Sunday, December 13, 2009

They paved paradise...

Another old house in Georgetown is being lost to a parking lot. The houses on either side of this house were already torn down to make parking lots for a bank on the west side of Austin Avenue. Now this one is going as well. The house is being saved but it is being moved to another town in eastern Williamson County.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Sears Kit houses

Will Moore bought this house that was previously located at 4th and Elm Streets. Many people call it the Parker House because it used to be owned by a Southwestern English professor named Lois Parker. Will has moved it next to his house on 6th Street and is working on restoring it. Luckily, he has a model right in town to work from. The house Will now owns was made from a kit sold by Sears, hence the name "Sears Kit house." A house apparently made from the same kit is located on Olive Street (This house is undergoing some restoration work itself at the moment). Will says he recognized the house on Olive Street a few years ago when he and his wife were walking to the old Monument Cafe for breakfast. The owner was outside working on the house and told Will he had no idea it was a Sears home. Will says George Logan, Jr., who was born in the Logan-Parker house in 1913, visited him in 2006 and verified that his father, the original owner of the house Will now owns, told him that he had the kit shipped to the old Railroad Station at the end of 8th Street (where the feed store is now), then loaded it on wagons and took it to the lot at 4th and Elm where a local lumber company put it together. The house Will owns still has the original four stained glass windows in the living room that were unique to this particular Sears kit home but unfortunately the house on Olive Street does not.

4th and College Streets

It looks like a new house is going up at the intersection of 4th and College Streets.

The Booty House

Louise Walsh sent me a photo of the Booty House before it burned down so we can compare the new house with the original. Here's a photo of what the house under construction looked like on Dec. 9. It looks like it is going to be a pretty accurate reconstruction of the original house.

Friday, December 4, 2009

The Young Dairy house

I just discovered the most interesting history of one of the houses in Georgetown. I had always known that some of the land owned by Southwestern University used to be a dairy farm, but I never knew that there was a house on that property that had been moved and preserved.

The Young Dairy house was built in 1901 by the Belford Lumber Company for Ryland Fletcher Young, one of the original five long-time professors at Southwestern. Professor Young ran a large dairy operation on the property while he continued to teach at the university. After he retired from teaching, he continued to run the dairy farm until his death in 1925. Many Southwestern students worked on the farm and dairy in exchange for room and board at the house.

The dairy operation flourished until 1942 when President Franklin Delano Roosevelt froze dairy prices during WWII. However, Southwestern University needed milk for young men who were part of a naval unit training on campus during WWII, so the university bought the property from the Young family. One of Professor Young's sons managed the property until 1948. According to Dr. William B. Jones history book about Southwestern University, To Survive and Excel, Southwestern continued to own the property and lease the dairy operation to other people until the mid-1970s. At that time, the university sold the dairy equipment to raise funds to help renovate Mood Hall.

At the time the dairy equipment was sold, the house had sat vacant on the property for many years and was in terrible shape. Most people thought it should be torn down. However, a couple named Leon and Carolyn Douglas took on the task of moving the house and restoring it. They had it moved to 1243 Main St. in 1978. Today, it is one of the most photographed homes in Georgetown and is on the 2009 Holiday Home Tour sponsored by the Georgetown Heritage Society.

This is a great example of how houses can still be saved even if they look like they have been damaged beyond repair.