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John S.

Member Since 30 Dec 2007
Offline Last Active Today, 10:17 AM
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#60631 760 Samuels c.1885 Getzendaner House

Posted by John S. on 24 April 2010 - 09:23 AM

1880's GETZENDANER HOUSE FOR SALE-New Interior Photos Added May 2
Please see house photos below later in this message thread. Also please see Historic 1886 Samuels Avenue Map at end of message thread below. Additional note: June 2, City Directories show the Getzendaner name spelled with one "N" not two, so I've attempted to correct this error where possible. For those who may be interested, the C. 1885 Getzendaner house at 760 Samuels is across the street from the historic, Texas landmarked, Garvey House (it is located at the southwest corner of Mayfield St. and the east side of Samuels) and has had a "for sale" sign just placed in front of it. It appears to be for sale by the owner rather than realtor listed and I have not contacted the owner for an asking price. The Getzendaner house was the family home by that name but experienced years of neglect including some upstairs damage from a large roof leak. It was repaired and repainted a few years ago but again shows signs of inattention. It was tenant occupied until a couple of months ago and I understand it is a rental property with an absentee landlord. It is one of three Victorian era homes for sale in the 700 and 800 blocks of Samuel's Avenue and would make a nice restoration project. I've seen the interior and there were some nice original details; the floors and woodwork/millwork were of Southern Yellow Pine. (heartwood) Siding is of Cypress and when an owner moved out in the early 1990's a neighbor did some yard work and found a piece of original metal roof cresting in an acorn design. The original front porch with Victorian era millwork remains and in the back, a wrap-around historic porch with porch post brackets featuring a Texas-flavored "Lone Star" cutout design remains. The Getzendanners owned a florist business in Fort Worth for many years.

The Getzendaner House is one of the oldest surviving historic homes on Samuels Avenue and in the City of Fort Worth; it would be a contributing structure for any proposed historic district. It is the last two-story Victorian era home remaining on the East side of Samuels Avenue. (the Conrad and Hannah Morgan, St. Clair, and Eggleston family homes that once stood nearby have all long disappeared from the east side of Samuels Avenue) The Texas landmarked Garvey House at 769 Samuels also remains for sale, as recently noted, but no takers, so far.

Important Update April 23: After seeing a large empty dumpster parked today in front of the old Getzendaner House, I copied the (local cell) contact number (682-551-4966) and called the owner. "Mike" said he has it for sale and is asking $250k, but if a developer wants it, it will be higher due to demolition costs. Sadly, this historic home from the 1880's, the oldest remaining on the east side of Samuels Ave., has no protection at all from demolition. The investor-owner, who spoke with a slight accent (Middle-Eastern?) hasn't a clue about it's historic value and said the house was worth "nothing", He said he had placed the large dumpster there to clean up the trash inside left by the former tenant. He may go ahead and take out a demolition permit, so this may be the last and only time to save and preserve this rare 1880's survivor. The last time I saw the inside, it still had many desireable original features but given the public nature of this forum it would be unwise for me to enumerate all of them here. There may be squatters or homeless individuals in the house right now as I saw some people standing just outside of it this afternoon. In any event, this rare survivor is in the going, going, almost gone category. Given that it is directly across from the Garvey House and is literally a stone's throw from the neighborhood Police storefront, it makes good sense to save it now before it's gone forever. Of course, a lot of things that made sense to save, weren't in Fort Worth, and we are less of a community today after losing them.

Note: I moved this to a separate topic (April 24) from the Garvey House discussion thread. Given the high level of threat to the house, time is of the essence and this may be the one and only opportunity to save this historic home. Hope the moderator(s) does not mind the separate topic posting. John S.


#60086 Foods that are History :(

Posted by John S. on 14 March 2010 - 09:58 AM

How about tasty Best Maid Pickles that used to be made in Fort Worth? My son recently pointed out to me that the iconic Fort Worth condiments are now printing on the jars that they are a product of India! Heavens... how utterly cheap must labor and raw products be in India to be able to produce Best Maid pickles there and ship them back 10,000 miles or more around the globe to Fort Worth to sell here for a profit? I've heard much about globalization and world markets in recent years but even the lowly local pickle has been outsourced!? ohmy.gif Of course, Mrs. Baird's has been owned for a number of years by a Mexican based baked products firm. (Groupo Bimbo) Ranch Style beans belongs to the giant food conglomerate Con-Agra. Even Pace Picante, a Texas brand icon if there ever was one which used to poke a lot of fun at sauces made in New York City!!!! (Cookie, go git a rope!) is now owned by multi-national conglomerate Campbells.

I understand (but have never liked ) the outsourcing of Texas and America manufactured goods, but now even familiar local food products are "globalized". Have all the little fish in our pond been swallowed up by the multi-national whales? What strange times we live in...


#59098 Gem on Samuels Ave. - The Garvey House

Posted by John S. on 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...