Nestled in the Piney Woods of East Texas is a Mansion that will capture your attention and imagination. Oakley Mansion is a Bed and Breakfast that is a must-see in your travels. It is located on South Main Street in Winnsboro. Winnsboro is a unique town known for its strong community and connection to arts, music, and history. Oaklea brings all of that together in a stately neoclassical home with amazingly manicured grounds and wonderfully decorated rooms that will take you back in time. The house still sits on its original pier and beam foundation set on brick piers. It has an exciting history: two balconies, four covered porches, and 56 windows.
How steeped in History is Oaklea Mansion? Let's look into the Mansion's history and see. Oaklea was built in 1903, and the town was only about 48 years old (a little older by some calculations). A railroad ran through it, making it a hub for business, primarily cattle and cotton. The home was built by a businessman and lawyer Named Marcus Dewitt Carlock Sr. using a sawmill he partly owned and Pine lumber from his property. It was a jewel in a town still rough around the edges. Like most towns then, it had saloons and brothels in the Bowery area. The street is now called market street and is a pedestrian walkway with an entrance that pays tribute to its past. Before building his home, Mr. Carlock was a prominent citizen of Winnsboro, even serving as a precinct Judge for about 14 months, where he held court at the local Grocery store. He then established his business as a lawyer and businessman. He had stock in several local businesses in Winnsboro and surrounding areas and soon had the money to build his home, the Carlock house. His home was beautiful and entertained very prominent guests and high officials. It remained in the family's possession until his son's death and was bought by Norma Wilkinson on the promise it would become a bed and breakfast. Ms. Wilkinson remained in control of the home until it closed in 2013.
In January 2022, The Mansion re-opened under new owner Casie Buck. She has kept the original historical look and Hospitality but has added modern touches such as flat screen T.V.s in each room. The home looks much like it did in its prime and has earned a historical landmark and a listing on the National Register of Historic Places. Earlier this year, she added The Edison Exchange to the Mansion, where you can buy, sell, or exchange antique jewelry and estate items. Last month they participated in a Community exchange project and added a free art exchange on the front porch. One of the highlights of a stay in Oaklea is the handmade breakfast available each morning which is included with your room. The breakfast features fresh ingredients from the local farmer's market and is cooked fresh daily. The rooms are clean and furnished with period antiques, keeping the Victorian theme and feel. While you are there, do not forget to explore the grounds, which are beautifully manicured with a pond and Gazebo. It is a fantastic place for wedding and unique occasion pictures or even just a selfie or two to show friends. From Oaklea, you can walk to the downtown area, check out more historical markers, eat at some amazing restaurants, or head to the train depot and visit the museum. On Saturdays from spring to fall, you can grab some produce or crafts from the Farmers Market and head across the street to Cypress Creek Southern Ales, a microbrewery, for some amazing beer. Dallas is only about an hour and a half away if you want to add some extra fun to your trip.
Make sure that Oaklea Mansion and Winnsboro are on your list of Favorite Texas places to visit. It is a place that has a great history and fun stuff to do, or you can choose to kick off your boots and stay a while. Either way, Winnsboro and Oaklea will welcome you with warm Hospitality.