The Adobe House
is the only adobe
structure remaining in the Independence area.
No doubt, there were others.
In 1866, G.W.Breedlove bought the Adobe House for $400, the deed referring to “the concrete offices in the town of Independence…said Concrete offices being those occupied in the year 1866 by Morris & Alexander and Asbury Daniel,”
all lawyers. At the time, the term “concrete” was used to denote a soft material that had hardened.
Baylor President William Carey Crane also served as pastor of the Independence Baptist Church. He regularly called on residents and businesses in the community, noting in his diary that
he had been “about the village.”
The diary is in The Texas Collection, Baylor University.
Now and Then: The documentary photograph of the Adobe House dates May 18, 1936.
The placement of the Adobe House and its alignment with the Town Square suggest that it was probably built around 1835 when Independence was being established and the town platted—but we do not know who actually built the house. Built of sun-dried clay bricks with a stucco finish, the adobe construction reflects pre-1836 influences when Texas was a Mexican colony.
After Texas declared its independence in 1836, Sam Houston, President of the Republic of Texas, appointed Independence area resident John P. Coles the first Chief Justice of Washington County. Tradition states that this adobe structure served as Coles’s office and the county’s courtroom and jail before the county seat was moved to Brenham in 1844. The building continued to be used as attorneys’ offices and later as a residence.
A t one time, William Carey Crane, Baylor University President from 1864 to 1885, and his family lived next door to the Adobe House. When four Crane brothers and friends spent a day touring the area in 1912, they were photographed looking at the Adobe House and the two-story 1850s house where the family lived during their early years in Independence. One of the Crane sons noted on a visit in August 1936, that the house photographed in 1912 had “entirely disappeared.”
William Carey Crane,
President of Baylor University
1936 photo: Library of Congress, Historic American Buildings Survey, Harry L. Starnes, photographer. 1912 photo: Texas State Library and Archives Commission. The Crane photos: The Texas Collection, Baylor University. Other photos: Ellen Beasley. Research and content by Ellen Beasley.