In 1839 Dilue Rose married Ira Harris, a native of New York state, and in 1845 they moved to Columbus. Ira Harris became Sheriff of Colorado County serving for a number of years. They built their modest “tabby” home in 1858 and lived in it with their nine children. Ira Harris died in 1869 and Dilue Rose Harris passed away in 1914.
During the 1850’s there were at least 10 “tabby” houses and buildings constructed in Columbus, including the County Courthouse and the Baptist Church. A unique type of construction for this area, “tabby” is a mixture of gravel, sand, and lime mixed with water and poured into large block forms that were fitted together to make walls 12” to 14” thick.
Due to deterioration of the structure, a restoration was undertaken in 1977. Central heating and air-conditioning was installed, the original stairway—a steep ladder type—was lengthened and turned. Bathrooms and a kitchen were added.
The basement floor of the Dilue Rose Harris house, originally dirt, was replaced with brick pavers. Items unearthed when the basement floor was excavated are displayed in the kitchen and include such things as pottery, medicine bottles, and iron hinges.
The house retains its original pine woodwork, floors, ceilings, and cedar thresholds. Door frames in the basement are cedar to discourage termites. All of the four panel doors are original and have doorknobs of stoneware with a Rockingham (brown molted) glaze. One original basement door remains and retains its original paint. The fireplace mantles are also original, made of pine. The first roof was made of cedar shingles.
In 1988 and 1989 the Dilue Rose Harris House was converted into a museum house. It is furnished with Early Victorian walnut and Texas pine pieces, some being from families from the Columbus area. Also displayed is a walnut plantation-type desk made for Dr. Pleasant Rose by slaves on his farm at Stafford’s Point. The Victorian style walnut center table in the parlor was the property of a daughter, Laura Harris Hahn. Both pieces of furniture were given to the Dilue Rose Harris House by Douglas Hahn, a grandson of Dilue Rose Harris.
Another interesting architectural feature generally confined to this area is the presence of two front doors. Obviously, this was done to increase circulation of air during the long, hot months in houses of modest size with no center hall. Many of the houses built in Columbus during the 1850’s had basements, primarily because the builders were originally from the northern part of the United States where basements and cellar were considered a necessity. However, it soon became apparent that in this warm, damp climate a basement was not practical for storage. After the 1860’s, houses were no longer built with basements, but instead set on piers.