Dilue married New York State native Ira Harris in 1839 and they moved to Columbus in 1845. Ira Harris became Sheriff of Colorado County and served for a number of years. They built their modest “tabby” home in 1858 and lived in it with their nine children. Ira died in 1869 and Dilue followed in 1914.
During the 1850s 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 fitted together to make walls 12” to 14” thick.
Due to deterioration of the home, a restoration was undertaken in 1977. Central A/C and heating were installed, the original stairway—a steep ladder type—was lengthened and turned, and bathrooms and a kitchen were added. Additionally, the original basement dirt floor was replaced with brick pavers. Items unearthed when the basement floor was excavated are now displayed in the kitchen and include 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 stoneware doorknobs with a Rockingham (brown molted) glaze. One original basement door remains and retains its original paint. The pine fireplace mantles are also original. The first roof was made of cedar shingles.
An interesting architectural feature of the home is the presence of two front doors. This was done to increase circulation of air during the long, hot months. Many of the houses built in Columbus during the 1850s had basements, primarily because the builders were originally from the northern part of the United States where basements and cellars were considered a necessity. However, it quickly became apparent that in Columbus’ very warm, humid climate, a basement was not practical for storage. After the 1860s, houses in town were no longer built with basements but instead set on piers.
In 1988-1989 the Dilue Rose Harris House was converted into a museum. It is furnished with early Victorian walnut and Texas pine pieces, many belonging to families from the Columbus area. Also displayed is Dr. Pleasant Rose’s walnut desk. The walnut center table in the parlor was the property of one of Dilue’s daughters, Laura Harris Hahn. Both pieces of furniture were given to the Dilue Rose Harris House Museum by Douglas Hahn, a grandson of Dilue Rose Harris.