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1904 Great house House

Near Southside

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#1 Zetna

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Posted 22 November 2016 - 02:26 PM

The 1904 Greathouse House is being sold for $1 if you move it off the lot. It is located on Oleander and Washington (I think address is 1130 Washington) just north of Magnolia Ave. It was built for George Greathouse, a brakeman for the Frisco Railroad and remained in the family until 1946. It is divided currently into 4 apartments. If not moved it will be torn down for more crap looking apartments ...ugh.  https://www.google.c...!7i13312!8i6656



#2 John S.

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Posted 23 November 2016 - 03:37 PM

When we moved to the Fort Worth area from Abilene, TX in the mid-1980's I recall exploring this area and the old residential neighborhood (the Padilla Addition) east of Hemphill. It was generally a faded, seedy area of neglected rentals, boarded up vacant houses, and some burn outs. But here and there among the blighted properties were some architectural gems from the late 1890's and first decade of the 20th century. I can remember when Washington Street on both sides of this example was solid houses going up to Rosedale and going west towards 8th there were sporadic late Victorian era homes still standing there as well. Nearly everything is gone now, casualties in a never ending demolition war of attrition that decimated the old housing stock. Especially sad was seeing the area near JPS Hospital lose more of its old housing stock with every new expansion or added parking. There were a few architectural interesting houses there around May, Jennings, and St. Louis streets which should have been kept and restored but that's all a moot point now. Going north towards Rosedale there was an enclave of late Victorian era cottages between Rosedale and the nearby Hospital district to the north. All also gone now.

In summary, this is a rare early survivor and one of the last vestiges of a now almost vanished neighborhood. In style, it is a modest Queen Anne style cottage with the centered turret. I've seen very similar designs in popular turn of the last century house planbooks from William A. Radford, Herbert C. Chivers, and Fred T. Hodgson. Extant Victorian Queen Anne style houses with towers and turrets are a vanishing species in Fort Worth and I'd hate to see this one also disappear. Moving it to the nearby Fairmount-Southside district would seem like a no-brainer but despite its one dollar price tag, the costs of moving, setting up on a new foundation, and getting utilities hooked up are substantial. Sadly, Fort Worth now lacks even one relatively intact late 19th century neighborhood. In other cities, their old Victorian era neighborhoods are often the most sought after but we have surrendered our old residential architecture to the wrecking ball in return for the new and modern. If the protected Fairmount-Southside Historic neighborhood had not been created shortly after we came to the area, I shudder to think what it might look like now. I can only hope and keep my fingers crossed that somehow this rare example of late Victorian architecture will get a reprieve from the fate of demolition. Frankly, I was surprised to learn it is still standing but that's probably not for long.



#3 John T Roberts

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Posted 23 November 2016 - 04:08 PM

Zetna and John S., it sounds like this is a house worth saving, and I'm betting there are parties working toward that goal, as we speak.

 

John S. this is in reference to your comment about Fairmount.  Supposedly, at one time, there was a map in one of our former Mayor's office that showed proposed land uses.  This map was drawn before the creation of the Fairmount-Southside Historic District.  It generally indicated almost all of the neighborhoods inside the loop as commercial/medical, or industrial uses.  Ryan Place was an isolated residential enclave surrounded by business uses.  Fairmount was a Medical District, and Rosemont and Worth Heights were shown as all industrial.  I never saw the map, so it is only a rumor that it ever existed.  I also don't recall what the uses for parts of the North, East, and West sides were indicated. 



#4 Zetna

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Posted 24 November 2016 - 12:22 AM

John S. I have lived in Fairmount 10 years and have seen a number of houses moved in from the area you mention and then restored. Empty Fairmount lots have been filled in, except for one expensive one which will sit for awhile I'm sure. Moving would probably cost around $50,000 plus or minus; foundation along w/ restoration to a point might be another $200,000. If in Fairmount it would be doable to get your money back out of it; another neighborhood I'm not so sure.

John T Roberts I have heard of this map too,but think some of Fairmount was zoned Multi-family for apartment use. Having lived in Dallas I remember where the Munger Place / Junius Heights areas were also zoned for apartments before their historic status was put in place. 



#5 John T Roberts

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Posted 24 November 2016 - 01:19 AM

Zetna, there may have been some multi-family shown in Fairmount on this map, but I heard of this map way back in the 1980's.  That is a long time ago for me to remember details and I'm quite sure the person that told me about it was broad-scoping the subject.



#6 John S.

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Posted 24 November 2016 - 10:45 AM

Zetna and John S., it sounds like this is a house worth saving, and I'm betting there are parties working toward that goal, as we speak.

 

John S. this is in reference to your comment about Fairmount.  Supposedly, at one time, there was a map in one of our former Mayor's office that showed proposed land uses.  This map was drawn before the creation of the Fairmount-Southside Historic District.  It generally indicated almost all of the neighborhoods inside the loop as commercial/medical, or industrial uses.  Ryan Place was an isolated residential enclave surrounded by business uses.  Fairmount was a Medical District, and Rosemont and Worth Heights were shown as all industrial.  I never saw the map, so it is only a rumor that it ever existed.  I also don't recall what the uses for parts of the North, East, and West sides were indicated. 

 

John Roberts, thanks for the encouraging information about the Greathouse cottage.  I can also easily believe your account about the proposed use map showing most areas inside the loop south of Downtown as being redeveloped for medical, industrial. and commercial use. Some of that development has come to pass as we all know. The back-to-the-cities movement which believes American cities can provide great residential housing inside an urban environment was barely a blip on the cultural trends screen back in the early 1980's. Suburbia was where residential living was at from the post WWII era until over time a change in attitudes towards city living began to evolve. Jane Jacob's in her influential 1961 bestseller, The Death and Life of Great American Cities outlined the advantages of cities and why they remain relevant in modern times. Thank goodness people listened in Fort Worth and the gritty industrial city-scape proposed in the map never came to fruition. More could have been preserved and restored but rather than look at the glass as half-empty, we should celebrate the things that were accomplished in recent decades. Saving and restoring the Greathouse cottage makes sense as houses of this vintage and style are almost in the exceptionally rare category in our city. Portland, Oregon, which is caught up in the West Coast real estate development frenzy, recently passed a Deconstruction ordinance for structures built in 1916 or earlier: https://www.portland.../article/582914   Perhaps the concept that even the materials used for house construction from a century or more ago have value is valid.  Fort Worth could demonstrate an enlightened attitude if the small number of 19th century structures remaining here could be afforded the same saving ordinance, or better, offered some incentive for saving. Demolition is easy and cheap; perhaps too much so, but if we value the architectural character of our city remaining from the past (as we do our city's fabled Western heritage) we should do more to save and make demolition a less attractive choice for those small numbers of old historic architectural assets we still have. I will watch this message thread and keep my fingers crossed for a positive outcome.



#7 Bonfire98A

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Posted 01 December 2016 - 10:28 AM

WFAA did a report on the Greathouse house, complete with interior video -- the owner said he had received a few hundred requests about the house, which is definitely encouraging.

 

http://www.wfaa.com/...catch/359612403



#8 Zetna

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Posted 01 December 2016 - 11:51 AM

Just saw that WFAA report....very promising....hope it all works out and home is saved!



#9 John S.

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Posted 23 March 2017 - 09:47 AM

In recent days, I received in my inbox a notification from Historic Fort Worth, Inc. about the extremely endangered 1904 Greathouse citing that time is running short to rescue this late towered Queen Anne style gem slated for demolition in a few weeks. I went over to the Historic Fort Worth website to see if I could somehow link to the notice and share it with a larger audience that might be able to rescue it prior to demolition, but nothing was found. For years, I have regularly participated on a website called Old House Dreams http://www.oldhousedreams.com  that has a national reach aimed at old house enthusiasts looking to buy historic homes. I wanted to link to the Historic Fort Worth pending demolition/rescue notice and I will if there's a link to this notice somewhere. Unless a last minute local preservation hero is waiting in the wings to save the Greathouse residence, surely there's no harm in trying to share its plight with a larger sympathetic audience.

 

Somewhat related, its my understanding that demolition work targeting several historic properties in the Samuels Avenue neighborhood will commence in a few days for a pending apartments project. I saw some contractor types walking around over the past couple of days inspecting the properties targeted for demolition so I believe my information is accurate. I will try to photograph the demolition activity for documentary purposes.

It's somewhat sad to see the very small number of Fort Worth's surviving Victorian era residences being reduced further in numbers for pending new development. Unfortunately, that urban tear-down trend seems to be a national phenomenon in cities experiencing rapid growth.



#10 Austin55

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Posted 23 March 2017 - 09:58 AM

Is a listing online anywhere?

#11 John T Roberts

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Posted 23 March 2017 - 06:34 PM

The Greathouse property is not listed on Historic Fort Worth's website right now because there are some issues.  They are being fixed as we speak, but I don't know how long it will take.

 

As for the houses on Samuels Avenue, there is work to save as many of the homes as possible.



#12 John S.

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Posted 24 March 2017 - 04:23 PM

The Greathouse property is not listed on Historic Fort Worth's website right now because there are some issues.  They are being fixed as we speak, but I don't know how long it will take.

 

As for the houses on Samuels Avenue, there is work to save as many of the homes as possible.

 

Thanks, John, for everything you and the other folks at Historic Fort Worth, Inc. are doing.



#13 John T Roberts

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Posted 05 July 2017 - 07:29 PM

I have a report on the house.  Historic Fort Worth tried to broker several deals to save this house.  They all fell through, and the house was demolished today.  I'm sorry that it was lost.



#14 John S.

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Posted 06 July 2017 - 09:13 AM

Sad to learn about the loss but not unexpected. I receive a lot of input from various sources about preservation and endangered historic structures nationwide. I can attest that many old structures are currently being lost across the country. Samuels Avenue could be considered transitioning away from its historic character and in coming years will likely only have a small number of historic homes remaining. But on the positive side, the Garvey House at 769 Samuels is being renovated to be adaptively reused as a leasing office for Embrey Development's new 353 unit apartment complex. In the category of a major (and rare) preservation success story is the removal and relocation of the 1903 Talbott-Wall House from 915 Samuels Avenue to the 1000 block. I do hope before the 1904 Greathouse on Washington St. was demolished that whatever valuable historic house parts it contained were salvaged. The two houses on Bennett Street (part of the new Embrey Development Apartments) were salvaged at the last minute and some parts like Shiplap walls/ceilings and old dimensional lumber were lost when time ran out. In my opinion, if they can't be saved, those old houses containing valuable salvage should at least be allowed the removal of historic elements so that the loss is not total. Successful salvaging requires a proactive approach. I'm hoping that the couple of old houses in the path of "Rocklyn" the new apartments project in the 600 block of Samuels  by Carleton Properties (due to break ground in September, according to a Carleton official) will be salvaged before their demolition.

In summary, I'm not sure what lessons can be learned from the loss of the 1904 Greathouse except that with each structural loss Fort Worth loses a piece of its past forever.



#15 gdvanc

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Posted 06 July 2017 - 09:31 AM

Well, thank goodness Fort Worth is so preservation-minded or we might have lost a lot more historic buildings.



#16 John T Roberts

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Posted 06 July 2017 - 09:35 AM

Several of us worked like dogs over the last five months to save all of those houses.  We knew going into this effort that it would over-extend Historic Fort Worth, both financially and physically.  That's why we focused on the organization doing the work on the Talbott-Wall House and then brokering deals to save the other homes.  Those three houses had multiple deals come and fall through, but we always had hope that things would fall into place.  We also had a contingency plan for salvage in place if those deals fell through.  We had to resort to that at the last minute, but we did run out of time before the property owners politely asked us to "leave".  We also almost lost the Talbott-Wall House twice during this moving process, but the pieces finally fell into place. 

 

Getting back to the Greathouse, it eventually got to the point that no one was returning our calls, so we really didn't know what was the status of the relocation.  Finally, it was demolished yesterday.  I guess the lesson learned from all of this with one house saved and three houses lost, is that you have to do it yourself.  HFW had brokered deals to move houses in the past with success, but this time, it did not work.   As for doing it yourself, I do think that it was good that we saved the most architecturally significant of the four homes, but saving that one house required a village (or at least an entire non-profit organization).  This also taxed us to the limit and there is no way that we could have tackled another home "in-house". 



#17 gdvanc

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Posted 06 July 2017 - 09:44 AM

The fact that it's generally just the one small organization with limited resources that has to try to save the buildings is the frustration.

 

Every time I hear something about Fort Worth having preserved so many historic buildings, it's like fingernails on a chalkboard. The only thing preserving so many of its remaining historic structures is that no one has wanted to tear them down. Yet.



#18 John T Roberts

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Posted 06 July 2017 - 09:57 AM

Donnie, you are correct.  However, I have heard that Fort Worth has more locally designated structures than any other city in the State of Texas.  I have not been able to verify that statement.  If you all remember from my ranting, only a Local Designation can legally save a historic building or house. 







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