By Betsy Dolan
A 100-year old mansion that once stood in a prominent downtown Richmond location, was home to a former Texas Ranger and was even cut into pieces and moved in the 1970’s, is poised to begin the next chapter in it’s already colorful history.
Great Oak Manor, which now sits in back of Greatwood off of FM 762 and has been a bed and breakfast as well as a wedding venue for the last eight years, is for sale. Fred and Carey Gulliksen who bought the home in 2004 have decided to retire and put the home on the market for $958,000 a few months ago.
“It is bittersweet because we put all of our retirement money and our lives into it for the last nine years,” said Carey. “I really think this would be a great property for a family.”
Built in 1912 by Clement Newton Bassett, a former Texas Ranger known for his preference of carrying six guns at all times, the nearly 10,000 square foot home was originally built on the site of the old Fort Bend County Courthouse annex. Bassett lived there with his second wife, Libby Mitchell Bassett. Clement died in 1914, but Libby continued to live in the home until she passed away in 1941. Their daughter, Eleanor Bassett Williams lived in the home with her daughter Elizabeth Williams until the 1960’s.
The county eventually bought the house and the land from the Williams’ with the intention of building a new addition to the county courthouse. While the new annex was being built, the county used the house as a temporary courthouse building eventually selling the home to Penny and Bernard Shaffer in an auction for $3,000.
The Shaffer’s, who owned the house but not the land it sat on, had the home cut into five pieces and spent $30,000 moving it to a quiet acreage near Macek Road and FM 762.
“The Shaffers thought that the location they picked was so remote that they would be able to live in the country for the rest of their days,” Gulliksen said. “They woke up one morning and Greatwood was being built.”
The Gulliksen’s bought the mansion from Penny Shaffer in 2004 and spent the next two years restoring the home, to its original glory which includes 13 bathrooms, 8 bedrooms, 3 laundry rooms and a 2,800 square foot loft on the third floor where the Gulliksen’s live. When the economic crisis hit in 2008 and a lot of their bed and breakfast customers stopped coming, the Gulliksen’s decided to expand and do weddings. The move was so successful that eventually they became a “wedding only” facility and converted the old barn into an event hall.
Now the couple says they are ready to retire and have already entertained inquiries from two potential buyers. They will have an estate sale the weekend after Thanksgiving to try and sell as many of the home’s furnishings as they can.
“We have so many happy memories here. We’ve been a part of so many memories,” Gulliksen said. “We want more memories to be made in this home.”