For: Jean Steinhardt, Illustrator, P.O. Box 56462, Houston, TX 77256-6462
Contact: Jean Steinhardt, (713) 521-5914 (

DATELINE: Houston, Texas, 8 January 2009


Doom loomed for the Black Mansion. A developer's dream was the mansion's nightmare. The mansion had fallen on hard times after the death of Alexander Black, great great grandson of Samuel Black, the founder of Blacksburg. It had survived as a funeral home for many years. Now, ironically, it faced certain death. But during this, its darkest hour, the citizens of Blacksburg rose up and came together to avert disaster. Heroically, they raised the funds to move the mansion several miles to a place of safety. There it became the nucleus of the Blacksburg Museum.

Meanwhile, 1000 miles to the west, a treasured image survived in the memory of Patty Worthington. Now a Houston resident, she grew up in Virginia. On a visit to Blacksburg, the Black masnsion left a vivid impression. Years later, the image led her replicate the mansion in the historic Heights district of Houston.

With the help of a design team composed of Built 2006 by a design team consisting of Jared Wheat ( of Pyramid Builders, Taylor Burch, and Cathy Bauguss (, an empty lot on Heights Boulevard produced a virtual clone of the original. A classic Victorian style structure, the clone fits nicely with the Victorians that the Heights is known for. Ms. Bauguss commissioned artist Jean Steinhardt to draw a house portrait of the completed building, which she gave to Ms. Worthington as a gift of appreciation.

Steinhardt specializes in house portraits, and has completed drawings of several houses on Heights Boulevard. This one, he knew, had a special significance. Reviewing reference photos of the new home, he noticed that a gazebo on the Heights Boulevard esplanade figured prominently.

He composed a view of the house which incorporates the gazebo, providing a sense of place for a mansion that has been reborn twice ... once as a restoration in Blacksburg, Virginia, and again as a clone in Houston, Texas.

Visit the Blacksburg Museum website at  for more information and photos of the Black mansion.

Visit  to see the drawing of the Worthington replica of the mansion.


Pyramid Builders (

Cathy Bauguss Interiors (

Jean Steinhardt, Artist ( Cell: 713.498.1248