Home of Kelly & Scott Biar
Some houses have a voice of their own. Rooms reminisce about people and events; walls whisper secrets as you pass. The Gibney-Terry Cottage has almost 150 years of tales to tell, beginning with its construction in 1869 before Rockport was incorporated. Its stories start with John Gibney, a hog buyer and boatman, who built the Dog-Trot-style house, and ensured its long-life with a cypress frame and cedar siding. Hints of political intrigue might arise while owned by Pickett Terry, Mayor of Rockport in 1874 and again in 1882. There’s an unverified rumor from the 1930s of a renter hanging himself from an oak on the property. It was a likely social spot from the 1940s to 1970s while the home of the Johnson family, owners of a popular drug store on Austin Street at that time. But the most fitting tale the house can tell is the contribution to the Rockport art scene by previous owner, Mary Lucille Jackson, and the on-going effort to maintain that legacy by her daughter and current owner Kelly Biar. The original part of the house is much as it was when Mary Lucille lived there. She was raised with an appreciation for art and music, eventually becoming the Executive Director of the Rockport Center for the Arts from 1998 to 2005. She knew many Rockport artists, acquired their works and built an extensive collection of oils, watercolors and prints, much still displayed in the house. One impressionistic-style oil painting of an 1890’s sailboat regatta is by Irene Norvell, great-grandmother of Mary Lucille, and is the earliest documented painting of a Rockport scene. A watercolor shows the Jackson-family shrimp boats, including her namesake shrimper, the Mary Lucille J. Another painting of the Wood-Jackson house at 701 Magnolia, owned by Mary Lucille’s grandparents, reminds us how long this family has been here. This cottage is a living tribute to a five-generation Rockport family that helped make the local artist community what it is today.
Photos by Stephen Fisher.