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Thursday, February 20, 1997

Trammell home dedicated by Historical Commission

By LORETTA FULTON / Regional Editor

SWEETWATER - Some pointed out a room where they were born, others noted that a huge bathroom at one time was a makeshift operating room.

U.S. Rep. Charles Stenholm read a letter written by President Washington as he reminisced on leaving office in 1797.

The historic tidbits made the perfect backdrop for the dedication Wednesday of a Texas Historical Commission marker at the old Trammell home, now Mulberry Mansion bed and breakfast.

"This puts it in a good perspective," Stenholm said as he read the letter written on March 4, 1797. Just as the country's first president had a vision for America, so did men like Thomas Trammell, he said.

The house was built from 1911-13 by Trammell, the "Father of Sweetwater," as noted on the historical marker.

Trammell didn't live in the house long. He died in 1919, and the city then leased the magnificent structure for Nolan County's only hospital from 1923-1936.

It later was made into apartments and in 1992 Raymond and Beverly Stone converted it into a splendid bed and breakfast with four guest rooms.

As guests strolled through the mansion, designed by John Young, father of actress Loretta Young, they recalled its historic moments.

"I was born in that room," said Jere Lawrence, former Sweetwater mayor.

"My brother died in that one," a woman commented.

A spacious bathroom that now serves guests in one of the bedrooms once was an operating room at the Sweetwater Sanitarium.

"They just put a board over the bathtub and sanitized the place and used it for an operating room," said Carolyn Davis Crawford, whose mother Glynne Del Trammell Davis bought the house back from the city in 1938 to keep it in the family.

Crawford recalled that she was 6 years old when the family moved in. At that time the house was divided into two apartments.

"It was lots of fun," she said. "The front porch made a terrific skating rink and there were trees to climb and places to dig."

Stenholm praised the people of vision who preserved the mansion so that "others in our state and nation will be able to come and enjoy it."

A relative by marriage, Cliff Etheredge, said Trammell, who was born in 1848, was working on a cattle drive at age 16 when the foreman died. The young Trammell took over the drive and later became a rancher and a surveyor.

At one time Trammell either owned or leased every acre in Borden County plus other ranches, Etheredge said. He also built Sweetwater's first bank and when it failed, he gave all the land he owned in Sweetwater to the people who lost money.

A lake here also is named for him.

"He was definitely a man of vision," Etheredge said.

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