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Gem on Samuels Ave. - The Garvey House


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#1 Brian Luenser

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Posted 27 November 2008 - 11:20 AM

I am sure I am the last to this party, but what is the deal with this beauty?
I can see on the Tarrant Appraisal site that it is valued at 150K. (I have their 150k if they want to sell this) Guessing she would not sell or would have.
It lists the year built as 0000. That's old.

What a grand house. Here are 4 pictures. Three standing on sidewalk and one from my balcony this morning. (800mm).
Let's take a look, shall we?







And it wouldn't be Thanksgiving if I wasn't hanging off of my balcony with 6 pounds of camera...

www.fortworthview.com

#2 GenE

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Posted 27 November 2008 - 01:01 PM

[quote name='monee9696' date='Nov 27 2008, 11:20 AM' post='52149']

Monee,

Although I love the photo's isn't there a rule here that addresses of residences not be published? Can you go
in and edit your post so it doesn't get totally deleted? Well, actually your post is ok, it is the TITLE of the post
that is in violation, and I don't know if you can edit that yourself, or have to get a moderator.

GenE

#3 Brian Luenser

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Posted 27 November 2008 - 06:04 PM

QUOTE (monee9696 @ Nov 27 2008, 11:20 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Monee,

Although I love the photo's isn't there a rule here that addresses of residences not be published? Can you go
in and edit your post so it doesn't get totally deleted? Well, actually your post is ok, it is the TITLE of the post
that is in violation, and I don't know if you can edit that yourself, or have to get a moderator.

GenE


Thank you. I was able to fix both areas.
www.fortworthview.com

#4 longhornz32

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Posted 27 November 2008 - 11:08 PM

LOL, OOOO IS really old.

Give it time and it will have a clay tile roof and a bad Italian name given to it. The tax appraisal will then shoot up to the 7 digits!

#5 John S.

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Posted 28 November 2008 - 05:48 PM

Hi All,
Nothing to worry about here. The Garvey-Veihl-Kelley House at 769 Samuels is in the national register of historic places, a Registered Texas Historic Landmark (RTHL) and City of Fort Worth Landmark. Therefore, the address is in the public domain and does not need to be hidden. I spent 7 months during 1992 researching the history of this property and submitted my research manuscript to the Tarrant County Historical Commission to help prepare the application for RTHL designation. The RTHL marker was dedicated the following Spring with Tom Vandergriff and former speaker of the House of Representatives Jim Wright in attendance.

A brief history: The property was deeded to Lula and William Garvey in the early 1880's by Mrs. Garvey's parents, Isaac Foster and Mary Cornelia Samuel-Foster. (who lived next door at 761 Samuels, the home was demolished a few years ago) Baldwin Samuel, the street's namesake, was the grandfather of Mrs. Garvey. Initially, the Garveys built a small cottage to the back of the present structure but in later years constructed the large Queen Anne style residence seen today. In my research, I was unable to find the exact construction date of the Queen Anne style addition but architectural details indicate the late 1890's. The house is largely intact but has suffered some vandalism over the years. The home was prominent enough to be featured in FW photographer Charles Swartz's 1901 VIEWS OF FORT WORTH in the "residences" section. Only three of the many homes featured by Swartz are still standing: The Garvey Home, The John Swayne Home, and the Ball-Eddleman-McFarland Home. The Garvey home is currently owned by Kelley family descendants. They are very aware of the impact development is having on Samuels Avenue and have deferred repairs and upkeep in anticipation of selling in the months or years ahead. They are seeking approx. $2 million for their nearly 3 acre property. (which extends down to the Trinity River and the future Town Lake site)

#6 John T Roberts

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Posted 28 November 2008 - 06:13 PM

John, thanks for posting the information. I was going to do the same tonight, but you beat me to it. Even though this house is protected, it sure looks as if it is also endangered. I still wish some preservation efforts could be done along this stretch of Samuels, but it appears that no one other than myself, a few preservationists, and Historic Fort Worth are even interested.

Would you mind putting an update on the sale of your house within that thread? I'm curious to see how things are going. By the way, we still have your listing on the Historic Fort Worth web site.

#7 John S.

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Posted 29 November 2008 - 12:13 PM


Hi John,

There's not a whole lot to update about our property (823 Samuels) which remains for sale by owners. For over a month, I've sought someone who could help finish the wood shingle roof on our home so other maintenance projects can move forward. Two different bids have been offered and accepted but getting these folks to come out and get started has been frustrating. Perhaps we will have to wait until Spring or I may tackle part or all of the project myself.

We had one and only one offer on the property in July for $325k. It was contingent on several things and was made with the understanding that the historic home would likely be demolished. We rejected their offer and countered, our counter was rejected and we parted ways. End of story. We would still like to sell and relocate outside the City. With Mr. Burda owning a property only a couple of houses down from us, obtaining consent from homeowners for an historic zoning overlay would be very challenging, if not impossible.

I too am very concerned about the future of the Garvey Mansion. From talking with one of the two co-owners, it seems they do not wish to invest in the upkeep of the property because both want to sell it. The co-owner I talked to is actually interested in buying our property to restore and live in it, so selling the Garvey mansion property to somone who would take care of it is not necessarily a bad thing. However, given that the present owners also expect to sell their land at market rates on a per-square foot basis, who besides a developer would want to put that kind of money into their property? Therein lies the biggest dilemma and the biggest challenge for preservation-minded potential buyers. In the currently declining real estate market new construction in the neighborhood will likely soon cease after those projects now underway are completed. Funds for development appear to be harder to come by in the current unstable credit markets.

Having said that, we all know economic conditions are cyclical. At some point the economy will rebound and the forces of "progress" will again impact the historic homes remaining on Samuels. We've owned our property on the street since 1989 and are willing to wait out until the market recovers, however long that may take. Ultimately, with the Trinity River Vision project continuing to move forward, it remains to be seen if massive redevelopment in the neighborhood can be contained in the future or not.





#8 John S.

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Posted 10 February 2009 - 07:44 PM

Hi All,

Just wanted to update that the Garvey Mansion at 769 Samuels is officially now on the market listed at $2,575,000. (Dropped to $2 Mil. summer of 2010) It is listed with realtor Adrianne Danjord who is aware of it's historic significance and is marketing the house accordingly.

While the $2 million price tag may seem outrageously high to some, considerably higher prices on a per square foot basis have already been paid for land on the south end of Samuels Avenue. The two brothers who jointly own this property are aware that market conditions for this kind of high-end property are somewhat diminished these days but they are willing to patiently wait for a buyer. Despite all of the bad news heard on the real estate front, it might be worth noting that existing home sales have actually picked up in some areas and Fort Worth real estate has weathered the downturn fairly well. New construction activity currently continues at a torrid pace on the south end of Samuels perhaps because new residents continue to relocate to the Metroplex. Downtown Fort Worth seems to be holding its own in today's market.

In any event, "potential" buyers who have long wanted to see the inside of this unique house now have an opportunity to do so. No other extant historic house in Fort Worth is similar, although the Ball-Eddleman-McFarland House from the same period is more lavish in details. The original owner, William B. Garvey, was a grocery dealer who had his prominent store on Main street in front of the Courthouse. Mr. Garvey was also very active as a deacon in the First Baptist Church and was a founding member of Broadway Baptist Church. His wife Lula Foster-Garvey was the grand-daughter of Baldwin Samuel, the street's namesake. Both of her parents lived next door at 761 Samuels in the now demolished Italianate style mansion. The Garveys had no children, thus this property and all of their appreciable assets were donated to local charitable causes when they passed away within months of each other in 1915.

Despite the house being a Registered Texas Historic Landmark (1992) with a large State marker, it does not have any additional protection from demolition other than the demolition delay the City provides-let's hope this Fort Worth historical "gem" isn't bought and pushed aside in the name of progress.

#9 John T Roberts

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Posted 11 February 2009 - 01:54 PM

According to the city's zoning map online, the property is designated a Historic and Cultural Landmark (HC). If that is the case, then there are more than just 180 days of protection against demolition.

#10 Recyclican

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Posted 11 February 2009 - 03:37 PM

QUOTE (John T Roberts @ Feb 11 2009, 01:54 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
According to the city's zoning map online, the property is designated a Historic and Cultural Landmark (HC). If that is the case, then there are more than just 180 days of protection against demolition.


I'll second that, John. It looks to have been designated (HC) back in August 1994.

#11 John S.

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Posted 11 February 2009 - 07:46 PM

QUOTE (John T Roberts @ Feb 11 2009, 01:54 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
According to the city's zoning map online, the property is designated a Historic and Cultural Landmark (HC). If that is the case, then there are more than just 180 days of protection against demolition.



Hi John,

Could you please expand a little on what the H & C designation exactly means? Does that mean that the historic home is protected from demolition in perpetuity? I know that I've seen at least one disturbing photo of a bulldozer pushing down a house while the Texas Registered Historic Landmark marker had been pulled up and carelessly tossed aside. I'm sure this (thankfully) does not happen very often, but the risk to the Garvey Mansion is real, 1. because of it's deteriorating condition 2. because the huge lot it sits on might be more desireable, if cleared vacant, to a developer. Given the relatively high value for someone paying over $2 million for the property, the buyer may think there's more profit to be made in the land than in keeping the historic house on the site. It would border on criminal for someone to move the house off its picturesque original site but in my years involved with historic preservation I've seen nearly everything you can imagine and some things beyond belief.

I'd be immensely relieved to learn the Garvey mansion is beyond the reach of developers-there are so many suitable adaptive re-uses for the old mansion as a B & B, Corporate guest house, Law Office (such as James Stanley has on Hemphill) Wedding Chapel, CPA Office, or historic organization offices. With proper restoration, it could even be reopened as a museum house to interpret the rich history of Samuels Avenue and Fort Worth itself. Best of all would be to see it remain as an elegant private residence and become immaculately restored in the process. With some intensive landscaping and rebuilding the stone retaining wall, this would become the showplace it once was.

John S.

#12 stoutimore

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Posted 27 February 2009 - 06:09 PM

It's for sale. But you don't want to know the price. It's 7 figures.

#13 John T Roberts

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Posted 28 February 2009 - 02:44 PM

John, and everone else, the Historic and Cultural Landmark (HC) designation is the mid-level designation of historic status here in the City of Fort Worth. The highest level of historic designation here in the city is Highly Significant Endangered (HSE). The lowest level of designation is Demolition Delay (DD). The HC and HSE designations legally protect the building from demolition. Now, whether that is in perpetuity, that would be a different issue. In order for an HC of HSE structure to be demolished, the owner would have to apply to the Historic and Cultural Landmarks Commission for permission to tear it down. The case for demolition would be presented to the commission and they would make the decision to allow the demolition to proceed. If they allow the demolition, the commission can still impose a 180 day demolition delay on the structure to see if there are other alternatives. If a designated property is demolished without permission from the Landmarks Commission, penalties can result. The city can impose fines and other penalties on the owner and no improvements of any type can be made on the property for three years after demolition. All codes will be enforced on the vacant lot for those three years.

A benefit of listing a property as a Historic and Cultural Landmark is a 10 year tax incentive from the city. A listing of HSE gives the owner 15 years worth of tax incentives. If you want to look at all of the city's rules regarding designation, please go to the Fort Worth Zoning Ordinance.

If a building or house is listed as a Recorded Texas Historic Landmark or is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, these designations are more ceremonial. They offer no legal means of protection. The only penalty for demolition would be removal from the lists.

#14 John S.

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Posted 28 February 2009 - 10:20 PM

Thanks John for the clarification. I had a friend call me this morning about the Garvey property asking if the house could be moved from the site. I told her probably not. (didn't want to add anything to the uncertainty about the future of this property) I just hope if a buyer for 769 Samuels materializes, that he or she will recognize the historical and architecture significance of this landmarked home. Fort Worth has all but completely lost its architectural legacy built before 1900. Even our larger neighbor to the east has arguably done a better job of saving their early past despite its reputation for development at all costs.

It was the demolition of the 1882 Foster-Poole House (due south of the Garvey House) about 6 years ago that cinched the decision for me to sell and move from the neighborhood as the best option. As a preservationist, I've never felt more helpless while I stood and watched in astonishment and dismay as a bulldozer erased the past in broad swoops of its blade. Mrs. Mary Cornelia Samuel-Foster was one of Baldwin Samuel's daughters and came with her husband Isaac from Baldwin's native Kentucky to take up residence in Fort Worth following her father's death in 1879. Although the house had significant deterioration, it was not beyond restoration if someone had the resources to save it. Some "friends" of the previous late owner had removed some of the architectural details from the house. Anyhow, now its forever gone, not with the wind, but with the dump truck to help grow the local landfill.

The potential loss of the historic Garvey House is unthinkable and totally unacceptable for a City that takes any pride in its past. Yet I fear that could still happen-I'm glad to know at least some level of protection beyond demolition delay is in place.

#15 John T Roberts

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Posted 28 February 2009 - 10:32 PM

Yes, the Garvey House could still be demolished, but at least legally, the developer would have to present his case for demolition to the Landmarks Commission. I guess that there would still be a possibility, the home could be demolished without permission in the middle of the night, but then the city could come down upon the owner with the full force of the law.

#16 ghughes

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Posted 01 March 2009 - 06:03 AM

QUOTE (John T Roberts @ Feb 28 2009, 10:32 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
... the home could be demolished without permission in the middle of the night, but then the city could come down upon the owner with the full force of the law.


From what I've seen lately of the city's willingness to preserve our quality of life I hope there is a larger threat (or benefit) that will prevent demolition.

#17 RD Milhollin

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Posted 01 March 2009 - 06:01 PM

QUOTE (John T Roberts @ Feb 28 2009, 10:32 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
... I guess that there would still be a possibility, the home could be demolished without permission in the middle of the night, but then the city could come down upon the owner with the full force of the law.


Exactly! Just as with the 7th Street Theater.

#18 John T Roberts

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Posted 01 March 2009 - 07:27 PM

Yes, the 7th Street Theater was demolished on a Sunday morning, but I think that property was only designated as Demolition Delay. This designation doesn't have any teeth, so even with an overnight tear down, there aren't any sanctions the city can levy against the owner. I believe the final result of the partial demolition from that weekend, is the owner appeared in front of the Landmarks Commission and stated it had lost its architectural integrity and he should be allowed to continue with the demolition. I know they eventually granted permission to tear it down, but there weren't any penalties for what they did. I hope that I remember everything correctly. If the building was designated at a higher level, please let me know.

#19 John S.

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Posted 16 March 2009 - 08:46 PM

Strange new development regarding the Garvey mansion at 769 Samuels. According to one of the owners, a moving company rep and the listing realtor were out at the house over the weekend taking measurements to see how feasible it would be to move the large house. According to what I was told, a potential buyer was looking into moving it to Aledo. (?!) While moving this landmark house seems very improbable and impractical, it would be an acceptable alternative to demolition. BTW, John, I need to talk to you and have misplaced your number-if you still have mine, please give me a call. Several Samuels Avenue properties appear to be in play right now which raises some concerns. The property behind me on Bennett St. sold to a developer last week.

#20 John S.

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Posted 22 March 2009 - 09:40 AM

Last Tuesday (St. Patrick's Day) a new expensive metal sign appeared on the vacant lot (formerly 761 Samuels) adjacent to the Garvey House at 769 Samuels Avenue. I tried to insert an image here from my Flickr Pro account but got an error message. Here's a link to the sign photo: Samuels Avenue Development sign Does anyone know what this sign means? I'm assuming that given it was placed next to the Garvey House, that the development boundries includes this part of Samuels. 30 Acres is a lot of land.

#21 BobZupcic

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Posted 23 March 2009 - 10:34 AM

I had a chance to tour the house and thought you might enjoy some inside shots (and bluff):





View from the bluff below (included in the 3+ acre site)


Poor rail is often lost in the beauty of the house...


Full Album:
http://s486.photobuc.....rvey Mansion/

#22 UncaMikey

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Posted 23 March 2009 - 12:03 PM

Great set of photos, thanks for posting them! Really interesting old home, reminds me a bit of my neighborhood growing up in Galveston.

About the "30 acre" development, I am really surprised. I know that FW is not nearly as bad off as many other areas of the country, but it's hard to imagine a worse time to start a large, expensive development. I wonder how successful the apts/condos/townhouses already under construction just north of the school are going to be, at least in the short term.

#23 Fort Worthology

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Posted 23 March 2009 - 12:40 PM

The "30 acre development" in the sign is the same development that's been ongoing for years now - Trinity Bluff. It is a larger project than what we've seen so far and will still be in progress for some time to come.

- Architecture/urban planning/transit blogger, Fort Worth Weekly

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#24 Keller Pirate

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Posted 23 March 2009 - 12:49 PM

What does "Master-Planned" mean? Is it better than just plain old Planned, or Junior Planned?

#25 bburton

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Posted 23 March 2009 - 01:34 PM

QUOTE (BobZupcic @ Mar 23 2009, 11:34 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I had a chance to tour the house and thought you might enjoy some inside shots (and bluff):



Based upon these photographs, the interior seems to be in much better shape than the exterior. Thanks for sharing.

Bruce Burton
 


#26 Fort Worthology

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Posted 23 March 2009 - 02:10 PM

QUOTE (Keller Pirate @ Mar 23 2009, 01:49 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
What does "Master-Planned" mean? Is it better than just plain old Planned, or Junior Planned?


I've always thought it was in the sense of having a "master plan," rather than some sort of grandiose level of planner.

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#27 UncaMikey

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Posted 23 March 2009 - 02:29 PM

QUOTE (Atomic Glee @ Mar 23 2009, 01:40 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
The "30 acre development" in the sign is the same development that's been ongoing for years now - Trinity Bluff. It is a larger project than what we've seen so far and will still be in progress for some time to come.


Ah, that makes sense, just a generic sign for the ongoing projects, rather than an indicator of something new.

#28 McHand

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Posted 23 March 2009 - 02:52 PM

QUOTE (BobZupcic @ Mar 23 2009, 11:34 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I had a chance to tour the house and thought you might enjoy some inside shots (and bluff):





View from the bluff below (included in the 3+ acre site)


Poor rail is often lost in the beauty of the house...


Full Album:
http://s486.photobuc.....rvey Mansion/


Great photos! Thanks.
I left a comment. smile.gif

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Texas Wesleyan 2015
Shaw-Clarke NA 


#29 John S.

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Posted 23 March 2009 - 09:19 PM

Nice photos!! Thanks as well for the clarification about the "master planned" language on the Trinity Uptown sign. I had hoped that this was merely a formal sign for the whole development rather than signaling a completely new expansion and unannounced project. Even so, having a sign like that located north of Pioneer's Rest cemetery may spur other developers or investors to seek properties further north in the neighborhood. Of course, available land in the neighborhood is limited by geographic limitations. The most valuable land (with great views of the downtown skyline) in the south end is already being redeveloped

There is some news this week that seems to indicate the national real estate market is stabilizing. ABC News this evening had a segment on the vitality of the Texas economy and pointed out Houston, Austin, and San Antonio as regional growth markets. I think it's no secret a lot of folks from other parts of the country are still heading for Texas in search of jobs and affordable housing.

I'm curious to learn how many of the new Lincoln Properties townhomes will sell or get rented out. (they are condos, right?) Anyhow, I haven't heard anything else about the potential buyer of 769 Samuels who was seeking to move the house out of the neighborhood, so it looks like it stays on the original site. That's all the good news I have to share.

#30 Fort Worthology

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Posted 24 March 2009 - 07:50 AM

QUOTE (John S. @ Mar 23 2009, 10:19 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I'm curious to learn how many of the new Lincoln Properties townhomes will sell or get rented out. (they are condos, right?)


All of Lincoln's developments are rentals, though they've said the townhomes are designed to be upgradeable to purchasable units at a later date.

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#31 John S.

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Posted 24 March 2009 - 11:10 AM



"Poor rail is often lost in the beauty of the house..." (photo of iron fencing) This classic Victorian style iron fencing is under-appreciated and threatened by neglect. The massive limestone carved stone retaining wall placed under the fencing is weak and needs attention to prevent further deterioration and collapse. A French drain once existed behind the wall but deteriorated over the years. During periods of prolonged rains, water seeps down from higher up on the property to this area.

This distinct fencing and the massive stone retaining wall once stretched across both 769 Samuels and 761 Samuels. Given that Mrs. Garvey's parents, the Fosters, once lived next door, it is not surprising the stone wall and iron fencing went across both properties. As recently as a decade ago, the original fence and ornate iron gate for 761 Samuels were deposited on the ground in the back of the property. They all disappeared in recent years. A few of the wall stones from 761 Samuels still remain but demolition activities have scooped up and removed most of them in recent years.

The period iron fencing is a detail rarely seen in Fort Worth these days. The fence posts were anchored in holes drilled in the stones and filled with molten lead. Some of the finials of the fence are bent or broken off but fully repaired and restored would add aesthetically to the property. In their time, I'm sure they emphasized the elegance and exclusivity of historic Samuels Avenue. (which, somewhat ironically, is now returning to this long-neglected neighborhood)

#32 djold1

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Posted 09 August 2009 - 04:28 PM

(Originally posted to the Jack White History Group)

Here are some pix (PDF) I took of the Garvey house on Samuels Avenue on Sunday morning (The 9th). It's a pretty sad sight.

The grounds were overgrown and the walls & fences sagging. It doesn't look as if anyone is living there right now. While the structure looks superficially OK I think it's just a short time until everything starts caving in and falling off.

While I was there a couple strolled up to take a close look at the house and walked up onto the porch. While they certainly weren't there to make a problem, it struck me how open this grand old house is to vandalism and burglary. It's totally vulnerable.

Ironically, with its registration, this house probably has as much protection against demolition as Fort Worth and its citizens allow. Doesn't say too much for our sense of history does it?

Garvey House

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#33 John T Roberts

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Posted 09 August 2009 - 07:45 PM

We had two threads on this house within "Historic Buildings and Preservation", so I have merged the two threads.

#34 FortWorthLowrider

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Posted 10 August 2009 - 05:09 AM

I took a pic of this house a while back. Unfortunately its not the best quality. I also took one of the landmark in the front but I will have to find that pic.

BTW this is my favorite house in Fort Worth. As a kid my cousin told me it was the house of Freddy Kruger and scarred the crap out of me. I could not go pass that house and look at it. LOL Now I am so fascinated with the house and plan to visit it again with a better camera. I know if I had the cash I would by it quick. biggrin.gif cool.gif
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#35 John S.

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Posted 10 August 2009 - 01:11 PM

QUOTE (djold1 @ Aug 9 2009, 05:28 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
(Originally posted to the Jack White History Group)
Here are some pix (PDF) I took of the Garvey house on Samuels Avenue on Sunday morning (The 9th). It's a pretty sad sight. The grounds were overgrown and the walls & fences sagging. It doesn't look as if anyone is living there right now. While the structure looks superficially OK I think it's just a short time until everything starts caving in and falling off.
While I was there a couple strolled up to take a close look at the house and walked up onto the porch. While they certainly weren't there to make a problem, it struck me how open this grand old house is to vandalism and burglary. It's totally vulnerable. Ironically, with its registration, this house probably has as much protection against demolition as Fort Worth and its citizens allow. Doesn't say too much for our sense of history does it?
Garvey House



These photos do not tell the whole story. Both of the owners, the Kelley brothers, are actively trying to sell the property. The older of the two lives in the main house and recently had a curiosity seeker walk into the house unannounced. Lucky that he is a relatively mild-mannered type instead of the "shoot first and ask questions later" kind of person. While the house and property do sorely need attention, the brothers do not have the resources to return it to pristine condition. Given that developers already own several properties in the immediate vicintity of the Garvey House, the future is so uncertain that it might not be wise to spend a lot of money on renovations anyhow. At this time, the most active potential buyer wants to cut the house in pieces and move it out to a distant suburban area. While this would insure the survival of the house, it would negate all the past efforts to recognize and landmark the property for its importance to Fort Worth history. One could also make a pretty strong argument that with the Garvey House gone, nothing old on Samuels Avenue except for Pioneers Rest cemetery would likely survive into the future. If ever there was an important historic property in Fort Worth that needed a "White Knight" to come to it's rescue, the Garvey House is THE one. However, in our current weak economy the likelyhood of that happening even compared to just a year ago is greatly diminished. As I write this, a developer-owned vacant but old house on Benett Street near the Garvey House is being demolished, a sign of the times, I suppose.

#36 djold1

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Posted 10 August 2009 - 07:41 PM

John S..

When I posted my string of pix I certainly meant no disrespect to the Kelley's or the neighborhood. I simply reported on what I saw and what the camera captured. You wil note that I went no closer to the house than the sidewalk.

I would think that even a few dollars invested by someone (I would donate a little) for signs to post the property against trespassing and to let us know that the house is occupied would just be common sense. It might even save the life of the residents.

Given the external condition of the grounds and the general appearance of disrepair I could not really fault the couple in my pictures for taking a casual look.

This is a sad, sad thing...

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#37 FortWorthLowrider

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Posted 10 August 2009 - 08:09 PM

QUOTE (John S. @ Aug 10 2009, 02:11 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
QUOTE (djold1 @ Aug 9 2009, 05:28 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
(Originally posted to the Jack White History Group)
Here are some pix (PDF) I took of the Garvey house on Samuels Avenue on Sunday morning (The 9th). It's a pretty sad sight. The grounds were overgrown and the walls & fences sagging. It doesn't look as if anyone is living there right now. While the structure looks superficially OK I think it's just a short time until everything starts caving in and falling off.
While I was there a couple strolled up to take a close look at the house and walked up onto the porch. While they certainly weren't there to make a problem, it struck me how open this grand old house is to vandalism and burglary. It's totally vulnerable. Ironically, with its registration, this house probably has as much protection against demolition as Fort Worth and its citizens allow. Doesn't say too much for our sense of history does it?
Garvey House



These photos do not tell the whole story. Both of the owners, the Kelley brothers, are actively trying to sell the property. The older of the two lives in the main house and recently had a curiosity seeker walk into the house unannounced. Lucky that he is a relatively mild-mannered type instead of the "shoot first and ask questions later" kind of person. While the house and property do sorely need attention, the brothers do not have the resources to return it to pristine condition. Given that developers already own several properties in the immediate vicintity of the Garvey House, the future is so uncertain that it might not be wise to spend a lot of money on renovations anyhow. At this time, the most active potential buyer wants to cut the house in pieces and move it out to a distant suburban area. While this would insure the survival of the house, it would negate all the past efforts to recognize and landmark the property for its importance to Fort Worth history. One could also make a pretty strong argument that with the Garvey House gone, nothing old on Samuels Avenue except for Pioneers Rest cemetery would likely survive into the future. If ever there was an important historic property in Fort Worth that needed a "White Knight" to come to it's rescue, the Garvey House is THE one. However, in our current weak economy the likelyhood of that happening even compared to just a year ago is greatly diminished. As I write this, a vacant but old house on Benett Street near the Garvey House is being demolished, a sign of the times, I suppose.

How up to date is your info on some one living there? I frequent rock island often and have been up to the house and it does not look like any one lives there. If they do I am sorry to have trespassed private property and let my curiosity get the best of me. smile.gif

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#38 John S.

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Posted 11 August 2009 - 10:44 AM

Maybe we are having a bit of a miscommunication or misunderstanding. The Garvey House is landmarked with a Registered Texas Historic Landmark plaque that was deliberately set up close to the house so visitors could come up to the property, read the plaque, and get a close up view of the historic home. The Kelley brothers do not mind folks walking up to the house to read the marker or even to get a closer look at the house itself.

However, the Garvey House is still a private residence and not a museum house open for public tours. In the recent past, perhaps because there is a "for sale" sign in the yard, some folks have discovered an unlocked door and entered into the house unannounced assuming that it is somehow vacant or abandoned. I assure you that it is neither; the older of the two brothers lives there full time and visitors should not attempt to go into the house without obtaining permission. The younger brother lives in the apartments in the back but frequently does yard work on the main house (when he has time) There is a fine line between allowing the public access to the property and compromising personal security, but for the most part, visitors have so far been respectful to the house and its owners. Someone did throw a heavy object at one of the original wheel-cut art glass windows above the entry breaking it severely about a year ago. There are only a few craftspeople in the U.S. who can replicate antique wheel cut glass windows and their work is very expensive, so it remains broken.

In conclusion, no offense was taken but I did want to clarify the privacy issue. Visitors to the property are welcome so long as they conduct themselves as they would on anyone else's private property. Entry into the house should be only after obtaining permission-I hope this clarifies the issue.

#39 FortWorthLowrider

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Posted 12 August 2009 - 05:59 AM

Thanks for clearing that up. I know where my 1st couple million dollars is going. biggrin.gif
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#40 FortWorthLowrider

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Posted 12 August 2009 - 07:40 AM

http://i26.tinypic.com/2eojs50.jpg
Here is that pic I took. Ill just link it because it is big.
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#41 John S.

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Posted 19 August 2009 - 12:12 PM

769 Samuels has been listed with a new realtor, Adrianne Danjord, out of Southlake. I've learned she is preservation-friendly and will seek a buyer who will honor the history of the Garvey mansion. It is still listed at a $2 million asking price, so I don't expect a line of potential buyers to form anytime soon. Maybe this is good news, but only time will tell...

#42 Brian Luenser

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Posted 19 August 2009 - 05:34 PM

QUOTE (John S. @ Aug 19 2009, 01:12 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
769 Samuels has been listed with a new realtor, Adrianne Danjord, out of Southlake. I've learned she is preservation-friendly and will seek a buyer who will honor the history of the Gravey mansion. Here's the listing for the house: http://www.adrianner...ng_4164546.html It is still at a $2 million asking price, so I don't expect a line of potential buyers to form anytime soon. Maybe this is good news, but only time will tell...


I think it has like 3 acres of land, all the way to the river! That makes it seem a bit cheaper...

(Though my fear is that it wasn't originally wired for CAT 5 Internet.)
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#43 AndyN

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Posted 19 August 2009 - 10:04 PM

IIRC from when I worked on the LaGrave Field survey, all the way to the centerline of the river.

Edit: Oh, never mind I found the deed for the adjoiner and it looks like they stop at the east bank, although some of the properties do go to the centerline. Even if it did, there would be provisions of the Small Bill allowing public access as well as the existence of an easement to the Tarrant County Water Control and Improvement District No. 1. Not sure if the provisions for that allow for public access. The adjoiner legal description is page 21 of County Clerk's File No. D205144818, which is a massively large file if you try to download it off the County Clerk's website.
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#44 John S.

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Posted 20 August 2009 - 10:57 AM

Andy,

I recall when looking at the deed records for the Garvey House property in 1992 that the language indicated a property line to the center of the (Trinity) river. However, you are absolutely correct that subsequent easements limit property rights to the river bank. (and probably not even that but to the 100 year floodplain boundary) In any event, the for sale sign mentions 769 as being a "Riverfront" property. If the Trinity Vision project ever does create the Town Lake and massive development on the riverfront, anyone owning property along the "Lake" side will have a very valuable asset. It is primarily for this reason that 769 Samuels is priced at $2 million. There are a couple of other property owners north of 769 Samuels who own much larger parcels of land along the river but they intend to patiently await until development comes to them before selling. In ten years, the price of 769 Samuels may look like a bargain.

#45 John S.

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Posted 03 September 2009 - 10:37 AM

A quick update:

Have any FW Forum members been by 769 Samuels in recent days? The above mentioned realtor (Adrianne Danjord) has really gone the extra mile and has twice brought her family out to the property carrying weed-trimmers, chainsaws, and pruning shears. How many realtors do you know who would donate their time and energy in that manner? Looking at the property today it looks like someone lives there. The realtor is very much preservation friendly and is making a major effort to find a suitable buyer for this historic landmark home. I talked to one of the Kelley brothers yesterday and was told visitor traffic is up quite a bit in the past couple of weeks, so maybe that elusive buyer is not too far off. A preservation minded buyer for 769 Samuels would save this landmark and perhaps add momentum to preserving the remaining historic homes on Samuels Avenue. I'll post the good news here first if a buyer arrives...

#46 John S.

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Posted 25 October 2009 - 10:52 AM

"Samuels Avenue: History Revived-Or Run Over?" is the story beginning on the front page of today's (Sun. Oct. 25th) Star-Telegram by reporter Alex Branch. Following a quick read, I feel the story is accurate and fairly treats the issues facing Samuels Avenue presently and in the future. There's input from neighborhood residents presenting a range of perspectives which illustrate how complex the dynamics of this neighborhood are.

Of course, because it is such a prominent landmark, the Garvey Mansion gets a fair amount of space in the article and mention is made that the remaining undeveloped old part of the neighborhood is listed on Historic Fort Worth Inc's "Most Endangered" list. Fort Worth Forum owner John Roberts is also quoted in the article. The article presents a classic case of saving heritage vs. "progress". It was interesting to note that developer Tom Struhs went on record as stating he has no intentions of buying any of 22 remaining historic properties along Samuels. While that may be true, there is nothing to prevent other developers from seeking available properties when and where they become available. At highest risk is the the landmark Garvey House, built on a multi-acre site which has highly coveted Trinity River access and is strategically sited between parcels already owned by developers. The Garvey House's $2 million dollar price tag will deter most would-be buyers for a while, but not forever. Those of us with long memories may recall how the historic properties along Summit Avenue were steadily culled in favor of new construction.

Will that scenario play out again on Samuels Avenue? Perhaps or perhaps not...currently there's nothing in place to impede future changes. With some important long-time property owners and residents in the neighborhood vehemently opposed to creating any kind of historic district or zoning, it is hard to say how historic properties along Samuels might be better protected. Many property owners are willing to sell, if the price is right. The article also surprisingly cited what seems to be a very high occupany rate in the new housing: 90%. If that is not a misprint, then futher development is almost certain and probably not that far off. Let's hope 5 years from now it will be reported that new development found a way to blend harmoniously with the old. At present, as one longtime Samuels Avenue resident put it in reaction to the new development: "It's a little shocking, like a whole new world down there." refering to the new condominiums and apartments on the south end. Samuels Avenue today is polarized with the south end near downtown being separate and different from the undeveloped north end. The story of Samuels Avenue, which started before Fort Worth was established as an outpost on the Trinity, is far from over.

#47 John S.

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Posted 25 October 2009 - 10:57 AM

Here's a link to the Oct. 25 '09 Star-Telegram article about Samuels Ave: Samuels Avenue Star Telegram Article There's also some video that was recorded by Mr. Branch, the S-T reporter.

#48 John S.

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Posted 08 January 2010 - 01:44 PM

The aforementioned Star-Telegram article is no longer available. Just thought that I would update that as of now, the former Garvey Mansion remains unsold but has gotten some fresh paint in the foyer. (a more neutral color than the former vivid purple)

Of perhaps greater interest to historically-minded folks is the renovation of the David Chapman Bennett house (C. 1875) at 731 Samuels Avenue. (there's no separate thread for it so I'm adding it here) The owners have recently replaced all of the old cypress clapboards with new cedar boards, installing insulation around the house. New copper gutters have been added and the house repainted in green. The former Bennett-(Thomas P.) Fenelon house is now one of Fort Worth's best looking Victorian era renovations. Hats off to the owners for investing in local history.

David C. Bennett came to Fort Worth in the early 1870's from Rochester Minnesota and opened a dry goods business near the courthouse square. He later was a founder of the First national bank in Fort Worth and remained a vice-president until his death in 1910. It was later bought by Thomas P. Fenelon, general agent for the Santa Fe Railroad. Mr. Fenelon's daughters lived in the house until they passed away in the 1990's. The property has changed hands a couple of time since then but the current owners have invested a tremendous amount of time, money, and energy in bringing the house to its current appearance. The landscaping has long been among the best in the neighborhood. (wish I had a photo to share)

What many do not know is that the Bennett house was built in two stages. The earliest stage was an "I" type brick house with a south facing porch. It likely dates to around 1875. The solid brick walls are over a foot thick. When the frame addition which is now the front of the house was added, (making the "I" plan into a "T" plan house) apparently the brick in the back portion was covered with nailer strips and clapboards were added over the brick to make it visually match the new addition. The back portion also has a stone walled basement, something Mr. Bennett was probably familiar with from his days in chilly Minnesota. The Bennett-Fenelon House is one of only two 1870's houses remaining in Fort Worth on their original sites. (the VanZandt farm cottage being the other one) It is also the sole remaining example of the Victorian Italianate style in Fort Worth. Our own home in the 800 block of Samuels is in the Bennett Addition, once owned by David Bennett. Morrison Street, which is on the south side of the Bennett addition, is named after little Morrison Bennett, who according to local lore, drowned tragically at a young age. Morrison Street joins Bennett street which is west and runs parallel to Samuels Avenue. Besides the former Garvey mansion, the Bennett-Fenelon house is arguably the most historically and architecturally important house remaining on Samuels. Good to see it preserved for the foreseeable future. Now if only someone could do the same with the Garvey house...

#49 John S.

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Posted 24 January 2010 - 02:05 PM

We drove by the Bennett-Fenelon House at 731 Samuels last evening and the new lighting reflecting off the shiny copper guttering made the place sparkle. Someone needs to take some photos both daytime and night of this impressive restoration-renovation. Hopefully, the new-looking 731 Samuels project will inspire others to do the same and help bring back a renaissance for the historic northern part of Samuels Avenue.

#50 AndyN

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Posted 24 January 2010 - 03:49 PM

Man, my stomach tightens every time I see you update this thread. I keep worrying that I am going to read someone has bought it before I win the lottery.
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