Chip and Joanna Gaines proved with their mega HGTV hit Fixer Upper that there isn't anything that their renovating can't transform. From old houses in complete disrepair to old barns, the Gaines family can do it all. The beloved couple purchased the historic Cottonland Castle in their native Waco, Texas back in 2019. Known as "The Castle" to Wacoans, the project is full of a lot of local history, from its stonework to previous ownership.
A spokesperson from Magnolia Realty spoke to WTHR back in 2019 when the news was announced.
"I can confirm that Magnolia has purchased the historic Cottonland Castle. For nearly two decades, Chip and Joanna have admired the property as a hallmark of the Castle Heights neighborhood--they've even made past attempts to purchase it. The property is an iconic piece of Waco's history and while specific plans have not yet been determined, one thing is for certain: their efforts will focus on fully completing the home's long overdue and well deserved restoration."
The Ultimate Fixer Upper
In the years since, the famous couple has left HGTV to start their own network, the Magnolia Network. The Magnolia brand has continued to grow and grow, now with numerous new renovation shows under the Magnolia name. Chip and Jo even brought back the show that started it all with an updated title, Fixer Upper: Welcome Home, and the second season has a very special star -- the Cottonwood Castle. Fixer Upper: Welcome Home - The Castle will premiere on October 14, and you'll get to follow along as they tackle bringing this historic structure back to life room by room. Follow the couple during their renovation on Discovery Plus, TV, or HBO Max. If you find yourself in Waco this fall, you can even tour the castle in person now through October 26 to see the finished product up close.
The Story Behind the Castle
The German-style castle on Austin Ave started construction back in 1890 during the days of the booming cotton industry. John Tennant, a local stone contractor, decided to build himself an incredibly impressive home on the outskirts of town. According to WacoHistory.com, Tennant struck a deal with banker J. W. Mann and was given this land in exchange for the stone to use as a gravestone. Unfortunately for Tennant, he didn't have the money to complete the project and sold the property to cotton broker Ripley Hanrick in 1906, but was kept on to help finish work on the stone. Again, the project was too complicated, and the men abandoned the house in 1908.
A few years later, investor Roy E. Lane saw some serious potential in the unfinished house. Civil War veteran Capt. Alfred Abeel purchased the home and hired Lane to help him finish the project that at this point, was over 20 years in the making. Lane chose to model the frame into a castle and created The Cottonland Castle.
The home has passed through some other owners since its creation, with the most recent doing upgrades to the plumbing and putting Chip and Jo in the perfect position to sweep in and bring all parts of disrepair back to its former glory. Here's a look inside the historic piece of real estate.
The exterior of the 6,700 square foot castle is incredibly majestic, complete with a 9-foot oak front door that weighs a staggering 400 lbs.
With multiple incredible fireplaces, we can't wait to see what magic Jo is planning for these interiors. She also has some incredible natural light in these living spaces.
The entryway brings you into this stairwell which we have no doubt Chip can upgrade with a little demo and TLC.
Bay windows for days. This home has so many incredible windows with multiple opportunities for dining and reading nooks and anything else that Chip and Jo have up their sleeves. Jo is the queen of cozy touches, so it will undoubtedly look incredible once complete.
No castle is complete without some outdoor space for entertaining. I wonder what they'll put here...maybe some cozy couches or an outdoor dining table? Some picturesque lighting is a must.
This article was originally published in 2019. It was updated on Sept. 27, 2022.
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