The public is invited to view the historic Polley Mansion in Sutherland Springs on Saturday, Jan. 21, from 10 a.m. to noon. The grand two-story homestead is undergoing preservation and restoration by its new owners, Keith and Robin Muschalek, to whom the Wilson County Beautification Association will present a Beautification Award at the event.
Free tours of the 19th-century mansion will be available, to view the mansion before major interior restoration continues. The historic home is located about 2 miles north of Sutherland Springs on F.M. 539.
The Polley Mansion, built by Joseph H. Polley from 1848-51, is also called Whitehall. The home has received a State of Texas Historical Marker and, in 2016, was added to Preservation Texas’ Most Endangered Places List.
The restoration work on the local landmark is challenging and important. Keith Muschalek said, “We welcome volunteers, especially skilled artisans, carpenters, masons, and painters to participate in the preservation work over the next 12 months.”
Polley was born in Whitehall, New York, in 1795. He was one of the first 22 settlers to come to Stephen F. Austin’s Colony in 1821. In the “Runaway Scrape,” Polley escorted women and children out of harm’s way when Santa Anna’s troops came into central Texas during the revolution of 1836.
Joseph Polley first came to Texas with Moses Austin, the father of Stephen F. Austin, in 1820. Polley returned to Texas a year later with Stephen, who appointed Polley as the colony’s first sheriff. Polley’s wife, Mary Bailey, came to Texas before both Austins in 1818, with her father, the infamous James Britton “Brit” Bailey. Both Brit Bailey and Joseph Polley were veterans of the War of 1812. Joseph and Mary married in 1823.
In 1847, Polley moved from his home on the Brazos to build a new home on a small hill overlooking the Cibolo Creek about 2 miles north of old Sutherland Springs, in what was then Guadalupe County and is now Wilson County. He called it “Whitehall” in honor of his birthplace.
In recent years, the mansion fell into disrepair but in 2015 was purchased by the Muschaleks, who have begun careful restorations to the mansion. A nonprofit foundation, Friends of the Polley Mansion, has been established to provide additional support for the preservation of the landmark. Visit PolleyAssociation.org and Facebook for more information.
Beautification award day
•What: The Wilson County Beautification Association will present its first quarter 2017 award to the Polley Mansion, for its owners’ efforts to clean up and restore this national and state historic landmark. Tours will be available.
•When: Saturday, Jan. 21, 10 a.m. to noon
•Where: Polley Mansion, also known as Whitehall, 11432 F.M. 539, 2 miles north of Sutherland Springs
•Contact: Keith Muschalek, 571-606-3385 or firstname.lastname@example.org