An overnight fire has consumed the Pride House, the longest-running bed and breakfast in Texas, an architectural jewel in a town full of them, and reputedly one of the most-haunted buildings in a very reputedly haunted place. No injuries were reported, but the rambling and ornate gingerbread Victorian house has been deemed a total loss.
Fire loomed large in the Pride House's tragic past. Lumber baron George Washington Brown built the house in 1888, and it has been reported that his 15-year-old daughter Jenny Brown died in agony in 1901 weeks after she was horribly burned after her nightgown caught on fire. (Creepily enough for those into that sort of thing, the home's final owner is named Jenny too.)
No word yet on the cause. A witness on the scene reported that a looter was caught rooting for salvageable antiques through the debris.
A plaque on the premises denoted it as Texas's very first bed and breakfast, and it is credited with touching off the northeast Texas town's B&B boom. (Jefferson is the now known as "the B&B Capital of Texas.")
Tributes are pouring in on the Pride House Facebook page.