The Crawford House at 428 Westmoreland Avenue was built in 1904 in the Westmoreland neighborhood by August LeBrun Metcalf. Metcalf constructed numerous homes in Houston’s historic districts, including Westmoreland, Houston Heights, and Old Sixth Ward. The house at 428 Westmoreland Avenue exhibits characteristics of the Colonial Revival style, and features giant Corinthian columns, Palladian windows, and a small cantilevered second floor balcony. In 1906, Metcalf sold the newly constructed house to Clara Edwards Crawford. Her husband, Elbert C Crawford, founded many city businesses, including The Texas Coffee, Tea, and Spice Company. In 1918, the house was sold to Carl F. Gydeson, president of Gyedson-Manford Cadillac Company. When Gydeson died in 1946 the home was willed to his youngest son, Morris, who lived there until 1968. The Crawford House was one of the first houses to be built in the Westmoreland Addition, Houston’s first planned, elite residential area, and retains a very high level of architectural integrity. The Crawford House is classified as a contributing structure to both the Westmoreland National Register District (1994) and the City of Houston Historic District (1997).
In the year 1900, the 44 acres of land that was to become the Westmoreland Addition was an expanse of open prairie. In August 1902, South End Land Company purchased and platted the land as a 12-block subdivision of Lot 22 of the original Obedience Smith Survey. South End Land Company was founded in 1902 by W. W. Baldwin of Burlington, Iowa and was based in Des Moines County, Iowa. In 1904, South End Land Company sold Lot 3 and half of Lot 4 to Mina Metcalf for $2,100. At this time, the Secretary of South End Land Company was Martin T. Baldwin and the Treasurer was J. E. Breed, both of Cook County, Illinois. In addition to being the president of South End Land Company, W. W. Baldwin was a lawyer and a railroad executive. He was president of the St. Louis, Keouk & Northwestern Railway and the Chicago, Burlington & Kansas City Railway. Under South End Land Company Mr. Baldwin later developed Westmoreland Farms on the southwest side of Houston in what is now Bellaire, Texas. The Crawford House at 428 Westmoreland Avenue was built in 1904 in the Westmoreland Addition to the City of Houston by August LeBrun Metcalf. A. L. Metcalf was born in 1843 in Conewango, Cattaraugus, New York. In the 1880 Federal Census he and wife Mina were living in Bradford, McKean County, Pennsylvania. The Metcalfs had three children: son, Lee and daughters, Clair and Mable. The family arrived in Houston as early as November 9, 1895 at which time he was listed on a contract to construct a home in the area. According to the City Directories, in 1905 and 1906 (the same year he sold 428 Westmoreland) A. L. Metcalf was living at 210 Westmoreland and in 1907 he resided at 415 Westmoreland. The City Directories also indicate that 428 Westmoreland was vacant until Clara and Elbert Crawford resided there in 1907. A. L. Metcalf constructed many houses throughout Houston, including those in the fashionable Westmoreland neighborhood, at least one in Old Sixth Ward and another in Houston Heights, using plans from George Franklin Barber, a Knoxville, Tennessee, architect. Barber published several catalogues of house plans, including “Cottage Souvenir No. 2”, “Modern Homes”, and “New Modern Homes.” Metcalf also used plans from the Barber and Kluttz catalogue, “Art and Architecture” in 1902- 03 for several homes in Westmoreland. In the Westmoreland Neighborhood Metcalf built the houses at 415 Emerson Street, 304 Hawthorne Street, 3604 Garrott Street, 210 Marshall Street, and 217 Marshall Street. Metcalf also constructed the Staiti House at 425 Westmoreland, which was relocated to Sam Houston Park in 1986. Metcalf constructed the house at 443 Heights Boulevard in Houston Heights, which originally was a twin of 304 Hawthorne in Westmoreland, but the house on Heights Boulevard was drastically altered in 1994. One of Metcalf’s earliest works is the house at 2003 Decatur, located within the Old Sixth Ward Historic District. The final listing of A. L. Metcalf in the area is in 1917 in a contract to build a home in Houston. On March 20, 1906, Metcalf deeded 428 Westmoreland Avenue to Clara Edwards Crawford, wife of businessman, Elbert C. Crawford for $5,850. In the city directories the home is shown as vacant until 1907 when it became the residence of the Crawfords. E. C. Crawford was born February 2, 1850 in Fayetteville, Arkansas and moved to Dallas, Texas in 1868 when he was eighteen years old. While in Dallas he founded The Dallas Coffee and Spice Mills with fellow proprietor, William Hammond. Mr. Crawford is first listed in the Houston City Directories in 1879. In the 1880 Federal Census he was living in the city of Houston at the home of Mrs. Theodosia Hall, a teacher, and her daughter Clara Hall, also a teacher. Clara and Elbert were married on July 5, 1880. Elbert briefly pursued a career as a school teacher which he abandoned to pursue a life in business with his brother, John Wesley Crawford, three years his junior. In 1878, the Crawford Brothers founded the Texas Coffee, Tea, and Spice Company at 130 to 134 Texas Avenue in Houston. Together, they were manufacturers and wholesalers of Crawford’s Baking Powder, “liquid and dry blues, and yeast cakes…grocers’ specialties, teas, etc.” They also sold freshly ground spices and roasted coffees. The Texas Coffee, Tea, and Spice Company became a large, well known business in Houston grossing $85,000 a year. In 1880, E. C. Crawford bought out his brother and became sole proprietor. In addition to the Texas Coffee, Tea, and Spice Company, Elbert Crawford owned Texas Star Creamery (1601 Washington), Crawford’s Baking Powder, Texas Chemical Works (807 San Jacinto), and The Wonder Store (101 Main Street). He was also the manager of Houston Land and Investment Company (1016½ Congress Avenue) and Crawford Furniture Company (2421 McKinney). Elbert Crawford was also one of the largest owners of the Belle Plain Addition to Houston that was platted in 1875 by Nelson M. Smith. E. C. Crawford died in Houston on April 6, 1918 at the age of 67. Among the property willed to his widow, Clara, included personal property valued at $800, 30 shares at one dollar each of Texas Petroleum Company, and land in the E. C. Crawford Addition to the City of Houston, the Harry Austin League in Brazoria County, the South Mexia Addition in Limestone County, and the Crawford Addition to the High School Addition in Quinton, Pittsburg, Texas. On May 6, 1918, Clara Crawford, Elbert’s widow, sold 428 Westmoreland to Carl Frederick and Marietta Gydeson for $7,000. Carl Gydeson was born April 25, 1876 in Denmark. immigrated to Houston with his Danish parents in 1881 and was naturalized in 1884. He was vice-president of Houston Motor Car Company, President of Gydeson-Manford Cadillac Company, and proprietor of Gydeson & Sons, manufacturer of lubricating oils, located at 435 Bankers Mortgage Building, Houston. Carl and Marietta had three children, Carletta, Carl Frederick Jr., and Morris, born 1902, 1905, and 1907 respectively. According to Houston City Directories it appears that, upon Carl’s death on October 1, 1946, 428 Westmoreland was inherited by youngest son, Morris and his wife, Loretta. Morris and Loretta Gydeson are listed in the Houston City Directories as residents of 428 Westmoreland until 1968. Between 1969 and 1973 the home was rented by several different students including Douglas Lewis (1969-1970), Sonny Stuart (1971), Wally Washington (1972), and Tim Leong (1973, 1975). It also appears that Morris owned the property until it was purchased by Carroll Shaddok in 1978.