I have been to many places in the Lone Star State, but one area that has gone largely under-the-radar is Liberty, Texas, the third oldest town in the state.
Located in Liberty County along US 90 and State Highway 146, Liberty, with a population of over 8,300, provides travelers and residents with an opportunity to travel back in time. There are a few buildings in the area that are quite unique and bring proper perspective to today's society.
The first of which is the Cleveland-Paltrow Home, located on 2131 Grand Avenue. Built in 1860 by Judge Charles L. Cleveland, the home is one of the oldest in town. While the building is not currently open, you will appreciate its late Greek revival architecture.
If you head to Travis Street, you will find the Liberty County Courthouse. The current courthouse is the seventh to be built and it opened in 1932.
Liberty is also home to one of the most beautiful libraries, the Sam Houston Regional Library. Besides having a plethora of research material on subjects pertaining to southeast Texas, it features a few historic buildings as well. From the Courthouse, head south towards 90, then make a left onto TX 146 for a couple of miles before heading left onto FM 1011. About a minute or two later, make a right.
The library is open from Tuesday to Saturday, but if you want to tour the homes call two weeks in advance. (P.S. It is a bargain deal, it is free.) Among the historic homes include: the 1848 Duncan Gillard House, which was built in the style of a Louisiana Plantation;
the 1883 Norman House, which contains furniture and artifacts from three different eras: the 1860's, 1880's and early 1900's; an Episcopalian Church built in the 1860s and last but not least, the Jean and Price Daniel House. The former Governor of Texas and his wife used the home to entertain many guests including President John F. Kennedy. (https://www.tsl.state.tx.us/shc/index.html)
As your heading back towards Houston, there is one place you should stop and visit, the haunted Historic Ott Hotel.
From the library, make a left onto FM 1011, travel several hundred feet before turning south on 146. After a couple of miles head towards US 90 and head east. After a few stop signs make a right on Travis Street. The hotel is located to the left just after the former Texas and New Orleans railroad tracks.
The hotel was built in 1928 and is named after Louisiana native John Joshua Ott. Once you step inside, take a walk around and you will notice the hallway contains several newspaper clippings and pictures that date back to the 1920s and 30’s. As you head up the stairs, beware! The creaking of the stairs will give you a bit of the creeps. Many who have stayed at the Ott said the hotel is filled with the ghosts of a married couple who were murdered in late 1930.
If you want to find any ghosts, the hotel offers two hour tours once a month at 7 pm. It costs a reasonable $10. However, if you are daring, you can also stay the night. At $50 a night plus tax you will get to experience what it is like to stay at a hotel without any televisions, phones and computers.
Bring the children for an unforgettable family experience.