To the homeowner’s knowledge, 204 Griffith Avenue was built in 1874 and is rumored to be the fourth oldest home in Terrell. It is believed to be the first house built on what would become Griffith Avenue. The street was originally Winter Avenue. A. H. Neathery and his wife Jemina purchased a 6-acre lot for $200.00 from Jeremiah C. Griffith to build their home. In 1880, the Neatherys moved from Terrell. They sold the house to Mary Adeline Tucker Allen, who purchased it jointly with her daughter, Bettie, and son-in-law Reverend John Powers. Reverend Powers, a Methodist minister, was assigned to the church in Terrell. Mrs. Allen liked Terrell and decided to move to be close to her daughter.
Mrs. Allen and Mrs. Powers operated a private school at 204 Griffith from 1880-1886, giving the names to some of the rooms that have lingered on…the library (adjacent to the dining room) and the Music Room (the living room at the front of the house facing Griffith and Rockwall). In 1900, Mrs. Allen sold her half of the almost 6-acre property to Sidney J. Bass for $750! Sidney Bass’ wife, Leda, was the youngest daughter of Mrs. Allen. The home was Victorian in appearance at the time, and the front door was located facing Rockwall Avenue. Sidney and Leda Bass did significant remodeling on the house, moving an entire section of the home to the back. They referred to the most frequently used side door (facing Griffith Avenue) as the front door so the home could have a Griffith Avenue address as the street became “en vogue” during this time. When the Bass’s youngest son got married in 1916, they decided to build a house for the newly wedded couple next door, which is now 208 Griffith Avenue.
The Bass’ oldest son, Tucker, and his daughter Peggy returned to Terrell in 1932 to take care of aging parents and run the family business, the historic Bass Rutledge Drug Company, which was founded in 1876 by the Bass brothers, Sidney and John H. Bass.
During the years of operation of the British Flying Training School in Terrell, 204 Griffith was a popular place for picnics, parties, and budding courtships between the local girls and the British cadets. Peggy Holton, also known as “Miss Peggy,” lived in the home until 1946 when she married Charlie Holton. The Bass family left home to their daughters, Ruebe, and Leda. Ruebe and her husband, Colonel Paul Sheppard, lived in the house until 1971 when Ruebe passed.
Leda and her family moved into the home in the early 1950s, adding a restroom upstairs. They painted the entire house white, including the shutters. Leda also screened in the outdoor porch facing Rockwall Ave. The family refused to put the home on the historic registry because Leda did not want to be restricted regarding what she could do to the house. The home was passed down to Ruebe’s and Leda’s daughters.
In 1987, Peggy and Charlie Holton purchased their cousin’s interest in the property so that Peggy could return to her childhood home. Peggy brought the place back to life by painting the house, restoring the original green color to the window shutters, and installing railings on the porch. She had bookcases installed in the library and remodeled the kitchen. Miss Peggy passed away in 2013, and the estate sold her home, which had stayed in possession of the Allen descendants for 134 years! John Dean Allen and Doug Skinner purchased the house, making many improvements, including remodeling a garage apartment, renovating the kitchen, and improving the foundation and plumbing.
In December 2020, the Warnock family purchased the home, finding it fitting that the new superintendent of Terrell Schools, Dr. Georgeanne Warnock, would live in what was once the first schoolroom in Terrell.
Interesting Facts from the owners:
In the living room, the mantle is original to the home.
The door to the porch on Rockwall Ave is believed to be original; it is a very large doorway because, at the time the home was built, the dearly departed would lie in state in the house, so doorways had to be wide enough for a casket to be brought in and out of the home.
The frame and some of the glass around the door leading out to the porch are original to the home.
There are eight fireplaces in the home (three in operation); the other five have been covered up during remodels and renovations, but there is evidence of them in the attic.
In the library, Dr. Warnock’s grandmother passed the game table down; it was one of her most precious pieces of furniture. Dr. Warnock says she spent many summer evenings at Meemaw’s home, playing cards at the table.
In the library, a pair of shoes belonged to one of the previous owners. The Warnocks found them in a closet when they moved into the home.
In what is now the main bedroom (downstairs), the dresser belonged to Dr. Warnock’s great-grandmother and has been passed down in the family over time.
In the Library, you will find a travel tree. The Warnocks have collected ornaments over the years from their travels, and it is a special time each year when it is time to decorate that tree, telling stories and memories from adventures.
In the Library, you will find a collection of Santas tucked into the bookcases. You will also find a hand-painted Christmas village gifted to the family by Matt Warnock’s mom.
Overall, the Christmas decorations are a collection passed down from Dr. Warnock’s grandmothers and mother and then collected over the years.