The George Washington Baines, III, Home
709 East Sul Ross Avenue
This historic grey stucco house was originally the home of newlyweds George W. and Maude Hancock Baines, who were married on December 31, 1908. It is purported to have been a wedding gift to the young couple from the bride’s father, W. B. Hancock. It was one of the earliest homes in town to have central heating, a coal burning furnace in the basement, and indoor plumbing. The huge elm trees on the property were also a part of the wedding gift. The fully grown trees were shipped in by rail and planted in 1909. The hardwood floors, windows, and much of the cabinetry are original.
George Baines, III, was the grandson and son of Baptist ministers. His father is credited with preaching the first sermon in Murphyville (Alpine) in 1883 and later served as minister of the Alpine church from 1904-1907. George, III, received most of his early education in Cleburne, but completed high school in Alpine. He then attended Baylor and a business college and returned to Alpine in 1905 where he gained employment as a bookkeeper at the newly organized First National Bank. He was elected to Alpine’s first City Commission in 1917 and was mayor for two terms. He took an active role in all civic affairs and was instrumental in the establishment of both Sul Ross State College and Big Bend National Park. Baines Park on E. Gallego was so named in his honor. Mr. Baines died in 1957.
Maude Baines was born in Alpine in 1887 to W. B. and Nellie Powe Hancock, both of whom were pioneer settlers in the Big Bend area. Like her father and husband, she was tireless in her efforts to help secure Sul Ross and the Park; and Alpine’s citizens have benefited greatly from her work in helping to establish the Community Center and Brewster County Hospital. After her husband’s death, Maude obtained a realtor’s license, established Baines Realty, and worked until the mid 1970’s. She died in 1977.
The Baines were parents of three daughters—Dorothy, who died in infancy; Helen, who died in her mid 20’s following a tonsillectomy; and Elizabeth, who married and moved to California with her young family and became a teacher and administrator in the Los Angeles public schools. The contributions made by the Baines/Hancock families to the Alpine area are incalculable.
Numerous families have lived in this old home since Mrs. Baines’ death. Present owners are Roger Beasley and wife, Dr. Rochelle Sohl, who purchased the property in January 2010.