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Texas in Review - Liendo (1958)

Texas Historical Commission

Sound | 1958

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TAMI Tags
  •  Houston 
  •  Liendo Plantation 
  •  1853, Leonard B. Gross 
  •  Interior rooms, four poster bed 
  •  Wood portrait of William Gross 
  •  Elizabeth Ney, the important woman associated with Liendo 
  •  Table where Sam Houston sat 
 
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Transcript
  •  Would you believe that you can go back over a century in time, to a Southern Colonial area, where an abundance of Spanish moss hangs from ancient oak trees?  
  •  Back to a peaceful place steeped in history and located just a short fifty miles west of the bustling metropolis of Houston?  
  •  We've found just such a place.  
  •  The strangely beautiful story of Liendo began over one hundred years ago. 
  •  In 1853 Leonard B. Gross built an elaborate plantation house and moved his family there.  
  •  The new home, named "Liendo" for a former owner of the plantation, stood in a grove of live oaks, near a bend in a creek.  
  •  Here, Liendo has stood for over a century defying time and weather, preserving a portrait of an era that is gone. 
  •  The home is a two story clap board structure set on a red brick foundation.  
  •  The roof is of heavy cedar shingles.  
  •  The double veranda across the front of the house is supported by four tall square columns.  
  •  The lumber used was cut from Georgia long leaf yellow pine, shipped to Houston, then taken 50 miles west by ox cart to the remote site.  
  •  At the rear, an outside staircase gives easy access to the house.  
  •  This was used in rainy weather to protect the main entrance. 
  •   It must be remembered that Liendo's time was an era where the main entrance and parlor were off bounds until visitors arrived. 
  •  The many windows, once shuttered against the South Texas sun, now light eleven large rooms, all of which have high ceilings. 
  •  One such room is the elaborate master bedroom with its 4 poster bed. 
  •  Even as one enters this room, he is taken back a hundred years to another Texas, an early Texas, where furnishings were built to last. 
  •  Crude by modern standards, these furnishings were the best that money could buy in the middle of the 19 thcentury.  
  •  Many of these pieces were shipped to Liendo from eastern cities. 
  •  Others, such as plain pine tables, stools, shelves, were handmade by a local carpenter. 
  •  Burned into wood by an early artist, is a portrait of William Gross, member of the family that built Liendo and occupied the mansion until 1873.  
  •  While it was the Gross family that built and furnished much of Liendo, the plantation is associated more closely with another family and in particular with one woman.  
  •  To find out a little more about her, we went to the hall.  
  •  Here we saw a self sculpted portrait of Elizabet Ney.  
  •  Time doesn't permit the telling of the strange story of Liendo's most famous mistress.   
  •  Suffice it to say, Liendo's story would be incomplete without a mention of this remarkable woman. 
  •  In the parlor of Liendo can be found many interesting items, such as a table at which Sam Houston and other notables sat. 
  •  Here too, in the cornices above the draperies, can be seen artistic wood work, painstakingly executed. 
  •  The plastered mantle in the parlor is of black and gold marble.  
  •  In Liendo's greatest days of splendor, this room was the focal point. 
  •  Cotton kings and merchants stood under these chandeliers and toasted an era of great wealth.  
  •  As the war between the states ended, so ended the graciousness and opulence of Liendo.  
  •  The plantation with its fine furnishing became an economic liability for that time.  
  •  Today Liendo is owned by a descendent of the Gross family. 
  •  She has restored the plantation house to its former beauty, a beauty enhanced by moss covered oaks. 
  •  Historic, magnificent, Liendo. 
 
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This clip, originally aired as part of the January 6, 1958 episode of "Texas In Review," presents a history and tour of Liendo Plantation. Built in 1853 near Hempstead, Texas by Leonard Groce, Liendo is an example of a classic southern plantation, known for its lavish hospitality and notable occupants. The tour of the eleven-room house highlights architectural features, building materials and some of the period furnishings.

"Texas in Review" was a television series sponsored by the Humble Oil & Refining Company.  Originally produced in a news-like format by Fort Worth's Channel 5, the series was later given to the Jamieson Film Company, who developed its newsreel and TV-magazine style. For five years, Jamieson produced the program in its entirety (writing, filming, editing), until recession-induced budget cuts caused Humble Oil to cancel it in 1958. While on air in Dallas, it enjoyed the prime time spot between the popular "Burns & Allen" and "I Love Lucy."

Liendo Plantation was built in 1853 by Leonard Waller Groce, the son of Jared Groce, who was one of the largest, most respected land owners in Texas. Originally a Spanish land grant of 67,000 acres assigned to Justo Liendo, the plantation's namesake, Liendo was one of Texas' earliest cotton plantations.
 
It was considered the social center of Texas receiving and lavishly entertaining early Texas dignitaries and notorieties. Liendo was considered a typical Southern plantation, having over 300 slaves and being itself built by slave labor. Sufficient in all its needs; it was a self contained community. Like most Southern plantations, however, Liendo fell on hard times after the Civil War and changed owners several times thereafter.
 
Liendo had always been recognized for its warm Southern hospitality, but few people know that this same tradition of generosity probably saved it from destruction. Among the more notable statesmen and historical figures that have spent time at Liendo was George A. Custer. At the end of the Civil War, he was stationed at Liendo. It is said that both Mr. Custer and his wife were so impressed with the plantation and the gracious hospitality shown to them during their stay, that they made sure Liendo was not harmed in way in appreciation.
 
Liendo was also occupied by world renowned sculptress Elisabet Ney and her husband Dr. Edmond Montgomery from 1873 to 1911. She and her husband had immigrated years before from Europe to the United States but had never found a new home until they found Liendo. It is reported that Elisabet, upon arriving at Liendo, walked out on the balcony, threw out her arms and said "This is where I will live and die." She lived out her life at Liendo, commuting to her art studio in Austin. She and Dr. Montgomery are buried on the Plantation grounds. She sculpted many notable works, two of her most recognized pieces being the statues of Stephen F. Austin and Sam Houston which now stand in the state capitol.
 
In 1960 Carl and Phylis Detering purchased Liendo from Miss Willene Compton and began their 10 year job of restoring the plantation home. Traveling throughout the deep South and Europe, the Deterings acquired period furnishings and faithfully restored Liendo to its former glory. Liendo is recognized as a Texas historic landmark and is listed on the national register of historic places. Today, Will Detering owns and operates Liendo Plantation and continues the work of preserving and sharing this Texas landmark.