Once inhabited by a prominent Cleburne businessman in the early 1900s, a six-bedroom home on North Main Street was recently saved from demolition after the city condemned it last year.
Despite receiving minimal damage when an air conditioning unit caught on fire, the costs to bring the house back up to code was too much for the owner who had been living there for more than 50 years so she decided to sell it.
Originally listed on the market for $130,000, Stephen Hidlebaugh of Leasing Impressions snagged it during a quick sale for $100.
“The owner really didn’t want to sell it for that amount, but she otherwise would have had to bulldoze the house and there are a lot of fees involved in that,” Hidlebaugh said. “She was just happy we are able to save it.”
The home at 730 N. Main St. will be relocated to Midlothian to be part of a neighborhood of 10 other restored homes which will be available for office space, special events and other business use.
“This house fits in with our late 1800s, early 1900s architecture we are creating with our streetscape,” Hidlebaugh said. “The house retains a lot of the original features and that is what we were looking for.”
Layland Museum Manager Jessica Baber said the home was built between 1904-07 by C.W. Mertz, a prominent early Cleburne banker, real estate entrepreneur, insurance broker and civic leader.
“Mertz arrived in Cleburne in 1881 or 1882 from Paris, Texas, where he had organized a Farmers and Merchant Bank that later became the First National Bank of Cleburne in 1889,” Baber said.
Hidlebaugh, who owns and leases several of the downtown Midlothian buildings and will be restoring the homes, has been involved with the development of more than 100 majorly renovated communities throughout the United States.
“We feel like sometimes when you take an old historic home and turn it an office it kind of becomes a public space,” Hidlebaugh said. “This way everyone can come in and enjoy the home as it was meant to be.”
Hidlebaugh said the house will move to Midlothian in about 30 days. Moving will cost about $150,000 and an additional $300,000 to restore it.
Repairs on the list from Cleburne’s Building Inspection Department include replacing deteriorated wood on exterior structure, replace all broken windows, repair front steps and columns, repair all interior walls and ceiling, install new water heater and rewire entire structure.
Cleburne Mayor Scott Cain said preserving the homes history is important to the city.
“While we would prefer the property owner restore the house in Cleburne, it is their right to relocate the house and we must respect that right,” Cain said. “We will continue to look for ways to work with property owners to preserve our historic buildings so they remain relevant in the future and our history is preserved for future generations. As we continue to work on the problem of breathing life back into downtown buildings, it is clear that it will take a partnership between the city and private owners.”
Save Old Cleburne President Stephanie Montero said handled correctly, historic buildings can spur development.
“Our historic buildings are a valuable resource that make Cleburne unique — I know several people who have moved to Cleburne in the past few years specifically because of its historic architecture, including myself,” Montero said. “In fact, I remember driving past this very house on my first visit to Cleburne and being utterly charmed by its shingles and eccentric design. The courthouse square and historic houses nearby inspired my family to choose Cleburne over other towns we were considering, even though Cleburne is further from family and friends. So, while I am delighted that the house will be saved and restored, I am very sad to see it lost to Cleburne.”