Wicklow Inn
"The Scales Fortson House"
Historical Marker
Corsicana, Navarro County, Texas


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The Scales-Forston House Historical Marker 


8/1/2003 Wicklow Inn historical marker approved


The Heritage Preservation Commission unanimously granted the Wicklow Inn at 220 N. 14th St. a historic resource designation at Thursday's meeting, and approved a design for the marker that will be displayed on resource sites.

Owned by Bob and Donna O'Toole, the Wicklow Inn property includes what is believed to be the only surviving carriage house in Corsicana.

"We're going to continue to restore it into useful space," Bob O'Toole said.

Commission chairman Brad Cook the small structure, which once housed horses and carriages following its construction around the turn of the century, will be protected by the designation as will the newly-repainted mansion.

At more than a century old, the house has three full floors and a basement with about 6,500 square feet of living area. It has six fireplaces, music and dining rooms and a library along with numerous bedrooms and baths.

The historic Inn, along with about 20 other sites in town officially designated as historic resources, will display a metal plaque, and the design has been the subject of intense discussion for months.

Commissioner Bill Young, a well-known local archaeologist, pointed out early in the process that by law, plaques must be easily distinguishable from official Texas historical markers.

"We have decided on an oval pattern with an oil derrick ... with a cotton design on the sides and the lone star on top of the derrick," Cook said.

The word "Corsicana" will be spelled out around the top oval with "Historic landmark" at the bottom.

"I think what we went for was something that would be timeless but unique to Corsicana," said Mark Lynn Cook who chaired a design sub committee.

Cook asked landmark owners, including commissioners Tom Page, Jerry Jackson and Joe Brooks, along with O'Toole, for their input as well.

"This is something we're looking at putting on your structures," he said. "We want something these landmark owners will be proud of."

O'Toole said Wicklow Inn will sport both Corsicana and state markers, and he pointed out the importance of deciding on a size that is compatible with the Texas marker.

"I would assume that most of the houses that are going to have these will have the Texas marker, too," O'Toole said. "(The Corsicana marker) should not be significantly smaller, because then it's really going to be lost."

An artist's sketch of the proposed design showed an oval about 8 inches across and 11 inches high, but several commissioners favored a slightly larger plaque.

Ultimately, commissioners decided to approve the design with a size to be determined after further study.

In other business, commissioners:

n Discussed ways to salvage historically-significant bits and pieces of houses that are scheduled to be demolished or substantially altered. It was suggested that a group of volunteers willing to do the salvage work with commission support would be beneficial to the effort to recycle historic resources.

n Requested suggestions for candidates to replace retired member Bobbie J. Perry.

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Copyright March, 2009
Edward L. Williams & Barbara Knox