Sam Bell Maxey House State Historic Site
Sam Bell Maxey State Historic Site, a Texas Historical Commission property, is situated in the historic district of Paris, a northeast Texas community. The two-story frame residence is built in the High Victorian Italianate style and was considered a proper home for the family of Sam Bell Maxey, the West Point-educated Mexican War veteran, Confederate general and two-term U.S. senator. Maxey and his wife Marilda raised their family and hosted many distinguished guests in this home, which was commonly regarded as a town social center. Read more about the history of Sam Bell Maxey House.
Family members lived continuously in the house for 99 years until 1967, when they donated the home to the city of Paris. In March 1971, the Sam Maxey Bell House was officially listed in the National Register of Historic Places and transferred to state ownership in 1976. Restoration continues, but was initially completed on September 1, 1980, when the house was opened to the public for tours.
Today, the site explores the real stories of a prominent Texas family and how they cherished and modified their Victorian residence and grounds to reflect changing styles and trends in architecture, interior design and technology. Visitors experience the family’s daily life through original furnishings, clothing and photographs.
Visitors to Sam Bell Maxey House are guided through the Victorian home of the Maxey and Long families, filled with a collection of more than 10,000 artifacts that were mainly family-owned. Visitors to the house hear stories about the families while viewing the actual objects owned, used, and created by the Maxeys and Longs. A number of the site’s signature pieces were recently conserved, including the painting “Rebecca at the Well,” a 19th-century hand-painted fan, and two swords.
Guided tours are given every hour on the hour and typically last 45 minutes to one hour. In addition to the house tour, visitors are free to walk the grounds at their own leisure where they can view the formal Victorian garden, a rose garden planted in honor of Marilda Maxey’s love of gardening and roses, and a number of crape myrtle trees. Marilda Maxey brought the first crape myrtle trees to Paris when the Maxeys moved to Texas from Kentucky.