have worked hard to recreate everything the way it would have been in Sallie’s day. Fortunately, Sallie left detailed journals for posterity. You can see photographs and paintings of the Goodman family and the house after the second story was added in 1880 and following its remodeling in 1926. The house is filled with beds, tables, chairs, glassware, clothing and mementos from the Goodman’s seventy-three year residence. The medical tools of Dr. William Jeffries Goodman are on display, along with Civil War documents and artifacts, keepsakes from Etta Goodman’s admirers, and a baby bottle from London which belonged to Sallie Goodman LeGrand’s baby. Sallie’s ancient wheel-chair where she spent the last years of her life is located on the second floor. The many balconies on the house provide wonderful views. The house is lovely inside and out. The fact that it has retained its furnishings etc. make it a treasure trove for lovers of history and vintage items. The grounds are also lovely and well maintained. My wife and I took a little stroll through the rose garden after our tour of the house. Well, not really a stroll. It was one hundred degrees outside. We hurried past the parched rose bushes and metal benches. But I am sure it is quite a lovely spot when it is not so hellishly hot out.

One other fascinating thing we learned about the house is that many of its treasures have yet to be discovered. There are still quite a few items in the attic of the house which the curator has to go through. One of the paintings of the house was just recently discovered. When the curator found it, the painting was covered in so much dust that she couldn’t tell what it was of. Now they have carefully restored it and prominently displayed it in one of the first-floor rooms. Who knows what they will discover next.

The house is available for group tours, presentations or meetings, bridal portraits and other special events. Just call ahead to (903) 531-1286 to schedule your visit. Also, every Christmas season, the house is fully decorated and opened to the public. Cider, cocoa, and cookies are served. Carols are sung. It sounds like a lot of fun. If you have any interest in history and the romance of the past, I highly recommend checking out the Goodman-LeGrand house and museum. Officially, admission to the Goodman-LeGrand house is free; however, they do suggest that everyone give a $2.00 donation to help with the restoration and upkeep of the home. Two bucks is nothing for a treasure like this. So don’t be a cheapskate. The house is open from 10:00am till 4:00pm on Tuesday through Saturday. The grounds and garden of the house are open to the public from 8:00am till 5:00pm.

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