Just Dew It: Historic Home On the Move
by: Jack Williams, January 11, 2006 5:01:00 am
The house is worn, but still standing, surrounded by huge oak trees just a few feet away from new neighborhoods and retail stores that have built up around it. Built sometime around 1900, the home was the centerpiece of a working plantation that grew cotton and sugarcane that fed the nearby sugar mill. Lynn Edmundson is the executive director of Historic Houston, the organization that will soon move the home.
"The house is very simple in its lay-out and its plan and it's also not elaborately finished. It was really a working house in the sense that the finishes were of its period and its time, but were not excessive or elaborate in terms of high style."
The land where the Dew home sits has been sold for commercial use, so instead of allowing it to be knocked down, Historic Houston will move it to Kitty Hollow Park just a few miles away.
"Preservation-wise, it is not something we would recommend or even want because really the history of this house is on this property, with the 100-year-old oaks around it and all of its history is right here. To pick it up and move it somewhere else disconnects the house from the history. But as a last resort effort, this is the only way we can save the house, I would prefer to pick it up and move it than see it go in the landfill."
Workers have been tearing off parts of the house that have been added over the years and will move only the original structure, which will then be sold to Fort Bend County for $1. It's part of a deal struck between the home's former owner, Historic Houston and the County. Commissioner Grady Prestege led the effort to save the Dew house.
"At some point in time we have to start recognizing our history and our past and learning from it and build on it. This is as good a time as any and restoring this home will go a long way in raising the awareness in east Fort Bend County and subsequently raising the quality of life in east Fort Bend County."
Students at the University of Houston's School of Architecture will assist in the site plan and design for the Dew home's new location in Kitty Hollow Park, part of a class project led by professor Barry Moore.
"I have 5th year architecture students, so it's their last semester of their professional education. I think this is going to be a different kind of challenge for them that they haven't had in 4 and a half years of school and something that might open a few windows and doors for them."
The house will be moved at the end of this month or early next month. You can see pictures of the Dew plantation house from the early 1900's and how it looks now on the Historic Houston website.