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Gem on Samuels Ave. - The Garvey House


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#101 gdvanc

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Posted 10 June 2014 - 12:57 AM

That is awesome. Now if I win the Lotto, I can focus on the T&P Warehouse.



#102 MrsJimHarper

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Posted 10 June 2014 - 04:54 PM

I can back up what John Roberts and John S. said. I, too, know quite a bit about the deal, since I'm a realtor and I live across the street ;)
Everything is still vague, for practical reasons, but over here at the Getzendaner house we're getting pretty darn excited!
And for the record, I promise we're going to landscape our place! Just haven't got there, yet:)

Gwen Harper


#103 cerebralshrike

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Posted 23 June 2014 - 11:08 AM

I showed the pictures of the house to my mom, who grew up on Mayfield avenue in the late 50s, early 60s. She said she and her friends used to hang around the outside of the house when she was a teenager, and that ever since she'd lived in that area it had always been completely vacant. I also remember that house, because I used to walk to Courthouse Supermarket with my grandmother when I was a child, and we'd always pass by that house. It's still such a sight to see.



#104 John S.

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Posted 06 August 2014 - 06:46 PM

I'm pleased to announce today ownership of the landmarked Garvey House changed hands. I'm not a liberty to discuss the selling price except to say I believe the buyer got a very good deal. The new owner is a younger local attorney with some past rehab experience and enough enthusiasm to tackle a project of this magnitude. I expect exciting things to occur in the days ahead as the property gradually returns to being the pride of the neighborhood. Many thanks are due to Gwen (Mrs. Jim Harper) who steered the buyer towards this unique property. Thanks are due as well to the buyer for patiently navigating all of the technicalities, survey requirements, and lending hurdles to reach his goal. My hopes for the potential of this property's rehab to help stabilize and continue the residential character in the older part of Samuels Avenue-Rock Island have never been higher. In simpler words, this could be a game changer for the oldest neighborhood in Fort Worth. I look forward to the historic Garvey property anchoring this part of the neighborhood for many more years. The Harpers showed what could be done with a tired old house across the street a couple of years ago by rehabbing the c. 1885 Getzendaner place; now its the Garvey house's turn. I wish the new owner the very best for taking on this project. The coming weeks and months will be exciting.



#105 mssuzieq

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Posted 08 October 2015 - 06:16 PM

I'm pleased to announce today ownership of the landmarked Garvey House changed hands. I'm not a liberty to discuss the selling price except to say I believe the buyer got a very good deal. The new owner is a younger local attorney with some past rehab experience and enough enthusiasm to tackle a project of this magnitude. I expect exciting things to occur in the days ahead as the property gradually returns to being the pride of the neighborhood. Many thanks are due to Gwen (Mrs. Jim Harper) who steered the buyer towards this unique property. Thanks are due as well to the buyer for patiently navigating all of the technicalities, survey requirements, and lending hurdles to reach his goal. My hopes for the potential of this property's rehab to help stabilize and continue the residential character in the older part of Samuels Avenue-Rock Island have never been higher. In simpler words, this could be a game changer for the oldest neighborhood in Fort Worth. I look forward to the historic Garvey property anchoring this part of the neighborhood for many more years. The Harpers showed what could be done with a tired old house across the street a couple of years ago by rehabbing the c. 1885 Getzendaner place; now its the Garvey house's turn. I wish the new owner the very best for taking on this project. The coming weeks and months will be exciting.

This makes me happier than anyone can imagine... I wish it was me that owned it but I am so glad someone wants to preserve it! Now the brothers can relax and retire I am sure... Please keep us apprised of the updates!


Sometimes it takes more than one tank of gas in your bike to clear your head....


#106 Volare

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Posted 08 October 2015 - 07:08 PM

Don't get to excited. The post you quoted is over a year old. The house is very boarded up now and continues to deteriorate.



#107 John T Roberts

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Posted 09 October 2015 - 07:38 AM

Yes, unfortunately the house is in worse condition than when the Kelley brothers lived there.  I'm afraid that unless something happens before winter, the home will face the same fate of the Dillow House.



#108 John S.

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Posted 09 October 2015 - 10:00 AM

Sadly, I  must concur with these distressing assessments. I spoke to the owner about a month or so ago. He said he was still interested in the property but was deeply concerned about some of the neighbors (transient renters) as well as some young neighborhood miscreants who went inside the Garvey house this past summer and set off fireworks. (!) The police were summoned and caught several of the young boys but the oldest one was a lad of 15 so after a stern warning, they were released back to their parents. That said, the house has been spray paint tagged by juveniles, the electrical service at the back has been vandalized and the copper wiring removed, windows have been busted out, and trash added to the large lot. With the partial collapse of the once impressive limestone retaining wall from several years back, this State of Texas and Fort Worth landmarked home presents a derelict appearance yet still people stop at the curb and go up to read the large historical narrative plaque in front of the house. Behind the scenes, John Roberts and I have communicated about the house but as of yet a feasible plan to rescue the historic home and bring it back remains elusive. The Garvey House represents one of the finest Victorian era homes still standing in Fort Worth and is one of only a very small number of towered Queen Anne style homes in our city. I can only hope (as a neighbor and preservationist) that with the coming redevelopment of the nearby Stockyards district, the on-going Trinity River Vision project, as well as the booming Metro real estate market that somehow a solution to save this house can be found. The former 1880's Getzendaner house across the street (760 Samuels) was several years ago almost at the same point of deterioration yet a younger family with the vision to see what it could be brought it back and its now one of the showplaces of Samuels Avenue. Samuels Avenue (and Rock Island) is the oldest neighborhood and street in Fort Worth. The mansion level, 1890's Garvey house has the potential to be even more impressive but will require the investment to transform it.  I'd be overjoyed to soon post that the Garvey house has been rescued and is now on its way back. (as it seemed just over a year ago) It's one of the architectural and historical focal points of this neighborhood. In 1992, I spent 7 months of volunteer time researching this history of the Garvey House and the people associated with it which helped the then proud owner, Mrs. Kelley, to get the Registered Texas Historical Landmark (R.T.H.L.) plaque standing in front. A bit of history occurred at the marker dedication ceremony when former House Speaker Jim Wright, distinguished Judge Tom Vandergriff, the mayor, and other dignitaries were present and gave short speeches. It's too important of a house and an integral part of our downtown fabric to see it lost to neglect so I pray for a preservation miracle.



#109 Brian Luenser

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Posted 17 October 2015 - 04:36 PM

I walked past the house last weekend and I was shocked at the deterioration in the last year.  As far as the teens setting fireworks off in it? Shame on our justice system for considering that childish prank.  It was a serious crime.


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#110 John S.

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Posted 19 October 2015 - 10:23 AM

Brian,

Thanks for your comments. I've long admired your photographic talents (as have many others) as well as your intelligence and keen perspective. With that in mind, would you have any creative ideas as to how the Garvey house could be saved?  It's such an important landmark and Samuels Avenue focal point that its loss would hurt the entire neighborhood. The momentum for new development on Samuels has taken a breather but it seems inevitable with the continuing TRV project, the Stockyards redevelopment, and general growth in our downtown that it will resume at some point. I don't know whether the disconnect between the new redeveloped part of Samuels-Rock Island is due to poor planning, economic uncertainties, or what, but its still a transitional neighborhood with a split personality. I've long felt the old part which still has the largest collection of early Fort Worth homes, Pioneers Rest Cemetery, as well as the iconic Traders Oak tree and Park should somehow be preserved and honored as a remnant of early Fort Worth history. Developers had other ideas but now they are standing on the sidelines. As a 26 year long neighborhood resident, I'd like to have an idea of what Samuels Avenue-Rock Island will look like in the future. There's still a lot of potential but no one seems to be doing anything. Going all the way back to the 1970's there have been "studies" and other suggested plans but with the exception of the new development on the south end, nothing else has changed. We need positive change and I hope saving the Garvey House is part of it.



#111 Zetna

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Posted 11 December 2015 - 01:50 PM

So I heard a rumor today that the new owner wants to demolish this house as there is too much money to be made on the sale of the land. The house is landmarked, but supposedly the owner is willing to sell the house for $1 if it is moved off the property. Can anyone confirm this rumor?



#112 gdvanc

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Posted 12 December 2015 - 03:09 PM

Ah, Fort Worth - celebrating our rustic past, unless there's a buck to be made. Well, we do still have half a dozen head of cattle to trot in front of the visitors up in Frontier Land.



#113 John S.

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Posted 13 December 2015 - 04:17 PM

No Garvey House updates to share, unfortunately. As for the owner wishing to demolish the historic Garvey home, no, I don't believe that is the case. My most recent conversation with the owner did involve the possibility of the Garvey house being sold for a token amount and moved off the lot but that was firmly presented in the "as a last resort" category. No dirt has broken ground for any new projects in the Samuels Avenue/Rock Island neighborhood in over a year since Lincoln Properties finished the last phase of their apartment expansion project. I did speak with a former neighborhood developer at a meeting with City and Downtown Ft. Worth, Inc. officials on November 12, (to extend downtown FW design standards to Samuels Avenue by Spring, 2016) and he suggested that someone else might be interested in the land from the apparently cancelled apartment project by Carleton Properties, (not the Garvey House site) but I have heard nothing since. In summary, I won't rule out future development in the neighborhood but nothing I've heard over the past year indicates its about to resume. Thus, if the owner of the Garvey House property is looking at development possibilities, for now, none is evident. If I may offer a suggestion, I believe the best possible outcome for the Garvey house would be for the current owner to sell it and allow someone else to do the renovation. Otherwise, the current impasse situation is likely to continue for the foreseeable future. At least the Garvey House is properly boarded up and secure currently making it less likely to suffer further vandalism. A couple of individuals have privately emailed me requesting contact information for the Garvey House owner so I refer them to the Tarrant Appraisal District site for that information. The best I can do for now is to keep my fingers crossed that there will be positive changes for the historic home in the year to come and there's little else to add. We still have our 1888 Victorian (823 Samuels, recently reduced to under $275K) on the market and buyer interest has been light lately so I think it may be a while before the Garvey House could see better days again.



#114 John S.

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Posted 18 December 2015 - 04:56 PM

Though it is of minor interest and not worthy of its own message thread, the two Bungalows (from the teens-twenties) due north of the Villa De Leon Condo tower in the 500 block of Samuels Ave. have been demolished at the directive of the property owner. When my spouse and I walked down to see this change, metal detecting enthusiasts were already swarming over the site. I've heard in recent years about a number of interesting discoveries made by them in the construction areas on the south end of Samuels. Our property at 823 Samuels has been metal detected so many times that I long ago lost count. Another Foursquare type two story house at 811 Samuels (claimed to date from c. 1909-1911 which seems accurate) and owned by the same individual as the two lost bungalows, is also in the process of being demolished. I'm tempted to caution "there goes the neighborhood!" but these are merely the latest old houses to come down in a long history of demolitions in this oldest of Fort Worth neighborhoods. All three former residences appeared to be less than pristine, but any rehab prospects they may have had are now gone forever. It only underscores the need for the Garvey House to be rescued and rehabilitated ASAP before it too reaches a point of no return.



#115 RD Milhollin

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Posted 19 December 2015 - 10:41 AM

Is it too late to suggest an  "Old City Park" for Fort Worth where older historic structures could be moved to when they face demolition? One would think there would be some private funds available to move and then restore historic structures in an admittedly fake but authentic appearing setting where they could house businesses that complement the buildings; restaurant, antique stores, book stores, soda fountain, etc. A large block in an urban setting could have a pedestrian street down the middle with the old structures on mini-lots, no large yards needed...



#116 John S.

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Posted 19 December 2015 - 02:27 PM

RD,

Old City Park in Dallas has been a type of historic architectural "petting zoo" for decades. Los Angeles has its Heritage Square with rescued 19th century houses at its core. Perhaps the lessons to be learned from these architectural preserves is that money-driven development, when allowed, will sweep aside existing historic areas in most cases. For Samuels Avenue-Rock Island, it's unfortunately too late to put the genie of redevelopment back into the bottle. Even as far back as the early 1990's an architectural historian (Tory Laughlin-Taylor) with the Texas Historical Commission was brought in from Austin for a survey and consultant opinions about a National Register (of Historic Places) district for Samuels. Her conclusions were that too few historic homes and structures remained for a contiguous district. She suggested instead that individual properties could be nominated for the historic registry as well as seeking a City of Fort Worth historic zoning. (Historic and Cultural Overlay) As of this date, (to the best of my knowledge) only the Garvey House has a State of Texas and City of Fort Worth H & C zoning overlay in the neighborhood. A few other properties have a 90 day demolition delay overlay but if that delay is invoked, its quite likely that the structure will be lost anyway. A few structures in the path of development on the south end of the neighborhood were moved to other locales. Far fewer historic homes now remain on Samuels than in the early 1990's thus making any plan for some type of preservation district all but impossible today.

 

From the Nov. 12th meeting with City officials and Downtown Fort Worth, Inc. representatives, neighborhood residents learned about the on-going approval process for putting Samuels Avenue under the downtown design review standards. One point brought up was that any new construction will require a minimum of 3 stories in height as well as fall under other restrictions about materials, setbacks from the street, and other specific guidelines. The guidelines are up for City Council approval in the Spring of 2016 and once voted and approved, it puts in place design standards that favor downtown multi-family type developments over single family residences. From my perspective, this all but guarantees more apartment block construction in coming years.

Of course, influencing and possibly mitigating factors will be the on-going Trinity River Vision project and the Fort Worth Stockyards redevelopment project which is still in the planning and approval phase. Fort Worth, which is gradually evolving into a major regional city, has an increasing visitor and tourism economic sector. The allure of the Fort Worth Stockyards is derived from the western heritage it represents. By 1902 when Armour & Swift started construction of their processing plants and pens, the fabled days of the cattle drives, legendary cowboy heroes, and the Wild West frontier history they were a part of, were fading from living memory. For present citizens of Cowtown, the Stockyards are the embodiment of that Western cultural heritage and, for better or worse, the planned Stockyards redevelopment will either enhance or detract from that legacy when its finished.

 

With that in mind, relocating some endangered historic homes within the Stockyards area to be incorporated into a park-like setting combined with an interpretive Fort Worth Western history center seems to make sense. Far more sense than allowing them to be picked off one by one as development continues down Samuels. (remember: a historic district was determined to not be feasible there) That said, I'll agree that a 1920's Bungalow is hardly representative of the Old West; nor is perhaps a generic Foursquare type house from c. 1910. (recent demolitions) But the now lost c. 1870's or 1880's house that once stood on the now also vanished Grant street (Evans Street in earlier maps) would have been a great house representing how average Fort Worth residents lived in the 19th century. There's a small "Stick Style" cottage behind us with early plank wall construction that may be just as old and has already been through one move to save it. I'd add our own 1888 Victorian home as a worthy example. In conclusion, the remaining examples are few in number, so unless a contingency plan is made so that even these few survivors won't be lost we will never have a preservation preserve like Old City Park in Dallas. I suppose the Log Cabin Village will have to suffice but to my logic, protecting a few homes within the confines of the new Stockyards development makes sense. They would enrich in a tangible way the visitor experience and the understanding of Fort Worth's history and Western cultural heritage. All lofty ideals but perhaps saving a few also makes economic sense as anything new built during the Stockyards redevelopment may have the flavor or look of the old, but still lacks the authenticity of the genuine article. In summary, I cannot envision at this point any future scenario where Samuels Avenue-Rock Island remains intact (but would love to be wrong, of course) so your suggestion might be an outline of a "plan B" to save some of the city's oldest homes remaining on Samuels Avenue. I'd welcome suggestions from others but during the aforementioned Nov. 12 meeting, not one person said anything about preserving what remains on Samuels because that was a topic of the presentation. However, future development in Fort Worth's oldest neighborhood was explicitly acknowledged by City and downtown representatives as inevitable.



#117 John T Roberts

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Posted 19 December 2015 - 07:15 PM

John, I have a short correction for you.  There is one other residential property designated a City of Fort Worth Historic & Cultural Landmark on the street.  It is the Bennett-Fenelon House at 731 Samuels.  For the handful of Demolition Delay structures in the neighborhood, the time limit is 180 days, not 90.  That won't do much, but it gives the interested parties a little more time to try to save a structure. 

 

Even though your idea to move some structures to the Stockyards might be a good one, I would guess that the new developers would not be interested in having a historic structure moved to their property.  They have clearly shown that they do not plan to restore any property that was not designated as a City of Fort Worth Landmark before they purchased the property. 

 

As for the Garvey House, I have been trying to set up a meeting with the owner, but I have not had any luck getting that meeting.



#118 John S.

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Posted 20 December 2015 - 02:00 PM

Hmm...Ok, thanks John. Then about all that can be done at this point is to hope and pray for the best. I hope you are successful in meeting with the Garvey House property owner and further wish for some workable preservation strategy to come out of that meeting. It was good as well to learn the 1870's Bennett-Fenelon House (731 Samuels) does have an H & C City zoning Overlay. There's a lot going on around the downtown area so maybe 2016 will be a better year for the neighborhood. Here's wishing everyone here the best for the Holidays and the coming year.



#119 John S.

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Posted 16 February 2016 - 08:56 PM

Small update: Roofing contractor estimators were out at the Garvey House today taking measurements. A few days ago, some construction estimators were there taking stock and measurements of the various rooms in the house. Although no one wanted to give out much information, it appears the Garvey House may have a new owner(s) or, the owner who has long been absent has decided now to move forward with its renovation. I talked with a former owner of the property and he heard that the house is to be renovated into office use, which I consider a compatible approach that should not detract from the historic character or period details of this landmark home. It remains to be seen how thorough or preservation focused the renovation will be but anything at this point is better than it being vacant. I hope the wrought iron fence and stonework in front will be retained but I suppose that depends on the budget allocated for the project. Rumors continue to circulate that developers are eyeing land near the Garvey house but the information is too sketchy to provide any more information than that. Fort Worth seems to be in the midst of a construction/development boom again.



#120 JBB

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Posted 16 February 2016 - 11:42 PM

I'm holding out hope for good news. Any use short of demolition would be pretty good at this point.

#121 John S.

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Posted 16 March 2016 - 10:38 AM

Thought I would share a brief update about the status of the endangered Garvey House. My spouse and I sat in on a preliminary meeting of the Historical & Cultural Landmarks Commission this past Monday. An agent representing the property owner appeared with the great news that a full restoration of the Garvey House (to meet Sec. of the Interior's Standards for Rehabilitation) is being planned. It is part of a larger development plan which is still very early in the design process, so I'll focus on the Garvey House. Preliminary site plans were shared but some members of the Commission disliked the configuration and suggested some additional design configuration work. I hope it was not lost on Commission members that this offer to restore the Garvey House as part of a larger development is the last and best hope for this badly deteriorated residence. My spouse and I witnessed several other cases brought up for demolition approval and there was a 70% threshold of deteriorated condition that, if met, opened the path for demolition approval. While the Garvey House has not reached the 70% deteriorated threshold, it could within the next year or two. I hope with further planning, design, and coordination with City officials,  that a workable plan can be created that both satisfies the needs of the developers/investors as well as insures that the Garvey House will be standing half a century from now. I felt the gesture to invest a substantial dollar amount in the rehab of the Garvey House was generous and indicates a sensitivity toward preservation. (a rare trait among urban developers)  As mentioned, without prompt intervention, the Garvey House could be lost forever. Additional development is a separate matter and can usually be worked out and approved through a process of communications between City staff and the developer's architects. While I oppose carte blanche type development in historic settings in this case having investment in and new residents living around the Garvey House will again make the landmark residence the pride of the neighborhood.



#122 JBB

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Posted 16 March 2016 - 02:58 PM

The news gets a little better each time you post. Thanks for the update. I enjoy reading about your passion for Samuels Ave. and the Garvey House.

#123 John T Roberts

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Posted 07 May 2016 - 08:55 AM

The Garvey House is going before the Historic and Cultural Landmarks Commission on Monday.  Here's a link to the part of the agenda where the case is located.  All of the graphic information on the case is included within the PDF file.  There are other individual cases, so you have to go to the end to find the information on the house.

 

http://fortworthtexa.../Individual.pdf



#124 John S.

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Posted 07 May 2016 - 01:15 PM

Thanks for the link, John. A couple of items...first on the meeting title agenda page, the address is wrong: "796 Samuels" instead of the correct "769 Samuels". On page 43, Description of Garvey House, it calls the namesake of the Avenue "Baldwin L. Samuels" when it was actually Baldwin L. Samuel. (I have Kentucky census documentation from 1850 to back that up) In early Fort Worth street maps and city directories, the street is spelled Samuel's Avenue (because it led from downtown to the house of Baldwin Samuel on the north end of the neighborhood near Traders Oak Park. ) In later maps and directories, the apostrophe was dropped, leading to the assumption that Mr. Samuel had an "s" at the end of his name.

 

I concur with the suggestion that the two deteriorated garage apartment structures behind the Garvey house contribute little to the historical character of the property. When Robert and Lena Veihl (pronounced "vile") bought the Garvey House from Baptist charities in 1915 (both William B. and Lula Garvey died that year of natural causes within 6 months of each other and the only heir was a niece who contested the will and received a small settlement) they rented out part of the upstairs and constructed the garage apartments. A small cottage where the Garvey's African-American housekeeper, Luella Nicholson, lived, was moved over the property line south next door to 761 Samuels where she continued to work for the then owner of the older Foster house, Arthur D. Hodgson. The small, badly deteriorated Nicholson cottage was demolished several years ago. During my research on the Garvey property in 1992 I found court documents where Ms. Nicholson was called in for the contested will case to provide testimony about the Garvey's. She said Mrs. Garvey had "lots of diamond jewelry" but she did not know of their whereabouts. Side note: This led to later speculation that the Garvey diamonds were hidden somewhere in the Garvey house...but as far as I know, none has ever been found. A corraborating verbal account of Mrs. Garvey lending some of her diamond jewelry to the daughter of Dr. Talbott  and his wife who lived at 915 Samuels was passed down as well as the story of the Garveys and the Talbotts traveling together to visit the 1904 St. Louis World's Fair. (actually, The Louisiana Purchase Exposition celebrating the centennial of the Louisiana Purchase in 1804)  In those days before the Garveys passed away, the Samuels Avenue neighborhood was much closer knit than in later decades.

 

So,... we're looking at 347 new dwelling units? From a personal perspective perhaps because it directly impacts us, I remain curious why the entire 800 block of Samuels will be encircled by the new development yet not included in it? I would think the 300 foot wide and 200 foot deep (approx. 1.5 acres) 800 block in the center of the new project would have some utility and cannot envision the existing structures (some admittedly deteriorated) and topography blending in well with the brand new development. I remain hopeful this block will not be permanently left out but because if it isn't included, it does present an opportunity for another developer to come in. I'm thankful the Commission agenda items now include a clear plat of the new development; a well thought out proposal for the reuse of the Garvey House; and from the basic renderings, what appears to be an aesthetically pleasing arrangement. The Trinity River views as well as downtown skyline views on this part of Samuels from the project's 3 story dwellings should be outstanding.

 

John, on a side note, have you heard anything about current proposals to move the Talbott-Wall house (915 Samuels) as well as the two small cottages next to each other on the corner of Bennett and Locust streets? I know there has been interest from several private individuals wishing to acquire these two houses. Should an accepted offer be made for our property (the c. 1888 Riley-Lehane House) I would hope we could coordinate with Historic Fort Worth to help find someone willing to acquire and move our demolition-delay structure. (one of the most intact Victorian era homes remaining in Fort Worth-my spouse and I are only the second family to own it since it was built)

 

This multi-family project and the process of planning are still in the early stages so undoubtedly there's much more to this story to be added in the days ahead. The prospect of the Garvey house being renovated and preserved for the foreseeable future is one of the best parts of this project and I wholeheartedly support it.  I look forward to seeing the "before and after" photos. Developers and the goals of historic preservation seldom align but this may be one time when they do successfully.



#125 JBB

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Posted 07 May 2016 - 01:52 PM

John R., as a such a strong advocate for preservation, how do you feel about the changes to the house itself?

Thanks for posting all of this. I had no idea the house was restored in 1993. Amazing how quickly a vacant house can deteriorate.

#126 angace

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Posted 10 May 2016 - 07:32 AM

Here's an article on the result of the hearing last night.

 

http://www.fortworthbusiness.com/news/landmarks-commission-approves-magnolia-garvey-house-developments/article_e3542c2a-1632-11e6-8004-fba10ceceb0e.html 



#127 JBB

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Posted 10 May 2016 - 07:44 AM

Something went haywire with your link:

http://www.fortworth...a10ceceb0e.html

#128 AndyN

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Posted 10 May 2016 - 11:54 AM

The architect is incorrectly identified in the article, it should be Fender Andrade. Probably not the first time Ames had his name flubbed.

 

I'm looking forward to the Downtown Design Review Board Meeting. In one of the plans previously linked, it looked like they called for 5 foot sidewalks with landscaping cutouts. As I recall, the downtown design standards are 8 foot sidewalks. And I don't think landscape cutouts projecting into that 8 foot are helpful to walkability.


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#129 John S.

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Posted 10 May 2016 - 01:01 PM

The link John Roberts posted above on May 7 has the full agenda presentation for the proposed Garvey House rehab. (Streamed live yesterday at the City's website online and on Charter's Ch. 190 Community Access channel.- check for re-broadcast times)  The Landmarks Commission approved the Garvey House rehab plan with little fanfare.  It's my understanding the intent is to gut the house to the studs inside (removing all of the old plaster and lath) then rewire and replumb. All the old siding will also be removed and replaced with synthetic cement Hardi-boards. In this case, provided the Hardi board clapboard profiles are compatible with the originals, I think its an acceptable alternative because the original siding is Cypress and is no longer commercially available. (Western Red Cedar clapboards are available but they have a tendency to split over time) I assume since there is diagonal sheathing behind the original clapboards, the wall insulation will have to be installed from the interior of the house. Synthetic slates are proposed for the roof but the originals were cypress-cedar wood shingles stained/painted Verdigris green to mimic patinated copper. A portion of the original painted shingles were uncovered under many asphalt layers when valley work was being done on the porch roof in the early 1990's. Synthetic slates are an acceptable substitute as this is not a museum house and will be used daily by residents and staff of the new development. It currently has older metal "shakes" over many layers of older shingles. One can see the original wood shingles still visible in the attic.

 

A question remains as to whether the Southern Yellow Pine interior millwork (staircase newel, balustrade and hand rails) will remain or will be removed and replaced as well? I assume the triple stained glass windows will remain and I hope when they are sent in for repairs the artisan replaces any damaged or missing panes with exact matching pieces. In the 1970's the windows were taken out for repairs and re-leading and unfortunately, non-matching replacement panes were used which leave something to be desired when looked at up close. Virtually every piece of original stained glass in the window is still available from the Kokomo Opalescent Glass Company, Kokomo, Indiana. The venerable firm has been in continuous operation using glass formulas handed down since the company began operations in 1888. Louis Comfort Tiffany was one of their regular patrons traveling by train from NYC to Kokomo to hand select the glass sheets for his heavenly windows. Kokomo Glass still has the old company ledgers showing Tiffany's purchases. My spouse and I toured the glass factory last September and were amazed to see the glass production using techniques that haven't changed in over a century. A warehouse section has over 100,000 sheets of glass stored in every color, texture, and combination imaginable. Sorry to digress... but I hope the Garvey House windows are restored properly with correct matching panes. There's some distinctive millwork trim around windows and doors in the Garvey house with Adamesque type carved Colonial Revival ribbons and streamers. Impossible to replicate today, as far as I know. (unless a CNC lathe is used) The 9 foot tall pocket doors (3 double sets) are irreplaceable as well. It would be a shame to lose these distinctive details in a gut rehab.

 

Now the two mantels in the Garvey House are a different matter. At the time it was built, I'm willing to bet the original mantels were like 99% of those being made in the late 1890's: tall, Quarter-sawn Oak mantels with a beveled glass upper mirror (often oval or rectangular) and columns to either side with tilework hearth and tilework flooring border in front of the hearth. (The American Encaustic Tiling Company of Zanesville, Ohio made the bulk of them) But the Garveys were well off enough to change with the times so circa 1910 (both Garveys died in 1915) the Victorian Oak mantels were removed and plain Craftsman type brick mantels replaced them. If it were my restoration, I'd incorporate period salvage Oak mantels to reconnect the interior to its original period. There's a "courting bench" inglenook off the main staircase with a window looking to the front. The shape and location of the window almost guaranty it had some type of art glass originally...leaded/beveled clear glass, or stained glass. I hope these unique details are not entirely lost in the rehab.

 

One treasure of the Garvey house will probably never be restored: the wheel-cut entry door pane, the sidelights, and transom. Some years ago, neighborhood miscreants threw a metal pipe at the transom one night causing significant damage. During my research of the Garvey House in 1992 I took photos of these rare windows. Only the wheel cut sidelights survive; the entry door pane ended up at the lakehouse of a previous owner..said to have been cut in the glass in a Colonial Wreath pattern. A swag pattern was wheel cut in the entry transom but only a section of that vandalized window remains and it may have been discarded. Another transom wheel cut window survives with a swag pattern cut in the glass but in the lower section is a BB hole. I would think the clear material used to repair cracks in automobile windshields could be used to fill in the BB hole. To be accurate, there is (or at least was) one Austrian emigre living in California who still does traditional glass wheel cutting but he charges by the square inch and I think to replace the damaged and missing wheel cut panes would run well into the thousands and they would still be vulnerable to accidental damage. I don't know where the 1894 date for the Garvey House that was mentioned at the meeting yesterday came from. I could not find any mention of a construction date for the main house in my 1992 research but changes in tax valuations suggest it happened in the 1898-1900 period. Fort Worth photographer Charles L. Swartz included the Garvey House in his 1901 Views of Fort Worth and it looks fairly new in the photo. Classical and Colonial Revival style homes were all the rage in the late 1890's but would not have been here in 1894. Anyhow, minor quibble of little consequence. I sincerely hope the plans for rehabbing the Garvey House are preservation sensitive and not a "Property Brothers" type gut and build new inside approach. A sterile modern interior would greatly diminish the historical value of the Garvey house but understandably, some compromises are required. (such as making the Garvey House ADA compliant) A rear addition where the old kitchen and (since gutted and removed by the previous owner) butler's pantry were located is to be removed and replaced with a two story "sleeping porch" addition with casement windows instead of screens.  The two garage apartments behind the main house have been approved for demolition and removal.  (I hope someone saves the old sliding barn doors on antique rollers which are all the rage on some HGTV shows like "Fixer-Upper" staring Chip and Joanna Gaines in Waco) No matter what kind of rehab approach is taken, making the Garvey House useful and functional again is a major project in itself. I wish the rehabbers the best.



#130 John T Roberts

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Posted 11 May 2016 - 08:04 PM

I'm in agreement with John S. on the house.  I don't have a problem with an addition on the rear to make the house functional.



#131 John S.

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Posted 02 August 2016 - 08:32 AM

A Visit to the Garvey House...

Late yesterday afternoon my spouse and I walked up to the Garvey House. Sunday night at 11:30 PM there had been a suspicious pickup with a loud rumbling muffler pulling into and out of vacant lots on Bennett Street which runs parallel to Samuels Avenue and due west of it behind the 800 Block. I noticed yesterday morning a mattress and box springs had been dumped off Sunday night in the yard of the boarded up small 1950's crackerbox house on the west side of Bennett. I wanted to check to see if everything was OK at the Garvey House which has been the victim of repeated vandalism and neglect in recent years. As I approached the Garvey property, I noted that protective plywood had been removed from a window in the northwest corner of the house and one of the pieces of wood trim to the side of the window was missing. I walked up to the window and noticed the lower sash glass had been smashed and someone had taken the lower sash weight out of the hollow space behind the removed trim. I'm frankly not sure if it is even possible to secure that historic home from miscreants short of posting a security guard on the premises 24/7. 

 

Three low income rentals are next to the Garvey House (I know the absentee landlord who lives in Saginaw but he speaks little English) and as I walked by one of them I counted 10 cars in the large parking lot behind the rental facing Bennett Street. (aren't there rental occupancy number restrictions in our City?) Between the three house rentals, there must be several dozen people residing in them. I deeply regret that we no longer have a Police storefront on Samuels which was very near this area of rentals. Neighborhood patrol officers used to keep an eye on activity there. But the storefront was permanently closed during the Recession due to city budget constraints and I've noted increasing suspicious activity in the area especially on weekends and late nights.

 

I walked by the back door of the Garvey House and someone had pounded on the metal doorknob to gain entry but despite the damage the door was still intact and unbreached. Metal scavengers/thieves are a stop-at-nothing, hardy bunch who often go to extreme lengths to steal anything of scrap value to support hard drug addictions in many cases. One such character who shall remain unnamed woke my wife and I up early in the morning with loud noises back when he was in the neighborhood and we discovered he had acquired an old pickup from somewhere and with nothing more than a Sawzall equipped with metal cutting blades, he sawed the entire pickup into pieces he could load into his old beat up truck to take to the scrap yard. His novel recycling approach put a whole new meaning in the term "chop shop".  The same individual once acquired a box springs from a discarded bed and decided it was worth his time to extract every metal spring out of it. It must have taken him hours of work to extract the steel bed springs for probably less than a half dollar's worth of scrap metal. But this individual was always "high strung" and full of energy, if you get my drift, so no amount of work was insurmountable if it yielded a few dollars worth of scrap metal. Thank goodness he departed the neighborhood some years ago but apparently either he or someone of his ilk is now picking on the poor Garvey House. I realize that a long awaited rehab for the Garvey House looms in the months ahead, but in the interim, it's as highly endangered as it ever was in the past. I sincerely hope the beginning of rehab work is not too far off. My wife and I have lived on Samuels Avenue since 1989 and not since the earliest years have parts of it had such a negative atmosphere or look of abandonment. New development cannot come here too soon.



#132 PeopleAreStrange

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Posted 02 August 2016 - 01:58 PM

That's not good!


- Dylan


#133 John T Roberts

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Posted 02 August 2016 - 06:16 PM

John S., I appreciate your willingness to provide updates for us.  They are appreciated.



#134 John S.

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Posted 02 August 2016 - 07:25 PM

You are welcome, Mr. Roberts. We're thinking about renaming our place "Fort Apache" (after the 1981 movie) as we may be approaching a "Gran Torino" situation here because the few neighbors we rely on to keep an eye on each other are going to be forced to relocate because the places they are at will soon be demolished after developers acquire the properties. The developers did us no favors by opting out in advance of buying our block yet encircling it with future development. I'd like to have the genius who came up with that devilish plan be our guest for a while and personally soak in the neighborhood "atmosphere". The time between now and actual construction may be a year or longer and from my 65 year old perspective, that experience could become quite perilous. When we began our "urban pioneering" adventure on Samuels I was in my 40's and was blessed with good neighbors on all sides. I sometimes feel like I'm being punished because I supported Historic Preservation on Samuels for nearly three decades.  Anyhow, we will try to survive until the new development surrounds us but if any developer thinks we will capitulate and sell our property at fire sale prices, then they are very misinformed. Right now I'm on the verge of taking our property off the market in perpetuity no matter what the consequences, I don't like being pressured into a "sell or else" situation (no one would) so my estimation of developers generally is approaching my estimation of a developer-turned-politician who's been in the news recently. (for all the wrong reasons)  Anyhow, the Fort Worth Police, my wife, and I, will surely become best of friends in the days ahead. We were founding members of the Samuels Avenue Citizens on Patrol and with the decline in neighborhood crime, we had looked forward to a hopeful future in this oldest of Fort Worth neighborhoods. We will survive the dark days ahead and hopefully so will the historic Garvey House.



#135 Austin55

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Posted 31 August 2016 - 12:11 PM

The apartments on the site will be going before the DDRB tomorrow

 

 

DG15-24 769 Samuels Avenue Owner/Applicant: Embry Partners, LLC/ TownSite Company Request for review and comments on the conceptual design of a four story apartment complex



#136 John S.

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Posted 01 September 2016 - 11:05 AM

Hmmm...I thought that step had already been completed. What I find amazing is that purchase contracts on the properties they plan to use for the project have been pending for almost a full year. (and will be a year or longer when closings are supposed to take place in Dec-Jan) Is that a common practice for such projects? In the good news category, I went by the Garvey house a couple of days ago and noticed the vandalized and open northwest window was freshly boarded up again. The developers should make it a top priority to close and get started on the Garvey House as soon as its feasible.  I again recently asked one of the developer's reps about the fate of the 800 block of Samuels (which will be encircled on three sides-north, west, and south, with the avenue on the east side, by their project) and was obliquely told "we have more land than we need right now". As stated in my August 2nd post, the apartment project site layout selection did us no favors as we will soon be the only homeowners left on the west side of Samuels between the Teen Challenge facility at 747 Samuels and adjacent to Greer Street at the upper end of the 900 block of Samuels. We are seriously considering getting a big mean dog...



#137 Austin55

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Posted 02 September 2016 - 10:05 AM

Rendering+ Details

http://www.fortworth...html?mode=story

 

CrXGGLdUIAAnvLe.png



#138 John S.

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Posted 02 September 2016 - 02:29 PM

Thanks for sharing, Austin55. I'm pleased that the name of the new project may honor in its official name the history of the Garvey House as well as preserve its form for the future.  The wife of the original owner William B. Garvey, was Lula Foster-Garvey. Her mother, who lived right next door at 761 Samuels (since demolished) was Mary Cornelia Samuel-Foster, one of the daughters of pioneer landowner and street namesake Baldwin L. Samuel. The Garvey house rightly deserves the honor as it is a tangible link to early Fort Worth history and the origins of the Samuel's (as originally spelled) Avenue neighborhood. The apartment renderings seem rather plain compared to the conceptual renderings earlier in the year but they look typical for the Fort Worth market. (kind of a West 7th vibe) I do hope the wide metal awnings indicate a "Green" or LEED (Leadership in Energy Efficiency & Design standards) approach to construction which would be innovative in this neighborhood.   I guess the fine tuning of the final design will come between now and the October DDR Commission meeting. Mentioned was made that Samuels Avnue/Rock Island had not yet been included in the Downtown Design Review District (which requires new construction to be at least 3 stories in height) so theoretically, single family homes could still be built in the neighborhood at least until the DDR standards are adopted. I've had some inquiries recently concerning what is allowed to be built here and I thought the DDR standards already applied, now I'll need to correct that error. Some single family residential in the neighborhood's undeveloped areas might soften the probable future of Samuels Avenue as being nearly all apartments. But developers and the City will determine the future fate of this oldest of Fort Worth neighborhoods and I can only hope they get it right.



#139 AndyN

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Posted 03 October 2016 - 01:36 PM

I see this project is on the agenda for the next downtown urban design district meeting to get certificate of appropriateness for a 4 story apartment building.

 

As a matter of housekeeping, do we need to start a new thread in the residential subforum for this project?


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#140 John S.

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Posted 03 October 2016 - 05:39 PM

Andy,

The Garvey House Apartments project is unusual in that it takes an existing historic landmark house and repurposes it for a new business use. In this case, I believe the intent is to make the Garvey House into the leasing and administrative offices of the future namesake apartment complex. The projected 353 units makes it a fairly large project but with the planned 14 apartment blocks spread over a 10 acre site the perceived visual density will probably look almost suburban-like. At least two of the apartment blocks are shown in plat maps as oriented towards the Trinity River and placed lower down towards the slope of the Bluff. In the meantime, some additional environmental tests are being conducted in recent days. It's my understanding that no closings to acquire the land will take place until sometime towards the end of December with at least one property (905 Samuels) closing about a month later in January 2017. I would then expect the first ground work will begin sometime after the end of January 2017. Of course, its up to the Developers to set a timetable. At this point it looks like units will be available for lease sometime after next summer based on how long it took for the Lincoln Park apartments at the south end of the neighborhood to be built and put up for lease. The fate of the excluded 800 block of Samuels remains unknown although at least 2/3rds of the block's 1.38 acres of developable land is available for redevelopment. One of three rent houses on the south end of the 800 block has very recently had a major upgrade (replaced windows, bathtubs, roofing, and painting) so either the absentee owner is unaware of the approaching development or intends to continue renting for the foreseeable future. I think once the taxes are adjusted for the increased property values post-development, those rentals may become unprofitable.

In answer to your last question, after the Garvey House Apartments project breaks ground maybe it should be treated separately as new residential. But then again, part of the project involves a total renovation of the Garvey House so I'm not sure whether that phase of the project belongs here or combined with the new apartment development. It's unlikely the Garvey House will ever be a single family residence again so once its total renovation begins I see it in the same category as new construction. I'm fine with whatever thread classification decision is made by the moderators.



#141 John T Roberts

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Posted 03 October 2016 - 07:34 PM

I will be debating the split over the next couple of days.  If I can see an easy way to separate things, then I might do it. 



#142 John S.

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Posted 17 October 2016 - 01:57 PM

The Fort Worth City website is like navigating a Byzantine maze...I spent over an hour looking for the decision rendered concerning the visual design of the upcoming Garvey House Apartments that were sent back for re-design in September. (?) As far as activity around the future site of these 353 apartment units, there has been none in recent weeks which makes me wonder if the project has hit a snag of some kind. I could not find a .pdf for the Design Review Commission's most recent meeting and the city's search query form is useless unless you know the exact words to enter and submit. Where should I be looking on the city's site? Every commission/board has their own page but no meetings minutes or link to the next meeting agenda. Only the Federal government is more convoluted in its public accessible data, but not by much. Can anyone help me to find out whether the revised design (and the progress of the project itself) was approved or not?

Nevermind; I found it using Google http://fortworthtexa... Mtg Agenda.pdf     but would have never found it via the City's website. Somewhere there are videos of these board meetings but that is not needed at this time. Hmm...no video of the Oct. 10th meeting exists so I must ask, was the design(s) submitted approved? If so or not I'm curious to see what the apartments just feet away from us are going to look like?



#143 Austin55

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Posted 31 October 2016 - 05:32 PM

Work on the Garvey House could begin next February. Expected budget for renovation is $650,000. Fender-andrade is the architect of record. 

 

 

As an idea, this would be an amazing addition to our new History Channel show, Lone Star Restoration.  



#144 kokomojo59

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Posted 22 December 2016 - 04:21 PM

I do hope that the Garvey House will remain a part of Ft. Worth for a very long time. I still remember living there from 1961 to 1965



#145 John T Roberts

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Posted 22 December 2016 - 08:29 PM

Welcome to the forum.  I think we are hoping the Garvey House will remain a part of the city for many years to come.  I'm hoping this new project will give it a new life.



#146 kokomojo59

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Posted 23 December 2016 - 05:15 PM

will you please keep me informed on this house on Samuels Ave, I didnt live there for long, but I have great memories of living there



#147 John T Roberts

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Posted 23 December 2016 - 06:20 PM

We will try to keep you informed.  Also, please check this thread from time to time, as the updates will probably be posted here.



#148 John S.

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Posted 26 December 2016 - 08:58 PM

Hi All,

Happy Holiday wishes as well as best wishes to everyone for a prosperous 2017. As for the Garvey House, it remains standing so looks like it may see the dawn of a new year. My latest information from those close to reliable sources is that Embrey Development will not close on any properties in the path of their Garvey House Apartment project (353 units) before mid-January, 2017.  In the category of a rumor is that at least one property seller has asked for another 90 day postponement before closing but there's no word as to whether that request has been granted or not. 2017 is set to be a very busy year for apartment construction in our city with numerous projects planned or in the pipeline for the new year. I know from previous announced projects (like the Carleton Properties 2013 proposed apartment project) that they don't always begin on schedule or sometimes, they never break ground. I think Embrey has put enough effort into getting the proper approvals to not cancel this one but until I see construction underway I will assume nothing. On a disturbing note, one of the houses (a Dutch Colonial) to be moved for this project had it's front door kicked open last week breaking off the door jamb. I went over with a former neighbor and the property owner last Friday evening and put two large boards behind the door secured with long deck screws going into framing studs. Hopefully, this will deter breaking in (the house is empty) or additional damage. The Garvey house appears to be secured for now but has been broken into repeatedly in the over two years it has been vacant. Samuels Avenue used to be what I believed was a relatively safe neighborhood but it does not appear to be so anymore. Perhaps once the new apartments are up, the criminal elements will go elsewhere. I never fully realized how having a Police storefront on Samuels was such an effective deterrent to crime. Sadly, due to City budget cutbacks, the storefront closed several years ago. Lots of people took notice. Sorry to digress, but we still live here.



#149 John T Roberts

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Posted 26 December 2016 - 09:10 PM

John S., thank you for posting and update and providing some insight into the neighborhood issues.



#150 AndyN

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Posted 27 December 2016 - 11:33 AM

John, do you know where they are going to move the Dutch Colonial house? I had been contacted about my vacant lot, but it is too narrow for that house. I referred them to one lot and heard they were looking at others.


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