The Bonner-Whitaker-McClendon House was built in 1878, by attorney Harrison and Mattie Whitaker. They received the parcel of land the house is built on from Judge M. H. Bonner, a Texas State Supreme Court Associate Justice, and Mattie’s father. They selected an East Lake Bracketed architectural design for construction of their two-story nine room home. The house became a central point for Tyler society as the Whitakers presided over dinners and parties, all celebrated in grand Victorian style.
Five years later, Mattie passed away and the house was sold to her younger sister, Annie, Sidney McClendon, and her husband. Mr. McClendon opened Tyler’s first book and stationery store and served as the Democratic Chairman of Smith County for over 20 years. Mrs. McClendon was a suffragette who was active in the East Texas “Votes for Women” rallies in addition to raising nine children. The youngest, Sarah, became a noted Washington, D. C. news journalist whose career spanned the terms of 12 presidents from Franklin Roosevelt to George W. Bush.
By 1981, only two McClendon sisters remained in the house. The McClendon family made the decision to donate the house for historic preservation. A non-profit organization was formed and dedicated solely to the restoration and maintenance of this historic structure. In 1988, the Bonner-Whitaker-McClendon house opened to the public as the Designer Showcase for Historic Tyler’s Azalea Trail Heritage Tour. The light fixtures were gleaming bright and there was a grand celebration as the house regained its’ place in Tyler’s society.
The Bonner-Whitaker-McClendon House was designated as a Tyler Historic Landmark in 1984, and recorded as a Texas Historic Landmark the house is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
The McClendon House is open for tours Friday or Saturday from 10:00 to 4:00.
$7 per person
FREE for children 12 and under!
Living History Tours of the Bonner-Whitaker-McClendon House are scheduled for the last 3 Saturdays in October. Guided tours – featuring character actors portraying former residents dressed in period attire – are offered by the Society for the Restoration and Historic Preservation of the Bonner Whitaker McClendon House Inc.
Read more about the Bonner-Whitaker-McClendon House.