Chip and Joanna Gaines have acquired an entire castle—specifically, the Cottonland Castle, a Waco landmark begun in 1890, finished around 1913, and vacant for 20 years. It is apparently a total wreck.
The Waco Tribune confirmed the news:
“I can confirm that Magnolia has purchased the historic Cottonland Castle,” Magnolia spokesman John Marsicano wrote in an email to the Tribune-Herald. “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.”
I certainly hope it’s a restoration, because if I see any farmhouse touches tucked into spaces like this, I am going to going to lose my entire damn shit. I better not see any whitewash or shiplap, so help me God, do not do it, Joanna.
Of course, the name “Cottonland Castle” fills me with the sort of dull, heavy buzz in my skull that usually signals the presence of an artifact of the south’s deeply racist history, and while it was built at the turn of the century and not the height of the antebellum period, those Tudor details really evoke all those prewar southerners shooting Sir Walter Scott straight into their veins. Though—twist!—it was actually finished under the auspices of Captain Alfred Abeel, a Union veteran of the Civil War who “had moved in 1872 to Waco, where he amassed a fortune in the hardware, banking, railroad, ice and artesian water businesses.”
On a purely practical level, the Gaines have their work cut out for them. We are talking alterations at potentially double the cost of the dress here, people:
The German-style fortress oozes history and lore but also reeks of water damage aggravated by a lack of moisture and humidity controls, rotting woodwork, antiquated electrical and plumbing systems, and a weather-worn stone exterior that time and the elements have rendered mossy-colored.
But what’s water damage and potentially racist ghosts when you could have this as your solarium?
Or this as your weirdly 1970s fireplace?
A camera crew has already been spotted clambering around the property. It’s like they knew just how to suck me back in.