Van Zandt Cottage – Crestline

Major Khleber Miller Van Zandt, a Captain in Company D, Texas Seventh Regiment in the Confederate army, settled in Fort Worth following the Civil War. A member of the Texas Legislature, a banker, merchant and cattleman, he acquired 600 acres on the West Side of Fort Worth between 1871 and 1873. Still owned by the Van Zandt Land Co. in the 1930s, the cottage she was acquired in 1936 for the Texas Centennial. The restoration was sponsored by the Julia Jackson Chapter No. 141, United Daughters of the Confederacy.
The historical record of this house is difficult to interpret. Van Zandt did not build the cabin, but apparently acquired it when the structure was used as collateral on a loan. The house may have been occupied by tenant farmers during some periods. The cottage is the only cabin in Fort Worth still standing in its original location, and the kitchen foundation is still visible behind the cottage.
Architect Joseph R. Pelich, who often designed in the Colonial Revival style, was hired for the restoration. Descriptions and photographs made at the time of the reconstruction indicate that the house was probably a dogtrot plan with its central breezeway later enclosed to form a central hail. Log sills, joists and studding on a rough stone foundation were clad in feather-edged sawn board siding. During restoration, the arrangement of windows and the front and rear porches was substantially altered. The rough, unpainted board siding was replaced with wide, uniform siding, painted grey, and non-functional shutters were added to the windows. Further additions were made to the rear elevation to permit its use as a house museum. Though altered, the Van Zandt Cottage remains important as a monument to an important figure in Fort Worth’s history, as well as an example of the early twentieth-century vision of colonial heritage. The structure is a Recorded Texas Historic Landmark. As a significant early historical restoration in Fort Worth, the Van Zandt Cottage may be eligible for the National Register. Update: The Van Zandt Cottage was listed on the National Register for Historic Places on December 4, 2012.

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