More than 50 years before Rice University would open its doors in 1912, William Marsh Rice and his wife, Margaret Bremond, lived in Houston. The couple owned a Greek Revival two-story home across the street from the courthouse square in downtown Houston. At the time, Rice was one of the city’s richest men. He earned his fortune in real estate, land, lumber, railroads and cotton. He purchased the 1-year-old house from his business partner, Ebenezer Nichols, in 1851 and lived there until Bremond’s death in 1863, when he shuttered it and moved back to New York City. Over the next 100-plus years, the home would be moved several times and ownership would change hands. In 1957, insurance executive and Rice Board of Governors member Gus Wortham donated the house to city of Houston. Today the Nichols-Rice-Cherry House is recognized with a state of Texas Historical Medallion and sits at the Heritage Society at Sam Houston Park in downtown Houston.
Working with Centennial Historian Melissa Kean, video producer Brandon Martin takes a look at William Marsh Rice’s Houston home. For more information on Rice’s history, visit Kean’s blog at www.ricehistorycorner.com.
To help celebrate the university’s centennial Oct. 12, Rice University is producing weekly videos exploring the school’s unique history.
To see other stories in the centennial video series, go to http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL60D6D71E71B66B3D&feature=plcp.