Built around 1900 by Dr. Hugh S. Dew, the plantation home in east Fort Bend County has been turned into a museum and anchors the DeWalt Heritage Center now open to the public for viewing. The historic home was unveiled this past weekend.
For the first time, the turn of the century Dew plantation home is open to the public. Anchoring the DeWalt Heritage Center in east Fort Bend County, the magnificent home underwent its unveiling this Sunday as a historic museum. Lisa Glenn, volunteer chair and instrumental in the project since the grass roots effort began said, “It has been a team effort” with Dew descendants, the Dale Dacus family and numerous others being credited for their contributions.
The Dew home was built more than 100 years ago, and today it is located at Fort Bend County’s Kitty Hollow Park, across from Sienna Plantation off State Highway 6, just three miles from its original location in the former DeWalt community, now part of Missouri City comprising Quail Valley, Riverstone and the Lake Olympia subdivisions.
The home was moved in 2006, during a midnight trek to minimize traffic disturbance with the relocation effort directed by Mayor Allen Owen along with others orchestrating the historic home’s move. “In 2005 when I learned that Dew House might be destroyed and started beating up Mayor Owen, Commissioner (Grady) Prestage and anyone who would listen,” Glenn said she sent a flurry of emails, and today, she is still incredulous about the end result.
Commissioner Prestage led the charge with the county for what resulted in Fort Bend County’s partnership with the Fort Bend County Museum Association to preserve the Dew Plantation house.
In touch with a past era this weekend, Dew house heir, Muffie Moroney who donated the historic home in 2006 for historic preservation, is joined for the unveiling of the home as a museum. With Moroney (left) next to a exhibited bell that hung in a barn is DeWalt Heritage Center volunteer chair Lisa Glenn; Moroney’s granddaughter Carrie Renshaw, Dew family friend “Nan-nan” Nancy Woods, who was born in DeWalt and grew up in the same community; Missouri City Mayor Allen Owen and Fort Bend County Commissioner Grady Prestage.
This past Saturday, as a prelude to the public opening, 67-year old Muffie Moroney, heir of the Dew family who donated the home in 2006 for historic preservation (actually it was sold to Fort Bend County for $1), was among the special guests at a small gathering. Moroney said she lived in the home and could remember when nights were much cooler in the summer time than they are today and sleeping with blankets was a must. She said she didn’t recall mosquitoes in this area, but remembers they were in Houston.
So, what’s there to see at the Dew House? Ask the 200 visitors that came out on opening day, and they’ll tell of the informative guided tours. At the plantation home, the treasured Dew family owned items on display give visitors a glance of this area’s past after seeing a replica of a Dew-owned post office. There’s family owned porcelain china, a lightning rod used on the home directing lightning strikes into the ground to protect the home and family members, and there is also farm equipment. The family raised cattle, and sugar cane was grown on the plantation which was sent to the Imperial Sugar Company.
According to the museum association, the Dew house was occupied by family members for over seven decades. Folklore includes incidents that probably have been embellished about ghosts that visit the house. Exactly what these Fort Bend ghosts are doing remains a mystery, but the latest tale is about something that took place at the home’s current location when it was being set up for its unveiling.
Diane Ware, Special Project Manager with the Fort Bend Museum Association, oversees the Heritage Center. For the time being, the Center will be open to the public by appointment possibly through the summer and after that, it may be open one day a week. It is currently available for tours and special events.
As for the overall effort, Glenn who volunteers at the home with her husband, says, “East Fort Bend County has its very own museum to preserve our rich past with future generations.”
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