Fixing up the Nut House…

Paige and Dorothy Patterson have nearly quadrupled the value of Pecan Manor, the Southwestern presidential home, and increased the square footage to 8,757 sq.ft. In the meantime, houses on the same street have increased in value by 1.88%.

Or maybe the Patmos Evangelistic Association home office has undergone a major expansion.

Just for a reference, please consider the following:

Academy award-winning actress Helen Mirren’s home — 6,699 sq.ft.

Demi Moore and Ashton Kutcher’s love nest — 6,716 sq.ft.

Grammy award winning vocalist Smokey Robinson — 4420 sq.ft.

Martha Stewart’s Turkey Hill Farm — 3,168 sq.ft.

Mafia don Al Capone’s final estate — 3,682 sq.ft.

Childhood home of Jaqueline Kennedy Onassis — 8500 sq.ft.

Shock-jock Howard Stern’s Southampton digs — 8500 sq.ft.

Britney Spears Tuscan-style mansion — 7,453 sq.ft.

Billionaire mogul Kirk Kerkorian’s Beverly Hills palace — 8402 sq.ft.

Of course, we hope that the Pattersons at least let those student workers use straw to make the bricks…

28 thoughts on “Fixing up the Nut House…

  1. How in God’s name did the trustees allow this magnitude of expense to take place? Where is the oversight? Even if this wasn’t CP money (and I don’t know) it seems that the hundreds of thousands of $$ necessary to fund this expansion would have been better spent for scholarships, mission trips, etc.

    It seems a total of 10,000 square footage added to two President’s homes (SEBTS and SWBTS) within a course of 6 or so years as they were inhabited by the same President?

    Wise investors would have hit the jackpot had they invested in Southwestern President’s Home Stock in mid-2004.

  2. Wow. Just wow. This is a serious question … can the public get a tour of the place? I would like to see a real mansion up close and in person. Is it all the President’s home, or is part of it for seminary offices and such? What do they do with all that space? If I were getting to choose, I would say a significant portion of it could probably be converted into a homeless shelter. But then I think the new Chapel being built is supposed to be the “draw” for the community. I don’t suppose the community really wants another homeless shelter, do they? Nah … it is much more fun to live next door to a real live celebrity.

  3. I’m sure you noticed that Pecan Manor is listed as a “Likely Rental.” I’m wondering how much a room is renting for at the Nut House these days? I’d really like to rent the purple and pink room upstairs that the granddaughters decorated.

  4. When I was a MDivBL student at SWBTS and living in seminary-owned lodging, our duplex was not permitted a screen door on either the front or back door; ceiling fans and wallpaper border also were not permitted. The selected interior color scheme was institutional tannish.

  5. The estimate for the same property is $936,675. Is he the President of SWBTS, or Enron?

    I doubt very seriously this was done with CP money. More likely it was done through designated gifts (like the direct giving that FBC, Springdale has done in the past). When Dr. Patterson retires maybe we can hire Dr. Dre as the next president. Perhaps we could then get the Presidential residence up to a more respectable 18,000 square feet. Or we could just wait a few years and it might get there before Patterson retires.

  6. Paul:

    You’re correct. No CP monies were used to build Versailles…er, Pecan Manor.

    But CP monies will be used until Jesus comes to heat, cool, repair, and staff the president’s home.

    The “improvements” were made — in large part — through the charitable gifts of the late Carliss Phillips of Quitman, TX.

    My only question is this: If you have a millionaire wanting to give a few million to a school, how many servants of the gospel would first apply the money to expand their own residence by a few thousand square feet?


  7. Only the finest for our blessed pope and his lovely bride as they await their coronation into the sunset. Until then they can have can have 4378.50 ft. per saint – but then of course, Noche gets the run of the house! I wonder where Noche does his business! Perhaps in one of our dear first lady’s many fine hats! No wonder sometimes one will appear to have a rather rumpled look.

  8. As an IMB missionary, we are strictly restricted to 1600 sq ft houses/apartments. No exceptions. Most folks in the 10/40 Window live in MUCH smaller places that 1600. Many live in 700-900 sq ft. We are PROHIBITED from living in anything larger.

    I guess we’ll just wait for our “mansion over the hilltop” like everyone else (except seminary presidents).

  9. Normally you write something like this and you get a few boos and hisses. I don’t hear any now. Who would possibly condone this? These are the guys and it is not just Seminary Pres’s living in such luxury that really gets my blood boiling as they sit and calmly ask the poor rural preacher to lead his church into giving toward the cooperative program.

  10. “All things are permissible, but not all things are profitable….”

    Easy to “apply” re: alcohol; harder to apply at home, so to speak.

  11. Though I don’t condone this outlandish lifestyle that is obviously being lived by one of our seminary presidents, my question would be where do we draw the line. At what point, do we say enough is enough. Is it simply something that we see as common sense? For example, I recently bought lunch for a member of our church at Red Lobster. The bill was $40.00. A person in my church could obviously say that I should have taken them to McDonalds. When it comes to salary and compensation, there are many pastors who make three times the amount that I make. Are they making too much? Are they using funds that should be used for the gospel? I don’t know the answer. However my philosophy is this, I look at the median income for the community I serve. My staff will not make more than the median income of the people we serve.

  12. I’m curious… Is that land taxable?

    Is it exempt from Taxes, like a church is at this time in our country’s history?

    How long before someone in the government realizes that they are sitting on a cash cow if they would only tax religious institutions?

    Seriously, in this time of American Apathy about all things spiritual, it might actually pass if put to a vote!


  13. Mr. Cole,

    I am a newbie to the world of being a participatory blogger, so I am trying to learn the ropes from a professional. I would like to admit my naiveté up front. So, due to my inexperience I think I may be missing some subtlety in this post. I did not catch the part where you mention the fact that very little of the “mansion” is actually used for their private living space. I missed the area where you tell your readers how much of the square footage is used as dining areas for seminary functions, much needed office space, and the presidential library. I also missed the part were you explain to your readers how rarely does a day go by where the Patterson’s are not hosting some function, luncheon, meeting, or class in “their home” for the seminary. The last time I was there I do not remember seeing the signs of opulence that you seem to be suggesting. What I saw was a vital part of the seminary where students and their families are welcomed, guests are honored, ministers are being trained, and lastly the residence of the Patterson’s.

    I was also wondering if you could give us the names of those celebrities whose homes are on a college/seminary campus and is in constant use by that institution? Could it be that you are comparing apples and oranges when the comparison is made between a seminary building and a private home? Now I am assuming the point of your listing those homes was to in some way imply that Dr. Patterson has too much wealth and/or luxury at his disposal because his house is big. So when you do compose the post listing the Hollywood Homes on campuses, could you also include the reasons why having a large house is in some way immoral/sinful?

    And as I am sure you are capable of doing, would it be possible for you to quantify how big of a house the president of one of the largest evangelical seminaries in the world should be living in. Once you enlighten us on exactly how many square feet are moral and how many are immoral, could you then tell us how big of a house Dr. Patterson specifically should be allowed to live in since I would imagine that the two standards would be different.

    Hopefully you can clear up my confusion a bit. Thank you so much for your assistance.

  14. Joe:

    What a very excellent rationale for opulence you have provided. I am left with a few questions:

    1. Is Paige Patterson the first president at Southwestern Seminary to own books? To claim a library? If so, why is he the first president at Southwestern Seminary in the past four adminstrations that hasn’t published anything scholarly since he was inaugurated? Hemphill, Dilday, and Naylor were all published during their presidencies. How on earth did they do that research without books or presidential libraries?

    2. Is Paige Patterson the first president of Southwestern Seminary to use the presidential home to raise money, recruit students and faculty, or host parties? If so, why has he raised less money than Hemphill or Dilday or Naylor? Why have student numbers dropped to the lowest since these men were president? Why have faculty numbers dropped in the first years of Patterson’s tenure?

    3. In how big a house should Paige Patterson live, you ask? My answer: Just a little bigger.

    4. I’ve never claimed Patterson’s home was immoral or sinful. Wherever did you get that idea? I’ve just claimed it was big…and bigger than many billionaire celebrity mansions.

    5. By the way, the mansion occupied by the Governor of Texas is a meager 8920 sq.ft, which basically means that the Governor of Texas has one additional closet, or an extra half bathroom. Why do you think it is necessary for the president of a school with 1900 students and $30 million a year budget with a $90 million endowment to have a home equal to the size of a state executive leading 22.5 million people (7% of the U.S. population) with a budget of $69 Billion dollars?

    If we figure Rick Perry’s home proportionally to that you are claiming is necessary for Paige Patterson to do his job, then a major expansion will be necessary for the Governor’s Mansion. In fact, he should be living in a home that is 1,037,013 sq.ft, or roughly 24 acres of living space, or the equivalent of 200 Cracker Barrel Restaurants under one roof.

    But I’m not that good at math, so you might have to check my figures out. Any way you slice it, Texas owes Rick Perry a pretty good explanation.

    Or Paige Patterson owes one to Southern Baptists….

  15. Ben –
    I wanna see a picture! Do you have any of the new and improved “Nut House”?

    Also, thanks for injecting a little humor into a less-than-funny situation.

  16. You can always tell when day is drawing to a close – the small men cast great shadows. A house this size in Texas will surely use energy worth two thou a month in perpetuity, but the housing of great egos requires great accomodations.

  17. I like that . . . “the housing of great egos requires great accommodations.” I worked as a “blue shirt” while at Seminary. I helped build that grandiose tribute to P.P. I and a couple of others put every book in his library on the shelves, and crawled around on the ground while the contractors put in the skyscraper foundation. Walking into Pecan Manor (aka the nut house) is like stepping into another world. It’s like walking into some aristocratic 18th century English society, what with all their tea and servants. The Patterson’s (both of them) are like pampered aristocrats who get ticked off if their dishes aren’t put away properly or the Cadillac isn’t clean enough. How sad. There are some truly great people at Southwestern . . . the Pattersons are not them.

  18. Ben,

    Good avoidance of the items Joe brought up. Of course you would not tell anyone that much of the square footage is a library and not living space. And of course you would not tell anyone that there are classes and offices in the house. And of course you would not tell anyone that Pecan Manor s used often as a place to hold events and such. None of these things help your cause of telling everyone how bad Patterson is. Your hatred of him is too easy to notice. Of course that is what drives you and motivates you. Whatever Patterson did nor did not do to you is what drives you to tell everyone how bad he is. Well that and your love of politics and political power.

    In this comment I do not cndone or condemn Patterson. I am just asking you to please sing a new song. You are influential. Please use your influence for good. If you think there is major change needed, please try and make that change instread of just trying to take down Patterson and the others in his camp.

    You called ir or me weird that I quit posting on SBCOutpost becasue it was a waste of time. I know that you have told others who have not agreed with you or your actions to grow up and just laughed at them when they tried to make peace with you. Please be a man and make peace with Patterson. Then if you do not agree with something he does then you can comment on what he does. Then it won’t be a personal vendetta.

    Oh and BTW your comparison to the governers mansion and the President’s home is still jsut comparing apples to oranges. Atleast in the way you do it.

  19. Ben

    To answer your 5 questions that you still had on February 28;

    1. No. (Rendering the ‘if so’ supplementaries unnecessary)

    2. No. (Rendering the ‘if so’ supplementaries unnecessary)

    3. The logic of your previous supplementaries is ‘a little smaller’. Except that you assume that the previous presidents used the house in the same way and were happy with the size of the house. You do not know either of these things so you cannot meaningfully make your judgment.

    4. You are on thin ice if you do NOT believe his actions are immoral or sinful. There may be some New Testament basis for your comments throughout your blog if they are. If you’re simply unhappy, jealous or confused Jesus would have you, um, shut up. After all in such an event your comments add up to 8757 square feet of personal hatred which I guess looks worse from heaven than the ol’ house does.

    5. If you can’t see that this is statistical drivel you’re not as sharp as I think you are. But just in case you’re not into statistics, try the same thing from your own home. You’ll get a similarly silly result (and it would be nice to know the size of your house(s) as a matter of record).

    I’m no fan of the Pattersons but some of your writing is a disgrace to the name of Christ who loved Paige and Dorothy enough to shed his blood for their souls. You need to be a follower, son.

  20. Why can our leaders not see that they are loosing their witness (i.e., credibility)? Why open up this kind of window for the enemy’s attacks? Whether right or wrong (in the supposed guise of Christian liberty), does not wisdom dictate that we live simple and humble lives to avoid this type of reproach?

  21. Most of the house is used for public functions, HOWEVER–the addition does include a private quarters for Dr P & the Mrs. I’ve seen it myself. The library is quite impressive, however it is private. Nobody has access to it but him. Supposedly this is because at Southeastern there were issues with students not returning items, etc. from what I heard. I’ve been to many functions at the house and they have definitely made many efforts to welcome students, guests and others into their home. I don’t see anything wrong with them wanting a little something of their own…however the library is ridiculously huge and the electricity bill for that place must cost a fortune (just like the LDC right next to it.) When I lived in seminary housing I couldn’t even control the AC vs. the heat. I just wish more was done for the students housing as well. That would serve as the biggest ministry alumni could contribute toward for future ministers.

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