Winedale - Buildings & Decorative Arts -
Historic preservationists have called this impressive structure a "work of art." Stylistically, the McGregor House is a vernacular Greek revival house, typical of an area planter's home. The two-story structure has a central passageway with large rooms on either side and a one-story ell with porch and dining room. There are three richly decorated public rooms (the entrance hall, parlor, and dining room) and five plainer private rooms (three bedrooms, a small servant's quarters/doctor's office and a family sitting room in the upstairs hall). The construction is entirely of locally available wood including cedar, ash, and walnut.
The house was built in 1861 by Dr. Gregor McGregor, a physician and land speculator who came to central Texas in 1852. Married in 1859 to Annie Portia Fordtran, the daughter of pioneer German immigrant and Austin colonist Charles Fordtran, McGregor built the house on a tract of land belonging to his wife but adjoining property he owned. The house site was originally situated above Mill Creek near the Wesley community in Washington County. In 1872 Dr. McGregor retired from active medical practice and moved his family to Waco. He sold the home in 1873 to a neighbor, after which it served as the residence of middle-class German farm families, including that of Charles Grimm. The house ended its years of occupancy as a tenant house.
In 1968 Grimm's heirs sold the McGregor House to Miss Ima Hogg, who moved it to Winedale the following year. Miss Hogg placed the house at the rear of the Winedale property so that it would dominate its own site and not compete with the Wagner House. She had the structure restored in 1969. Inside the house, wallpaper fragments in the parlor were reproduced and a period carpet specially loomed. Interior paint removal revealed stenciled ceilings and borders, probably painted by Rudolph Melchior, who also painted the Wagner House. The border in the downstairs bedroom is identical to the one in the Wagner House parlor, also attributed to Melchior. Fences were placed around the house in the same configuration as those surrounding the structure at its original site.
Miss Hogg chose to furnish the house only with furniture produced by known Texas furniture makers. Towards that end she selected pieces from her own collections and purchased others for specific rooms in the house. The result is an extraordinary display of locally made furniture, much of it produced by German immigrant craftsmen and all appropriate to the home of a wealthy Texas planter. The McGregor House opened to the public in 1975.