Denny-Holliday House - 1870

Stacks Image 445
Stylistic influence(s): Renaissance Revival - 1920
Architect/Builder: Unknown
Historic Use: Residence
Current Use: Office
Historical designations:
Recorded Texas Historic Landmark
City of Austin Historic Landmark
Building History and Significant Persons Associated with Building
Among the first of the early neighborhood structures was a one-story limestone cottage, built between 1869 and 1871 for Eva and Charles Adolphus Denny, a bookkeeper with Sawyer, Ficklin and Scott, stage proprietors. It originally faced east, on a lot that extended from Rio Grande to West Avenue. The kitchen was probably an outbuilding. After Eva’s death in childbirth in 1871, Charles enlarged the house and resided there with their daughter Tula and his new bride, Mary Barefield of San Antonio, until he sold the house in 1884.

Mrs. N.L. Holliday bought the property in 1898, and in 1906 had contractor Charles A. Schurr move the entry to the north side and add the second story with porches on the east and south sides, residing there with her mother, a sister, five sons and one daughter. The new second story featured two bathrooms with indoor plumbing! Her daughter, Dr. Margaret Holliday, a 1906 graduate of UT Medical School and one of only three female physicians in the city at the time, and Margaret’s husband, Dr. Simon J. Clark, remodeled the house extensively between their marriage in 1918 and 1920, incorporating the master carpentry of Peter Mansbendel, who carved mantels for five wood-burning fireplaces.

An elegant entry portico was added to the north entrance. Oak floors were laid over the original pine planks, and a curved staircase was built. Plastered walls were decorated with molding, and the entire exterior was stuccoed with block stone imprinting. A covered terrace was built on the west side of the house and a guesthouse on the northeast corner of the property. During the remodeling work, the couple leased Laguna Gloria from Mrs. Clara Driscoll Sevier and lived there for several months shortly after their marriage. Margaret contracted flu during the epidemic of 1918 and never fully recovered; she died in December of 1921. Her pallbearers included Dr. H.Y. Benedict, Judge Ireland Graves, D.B. Gracy, Walter Bremond, Dr. W.J. Battle, Dr. Z.T. Scott, former Governor J.D. Sayers, and Dr. Herman G. Jones. Dr. Clark continued to reside at their home until September 1926, when he sold the house at a public auction.

The Alpha Delta Pi Sorority owned the palatial estate from 1927 to 1943. Dr. & Mrs. Allan Neighbors owned and resided in the house from 1943 to 1974, when Mary Alyce and Aubrey L. Moyer acquired the property for a residence for their son, Vincent M. Moyer, and office space for their real estate firm. Moyer & Sons (of which there were three) were honored by the Heritage Society in 1978 for their renovation. The east galleries extending across the entire façade were restored with columns and balustrades hand-turned on the site. Walls, plaster and molding were repainted, oak floors refinished, and central heat and air-conditioning installed.