Littlefield House is a historic mansion located in Austin, Texas. It was completed in 1893 for Civil War veteran George W. Littlefield, a Confederate Army officer who went on to build his cattle range empire across Texas and Kansas. Littlefield was also known for being the regent of the University of Texas. During his term, he donated approximately generously to the university and supported several initiatives including the “Littlefield Fund for Southern History” project, and the construction of the Littlefield Residence Hall and the Littlefield Fountain.
Designed by James Wahrenberger, the imposing Victorian-style mansion cost $50,000 to construct, today’s equivalent of $1.54 million. Littlefield House is famously known for a 35-foot tall Deodar Cedar (also known as Himalayan Cedar) tree that George Littlefield had imported from the Himalayas. It is said that Littlefield had replace the soil where the cedar is to be planted with Himalayan soil to acclimatize the tree to the new environment.
Apart from owning Littlefield House, Littlefield house was also responsible for several other landmarks in Austin such as the Littlefield Building, Driskill Hotel, and Austin National Bank.
During the early 1900s, George Littlefield and his wife, Alice Tillar Littlefield, accommodated 30 of Littlefield’s nieces and nephews while they attended classes at the University of Texas. It is said that Littlefield paid for all of their classes as it was “his responsibility to provide an education for his family’s descendants.”
On November 10, 1920, Littlefield died of pneumonia in Littlefield house. Alice lived for another 15 years and passed away on January 9, 1935 at the age of 88. The mansion was willed to University of Texas.
After the change of ownership, Littlefield House was used by the university for various purposes such as a sorority house and practice room for music students. During World War II, the building was converted into a training school for the Naval Reserve Officers Training Corps (NROTC) program; bullet holes can still be found in the attic when it was a firing range.
In 1970, the historic mansion was added to the National Register of Historic Places in recognition its historical significance to the city and ‘worthiness’ of preservation.
Today, Littlefield House is used as an administrative building used by the University of Texas. The first floor serves as an event space for small university functions while the bedrooms on the second floor have been repurposed into offices.
Hauntings at Littlefield House
Littlefield House is rumoured to be haunted by Alice Littlefield. Legend has it that Alice was locked up by Littlefield whenever he is away on a trip. It was well documented that from 1912 to 1920, Alice suffered from an unknown mental condition that led to a serious case of delusion; she would develop thoughts of being kidnapped and killed people who were envious of her husband’s wealth. Alice’s frequent episodes of hysteria in Littlefield House prompted her husband bring her to a sanitarium for medical advice. Against the doctors’ advice to keep her at the facility, George Littlefield brought Alice home and hired three nurses to look after her around the clock.
The hauntings at Littlefield House emerged soon after Alice’s death in 1935. Many who visits or works in the mansion claimed to have seen the apparition of Alice roaming along the common areas. Inexplicable sounds of the piano being playedin the living room can also be heard. The window on the attic’s turret, which can only be accessed via a small hole from the attic to the inside of the turret, can be seen opening and closing at random times of the day.
“Sometimes I feel like running rather than walking out, and i become afraid that maybe the door won’t open, and I’ll be trapped in here”– Carol Sablan, an event planner who used to work in Littlefield House
Staffs of the administrative office have also reported feeling an overwhelming sense of uneasiness when entering the office in the early mornings.
The ghost of Alice Littlefield is also said to haunt Littlefield Residence Hall. Many former students who have stayed in the dormitory claimed to have experienced a bizzare coldness swooping over the halls. That said, most stories retold by students have painted the apparition as a friendly ghost who does nothing more than a slight tap on the shoulder.
Address of Littlefield House
The address of Littlefield House is 302 W 24th St, Austin, TX 78705.
Although the mansion is located within the University of Texas, visitors are free to enter the campus and visit the grounds of Littlefield House. However, Littlefield House is not for public use; access to the property is strictly restricted to staffs of the university. Anyone caught entering the premises without the relevant permission will be handed to the UT Police Department.
Visitors looking to tour the mansion may email the staffs at Littlefield Home to request for a private tour.