Hooton House


114 Princess Pass

The house was constructed in 1935, intended as a duplex.  The original owner was Mrs. Belle Wortham, the widow of a circus/show promoter, Clarence Wortham (aka "The Little Giant") who died in 1922. His largest show, Wortham's Greatest Show, wintered in San Antonio near the old Union Stockyards and was how Belle ended up settling in San Antonio after Clarence's death. After renting several places around Monte Vista, in 1934 she commissioned an adjunct professor/lecturer at Rice Institute, Claude Hooton, to design a home for her on the lot on Princess Pass.  Belle's oldest son, Maxwell, was a student at Rice at the time.  It's the only structure that he designed in San Antonio and includes a curiously narrow stair inside that connects the two floors. The limestone for the house came from the demolition of the Vance House in downtown San Antonio.

Hooton had his roots in southern Louisiana, an influence in his work, but also traveled in Scandinavia on a fellowship after graduating from Rice and before joining the Hooten staff, so Swedish modernism is also apparent in his designs.  Several Hooton homes in Houston, around Southgate and in River Oaks, including the house he designed for his parents (since demolished) was very similar in style and detailing to 114 Princess Pass as well as one other houses he designed on the same street (though both were single story). The sketch, drawn by Frank Dill, a Rice graduate, who worked for Hooton in the 1930s, as well as a rendering of the house shown below, presumably from the time of design, provides the name of the architect.