This old house at 1300 Grant (originally 1000 Grant) was built in 1919-1920 by W.O. Smith, Ikard Smith’s father. Claude Miller purchased the property in 1921 and lived here with his family until 1938. During this time, the house witnessed the marriage of the Millers’ daughter, JoBetsy, to future Governor of Texas James Allred. The event took place in the living room on June 20, 1927. In the late 70’s, after we purchased the property, Mrs. Allred was living on Hayes with her son Dave and his family. Although she was “up in years” she would occasionally stop while taking a neighborhood walk and make small talk about the house.
Mr. Miller sold the house in 1938. It then had a quick succession of occupants. Linton Estes 1938-1939 and John Gilliland 1939-1942. Mrs. Loretta Norwood, a long time Wichita Falls realtor bought the house in 1942 and resided here until 1962. Allen Johnson then owned the property and from 1965-1966 it became the Phi Sigma Kappa fraternity house. There are numerous stories associated with this segment of the house’s history. We have found in a 1965 Midwestern University yearbook a picture of the fraternity’s officers posed in front of the mantel and also another picture of the exterior of the house with huge Greek letters mounted above the front porch. This picture is in a history of MSU available at Hastings Books & Music. The E.D. Lucero family purchased the house in 1968 and did some remodeling to the house during the nine years they occupied it. In October 1977, they received notification that his job would relocate to Albuquerque, NM by the end of December. In order to make a gradual move, Mr. Lucero didn’t want to close on the property until the end of the year. We agreed on terms, put the house in contract in October and closed on the house the first working day of January 1978.
During the twenty-five years since we purchased 1300 Grant, some updates that have been done were to: replace the HVAC system, change the exterior color, add storm windows, upgrade the electrical service, add a pool (1991), and change the garage from a one car/efficiency apartment to a rear entry two car garage (1991), fence the backyard (twice), replace a three window unit with an atrium door and deck, plant numerous trees, and generally try to maintain and enjoy all of the character and charm of a wonderful old home as well as the friendship of many wonderful neighbors.
One curious incident happened around four/five years ago while adding additional attic vents. I cut holes into the soffit and as the wood was being removed from the first hole, a piece of fabric fell out with the wood! Feeling up into the hole resulted in more fabric. This time a pair of riding pants, then a matching jacket with a label from Abercrombie & Fitch. Subsequent reaches into the soffit gave up more material- a dress that had been disassembled (perhaps for a pattern), a bath robe, a letter postmarked 1923 addressed to someone who lived in the rear apartment and a shopping list for a birthday party. We have never found answers for our “mystery” as to why that was placed in the soffit area of the house, but it adds to the fun of having an old house in the historical Floral heights addition.
Submitted by Clydette & David HolcombTags: 1300 Grant, Phi Sigma Kappa
This post was written by Christine Heidebrecht