Today we are going to take a step back in time to dig up the history of a beautiful mansion, peeling back the walls to know what happened in this 24,000 square foot home. Why did this mansion sit abandoned for so long? What are the future plans for this place? Will it be torn down or completed? Stick around to find out.
I was granted permission to film at one of the most iconic and eye-grabbing mansions in Texas. The Sanger Mansion, which has now become publicly known as the Bella Mansion, is an unfinished mansion that had been sitting abandoned on and off for over 30 years until it was bought in 2020.
If you have ever traveled to or from Oklahoma on I-35, you might have seen this enormous home sitting up on the hill on the west side of the highway in Sanger, Texas.
Watching the natural decay that slowly took over the mansion over the years, many that passed by would probably wonder why this mansion was never finished and what was its purpose… and why was it sitting abandoned?
From an old invoice found by the new owners, it would seem that this mansion started its construction sometime in the late 1970s.
The original owners at the time, Joseph and Julie Powell, started the construction of this mansion along with a huge stable on approximately 70 acres of land.
Joseph and Julie (along with their daughter), built this home to pursue their passion for raising and selling appaloosa horses. The Appaloosa horses are an American horse breed best known for its colorful spotted coat pattern.
Taking one step into this massive building from the front entrance, you are greeted with a large spiral staircase that was made completely from steel. An invoice found shows that this staircase alone in today's dollars cost the Powell family about $1.3 million dollars to build and install.
Just past the staircase there is one of six fireplaces that leave you in awe. The sitting area wall that the fireplace sits on extends about 25 feet up to the ceiling.
This is another building that will get your imagination going wild, wondering and trying to piece it all together as you go from room to room.
The story goes that Joseph built a stable on the property not far from the home and it is said that the stable could house up to a hundred horses with ease.
It's been also said that he loved horses so much that he actually built an elevator inside the home, just so he could take the horses up to the third floor which was also known as the party floor. Yes you heard me correctly - an elevator to take the horses to the third floor! The third floor was for entertaining guests when he would auction off their Appaloosa horses to the potential buyers.
In the early 1980's, an unfortunate turn of events took place when Joseph and Julie got a divorce. Some say that when Julie left, Joseph began to drink a lot and became detached from the outside world. After the divorce was final, the construction of the mansion came to a halt.
The mansion would sit abandoned until the early to mid 1990's when John W. Porter bought the mansion and planned to continue the construction. John had plans to turn the mansion into a restaurant on the first floor and then offices on the upper floors.
One day, while at the mansion during construction, a tragic end came to John W. Porter. He had a heart attack in the driveway and later died at the hospital. Construction stopped once again between 2001 and 2002.
The mansion would sit abandoned until 2020, when Lina and Kenneth Ramey bought the mansion. The mansion was then handed over into the care of their daughter Isabel Ramey. The mansion will now be used as a venue to host weddings along with other events.
Isabel stated in a Denton RC news article and I quote,
"I want to go in and make it something everyone in the community can be extremely proud of."
The mansion has become quickly known as the Bella Mansion.
Isabel and a close friend of the family Kevin Martin, have been working very hard with architects and getting permits approved, to get the mansion finished and up and running in the year 2023. Kevin has been overseeing the construction and maintenance on the property.
The rock and stone on the outside, covering 80 percent of the exterior, had to be taken down. They removed over 400 tons of stone because it was deemed unsafe and falling down as the weather over the years had ruined the support on the backing of the stone.
A plumber that came forward and said back in the 70s, the original owners picked out and ordered gold-plated plumbing fixtures to be used throughout the house. Yes, gold plated!
Unfortunately, they were never installed. This would have been cool to see. This mansion has finally found hope in being restored and put to use for the community.
Isabel's dream will become a reality. They have already started on the landscaping of the nine acres of land that the mansion sits on. They are growing their own grapes on the property which accents the mansion really well. Hopefully they will be able to one day use their own grapes to harvest and make their own wine. It can be an option for their guests at the events that they will be hosting. If you're looking to get married, this might be the place for you.
There is zero tolerance for trespassing here. There have been new cameras put in place around the property and in the mansion, not to mention the now constant patrol of police and security around this property. They will not hesitate to take you to jail for trespassing.
If you are interested and would like the opportunity to see this mansion, I will leave the details in the description below, but this will be until they get closer to the finish of the mansion. Isabel and Kevin stated that anyone who is interested in seeing this place should contact them and come out and take a look around.
That does it for today's history, hit that thumbs up, peace, I love you and as always God bless.
2101 S i-35 Frontage Rd. Sanger, Tx 76266
To set a date to visit mansion email:
2. Paper City
4. Denton RC
5. Dallas News