Saturday, May 30, 2009

Demolition by neglect

A few weeks ago at work, I got a call from a man in Missouri who had heard a rumor that Southwestern had bought the house in Georgetown once owned by Civil War veteran John Coffee and was going to turn it into a museum.
I had to tell him there was no truth to the rumor, but the phone call got me interested in the house. I was able to locate it with the help of former Heritage Society President Scherry Chapman.
It is located at 1403 James St., which is near the big water tower in Old Town. One of the current owners, Jane Williamson, is a descendent of John Coffee, but apparently her husband has no interest in the old house. In 1997, they build a new house on the property. Meanwhile, the old house is overgrown with weeds, the roof is collapsing and there is a broken window in back, all of which are conditions that can cause a property owner to be cited for "demolition by neglect" according to Section 4.11 of the city's Uniform Development Code (UDC) which states that:
"No owner...of a property located in the Old Town Overlay District shall permit the property to fall into a serious state of disrepair so as to result in deterioration which would, in the judgment of the Historic District Planner and the Building Official, produce a detrimental effect upon the life and character of the property itself..."
There is a file with the history of this house in the Georgetown Library. Among its claims to fame: Sam Houston once slept there! It is a shame to see such historic homes being neglected like this. For more information on John Coffee, visit

The bridge to...

Biking through San Gabriel Park isn't going to be the same once the new bridge over the San Gabriel River is completed....I don't think these pecan trees are going to be with us much longer, either...

908 Pine St.

This house at 908 Pine St. is going to look nice once the restoration is complete!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

The Hyer House door is now up for bid!

Will Moore has finished his work on the Hyer House door and delivered it to the Georgetown Library, where it will be on display through May 31 and available for sale via a silent auction. For more information, visit the Georgetown Heritage Society web page at

Edwards Park

The city has made some improvements to the park at the corner of Ash and 8th Streets, including adding some new play equipment.

7th and Ash Streets

The lot at the corner of 7th and Ash Streets was cleared this week. Anyone have any idea what is going to go there?

Sunday, May 3, 2009

The Hyer House Door

Will Moore is making great progress restoring the door to the historic Hyer House. He promises it will be ready in time to display it at the Heritage Society picnic May 24.

Maple and 13th Streets

It is a shame that the city ever let an apartment complex be built right in the heart of Old Town, but at least the owners have recently given the complex a facelift. They even gave it a new name - Mid-Century Park.

Elm and 5th Streets

Construction has finally started on the lot at Elm and 5th Streets that was vacant for several years after a fire burned down the previous house. The new house is going to resemble an historic four-square.

913 College St.

A new house is already going up at 913 College Street, where a previous house burned down earlier this spring. It will be interesting to see what it looks like!


Welcome to the Around Old Town blog. As you know, Old Town Georgetown is changing rapidly - sometimes for the better, sometimes for the worse. I created this blog to help share what is going on in my neighborhood - both the good and the bad. The opinions expressed in this blog are strictly my own. If you have an item of interest for this blog, send it to