Mary Elizabeth Hudspeth

Canyon was established in 1889. Thomas P. Turk and his brother owned a booming dry goods business on the square, so in 1909 he decided to build a home. The Texas Panhandle didn’t offer much by way of lumber, so it is believed that he bought a boarding kit home out of a Sears and Roebuck catalog. Through research, it appears to have cost around $2,500.00 and included everything from a 75 page instruction manual to nails for assembling the house. 

In 1910 Mary Elizabeth Hudspeth was invited to join the faculty at the newly founded West Texas State Normal College (now West Texas A &M University), where she taught Languages and Literature, Spanish and later was selected as the college’s first dean of women. Miss Hudspeth boarded with the Turk family and immediately fell in love with their new, magnificent home!

In 1912, one of the worst droughts in history ravaged through the area causing some families to leave. The Turks lost their dry goods business and couldn’t afford their debts, so they sold their home to Miss Hudspeth. In order to be closer to the school the home was moved in 1913. The house was put on cross ties, wheels were added and a steam tractor pulled it to its present location at 1905 4th Avenue.
In the days before campus dormitories, Miss Hudspeth housed students and faculty members at her spacious residence, which was often the scene of college social functions. Perhaps the most noted guest was Georgia O’Keeffe, who was head of the art department from 1916-1918. Miss O’Keeffe found a suitable room to rent in town, but took most of her meals at Miss Hudspeth’s boarding house.

In 1926, Miss Hudspeth added her own bedroom on the main floor. Later, many changes were made to the exterior of the house, including front porch columns and stained glass windows. Beautiful chandeliers were purchased during a sabbatical in Germany and still brighten the main living area. Original plaster decorative molding, hardwood floors and gas fireplaces authenticate the historic atmosphere today. Miss Hudspeth continued to entertain guests in the home until her death in 1943.

In 1987, the property was converted into a Bed and Breakfast. The owners sought and acquired historical recognition for the house. On September 25, 1988 the Randall County Historical Commission certified and dedicated an Official Texas State Historical Maker Commemorating the History of the Mary E. Hudspeth House. The house has been designated as a site of great historical significance and as such has been recorded in the Archives of the State of Texas.

The Hudspeth House continues to operate as a bed and breakfast under ownership of Van and Jill Shelton and will forever be a historic treasure nestled in the charming town of Canyon, Texas
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