Historical Travis County homestead saved, relocated

With land between Cedar Park and Jonestown prepared for new houses to go up, a rescue mission got underway Tuesday to move out an original homestead. 

A crew from Brown & Sons House Moving hauled off an old wooden structure, the kind of job, project manager Junior Brown said they specialize in.

"We are saving history. That's what I'm all about is saving history. I worked with Pioneer Farms a lot, and we saved a lot of buildings there," said Brown.

The structure in tow was slowly brought off the limestone rock and down Nameless Road. Firefighters with Travis County ESD 1 provided a safety buffer, so the movers could navigate the two-lane road. This relocation effort was organized by Friends of Nameless School, a local preservation group.

"It was a big moment, but it wasn't anxiety. It was, oh my gosh, I can't believe it's happening," said Mary Cameron with Friends of Nameless School.


The house built back in the 1870s is a design is called a dog run. That's because originally the center was open to provide air flow and workspace, according to Rich Denney with the Travis County Historical Commission.

"This is probably the oldest surviving building from the old Nameless community," said Denney.

The construction is similar to what’s found in the mountains of East Tennessee.

"There were cut nails, matched cut nails, which told us, these weren't randomly put in here. They were all put in at the same time for some purpose prior, scurrying around the building. And then the logs underneath were hand-hewn. And then looking at the limestone steps, and a hand-hewn fireplace inside, large fireplace, maybe for cooking or something," said Denney.

The house was all but forgotten until rediscovered in August by Paula Fiedler. She lives in the Travisso subdivision and started making calls.

"Everybody got the ball rolling. Instantly that day I said, Oh my gosh, the bulldozers are this close. If we're going to do something, we've got to do it like now," said Fiedler.

The developer of Travisso provided $15,000 for the move.

"This is our way to give back to the community and honor the history of the people who lived here before us. And we're really excited to be able to do it," said Travisso market manager Kathy Mayer.

The house was built by Hubbard Gray, a teacher who relocated with his wife Eliza from San Saba. A gravesite for the Gray family will remain on the Travisso property. The plan is to provide protective fencing around it. It’s believed Gray and his wife started the first local school in the area. Their home was placed next to the old Nameless School House located across the roadway. 


It was built in 1908 and is now a gathering area for the community. There is a lot of history already out here on this property, which is owned by Travis County. The addition of the house is not just about preserving history but providing this community with another link to its past. That includes how the community ended up with such a strange name.

"It was in 1880, they decided that they wanted to have a post office. They applied, and they presented about five different names, and they kept coming back, No, that's already taken. So finally, they just wrote back; well, let it be Nameless and be damned. And then the postal system wrote back and said Nameless, it is so it's been Nameless ever since," said Ginny Kercheville with Friends of Nameless School.

The rediscovery of the Gray House, according to Kercheville, will require a rewrite of their information brochure, a job she welcomes.

"It's wonderful. I think it's really important. And I think all the new people here are real interested in knowing what came before on this property," said Kercheville.

The house arrived no worse than its wear; eventually the plan is to renovate.

"We will apply for grants. We want to take it. Oh, it was taken out of 1873ish and moved toward the 1960s. We want to take it back to the original. It has cedar shakes under the metal roof. Don't know what shape they're in, but we would dearly like to have it back to the 1870s," said Cameron.

A community event is schedule for this Saturday starting at noon.