Updated: Apr 5
Wood sculptured chandelier at Okalea Mansion Photo by 4T Studios
Oaklea Mansion is an amazing remnant of the early 1900s that still stands in its full glory today. If you have never been to the Mansion to either stay or tour the building, you are missing out on a bit of History and the beauty of the 20th Century. It is one of those perfect spots for History buffs, photographers, and tourists in Winnsboro, Texas.
To understand the significance of Oaklea's architecture, you must understand its History.
Originally known as the Carlock house, Oaklea was the most prominent building in Winnsboro for many years, and Marcus Dewitt Carlock built it in 1903. Mr. Carlock was a prominent Businessman in Winnsboro who owned or partly owned several businesses in town. This includes a grocery store where he would conduct court when he was Justice of the Peace for Precinct 4 and one of the sawmills he partly owned that provided the structure of the home he built. The Carlock family was well off and had many State and National Connections, Such as Governor James "Jim" Hogg and others of the Democratic party at the time. Learn more about Marcus DeWitt Carlock's influence in Winnsboro Here :
The Architecture of Oaklea
The Mansion itself is still as beautiful as the day it was built. It was initially on a 20-acre track but has shrunk as the town of Winnsboro has encroached upon it through the years.
It is now on less than 2 acres. The grounds comprise gorgeous gardens with koi, goldfish ponds, arches, and a gazebo.
The Mansion was built in Neo-classical (classical Revival) and Victorian architecture. Many larger homes in the early 20th Century were built in this style, as were a few smaller homes. This was the style that you see in many of the Mansions and plantations in the mid-1800s and early 1900s.
In this style was a type of architecture called Asymmetrical Massing, which is what Oaklea is best known for. It has prominent gables running into each other, porches off one side, and turret rooms on the other. The style in which this home was built can be as complicated as it is beautiful, and the entire process was overseen by Mr carlock himself.
The front of the home is the most distinctive part of the home, with its vast gable held up by its classical-style columns. Under this roof sits a second-story balcony and a huge porch. With its white picket fence surrounding the home, it would be hard to miss. On the South side of the house are two more porches, the bottom orch being a three-season porch and a balcony-style porch above that. As mentioned earlier, Octogonal shaped Turret Rooms are on the North side of the building. At one time (the time of knights and castles), Turret rooms were used to protect the home so that they could see enemies from afar and protect the castle. The Turret rooms on homes like Oaklea were more for aesthetic purposes. Although there is not much use for them today, they do make great sitting areas, and on Oaklea, they sit perfectly over the beautiful grounds making it an excellent spot to sit and daydream or read your favorite novel. Although these turrets are small, when attached to a room, they also create a feeling of intimacy and encourage conversation and relaxation, which is perfect for a bed and Breakfast like Oaklea Mansion.
Suite with attached Turret Picture by Oaklea Mansion
Inside the Mansion is where we will find the victorian styles so loved in the early 20th Century, and still loved today, making Oakley the place to be for a romantic weekend. The second you walk into the room, there is a stately curly pine staircase leading upstairs and an ornate wood-burning fireplace. The furniture in the home (some of it original) is victorian in style, matching the rest of the interior. There are 53 windows, including the stained glass windows on the third floor. The 17 rooms include bathrooms with period sinks and clawfoot tubs, bedrooms including the large main suite and the more intimate 3rd-floor suites, sitting rooms, dining rooms, and a kitchen.
Entryway of Oaklea picture by Oaklea Mansion
If you are a history buff, interested in period architecture, or looking for an amazing vacation stay, Oaklea will fit your needs perfectly. You can book a stay or just a tour Here: