In the early 1900’s, the Moorings were a very prominent and successful family in the Brazos Valley. Ward Mooring owned several thousand acres of rich Brazos Bottom farmland, where his family successfully farmed and marketed cotton and other crops. In 1940, Ward Mooring hired the architectural firm of John-Astin-Perkins out of Dallas, Texas and had an estate plan prepared to build a beautiful, lasting home and estate near Highway 21 on the high bank of the Brazos River. Detailed architectural designs were completed for the attractive Mooring House in 1942, including a Carriage House with six bays on the first floor for vehicles and equipment and apartments above for visitors and hired help.
After World War II, the Mooring House enjoyed a number of “glory years”, providing an exclusive place to live and entertain the social elite. After Mr. Mooring passed away, modifications were made to the Carriage House to convert the garage bays to an enclosed multi-use area. But the wild times had just begun. Beginning in 1968 and lasting until the mid 70’s, the Mooring House and grounds were used regularly as a brothel, bar and gambling house. Some Bryan residents still remember but rarely discuss the wild “invitation only” gatherings that were regularly held on site. A Bryan resident who worked at the “Castle” as a boy tells of regularly seeing the local sheriff show up just long enough to collect his pay for making sure the parties could continue as a private affair. For a short period of time after serving as a brothel and gambling house, the home was opened as a private bar and restaurant named Seven Oaks and then served again as a residence.
After several years of quiet use as a personal residence, the home and property was purchased in 2002 by Jim and Carol Riley. Carol worked for several years in Houston as a master photographer, but now dedicates her time to raising their children and tending to the home. Jim is a 1979 graduate of Texas A&M and works at the University as Director for Utilities. Together, they manage and maintain Seven Oaks Bed & Breakfast – welcoming guests to stay for gatherings, TAMU events or private weekend get-a-ways for College Station, Bryan, and Texas A&M University.