Many still display their original contents and most are open to the public. These monuments, some with crisp, clean, conservative lines and others kitted out with over-the-top opulence, signify the rewards that could be had from a late 19th and early 20th century free-market economy...for some Texans at least. Most of the rest of us were living with more modest accommodations, which suggests an additional reason-history and architecture aside-why we love our historic homes so much. We get to see how the other half lived, wander over their fine oriental rugs, promenade up and down their grand staircases, run our fingers along their walnut credenzas, and imagine sitting in their wing-backed, buffalo hide chairs reading a book by gaslight. So go ahead. Have a peek into the boudoir. The Mister and Misses are out.