Mission Statement-Budgets, Grants, Directors and Staff

Our Mission Statement

The Kirby-Hill House Museum and Educational Foundation is dedicated to Historical, Cultural and Artistic aspects of the southeast Texas area. It is our desire to promote the preservation of historic properties, provide educational programs, and to present cultural exhibits.

Foundation Beginnings

When the house was finally placed on the market, Nelda Overstreet of Kountze, Dorothy Griffin of Lumberton, and Helen Barefield of Silsbee, (all officers of the Hardin County Tourist Bureau) invited County Judge Tom Mayfield, Kountze Mayor Charles Bilal, Hardin County Arts & Educational Foundation founder Helen White, County Historical Commissioner Clyde See, and Sour Lake businessman Ken Pelt to a meeting on January 7, 1992.

The Kirby-Hill House Division of the Hardin County Arts and Educational Foundation was formed, negotiations began, many members were enlisted, and officers were elected.   By late January a contract was signed, the re-negotiated several times.   By April 3, the down payment was made, and by May of 1992 the keys were in the hands of the new public trust.


J. A. McKim III, Ruth Hooks Armour, Steve Eppes, Elaine Allums, Pam Williams, Rose Hall and Jackie Berry.


Nelda Overstreet is the curator emeritus.   She was medically retired from her position as curator and math teacher in Warren, TX. Her accomplishments also include being a published historical author and nature photographer. She resigned from active participation in the day-to-day operations of the Museum due to kidney cancer, and she died July 27, 2005.  Our prayers are with her family.  After losing Nelda to her illness, her sister Terry McNeely became President of the Board of Directors and Producer of the Murder Mustery Dinner Theater, until her death in June 2007.  Current President is Rose Hall, who is ably directing the operrations of the Museum and Educational Programs.


Operating $10,000.00
Recent Restoration $75,000.00
Future Restoration $150,000.00
Present Indebtedness $41,000.00
Assets $200,000.00


Southeast Texas Arts Council for the office building, Texian Days, and salary support; Foundation for Southeast Texas for roof, brickwork, electrical restoration and plumbling; Entergy & KISD for cirriculum development.


Admissions, donations, memberships, grants, fundraisers, sales and rentals

More Information

Kirby-Hill House Tourist Brochure (gray in color), Kirby-Hill House Mission Brochure (brown in color), Hardin County Tourist Bureau Brochure (green in color), Big Thicket National Preserve, Village Creek State Park.

Museum Projects

Kirby-Hill Educational Experience, Kirby-Hill Bed & Breakfast, Lunch with Lucy, Historical Tours, Murder Mystery Dinners, Christmas Dinner Party, Kirby-Hill House Supper Club, Cultural Events, Rentals and Sales.

Historical Tours

Cost for Informal Tours are $3.00 for adults, $2.00 for seniors over 65, and $1.00 for students.

Cost for a Formal Tour is $5.00 per person.  Please Call to make an Appointment.

Discounts are available for Group Tours with reservations with a $30.00 minimum deposit.

Informal Tours:  The Visitor’s Guide will help with your progression throughout the house.

Formal Tours:  The Tour Guide will escort you and discuss historical details and people associated with the house. Moving from room to room is like moving through time; from ‘Martha Kirby’ on the Porch in 1903 to ‘Lucy Hill’ in the Parlor in 1923. Then you’ll go up the Grand Stairway to view rooms for the years 1932 to 1962, with a peek at the gorgeous wrap around Balcony. From there you’ll exit down the Servant’s Stair to view the Kitchen with ‘Autie Hill’ for the year 1977. The tour concludes in the Dining Room in the year 1999. The entire tour lasts about forty minutes.

Group Tours:  Are Formal Tours, possibly including a luncheon taylored for your group and done with deposit and reservations. Call to make an appointment for Group Tours.

– Luncheons –

Our weekly luncheons have been discontinued. Group luncheons are still available by appoinment. Please call us for information concerning the needs of your special group.

– Rentals –

The building rental charge is $50.00 for each hour.

The building is available for rent for community events, meetings, receptions, weddings, showers, classes, and indoor/outdoor pictures for weddings and graduations. Banquet tables and chairs accomodate around 50 persons. The house also has air conditioners, heaters, modern kitchen, and functional bathrooms. Call for information, availability and terms.

– Bed and Breakfast –

Our Bed and Breakfast is open thoughout the week. Although the surroundings are antique, your stay will be made comfortable with air conditioning, functional bathrooms and phone availabilty. A breakfast is included. Please call for information, reservations and availability.

– Murder Mystery Dinner Theatre –

Murder Mystery tickets are $55.00 per person.

Our plays are performed in March and September. You’ll be greeted on the verandah with wine and punch, have an elegant meal and see an entertaining murder mystery at a 100-year-old mansion located at 210 West Main Street, Kountze, Texas. Register early as all performances are complete sell outs.

– Old Hardin Wildflower Association –

The Old Hardin Wildflower Association is looking for new members to assist with their “Adopt-a-Highway” clean-up along Hwy 326 near Old Hardin Cemetery Road. If interested in joining please call 409-246-8000.

Educational Programs

With periodical visits from Kountze Elementary School, the Kirby-Hill House has established an educational program that has long been a dream of the late Nelda Overstreet, our former curator.   During the program about one hundred students are divided into four groups that changes locations every 60 minutes.

Students are seated at tables inside the house where they participate in activities of reading, writing, drawing, listening, and observing.   The tables are designed so they can be converted to display cases for museum exhibits.   Topics include Math, Music, English, Art, Science, and History.    Each group concentrates on one time period, either 1903 to 1913 or 1918 to 1932 or 1948 to the present. Mrs. Overstreet performed her characterizations of the people who were associated with the house during each time period.    Other activities inside the house include a tour of the upstairs, listening to Texas-theme music and watching a video about the Big Thicket.

At one program, students play old-fashioned games including jacks, marbles, crochet, horseshoes, dominoes, and cards.    At another, students take a short tour of the Kountze Public Library next door and tend flowerbeds that are sponsored by their school.

The Kirby-Hill House Museum and Educational Foundation encourages all schools in the county to participate in the program during the year.

Please check our calendar for dates and times.

Calendar of Events

Please note that an asterik ( * ) denotes tentative dating . . .

Event Date Time
Kirby-Hill House
Murder Mystery Dinner Theatre
April 17, 2010 Call 409-246-8000 for details
Trick or Treating at
The Kirby-Hill House
October 31, 2010
5pm – 9pm
Halloween for Kids. Call 409-246-8000 for details
Annual Kirby-Hill House
Christmas Party
December 2010 More details to follow. Call 409-246-8000
Kirby-Hill Educational Experience
Kountze Middle School
Call 409-246-8000 for details


Bed and Breakfast

Open throughout the week – $72.00 a night tax included

Kirby-Hill Bed and Breakfast is a service offered by the Kirby-Hill House Educational Foundation, Inc. in the one-hundred-year-old Kirby-Hill House.  In addition, the foundation has historical tours, educational programs, lunches, and Murder Mystery dinners in the facility.  It is also available for rent for special occasions and meetings.  The house is located in Kountze, Texas, twenty miles north of Beaumont in the southeast part of the state.  It was built by James L. Kirby, older brother and business partner of timber tycoon John Henry Kirby.

The Kirby’s played a part in the oil, rail, and timber industries in Houston, Beaumont, and East Texas until 1940.  Now the up-and-coming industry is tourism.  Beaumont is known as the museum capital of Texas and Kountze is home of the Big Thicket National Preserve Center.  Nearby is Village Creek State Park and R. E. Larsen Sandyland Sanctuary.

The rate of $83.00 which includes tax. You’ll have an upstairs bedroom with standard double bed, a sitting room, bathroom, and kitchen privileges for one or two people.  A homestyle breakfast is included.   The bathroom has an original claw-foot bathtub with no shower.  This house had hot and cold running water when it was built in 1902.

Internet directory listing over 27,000 bed and breakfast inns in America and worldwide
Internet directory listing over 27,000 bed and breakfast inns in America and worldwide

The management takes care to provide a neat, clean environment with comfortable temperature ranges, but guests should keep in mind that the house was built, after all, by a confederate veteran as a retirement home, and restoration has not been totally completed.  The furniture and most decorations are original to the house.  Guests will stay in Lucy’s suite (1940) and if another bedroom is required; Autie’s big room (1962).

A $30.00 deposit will hold the reservation.  Balance in credit card, cash or by check is due upon check-in.  Cancellation for refund must be made at least four days prior.  We accept Visa or MasterCards.

The Kirby-Hill House staff operates the Bed and Breakfast, and can be reached at 409-246-8000 or toll-free at 1-866-244-8442 (BIG THIC).   Our fax number is 409-246-8035.  The email address is info@kirby-hillhouse.com.  Please include  K H H  in your Subject Line.  Checks can be mailed to P. O. Box 592, Kountze, TX 77625.

Sitting Room
Sitting Room

This is the Sitting Room that adjoins Lucy’s Bed Room.  This is a perfect place for your morning cup of coffee and it overlooks the upstairs balcony facing West Main Street.

Lucy’s Bed Room


Here is Lucy’s Bed Room furnished with an antique four posted bed and showing the fireplace.  Above the bed is an overhanging chandelier and the windows are dressed with lace curtains.  This room also has had it’s restorations completed to date 1940.

Bath Room


Right next to Lucy’s Bed Room is the newly restored bathroom.  It has the original claw footed bath tub and antique marble hand basin.

Autie's Big Room
Autie’s Big Room

If preferred, we have Autie’s Big Bedroom available.  The bedroom suite is Bird’s Eye Maple dated from the 1800’s.   This room will be restored to date 1962.


Murder Mystery Dinner

with Chris Eldredge, DirectorWritten by David Landau, Music and Lyrics by Nikki Stern
October 8 and 9, 2010
Thank you for your patronage

Thank You for your attendance during our previous performances!


WHO: Kirby-Hill House Museum with the Kirby-Hill House Players.
WHAT: Our Eighteenth season of the Murder Mystery Dinner Theatre with performances of “Murder At Café Noir” – written by David Landau; performed with special permission from Samuel French Inc. of New York and directed by Chris Eldgredge.
WHEN: October 8 and 9, 2010.
Doors open and assigned Seating begins at 6:30, curtain time is 7:00 pm sharp
WHERE: 20 miles north of Beaumont in Kountze, TX. From Hwy 69 N turn left and go three blocks down Hwy 326. Turn right at Redwood and go one block over to 210 West Main Street. Click here for a visual map.
WHY: A benefit for the museum, fun with formal dinner served between scenes, music and fashion from the 1930’s and 40’s, tour of the 100 year old mansion, and chance for prizes.
METHOD:   From the lower veranda of the fabulous Kirby-Hill House mansion, you will be greeted with a glass of complimentary wine and then escorted to your seat in our dining areas. The characters of the play will perform room by room so that all can see and hear. Our audience is encouraged to dress in 30’s and 40’s fashion; but is not required to enjoy the evening. You will also have an opportunity to speak with the characters after the murder, before entering a “Whodunnit Contest”. There is a drawing for a $50.00 U. S. Savings Bond, various room prizes, and you are welcome to join the 1940’s Dress-Up parade and contest. The actors will choose the person best dressed in vintage fashion for a prize.
SYNOPSIS:   Another extraordinary mystery!
MORE: The scenes are performed between the courses of the formal dinner catered by Mama Jack’s Restaurant. Our guests are treated to the elegance of linen, china, silver and lace. The evening starts with complimentary wine followed with Fondue, shrimp and caviar hors d’oeuvres. Creamy Potato Soup and a unique salad preceeds our main menu consisting of Chicken Marsala with Seasoned Mashed Potatoes, Mama’s Famous Green Beans, Tuscan Tomatoes, Rolls and Apple Crunch for dessert. Wine and punch, tea and water are available throughout the evening. Afterwards you will be served fresh coffee with your dessert. Special menu needs are available upon request, just ask.
HOW: For information call 409-246-8000 or email info@kirby-hillhouse.com. – Tickets are $55.00 plus tax per person. Payment options are check, cash, Visa or MasterCard and may be requested by phone or by email. Ask us about our Group Discounts.

Purchase your own area of the Kirby-Hill House to get your Limited Deed Certificate!

Your Certificate for your Generous Donation
Your Certificate for your Generous Donation

The original objective of this project was to establish a restored home-museum and gardens emphasizing early twentieth century style of living, the Kirby family lumber business, and law profession.   In addition the museum would provide cultural activities for school children and a meeting place for community events.   As a fund raiser, Limited Deeds for floor planks, steps, columns, and rooms are on sale.   Various plaques and designations for donations are available.   Please email the museum (Please include  K H H  in your Subject Line) for more information, or call 409-246-8000.  Click here for a printable .PDF file Registration.


The foundation plans to operate a museum that displays the architecture and styles of the turn of the century and the historical record and artifacts of the family and the area.   It is to be a facility that is open to the public for tours, to the schools for skill attainment, and to the community for events and classes.   We solicit patrons from Big Thicket tourists, city and county adults, teachers, and school children, and Southeast Texas history and art enthusiasts.    Please consider your donation to help us achieve our goals.

Donation Levels

Corporate $5000.00
Underwriter $3500.00
Benefactor $1250.00
Founder $ 500.00
Friend $ 50.00
Associate $ 5.00


Year 1992 $6,000.00 down payment
Year 1996 $80,000.00 note paid
Year 1999 $50,000.00 repaired
Year 2002 $200,000.00 restored

What We Do Now

  • Preserving Properties of the Past.
  • Presenting Exhibits of Local Culture.
  • Providing Programs for Patrons.
  • Partnering Education with Public Schools.
  • Promoting Big Thicket Tourism.
  • Public Information Center.

Our Mission

  • To preserve historic properties.
  • To provide educational programs.
  • To present cultural exhibits.

What We Need

  • Art, dance and music teachers who want to conduct classes or shows at the museum.
  • Volunteers interested in being tour guides, or doing repairs, filing, etc.
  • Teachers to work with curator on cirriculum development.
  • Someone to do research into furnishings and styles.
  • Persons who can give 2 afternoons per month to keep the building open, and answer the phone.
  • Craftsmen to redo woodwork, build convenience items, adjust windows and doors, etc.
  • Gardeners who will adopt an area and make it beautiful.
  • Type A personalities or those with expertise in an area to conduct fund-raisers.

Lunch With Lucy

By Appointment only
– Group Lunches –
Please call 409-246-8000 to make an appointment.

At the Kirby-Hill House
210 West Main Street, Kountze, TX

Call 409-246-8000

Proceeds allow museum to preserve history and
operate as an educational tool and tourist attraction

* Lucy Kirby Hill 1872-1957