The beauty of a home is determined not only by the grace of its architecture but by the charm of its surrounding neighborhood. The 1400 to 1700 blocks of Hayes Street, have always been lined with large Sycamore and Elm trees on both sides of the street. The natural arbor has offered inviting shade in the summer and a canopy of color in the Fall.
For the historian, it is hard to speak of a house without remembering the neighborhood. The first owner was Elizabeth Austin, wife of Steven F. Austin. In 1881 she granted a Texas Independence veteran, R.E.
Montgomery the land on which the house sits today. The original deed at that time contained ambiguous boundary descriptions such as “from the Stone”, “Vargas from the Cottonwood”, or “Elm tree marked with an X”. J.A. Kemp and Frank Kell were the original developers of the Floral Heights addition in 1909. Hayes St. sat on the western edge of the development and was the state highway heading to Seymour Texas.
The original three bedroom, one bath home was built between 1921 and 1923. A prominent member of the city, Grover Bullington, was the third owner and paid $6,750 for the property. He lived her for some ten years.
In 1933 during the Great Depression, Harry Thornberry, a local druggist, purchased the house and lived there with his family for almost 40 years. Mr. Thornberry was a neighborhood icon serving this local community from Allison’s Drugstore, an old building located at the corner of Hayes and Seymour Road. Mr. Thornberry was the granduncle of our current U.S. Representative, Mac Thornberry.
John and Maria Scott purchased the house from Mr. Thornberry’s widow, Lydia, in 1972. Having three children, we intended to add on a large family room, master bedroom, and bath to the original home. At the time Mrs. Thornberry was 82 years old with a beautiful smile and a lively twinkle in her eye. Even after she moved away her love for the home was evident. She would periodically drop by to check on the progress of the remodeling project. It was truly an honor to receive a vote of confidence and blessing from the previous owner. Our family grew to love this gracious and wonderful lady. Her personal touch can be seen today through the uniquely beautiful plants strategically placed throughout the landscape. Now they are my special plants. I think of her often as I tend to their daily needs.
We were entrusted with the task of maintaining the integrity of the original house while enhancing the beauty of the home. The house is now a mix of modern and traditional design. The original house was simple. There were limited extras such as the compound crown molding in the living and dining rooms. A gas fireplace and French doors served as focal points in the main parlor. I attempted to keep all the original charm where possible. We even renovated and reused the original light fixtures now illuminating the family room. Complex crown molding, shadow boxes, and an elaborate fireplace mantle now offer a touch of luxury to the house.
My wife and family had wonderful parties in this old house. Our neighborhood is better now than before with all the young families living among us.
Have a nice Spring,John Scott