In June, 1998, when we came to Wichita Falls to buy a house, we had never been off the highway. Frank was closing his pediatric practice in Garland and had taken a position in the Pediatric Clinic at Sheppard Air Force Base. If we hadn’t been lost, we might not have found our dream home!
It was the brick street that caught my eye first, and I said, “turn here . . . this looks interesting,” and in the second block, there it was . . . my 1929’s yellow bungalow. We put a contract on it that day, but not until the realtor had dragged us through 8 or 9 other (inferior) houses. It was a decision we’ve never regretted.
This house was built in 1925, and we are the fourth owners. We purchased it from the David Gaar family; they had bought it from Dr. Marion Caskey, a longtime physician in the city who moved to Hayes Street from an address on Brown, near Kell.
The exterior of the house is redwood, with brick columns and a cement porch across about two thirds of the front. There are seven rooms and two baths downstairs, for a total of about 1,903 square feet. The finished upstairs is one large room with a half bath, a large storage closet, and three dormer areas. This provides us with overflow guest space, and a work area for our hobbies. We took a lot of flak when we painted the upstairs, and put down carpet, as it was still in its original dark stained heart pine finish. However, it would have been impossible to adequately light, so we had it painted a light buff color which turned out extremely well.
The house contains several elements generally found in the homes of the period, including hardwood floors, crown moldings, interesting built-ins and double openings from the living room into the dining room and what was (probably) a less formal sitting room. The original mantel over the living room fireplace was replaced with an English mahogany antique piece that includes a large beveled mirror. I think there were probably bookcases on each side on the fireplace, but the original ones have been replaced with a more modern type, and when this was done, two small windows were covered from the inside. They can still be seen on either side of the chimney from the outside. There is another fireplace in the dining room, which has been walled in. My extra dining room chairs set on the tile hearth.
Someday, I may get brave enough to make an incision in that wall and see what is there. I have dreams of a tile mantel.
The house was in good repair when we bought it. We had the floors refinished, and had intended to leave them bare, but Harry, our Airedale, who was eight months old when we moved here, would entertain himself by moving the furniture around when we were gone, and since most of this was done by dragging it with his large sharp teeth, we were forced to put area rugs in the two front rooms. We have done some painting (it was all painted white by the previous occupants) and in 2000, we remodeled the kitchen. This had been done in the 1950’s and featured varnished cabinet doors and green Formica counter tops, and was even less attractive than that sounds!
The dining room is quite large. It accommodates a table that seats eight, plus chairs, a china cabinet, a desk and piano, as well as a sewing table that’s set up once a month when my quilting group comes over. In addition, there is a built-in sideboard with storage underneath, and in one corner, a tall skinny closet for table leaves with a couple of shelves that we use for tall glassware and decorations. The main bath still has the original hexagon floor tile and bathtub, but the subway wall tile has been covered over and painted.
There is a utility room behind the kitchen, which I think was probably the breakfast nook at one time. I have further conjectured that the laundry was done in the three-room cottage (quarters) at the back corner of the yard. The doors have been removed from the two-car garage, which is a wonderful way to keep from collecting “stuff”. It has a brick floor and dark wood plank walls.
There are things we would like to restore (light fixtures) or change, and we may do some of it in time. Right now, it is the most welcoming place we have lived, both the house, and our neighborhood. We enjoy everyday we are here!
This post was written by Christine Heidebrecht