Monday, November 26, 2012

The Woodson Patrick House

This house at 211 E. 5th St., which was built around 1880, is one of the oldest surviving houses in Georgetown. Its first owner was Woodson Patrick, who was born in Overton County, Tenn. in 1835 and served in the Civil War.

A Southwestern University professor used to own it as a rental property, but it now has new live-in owners who are obviously putting a lot of work into it.


Earlier this year, I reported on how the house at 415 W. 10th St. was slated for demolition (You can read that post here). The house was torn down this fall and the new one has gone up very quickly. Here is what it is looking like. The plans for the new house were originally quite different from what has ended up going in - and I think for the better. This new house actually fits in with the historic houses in the neighborhood pretty well. Here is the finished house in July 2013:

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Valuable Find

For many years now, Southwestern University has had some material in its Special
Collections related to the Belford Lumber Company. This material is used extensively by people who are trying to do research on their homes or architects who are renovating Belford homes in Georgetown. One of the most widely used resources are the ledgers from the Belford Company that tell who each house was built for. However, several of the valuable ledgers are missing.

Recently, Scherry Chapman (a former president of the Georgetown Heritage Society) was talking to Main Street resident Kay Harris, and Mrs. Harris tole her that she had obtained one of the ledgers when the Belford Lumber Company was being torn down in the 1970s.

"We have searched and searched for these ledgers. We had no idea who had them," Scherry said. 

Scherry convinced Mrs. Harris to donate the ledger to the Georgetown Heritage Society and hopefully it will eventually make its way to Southwestern University so it will be available to the public. 

Friday, November 9, 2012

The J.H. Reedy House

Like many of the houses along University Avenue, the house at 908 East University Ave. has many ties to Southwestern University. The first owner of the house was John Henry Reedy, who was a chemistry professor at Southwestern from 1905 to 1913. Reedy purchased the lot for the house from Absolom Travis Irvine in 1907 for $900 and the house was built sometime between 1909 and 1911. Professor Reedy was one of three faculty members who left Southwestern in 1913 with to join the faculty of Southern Methodist University in Dallas under President Robert Hyer.

After Professor Reedy left Georgetown, his house was sold to the Kappa Sigma fraternity and it became their chapter house for 25 years. In 1938, the fraternity sold the house to Aubrey Earl McLean and his wife, Minnie Mae. The McLeans provided room and board to other Southwestern students and the house was known to be a popular gathering place in the 1940s. Aubrey McLean died in 1961 and Minnie Mae McLean died in 1977. After Minnie Mae's death, their daughters sold the home to Robert L. Stewart and Martha Dunham-Stewart, who owned it from 1978 to 1981. Carroll and Dorian Sullivan purchased the home in 1981.

All the owners of the house from the McLeans forward have made some sort of changes or renovations to the house. The Sullivans added a back porch and and extended the front porch around the northwest corner of the house.

The current owners of the house, Ken and Brenda Smith, purchased the house from the Sullivans in 1998 and have improved the house even more, especially in the back yard. I had the opportunity to visit the house last spring and it is truly beautiful - one of the most beautiful homes in Georgetown.

The Smiths have recently decided to put the house on the market, so it will be changing owners again soon. The listing for the house, which can be found here, has some photos of the inside.

Monday, November 5, 2012

The Linnie Campbell House

We have discovered all sorts of interesting tidbits about Georgetown residents of the past while researching this house at 1502 Ash St. for the 2012 Georgetown Heritage Society Holiday Home Tour.

The house was built around 1922 for a woman named Linnie Campbell. Mrs. Campbell was born Salinda Laura Young in 1866 in Winchester, Texas. She married Shelby Campbell in 1886 and assumed his position as tax collector in Lee County when he died in 1903. Later, relocating to Georgetown, Mrs. Campbell became the first woman to hold public office in Williamson County when she was elected county clerk, serving in that role from 1918 to 1922. One reason Mrs. Campbell may have moved to Georgetown is because her daughter, Lucille Campbell, attended Southwestern University from 1904-1908.

Lucille Campbell herself has an interesting story. After graduating from Southwestern,  she was hired to teach English at a Blackfoot Indian Reservation in Oklahoma by Samuel Page Duke, the assistant principal and football coach. Lucille Campbell later married Samuel Duke and they returned to his family home in Virginia. In 1918 Samuel Duke was appointed president of Harrisonburg Normal School, later to become Madison College, and then James Madison University.  Dr. Duke served as president of Madison College until 1949. Mrs. Duke lived in an apartment not far from campus until her death in 1980. Linnie Campbell died in 1954 and is buried in the IOOF Cemetery behind Southwestern University.

The current owners of this house, Jordan and Lesley Ann Maddox, are only the third owners of the house. They recently completed a beautiful restoration of the house (you can see a photo of the house prior to restoration in this previous blog post), and it will be open to the public Dec. 8-9.