In 1886, just 5 years after Abilene was established by the Railroad, Henry and Hattie Sayles moved from fashionable Galveston, Texas to this “New Great City” to participate in the development of growth. Henry was a lawyer and later a judge, but he was also a great promoter. He came to this very remote West Texas prairie with investor money from his Galveston clients to buy land, and he and Hattie and their family through their Abilene Land Development Company, developed nearly half of the original part of Abilene. In 1889, they built this very “fancy” Queen Anne home southwest of the original town, now Sayles Boulevard, which bears their family name. At the time, the house was built, there was no electricity in Abilene, so not only did the house not have indoor plumbing, it didn’t even have an electric light bulb! That said, it was a very prominent home at the time and even made the Dallas Morning News when it was completed. It was featured in at least 3 publications prior to the turn of the 20th century.
When the house was built they had 5 children, but soon had 5 more, so they built on the back addition in 1898 to accommodate their growing family. The house has had at least 4 different kitchens, as times have changed through its 125 year life. It was built by brothers-in-law, R. W. “Watt” Miller and Sam Wagner, and is constructed of old growth, Long Leaf Pine and square nails, imported from England.