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Block 106:

Drake House

907 Rio Grande picThis house at 907 Rio Grande was built around 1885 as the home of the Drake family.  The Drakes led the  Calcasieu Lumber Company for many years; Carl was its manager and then its president, and William Sherman Drake was its secretary.  Carl held a number of other positions as well; in 1898-99, in addition to presiding over Calcasieu, he served as President of Austin Canning Co., President of the Commercial Club, and Vice-President of the Austin Dam & Suburban Railway Company.

By 1909 the Drakes were gone, and the house was occupied by the family of Edward Sammons.  In 1912-13 Sammons worked with a famous and influential neighbor, E.M. House, who lived on West Avenue.  In 1914 Sammons served as Chief Deputy U.S. Internal Revenue Collector.

From about 1929 till the late 1930s, the house was the home of Mrs. Louise B. Smith and Frank L. Smith (probably her son).  Like her neighbor Mary Bell Granger, who lived across the street at 902 Rio Grande, Mrs. Smith was a teacher at Austin High School, three blocks north of here.

The house still bears reminders of the Drakes; the wood floors downstairs feature some beautiful parquet detailing, reflecting the original owners' expertise in working with lumber.

Sources: Chronology of 907 Rio Grande and City Directories, Austin History Center, Austin Public Library; Restrictive Covenant on 907 Rio Grande, on file with Travis County.
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