Home Is Where the History Is
By Dana Goolsby
PALESTINE- Not all historic homes have a plaque or marker on the tourist map, but rest assured every house as a history. And in Palestine, a city dappled with some of the oldest infrastructure in the state of Texas, there are historic homes on almost every corner. The Dyerwood Inn, owned by Dan and Billie Dyer, was built before the turn of the century and is a great example of one of Palestine’s historic mansions that is not marked by plaque, but is a historic treasure all the same.
The Dyers purchased the home in 1998 and restored the home and it became their pride and joy. The Dyers have always been eager to share their historic gem with others. They decided to turn the old mansion into a five bedroom/five bath bed and breakfast. Dyerwood Inn would operate until 2006. Since they have owned the house they have hosted Garden Club Home Tours, bed and breakfast guests, weddings, parties, and plenty of friends and family at 911 Sycamore.
Over the course of time the Dyers have owned the home they have discovered their home’s history through research, and oral histories from past owners, including a woman that made this house the setting for a novel that she wrote. The Dyers also found numerous belongings left behind by those who inhabited the house long ago which helped them learn more about the house.
According to Dyer, Soren and Sophia Kolstad, owners and founders of Kolstad Jewelry (Where Dickens Jewelry is now located) in Downtown Palestine, built the original house in 1896. While Kolstad owned the house he deeded land to the City of Palestine to extend Sycamore Street from Lacy to Pine Streets. Then, in 1900, Kolstad sold the house to F.C. Eason for $750. Just a year later, Eason sold the house to Charles and Elizabeth Naylor for $1,000.
Charles Naylor was a well-kown railroad man and according to Dyer, he loved to entertain on a grand scale.
“We found a receipt in the house where he had hired an orchestra for a party, and many people have told us that he regularly hosted balls in the home,” Dyer said.
A few years after purchasing the home, Naylor built a house down the street for his two daughters. That house is known today as the Naylor House. The Naylor’s nest wasn’t empty for long though. According to Dyer, during this time Mrs. Naylor met a woman on a train bound from Houston to Palestine who was looking for a boarding house to stay in during her stay in Palestine. Mrs. Naylor insisted that she be a guest in her home. The woman’s name was Carrie Nations. She later became famous for her fight for prohibition.
In 1914, the Naylors sold the home to Miss Ray Rogers for $3,000. Rogers was an adventurous businesswoman. She opened Palestine’s first “ladies ready-to-wear shop,” called the Quality Shop. The Quality Shop was operated out of the house until moving the shop to Oak Street. Rogers remodeled and added on to the home some time before 1925, when she opened a boarding house. Miss Rogers deeded the house to the Baptist Foundation of Texas in 1974 for $10.
Since 1974, the house has seen nine different owners. The home has been a family home, apartments, and even the sight for some illegal business deals, according to Dyer.
You could be the tenth owner of this historic home in Palestine! Ever dreamed of owning a bed and breakfast? Want to own a real piece of Texas history? Dyerwood is for sale.
Take a virtual tour of Dyerwood.