Link Lee Mansion: Historic Houston Landmark
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The impressive Link Lee Mansion now serves as the executive offices of the University of St. Thomas campus. It started as a private home and is dated back to 1912.
Early Days of Houston Settlement
Back in those early days of Houston history Montrose Boulevard where this home is situated was considered the outskirts of Houston. John Wiley Link saw a great opportunity in this city and moved here from Orange, Texas. He set up the Houston Land Corporation and purchased 250 acres. Mr. Link then subdivided it into lots and after roads were paved began the development of a premier master planned community.
Description of This Home
The initial cost of this home was $60,000. The architecture was designed by the firm of Sanguinent, Staats, and Barnes in an American neoclassical style. With 10,500 feet of living space, this three-story structure also has a basement. The ballroom is on the top floor with a kitchen and bathroom to accommodate party attendees. Five bedroom suites were on the second floor with shared living areas on the first floor, including a music room.
The ornamentation on this mansion is exquisite. Elaborate brickwork and terra cotta embellishments with a clay tile roof make this mansion a prominent feature of what is now the University of St. Thomas campus.
Families Who Lived in This Mansion
This historic house was the private residence of the Link family from 1912 to 1916. In December of 1916, T. P. Lee, who was a very successful Houston oilman, purchased the home. $90,000 was the sale price, which made it the most expensive family home at that time. The Lee family had possession of the mansion for 30 years.
In 1946 the widowed Mrs. Essie N. Lee and her family members sold the property for $120,000 to the University of St. Thomas.
At first, the entire university consisted of the rooms of the mansion and surrounding grounds. Eventually, other buildings were added to what is now a beautiful university campus in the heart of Houston. Now the home is solely used for offices of the president, the vice-presidents, and alumni relations.
The sculpture pictured above has a plaque upon which is written the following:
Dedicated to Anita Borges Stude by her loving husband, Micajah Stude
Cast bronze, 3/7
Edward P. White Memorial Plaza
In 2006 the Edward P. White Memorial Plaza was built. Architect Philip Johnson designed it combining a fountain with its prominent feature is that of a large upright piece of dark granite with a white cross affixed to it.
Edward Patrick White
Near the memorial plaza attached to brick is a granite piece with a picture of Edward P. White.
The following information is under his image:
Edward Patrick White
Ed White was a major University of St. Thomas benefactor along with his wife Raye G. White. Born on February 20, 1927, in Mobile, Alabama to Frances C. Vogtner and John Joseph White, he spent his childhood in Mobile, Alabama. After his high school graduation from McGill Institute in Mobile, he earned a Bachelor of Business Administration from Southwestern University in 1949.
He retired from the United States Naval Reserve with the rank of Commander. He then enjoyed a 42-year career of management positions at General Motors Acceptance Corporation.
Ed was an avid yachtsman and spent many happy days with family and friends aboard the family yacht, the Lady Raye. Ed consistently gave of himself to his family, his church, and his community.
The University of St. Thomas had come a long way since 1947 when the Basilian Fathers first opened this institution of higher learning on 23 acres. That first year there were only 42 full-time students and 28 part-time ones. Now the yearly enrollment accommodates over 3,400 students with a student-faculty ratio of 9:1. Baccalaureate, as well as masters and doctoral degrees, are awarded in several different fields of study.
Restoration and Renovation Project
According to a Houston Chronicle article, the wife of the current 8th president of St. Thomas University is engaged in raising money for an extensive restoration and renovation project. This grand old structure has a leaky roof and leaky pipes. Some of the beautiful terra cotta ornamentations is disintegrating. Marianne Ivany hopes to restore this beautiful mansion to its former glory with additional improvements such as central air conditioning and a two-story elevator.
Visitors can view the Link-Lee mansion which is on the National Register of Historic Places and is also a Texas Historic Landmark at the corner of Montrose Boulevard and West Alabama. The address is 3800 Montrose Blvd., Houston, Texas 77006. It is one of the many historic buildings in the Houston metropolitan area.