The Barton House was built in 1866 by Dr. Welborn Barton and his wife Louisa Adeline Cox. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1983, and the house has been marked with a Texas Centennial Marker. Construction on The Barton House, as it stands today, was completed in three major stages. The old and the new have blended together seamlessly, creating a unique atmosphere, delighting storied history buffs and devoted diners alike.
Dr. Barton was a pioneering physician who received a medical degree from Kentucky’s Transylvania University, Lexington, KY in 1847. Following his graduation, he migrated to Texas settling at Bastrop where he practiced medicine for two years. At that time many young people hearing of the California Gold Rush decided to seek their fortunes in the West. Dr. Barton decided to join this movement but first desired to return home to visit with his family. He married his sweetheart, Louise Adeline Cox, and stayed on in South Carolina. Ten children would be born to this union.
In 1854 old friends and family members persuaded Welborn to lead a wagon train of about one hundred folks to Texas. The group left on October 5, 1854 and two and one-half months later arrived in Washington County just before Christmas. The Bartons purchased farm land in Burnet County where he farmed and practiced medicine. At the beginning of the War between the States, Dr. Barton offered his services as a surgeon for the Confederate Army.
After the end of the war, during the reconstruction era, Dr. and Mrs. Barton moved to the Salado area responding to rumors that a fine school had opened there. As Louisa became an advocate for literacy, the couple wished to provide their children with good educations. Dr. Barton immediately became involved in the community. He served as a trustee for the Salado College for several years. He developed a busy medical practice in the area with his wife Louisa accompanying him on his rounds by driving the horses which pulled the buggy and serving as his nurse.
The Bartons had built the historic Barton House on Main Street in Salado. The original part of The Barton House was built into a hillside in 1866. Built of Texas quarry-faced limestone ashlar, it shows skill in stone-masonry and is unusual for its period with asymmetrical placement of the front door. Consisting of three stories, the walls are solid 24 inches thick and the floors are constructed of long-leaf pine. The main floor was used to house Dr. Barton’s medical practice, while the family lived on the other two floors.
In 1879, an addition was built on to the house. Rumor has it that Dr. Barton wanted his home to look like a stately English country manor with wings on each side of the house. The prosperity of his medical practice and his need for more space made the addition of one of these wings possible. As you stand facing The Barton House you will notice this addition on the left hand side. It consisted of two stories with two new rooms on each level. One of the new rooms was used by Dr. Barton as a surgery room for his growing practice. Included in the design of the room is a limestone sink, with outdoor drainage, built into the wall of the house. Descendants of the Barton family speculate that this was some of the first indoor plumbing in Central Texas. Notably, rumors claim that General Custer was treated along with some of his troops here. Sadly Dr. Barton died before a second wing could be added to the right side of the house. Today you will see the relaxing covered porch is in that location. 1946 was a year that brought even more modern changes to The Barton House. A great granddaughter of Dr. Barton had four working bathrooms installed throughout the house. Their exact original location is not known but it sure beats the outhouse they used which still resides on the property.
2018 marks the newest and most exciting event in the history of this amazing property. Clinton and Ledia Harwell, owner’s of Pignetti’s Italian Restaurant in downtown Temple, purchased the historic property. With many hours of elbow grease, thoughtful design and an amazing kitchen and wait staff they are excited to offer this new restaurant addition to the wonderful town of Salado, Texas. Please come in and enjoy a meal with us.