The Hezikiah Haskell House — the oldest documented residence in Austin’s Clarksville National Register Historic District, once a Texas Freedom Colony — will now be open to the public.
The house will be open from 1 to 4 p.m. on the 2nd and 4th Sundays of each month, except for December. It will also be open by appointment.
The Haskell House is located at 1705 Waterston Avenue.
The Clarksville Community Development Corporation, which manages the historic property, announced that Sept. 11 would launch the new regular public hours. See clarksvillecdc.org/historic-landmarks
Admission is free, and a docent will be on hand to discuss the history of the house and Clarksville. On view will be historic photos documenting life in Clarksville, from the late 1890s to the 1970s.
Clarksville was founded by a formerly enslaved man, Charles Clark, in 1871 and was one of the first freedman’s towns established west of the Mississippi. Clark envisioned as a place where former slaves could reunite with their families and friends, direct their own lives and freely practice their religion.
The house on Waterson Avenue was built by Peter Tucker, sometime between 1875 and 1879. Tucker was the former slave of former Texas Governor Elisha Pease and his wife Lucadia who owned the Woodlawn Plantation which included some of the land that became Clarksville.
The Haskell house’s Cumberland style, unpainted board and batten with single wall construction, typifies the simple home style that Clarksville residents built during the community’s early years.
As early as 1879, the Tuckers sold their home to Mary and Edwin Smith, who raised their family there. Hezikiah “Kye” Haskell, a Union soldier, Buffalo Soldier and member of the Black Cavalry boarded with the Smiths. In 1881, he married their daughter Catherine.
Following the death of their son, Hezikiah Haskell, Jr., the Haskell family deeded the house to the City of Austin. For several years in the late 1980s, the Haskell House was the site of a popular Senior Lunch Program that was run by the Department of Parks and Recreation.
Also, guided tours of Clarksville are available for a fee on an appointment only basis. Tours must be scheduled in advance by emailing email@example.com.