The John J. O'Brien House
This fine old, well maintained home is located at 1003, Commerce Street, Refugio (map item 85). This home was occupied by John J. O'Brien and his wife, Fern Dolores Ohler O'Brien until their deaths.
It was originally built in 1930 with an additional two wings being added in 1940. It was furnished with many imported collector items and was know far and wide for its elegant furnishings.
Notice the statues of the two lions that grace the entrance to this home located on the same street and approximately one block south of the Mitchell "Anaqua" house.
The Shelton House
This two-story Victorian mansion at 809 S. Alamo, was originally built by Ben Shelton who first started a business at Blanconia in Bee County. A little more than two years later he moved his stock of goods with 18 wagons to Refugio, and there set up as a general merchandiser in May, 1907. He owned two business buildings, farm lands, along with oil and gas interests.
In 1907, Shelton built a "little bungalow" that was located to the north of the current Shelton house. In 1927 the bungalow was moved to the present location and additions were started including a second story. (map item 86)
Shelton was a self made man, having attended a private college in Portland, Texas and later graduating from Alamo City Commercial College. He began work as a clerk for only $15 per month.
Rose Lambert House
The house was built in 1905 for Mrs. James (Rosie O'Brien) Lambert, daughter of John Thomas O'Brien. It had been built as a two story house with a turret on the northeast corner and a tower at the center. These were later removed to make a three story house and they were replaced by a gabled roof and dormer windows. Also, porches on the first and second floor were extended around the octagon bay on the north side. (map item 87)
When the home was built, it had a most curious roof line. This type of roof line and finishing is characteristic of the Late Victorian or Queen Ann Style.
Due to a fire in the late 1930's the roof was lost. Rather than restore the roof, it was decided to modernize the home's appearance and to create a large room on the third floor which spans the length of the house.