If the walls of this house could talk … they would tell the story of Nannie Lestelle Chambers, who was born in 1855 in Virginia and came to Collin County, where she married Kentucky native, John Rufus Crozier, and had three baby girls in five years. When Mr. Crozier passed away, Mrs. Crozier realized that the job of raising and supporting the girls, Mamie, Emma and Lula, was hers alone.
In 1895, Mrs. Crozier built a large, two-story home in the Lebanon community, near the present intersection of Preston Road and John Hickman Parkway. She also managed close to 1,000 acres of undeveloped land and, with the help of tenant farmers, made it a working farm. Their crops included cotton, corn, wheat and maize.
If the walls of this house could talk … they would tell us that Mrs. Crozier raised her daughters to value a good education. All three girls attended Baylor College at Belton. Mrs. Crozier was an active member of the Baptist Church, which was a short walk from her home. She was also known for her charitable work in the community.
In 1902, when the railroad came to the area, the town of Frisco was established not far from the Lebanon settlement. Many of Mrs. Crozier’s neighbors literally moved their houses to the new and bustling town, but the walls of Mrs. Crozier’s house were not shaken by a move. Perhaps Mrs. Crozier wanted to stay on the land that had supported her family for decades, so she remained on the property until her death in l938. Daughter, Mamie, and her husband lived in the house for many years after that. Perhaps they liked being close to the Baptist Church the family attended. Their house would not move to Frisco until more than 100 years after it was built.
If the walls of this house could talk … they would say that the next owners of the house, John and Donna Sickles, might have shaken the walls and disturbed the spirits of the house a bit too much as they made major renovations to the 82-year-old building. Along with their young daughter, Katie, they reported glimpses of apparitions and unexplained noises in the hall. Katie saw the image of a small, gray cat in the hallway mirror and asked her mother about it. Mrs. Sickles explained to local historian, Bob Warren, that their only cat at the time rarely came in the house, but on one rare occasion, it passed the mirror, “humped its back and bristled up like it had seen another cat.” Perhaps the cat saw the same feline Katie had seen earlier.
Mr. Sickles said the mysterious events “were much worse while the house was being remodeled and were infrequent after that.” One thing that never changed, is that the seventh baluster from the bottom of the stairs was installed upside down. At the time the house was built, some believed that this practice kept any ghosts from going up the stairs.
When the Sickles were moving from the area in 2002, the late Dr. Erwin Pink asked them to donate the home to the newly-formed Frisco Heritage Association, which they graciously did.
A few years later (more than 100 years since the first migration of homes from Lebanon to Frisco) the Crozier-Sickles House was moved to the Frisco Heritage Center, a village of historical buildings that have been assembled so future generations can learn about Frisco’s rich history. The house is just behind the Frisco Heritage Museum, and the Baptist Church, which the Crozier family dearly loved, has been moved right next door. No doubt, Mrs. Crozier is smiling down on that placement.
The Frisco Heritage Association documents the history of buildings in the village and keeps them looking their best. The Frisco Garden Club has beautifully landscaped the area and given it a park-like feel. On the third Sunday of each month, visitors can tour all of the historic treasures in the Heritage Center free of charge. (July 17, 2016, from 1-4 p.m., is the next Open House). The historic spaces can also be rented for special events.
So, if the walls of this house cannot talk … no problem! The Heritage Association has got you covered. Thanks to them, Frisco’s history is being recorded and will be brought to life for many generations to come. When you visit these historic buildings, you might want to listen closely, in case the walls do have stories to tell.