Classic house ties into local history

The historical home radiates early 20th century style with its raised awnings and grand entrance. PHOTO BY CARL DEAL

Home tour

A shady canopy of spreading pecan branches embraces a solidly colonnaded broad front porch with an intriguing glimpse of a side garden as you approach the glittering glass door of the J.H. Barbee house. This pristine classical revival house located at 220 North Johnson Street is a vintage turn-of-the-century Texas home built in 1906 by the owner J.H Barbee (1870-1957) and his wife Abbie King Barbee (1871-1942). 


A dining room with striking red walls is nestled in between the foyer and the back of the home. PHOTOS BY DENISA BURNHAM

Barbee was a businessman and farmer, active in real estate, building, ranching and cotton ginning. He helped to establish the San Marcos Baptist Academy, founded in 1906, and was elected to its original Board of Trustees. Of the eight charter members of the San Marcos Baptist Church founded in 1857, four were members of the Barbee family— including his father J.J. Barbee.

Barbee was one of the founders and principal shareholders responsible for establishing the Farmers Union Gin Company in 1908— the first industrial building and business of its size to be constructed in San Marcos. The gin became vital to the local economy. He also played a major role in the expansion of the First National Bank of San Marcos.


The spiral staircase and fireplace are immediate focal point upon entering the home.

The current owners, Dr. and Mrs. Theodore Dake, bought the house in 2001. The Dakes spent almost two years renovating both the outside and inside of the house. They incorporated many architectural antiques into the house such as stained, etched and beveled glass; crown molding; marble and granite hearths; vintage light fixtures; fireplace surrounds; and antique tiles. In addition, an extensive landscape plan was designed to restore and improve the beauty of the home, as well as its functionality. Old pecan trees around which Thea Dake designed welcoming garden paths and lovely sitting areas surround the gracious home. The interior is filled with carefully curated antiques and collectibles gathered by the Dakes.

This year’s “Magic of Interior Design” Heritage Home Tour is May 4-7. Thursday, May 4 is the tented garden Preview Party (music, magicians and beloved San Marcos restaurants) at Kissing Tree. Friday, May 5, is a “Magical History Tour” walking exploration of downtown. On traditional tour days Saturday, May 6 and Sunday, May 7,  five private homes, plus a Designer Showhouse, plus eight Kissing Tree model homes will be open for viewing. 

For more information, photo galleries, and tickets, go to or call 512-392-4295. 

San Marcos Daily Record

(512) 392-2458
P.O. Box 1109, San Marcos, TX 78666