Brackenridge Family Home Site
In 1852, John Adams Brackenridge moved his family to Jackson County, Texas. He could see the business prospects and was hopeful the Texas climate would benefit his health. He opened a mercantile store in the county seat, Texana. Business boomed in this area, and Brackenridge’s mercantile business and his wealth increased. He purchased the Joseph H. Rector League where he selected the site of his plantation home. Mr. Brackenridge built a two-story plantation home on a knoll shaded by a motte of oaks overlooking to the east the thickly wooded Navidad River bottom. In front of the house, the ground sloped off gently. The house was located 3,000 feet from the Navidad River. (The riverbed has now been covered by Lake Texana).
A cistern was used to catch rain water that drained off the roof into gutters. The cistern is estimated to be approximately 19' deep and 19' wide. The Brackenridge cistern held about 32,000 gallons of water. (Some say the size of a cistern indicated social status). This was the largest structure ever recorded in Texana. The top of this enormous cistern is still visible at the homesite, but LNRA has covered it with a steel grate. (The grate is for your safety, but allows you to see inside the cistern and appreciate the size and man-hours required to build this structure).
Near the cistern is a picture of the plantation home and a brief history of the well-known pioneer and philanthropic family that were among the first to settle in Jackson County, Texas. The plantation house was sold and moved to Edna in the 1880s to be converted to the Emerald Hotel, which was in operation until it was destroyed by fire in 1899.