El Castile

The land of at least one castle.

As the county seat, Decatur, Texas, boasts an impressive courthouse, but it was the Victorian mansion overlooking the sleepy town that caught my attention. Popularly known as El Castile, the home was built in 1883 by cattle rancher Daniel Waggoner and restored in 1931 by his son William Thomas (W.T.). Historians and photographers alike consider this one of the most significant (and more importantly, significantly intact) examples of period architecture in Texas. It’s easy to see why: the limestone, ironwork, and ornate cupola, or tower, are (apparently) not to be outdone by the grand staircase, stained glass, and marble bathrooms inside. Oh, and if you’re thinking to yourself that you’ve seen this mansion before, chances are you have: El Castile was the inspiration for the iconic “Reata” mansion in 1956’s Elizabeth Taylor and James Dean western film, Giant.

For more information, visit: http://www.wisehistory.com/waggoner_mansion.html

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