Oil Tycoon’s 1927 White House Replica and Its Ship Channel Views Could Be Yours for $6 Million

The Sterling Mansion, 515 Bayridge Rd., La Porte, TX 77571

The century-old semi-model of the White House in Morgan’s Point, commissioned by then-future Texas governor Ross Sterling (founder of ExxonMobil’s Humble Oil beginnings), is once again up for grabs. The 20,689-sq.-ft. home at 515 Bayridge Rd. — purported to be the result of Sterling pointing at the back of a $20 bill and telling architect Alfred E. Finn to “build that” — went on the market this morning for $6 million (that’s 300,000 $20s).

The 9-bedroom, 15-bathroom mansion was converted into a dormitory-style boy’s home for the Optimist Club of Houston after Sterling’s death in 1949; it was sold in the early 1960’s to a Houston banker who eventually decided that cleaning it back up wasn’t worth the trouble. The house sat on the market for 8 years until its sale to a mysterious French Count-type in 1980. This time around, the house is being sold by an orthopedic surgeon who put in $1.5 million in renovations, including a sand-and-palm tree beach (tucked below the South(west) Portico on the edge of upper Galveston Bay):


The Sterling Mansion, 515 Bayridge Rd., La Porte, TX 77571

To the east, the house has a view across the Houston Ship Channel toward Sterling’s former Humble Oil facility in Baytown, now the largest petrochemical complex in the country. The dredged path of the Channel passes just to the east of the 6.89-acre estate, between the tip of the Morgan’s Point peninsula and wildlife-preserve-slash-pile-of-dredged-material Atkinson Island, before splitting off to allow access to the Port of Houston’s Barbour’s Cut facility (which runs along the back side of the peninsula half a mile to the north of the estate).

On a clear day, the graceful giant cranes of the Bayport container-turned-cruise-maybe-turning-back-to-just-container terminal are visible on the distant horizon to the southwest (on either side of the fourth column from the right, in the photo below):

The Sterling Mansion, 515 Bayridge Rd., La Porte, TX 77571

And here’s the view of the property from the front entrance to the north:

The Sterling Mansion, 515 Bayridge Rd., La Porte, TX 77571

The top level of the home holds a rooftop terrace, fenced in by those stone balustrades:

The Sterling Mansion, 515 Bayridge Rd., La Porte, TX 77571

The grand staircase framing the entryway descends over the arched doorways of matching ladies’ and gentlemen’s parlors and powder rooms:

The Sterling Mansion, 515 Bayridge Rd., La Porte, TX 77571

The Sterling Mansion, 515 Bayridge Rd., La Porte, TX 77571

Rumor also has it that Sterling asked Finn to design matching wings of the house that would have held a bowling alley and a shooting range, respectively.

Photos: HAR


On Sale in Morgan’s Point

12 Comment

  • Is that the correct address? Maps can’t find it, and HAR link is broken.

  • @Swamplot — It’s Bayridge, only one B. Also, the “515 Baybridge Rd. [HAR]” link doesn’t work — har.com doesn’t resolve to http://www.har.com automatically. The “Photos: HAR” link works fine.

  • link isnt working to HAR

  • Good catch, SuperDave and GoogleMaster – it’s been fixed!

  • That’s a lovely stretch of beach along Bayridge Road. I often go to where the road dead-ends at the water and watch the tankers go by. Morgan’s Point is right about where upper Galveston bay meets the Ship Channel and the view is quite nice. I’d buy that house in a heartbeat if I had the dough.

  • Depending on the way the wind is blowing that day, you can smell La Porte, Pasadena, OR Baytown from your front steps! Mmmm!

  • Semper Fudge – your lack of knowledge of the prevailing winds is apparent, and is your lack of knowledge of the refinery vs. chemical plant operations. This property smells pretty good.

  • @Roanoker What if I told you the wind had the capability of blowing from different directions at different times? Shocking, I know. Personally, if I’m spending $6 mil on a home, I’m chosing a location that’s not adjacent to the biggest petrochemical complex on the planet, but it’s good to know that Pasadena and the ship channel are now odorless.

  • I used to live in El Jardin beach is just around the point. Prevailing winds are from the south and southeast during most of the year which is from Galveston Bay.

    The danger zone is Galena Park all the way up to Dayton, north of Shell, with a speical zone of funk coming from LyondellBassel right up to Humble.

    You can count the days of an Easterly or Westerly flow on one hand.

  • Using your Westerly flow logic the entire city all the way to Katy would smell like the Ship Channel.

  • Alert the site scouting director for the sequel to Downton Abbey!

  • I once lived 5 houses away from ‘The Texas White House’ and walked on the beach almost daily. Most people may not know that there was plans for some sort of a harbor/yacht basin right in front of the mansion. The outer perimeters were constructed and then sat empty for years. The waves & storms would come and go, the perimeter stayed. I left my residency on Bayridge Road in the mid 90’s so my guess would be that much has changed since. Morgan’s Point is a wonderful place to call home for those that have $$$