Monday, January 31, 2011

Inappropriate additions?

This little house on Hutto Road used to be really cute, with a small dormer window above the door. In a quest to get more space, the new owners have put on an addition that is totally out of context with the house's architectural style. This isn't the only home on Hutto Road that has suffered this fate. Just up the street is a newer home with what many people consider to be a very inappropriate addition in the rear. Under new rules recently passed by City Council, additions will not be permitted on the front of houses in Old Town without approval from HARC.

Demolition by Neglect

This house at 707 E. 13th St. has been an eyesore to neighbors for 15 years. What is particularly sad is the fact that the owner lives in Georgetown but has not bothered to visit the property for five years. So when he applied to HARC for permission to demolish the house, HARC denied the request due to the fact that the it was an obvious case of demolition by neglect. Unfortunately, the owner will eventually get to demolish it - all he has to do is wait 175 days and then HARC has to approve his request for demolition. Under a proposal now before City Council, property owners who are guilty of demolition by neglect would have to wait a year before they are allowed to tear down houses in Old Town. Photos of two houses just around the corner from this house show what it might look like if it had been properly maintained.

Moving to Jonah

The Historic and Architectural Review Commission (HARC) has approved plans to move this house at 1809 Main St. to Jonah. Apparently this won't be the first time it has been moved. It was originally located at Fort Hood. The property owner plans to replace this house with a new one that is 2,500 square feet. Stay tuned....

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Tracing the Life of Jesse Daniel Ames

Many people know that women's suffrage advocate Jesse Daniel Ames lived in the yellow house on Church Street (second photo from the top) because there is a historical marker in front of it. What people may not know is that there is another house in Georgetown with ties to Ames.

The beautiful Victorian house at 705 E. 3rd St. was Ames' childhood home. Fifteen years ago it was so run down that many people thought it should be torn down. But George and Barbara Meyer were up to the task and lovingly restored it.

Barbara Meyer told this story several times in recent months as various city boards considered changes to the city's Unified Development Code (UDC) that would make it harder for people to demolish historic houses in Old Town. With the help of concerned citizens like the Meyers, the City Council approved the tougher restrictions at its first reading on Jan. 25.

Also shown in this post is a photo of what Ames' house on Church Street looked like when the current owners, Michele and Herb Ledebohm, bought it in 2004.

And finally, I have posted a photo of Jesse Daniel Ames' grave in the IOOF Cemetery behind Southwestern University. She is buried there along with her parents and her youngest daughter. Southwestern University historian Bill Jones helped me find the gravesite.