Victorian Elegance in the heart of Fort Worth
Step back in time when cattle barons ruled. Experience the opulence of the finest Victorian residence in North Texas, the elegant, 1899 Ball Eddleman McFarland House.
The site for McFarland House:
The lot selected for McFarland House was at the top of a bluff overlooking the 1892 Holly Water Treatment Plant. Over time development included the 1936 Will Rogers Memorial Center, and the 1939 West Lancaster Bridge over the Trinity River. This location was one of the most desirable in the silk stocking neighborhood of Quality Hill.
Unfortunately, by the 1960’s a zoning change from residential to commercial was implemented for all of Quality Hill. Without a local landmark ordinance in place, the wrecking ball destroyed most of the homes in Quality Hill, a neighborhood that rivaled Charleston.
The Architect and First Owner:
English architect Howard Messer arrived in Galveston in 1888 and settled in Fort Worth to join his brother Arthur, an architect who had arrived a few years earlier. Commissioned by Galveston widow Mrs. George Ball (Sarah), Howard Messer designed her Fort Worth house on Penn Street. The house cost $38,000 to build when expensive houses were $2,000 to $4,000.
The breathtaking craftsmanship of McFarland House includes a copper cupola, pressed brick, Georgian marble porch decking, and intricate floor patterns of exotic woods. Today, a bricked carriage driveway functions as the terrace for outdoor parties.
The Eddleman and McFarland families:
With the death of Mrs. Ball in 1904, the house was purchased by Weatherford rancher and banker, William Harrison Eddleman and his wife, Sarah Conger Eddleman. Their only child, Caroline Aurelia (Carrie) and her attorney and cattle rancher husband, F. Hays McFarland, moved into McFarland House at the same time. Carrie outlived the rest of her family and maintained her beloved home until her death at 100 in 1978.
Mrs. Frank McFarland (Carrie)
Elliott Roosevelt, son of President Franklin D. and Eleanor Roosevelt, with Ruth Groogins.
– photo courtesy University of Texas at Arlington Special Collections
The Roosevelt Connection
In 1902 Chicago native Joseph B. Googins accepted a job as manager of the Swift & Co. Meat Packing Plant in Fort Worth. Mr. Googins built an elaborate home at 1101 Penn Street for his wife and three children. It included a basement swimming pool.
On July 22, 1933, the Googins’ daughter, Ruth, married Elliott Roosevelt, the son of President Franklin D. and Eleanor Roosevelt, who frequently visited Fort Worth. The young couple had three children, one named Ruth Chandler Roosevelt (Lindsley), who became Carrie McFarland’s Godchild and to whom she bequeathed her beloved home upon her death.