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The Gayle House

Located in the Heart of Angleton on Block 1 of the Old Angleton Townsite, the Historic Gayle House was built in 1911 by James Ray and Alma Gayle.  The house has been in the Gayle family for four generations and has served as both a residence and an office continuously since its construction.  Prior to The Pat Sebesta Law Firm moving into the historic home, Retired Judge James Ray Gayle, III utilized the Gayle House as his law office.  


304 South Velasco Angleton, TX 77515

History of The Gayle House

The historic Gayle House, built by James Ray Gayle, Sr and his wife Alma Moore Gayle in 1911, is located (according to the original 1895 Plat of the Township of Angleton) on a portion of Block 1, a large tract acquired by the early pioneering couple that same year. The entire block of twenty lots has been under continuous ownership of four successive generations of the Gayle family, and is bordered on the east by South Velasco Street, on the west by South Front Street, on the north by West Peach Street and on the south by West Plum Street. 

The Gayle House was designed in the “Turn of the Century Texas Vernacular” architectural style and features 14-foot ceilings, walls constructed of hand-milled longleaf pine shiplap planking, windows and transoms made of custom machine-drawn cylinder glass, and a huge fronting wraparound porch. The materials used to construct the house were provided by the family’s G. W. Gayle Hardware and Lumber Co, an important fixture of Angleton in the early 1900s which subsequently became Faickney’s lumberyard (another Gayle relative). The Gayle House was one of the first in Angleton to acquire electric lighting when electricity became available to residences soon after Angleton was incorporated in November 1912. 

Although elegantly designed, the Gayle House was built to withstand hurricanes, floods, and other natural disasters. This proved to be a prescient boon when the house became a haven for people fleeing the 1932 Freeport Storm, a Category 4 hurricane of the same force as the infamous 1900 Galveston Storm which took the lives of 6,000 – 12,000 people. 

In modern times, the Gayle House at 304 South Velasco has primarily served as the residence of various members of the Gayle family, but has also been leased for short periods of time as real estate and law offices. James Ray Gayle, Jr, who served as Angleton City Secretary, Brazoria County Tax Assessor-Collector, Business Manager of Brazosport ISD, Brazoria County Auditor, and the first Chief Appraiser for the Brazoria County Appraisal District, was born in the Gayle House in November 1911. Ray, as he was known, was reared in the home until his marriage when he and his bride, Lavenia Brewer Gayle, built next door on other lots in the family block. Ray’s brother, Robert Moore Gayle, and his wife Charline (Chinky) Lane Gayle, lived in the Gayle House from 1989 to 2004, and undertook updates and historically appropriate renovations. Retired Presiding District Judge James Ray Gayle, III, who served on the bench in Brazoria County for 29 years, is the grandson of the original builders and has utilized the historic house as his primary law office since 2005. The walls of the Gayle House serve as a gallery as they are decorated with original paintings and drawings of Judge Gayle’s wife and artist, Nancy Nelson Gayle. 

The Gayle House is now home to the Pat Sebesta Law Firm, PLLC, with Judge Sebesta being a Gayle family member via marriage to Shannon Lea Gayle Sebesta, the great-granddaughter of the original owners. Retired Presiding Judge Sebesta served on the bench in Brazoria County for 24 years. The Gayle House serves as a historic landmark for Angleton and Brazoria County.