Log Cabin Village, A Living History Museum in Fort Worth, TX
Virtual Tour
VIRTUAL TOUR

    << Back to Tour Map

 

VAN ZANDT COTTAGE

Built: ca. 1850s-1860s
Location: 2900 Crestline Rd., Fort Worth, Texas
Residents: Scoggin and Van Zandt families
Builders:
unknown

Van Zandt Cottage

The Van Zandt Cottage is owned by the City of Fort Worth's Parks and Community Services Department, and operated by Log Cabin Village. It is Village's only off-site facility. The Cottage is a Recorded Texas Historic Landmark and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. It is a local historic landmark as the oldest home in Fort Worth on its original foundation, and as one of the early homes of Major K.M. Van Zandt. It is recognized on a national level as an example of an early restoration project. The Cottage was first restored by the Daughters of the Republic of Texas and the United Daughters of the Confederacy in 1936 as a project for the Texas Centennial. The Cottage is currently being restored through a partnership between the City of Fort Worth and the Van Zandt Cottage Friends.

 

K.M. VAN ZANDT BIOGRAPHY

K.M. Van Zandt during the Civil War
K.M. Van Zandt during the Civil War

Khleber Miller (K.M.) Van Zandt was born November 7, 1836 in Franklin County, Tennessee. His father Isaac moved the family to Harrison Co. Texas in 1839. Three years later, Isaac was appointed charge d’affaires to the United States to help achieve the annexation of Texas. At the age of 15, K.M. headed east to attend Franklin College in Tennessee. He had turned 16 by the time of his arrival. He graduated from college on July 4, 1854 and returned home to Marshall, Texas.

K.M. Van Zandt during college

K.M. (on the right) during college years. Scan of original daguerreotype.

K.M. married Minerva Peete in 1857. He was admitted to the bar and practiced law in Marshall until the outbreak of the Civil War. In 1861, K.M. helped organize and became the leader of Company D, Seventh Texas Infantry. After the war’s end, Major K.M. Van Zandt set out for Fort Worth, carrying out his childhood ambition of moving to “West Texas.” This journey changed not only his and his young family's future, but also altered the course for this desolate town of 250.

K.M. would marry two more times. After Minerva's death, he married her sister Mattie Peete in 1869. After Mattie’s death, K.M. married a young teacher named Octavia Pendleton in 1885. K.M. and Octavia were married until his death on March 19, 1930. These three marriages produced 14 children for Van Zandt.

K.M. Van Zandt and his 14 children

K.M. Van Zandt with his 14 daughters and sons

Top row, standing, left to right: Alice Van Zandt Williams, Edmund Pendleton Van Zandt, Virginia Van Zandt Diboll, Elias Beall Van Zandt, Ida Van Zandt Smith, Richard L. Van Zandt, Annie Van Zandt Attwell, Isaac Van Zandt, Frances Cooke Van Zandt Sloan.

Bottom, row, sitting, left to right: K.M. Van Zandt, Jr., Florence Van Zandt Jennings, K.M. Van Zandt, Albert Sidney Johnston Van Zandt, Mary Louisa Van Zandt Hendricks, Margaret Colville Van Zandt Miller.

 

“Fort Worth, as I saw it on an August afternoon in 1865, presented a sad and gloomy picture… I think there were not over 250 people – counting men, women, and children.”

--Major K.M. Van Zandt on Fort Worth, 1865 

When Major Khleber Miller Van Zandt arrived at what was left of Fort Worth in 1865, he found a small hamlet on the verge of extinction.  By the time of his death in 1930, Fort Worth was a bustling community well on its way to becoming a major center of commerce and culture in north Texas.  This success was due largely to Major Van Zandt’s dedication to service, community, and collaboration to create a brighter future and a better way of life for Fort Worth citizens.

“My business was prospering, and I had the opportunity of becoming a wealthy man; but I was interested in other values before money.  Fort Worth was growing, and there was much to be done.”

--Major K.M. Van Zandt on Fort Worth, 1871

K.M. Van Zandt’s major contributions to Fort Worth:

  • 1866 - Helped start first post Civil War school in Fort Worth
  • 1872 - Part of a group that negotiated to bring the Texas and Pacific Railroad to Fort Worth
  • 1875 - Organized Tarrant County Construction Company to grade final 30 miles of railroad
  • 1876 - First train pulled in to Fort Worth (July 19)
  • 1876 - Helped organize the Fort Worth Street Railway Company; first car on the tracks December 25
  • 1877-1930 – Served as a school trustee for more than 25 years, and President of the board of the First Christian Church until his death
  • 1883 -1930 - Organized Fort Worth National Bank with partners and was president until his death
  • 1885-1891 – City Treasurer
  • 1894-1896 – Fort Worth City Council
  • 1913-1915 – Park Board Commissioner

 

K.M. Van Zandt as commander of Confederate Veterans

In 1890 K.M. helped found and became first commander

of the Robert E. Lee Camp #158 of Confederate

Veterans, and from 1918-1921, K.M. served as

Commander in Chief of the United Confederate Veterans.

 

THE FARM AND COTTAGE

“I purchased a large farm at the edge of Fort Worth”

--Major K.M. Van Zandt

 

In 1871, Major Van Zandt purchased a large farm on the edge of Fort Worth.  The landholders owed a debt to K.M.’s mother, Frances Cooke Lipscomb Van Zandt, and his mother told him that if he could collect the debt, the land was his. The court ordered the land sold at auction and K.M. was awarded the bid. Major Van Zandt started the process of purchasing the farmland from A.G. Scoggin and his family in 1869. He completed the transaction in 1871 by paying off the $1500.00 note. His growing family lived in the Cottage until 1878 when they moved to a new home on Penn Street.

The small cottage that stood on this farm served as the Van Zandts’ home for almost ten years.  The extent of this farm extended approximately to the modern day boundaries of Fifth St. to the north, Montgomery St. to the West, and just beyond the Trinity River to the east, and Interstate 30 to the south. All that remains of this historic farm is the Van Zandt Cottage, the oldest home in the City on its original foundation. The Fort Worth Botanic Garden, Trinity Park, Kimbell Art Museum, Amon Carter, Museum, Farrington Field and the Seventh St. developments currently occupy Van Zandt’s former farm.