John C. Rogers and his family's Victorian House

The John C. Rogers House at 416 Shelbyville Street in Center, Texas is a Second-Empire Victorian House style dating from the latter part of the 19th Century. It remained in the Rogers family until about 1970. During that time span, of more than seventy years, some of the children of John C. and Belle Rogers and many of their grandchildren were born in the home.


In 1918, John C. Rogers was appointed to the Texas Legislature, where he served for twelve years. Perhaps even more important was his significant contribution to the early knowledge of the use of insulin in the treatment of diabetes. As a patient of diabetes himself, he was the first man in Texas to be given insulin for the disease. The Rogers family pharmacy business in Center established by Dr. J.W. Rogers, dates from 1881. His nephew was John C. Rogers, who built this house and, later, took over the family business in 1902. 


The present owners of the John C. Rogers House, Maelinda and David Swanzy, purchased it in 2006 and added 1700 square feet of living space, all in keeping with its Victorian style. The front portion of the house has a parlor, music room, study, dining room, powder room, kitchen and pantry on the first floor, and a grand staircase leads up to the second floor where four bedrooms and one bath are all connected by a large center hall/library. The 2006 addition includes a master bedroom suite with dressing room and bath, an exercise room, and a laundry room. In addition, a large carport is attached to the house by a rear covered breezeway, and a new sun room wraps around the outside of the original kitchen, which has been renovated and modernized. In the middle hallway near the grand staircase is a soda fountain bar, suggesting a similar one located in the original John C. Rogers Drug Store. 


On the three-acre lawn are over forty varieties of antique roses, some of which cover two white arching arbors and picket fence. On the grounds, also, are a children’s playhouse (a more contemporary cedar structure referred to as “the bunkhouse”) and a guest cottage called “Little Galvez.”