The material culture of the Polley Mansion, Whitehall : vernacular architecture, decorative arts, and domestic arts.


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The Polley Mansion, with its massive walls, generous proportions, and wide double galleries, is described in Texas Homes of the 19th Century as “one of the most important plantation homes in early Texas.” In fact, the Polley Mansion, constructed with native sandstone, is the only stone antebellum plantation house still surviving in Texas. The preservation of the house and the Polley family papers provide a unique record of details about the construction, furnishing, and management of the house. This investigation into the material culture of the Polley Mansion—its vernacular architecture, decorative arts, and domestic arts— draws upon those archives and others to provide a detailed picture of the Polley Whitehall Mansion. Through letters, maps, receipts, photographs, historic records, and newspaper articles we meet the family, and learn how they stake their claim, construct their house, furnish the rooms, keep their house, and make their home.



Polley Whitehall Mansion. Sutherland Springs. Joseph H. Polley. Mary Bailey Polley.