In 1933, the state of Texas sent Lillian Peek, the state supervisor of home economics, to seek a site for a new home economics program. She selected Mineral Wells, a community located not far from Fort Worth, in rural Palo Pinto county. Originally intended to be located in a former school building, the city instead decided to demolish the old school and build the first free-standing house built for home economics educators in Texas.
The building was constructed of native stone. The WPA, led by contractor W. W. Brassel, worked one day for pay and one day for free to complete the building for occupancy on February 21, 1934. The “semi-Georgian” style cottage was designed by architect A. Howell, and cost $11,200, with additional cost for the furnishings of just over $2,000. The cottage contained a foods laboratory (kitchen with 6 units), clothing laboratory (containing sewing machines), living and dining room with rustic faux fireplace, bedroom, bathroom, and terrace. (“Lillian Peek homemaking building finished in 1934”, February 12, 2013, Mountaineer Heritage Park Blog)
The 50 Year Club of Mineral Wells is working on restoration and renovation of the building, and it has been partially completed. Both current and historic images and updates can be seen at their blog, Mountaineer Heritage Park Blog.
Sources: “Creative Arts Center on Sunday’s Zonta Tour,” December 1, 2006, MineralWellsIndex.com; Judith Richards Shubert digitized photographs from 1934, 1935, and 1939 Mineral Wells High School Burros yearbook and minutes from the October 1935 school board, retrieved from http://mountaineerheritagepark.blogspot.com/2013/02/lillian-peek-homemaking-building.html; Living Room in Home Econmics., Photograph, n.d.; (http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth25049/ : accessed November 13, 2014), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, http://texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Boyce Ditto Public Library, Mineral Wells, Texas.