Sunday, June 23, 2019

New use for an old house

This old house at 309 N. Main Street has been renovated and turned in to a coffee shop. It was closed when I took this photo, but when it is open it seems to be quite popular.

Update on the Lane-Riley House

The Lane-Riley House at 1302 College Street, which dates back to 1872,  has been vacant as long as I have been doing this blog. The house has changed hands three times in the past 10 years, but none of the owners ever followed through on renovations. Now, a couple from Lufkin has purchased the house and has announced plans to spend $175,000 on renovations. Their proposed renovations have been approved by both the Texas Historical Commission and Georgetown's Historical and Architectural Review Commission.

The Hyer House - 2009 vs. 2019

The photos in this post show what the Hyer House at 904 Ash Street looked like in 2009 (above) and how it looks today (below) after massive renovations/additions.

The Peaslee House

This house at 1009 S. Elm Street has always been one of my favorites in Old Town. Not long after I moved to Georgetown, it was featured in Southern Living. When I lived around the corner from this house, I had the opportunity to get to know its wonderful owners and attend several events at the house.

It wasn't until this year's Preservation Georgetown Home Tour that I learned about the history of the house. It was originally built in 1916 by the Griffith Lumber Company for Tom Peaslee, who lived there with his wife, Jennie, and their two children. Peaslee was the owner and operator of a meat market on Austin Avenue to the left of the Palace Theater.

When Greg and Linda Austin bought the house in 2003, it was still pretty much in its original condition. In fact, they even found an old Model A in the garage shed, completely obscured by trash and scrap metal!

The Austins added an addition at the back of the house that gives them a garage and guest bedroom, as well as a master bathroom and more kitchen space. But the addition and other renovations have stayed true to the original craftsman style of the home. I love every opportunity I get to see this house!

Saturday, April 13, 2019

Mrs. Hall's Cottages

I owned the house at 405 E. 10th St. (bottom photo) for seven years, but I never had any idea that the three small cottages around the corner from my house had any connection to it. The women who did the historical research for this year's Preservation Georgetown Home Tour discovered that these three cottages were built in 1929 by the owner of my former house (Mrs. Lee A. Hall) to serve as rental income. In the early days, the cottages were most likely rented by students attending Southwestern University. The cottage on the right is among the houses featured on this year's home tour. The current owner has done a wonderful job restoring the old cottage, and it is now available for rent on Air B&B. The tiny back  yard is particularly delightful.

Home tour researchers also discovered many other details about Mrs. Hall. She was born Martha Lee Armstrong in Taylor in 1885. In 1911, she married John Temple Hall, who was a carpenter. Her only child, Mabel Lee, was born in 1914, and her husband died in 1919.

Mrs. Hall never remarried. She worked as a bookkeeper at First National Bank (which now houses the Williamson Museum), and eventually rose to become vice president of the bank -- quite an accomplishment for a woman in those days! Mrs. Hall lived in the house at 405 E. 10th St. until her death in February 1958. In 1957, she was named Georgetown's Businesswoman of the Year, when she was 72. She was a lifelong member of First Methodist Church in Georgetown. 

Mabel Lee Hall attended Southwestern and then The University of Texas, and ended up marrying a physicist she met at UT. During WWII, Mabel worked in the office of the British Information Service at Rockefeller Center in New York City.

Sunday, February 3, 2019

West Side Story

A new developer appears to be buying up lots on the west side of downtown, tearing down the old houses, and putting up new ones.

Site of Proposed Condos

A developer is hoping to put eight condominium units on this piece of property at the corner of Maple and 13th streets - and keep the historic house that is currently on the property. The project was supposed to go before HARC Jan. 24 but was pulled at the last minute. Stay tuned!


It is sad to see the cute little chapel where we got married being overshadowed by this new construction. The new building also is going to block the view of the historic courthouse from the southeast side of downtown.