Miss Ima Hogg (1882–1975), daughter of Texas governor James Stephen Hogg, attended The University of Texas, where she developed lifelong interests in education, psychology, politics, music, and art. The Hogg family cultivated public service, and when oil discoveries made them rich, they devoted their newfound wealth to philanthropic endeavors including collecting and historic preservation. Miss Ima’s brother Will C. Hogg, a UT Law School graduate and Regent of The University of Texas, left the bulk of his estate to the university upon his death in 1930. Miss Ima left her own mark on the university through her philanthropy as well.
An astute and discerning collector of the finest examples of American material culture from the Colonial period through the Victorian era, Miss Ima’s collecting efforts included finely-wrought examples of hand-crafted furniture made on the Texas frontier before factory-produced furniture was available. Seeking a suitable home in which to display this collection for her fellow citizens to enjoy, Miss Ima acquired the Lewis-Wagner House, also known as the Stagecoach Inn, in Winedale, Texas in 1963 with the idea of relocating it to Bayou Bend, her home in Houston which housed the bulk of her collections. When relocating the building to Houston proved impractical, she began to plan for its eventual donation to The University of Texas, her alma mater.
“I thought the houses [at Winedale] should be utilized as a sort of laboratory for students in college to explore many fields associated with the history and culture of ethnic groups who migrated to Texas in the early part of the nineteenth century,” Miss Ima said.
As she worked with university architecture professors and students to restore the house and outbuildings, Miss Ima’s vision for Winedale evolved from it being simply a place to showcase her collections to Winedale serving as a laboratory for students studying a variety of disciplines. The university received Miss Ima’s gift of the Winedale property consisting at that time of the Lewis-Wagner House, Hazel’s Lone Oak Cottage (a gift to Miss Ima for her “Winedale project” from her friend and fellow preservationist, Hazel Ledbetter), Transverse Crib Barn, and Theater Barn along with a gift to establish the Winedale Stagecoach Inn Endowment to help the university with preservation and operations of the property, in formal ceremonies in 1967. Over time, Miss Ima and other Winedale friends added additional land, educational buildings, and collections to the campus until it became the Winedale we know today.