“I was raised in this house,” Gigi McCowen said. “It belonged to my grandmother and great grandparents.”
The Shaw-McCowen Home, 502 W. Wilson St., is one of eight stops on the in Save Old Cleburne’s 42nd annual Candlewalk Tour of Homes.
Built in 1901, the one and-a-half story bungalow craftsman style house features a gabled roof with shingles and boxed eaves.
The upstairs features a large room with deep dormer windows. Off set French doors open from the L-shaped porch. Pine floors, windows and doors are all original, interior double pocket doors and arched double doors. The fence in the front of the property is also original.
The house was built for Archie Dennis Shaw and his wife, Juanita. Archie was the son of Samuel T. and Callie Shaw, who lived in the Shaw Manor on 510 W. Wilson St.
Archie and Juanita’s daughter, Margaret, was born in the house in 1910 and lived in it throughout her marriage to William Charles McCowen Sr.
Their son, William Charles McCowen Jr., was born in 1949. William Sr. worked as a welder until he passed away in 1964. Margaret made ends meet by sewing for others and selling furniture out of the house when needed. William Jr. married Carolyn Schlieper and they had a daughter, Gigi.
Gigi McCowen remembers fondly staying with her grandmother Margaret while her parents worked.
“I played all over this house, sat at this desk and did my schoolwork,” she said “I walked to J.N. Long School, have memories of apple wallpaper in the kitchen.”
Margaret McCowen sold the home in 1979 to move closer to her son and his wife, Carolyn McCowen, in Fort Worth.
New owners had put the house on the Candlewalk Tour in 1986 and 1992. Margaret toured the home in 1992 and was pleased with how the house looked. Gigi took a picture of her grandmother smiling as she posed by the staircase. Eventually the home was sold and through the years had fallen to disrepair.
In May, Gigi bought the house and said it’s been a labor of love restoring the house she loved so much.
Leveling the house revealed it is built on top of a well. Demo in the kitchen exposed the apple wallpaper she remembered as a child. She is keeping with the historical preservation the home, carefully replacing shingle underpinning and matching original paint colors.
The previous owner of the house, Della, discovered a box of Shaw family photos behind a wall she was removing under the staircase and gave them to Gigi. The hidden photos date from 1900-40s.
Gigi McCowen’s great-great-grandfather, Samuel T. Shaw, opened Shaw Studio Photography in Cleburne in 1907. His grandson and namesake continued the photography business throughout the ’70s.
His studio was in downtown Cleburne on the second floor of where The Published Page bookstore is now.
Gigi McCowen is now the owner of Shaw Studio Photography. She will have pictures taken through the years by Shaw’s Studio on display during Candlewalk.
The Candlewalk Tour of Historic Homes is from 1-8 p.m. Dec. 7.
Tickets are available at the Layland Museum, Heritage Home Vintage Inspired Living, Cleburne Chamber of Commerce and online at eventbrite.com.
Advance tickets are $12 for adults and $8 for children under 12.
Day of tour tickets are $15 and $10, respectively.
Save Old Cleburne is a nonprofit organization. The Candlewalk Tour of Homes is the organization’s main fundraiser for the year.
Meetings are the second Monday of each month. For information, visit their Facebook page, Save Old Cleburne.