Sunday, February 13, 2011

The History

The home was built in 1918 by H. C. House. The pictures below are of the 1925 edition of the Sanborn Insurance Map. (Currently available at the reference desk of the Heights Branch Library.)

We are not sure when, but the Perkins family moved in next. We have several cancelled checks from Mr. Fred Perkins, a lawyer, from the 1920's that we found during remodeling. The daughter, Francis, was born in 1889. She attended college at Stephen F. Austin in Nacogdoches. She returned to this house after obtaining her degree and began teaching at Harvard Elementary School where she spent her entire career. She inherited the house from her parents. Francis never married and lived here till she died in 1966.

The house was then inherited by two step-nephews that, it is said, she detested. The rest of her estate was left to First Baptist Church, Heights at the corner of Harvard and 9th and the money was used to purchase the large stained glass window for the new sanctuary they were building.

The step-nephews turned the house into an upper/lower duplex and used it as a rent property for the next 13 years.

In 1979, the house was purchased by Paul and Susan Campbell. He worked in the oil industry. She was a French teacher. They had no children.

In late 1989, we bought the house: Mark Sterling and Sheila Sorvari, a married couple with 1.3 children on the day we moved in.

Aside from the construction date, the rest of this information was gathered oral history. When we moved in, several of our neighbors had lived here a long time and knew Francis Perkins personally. We have also met a number of people who attended Harvard Elementary in the 1920s-1950s and remember Miss Perkins or had her as a teacher.

The next owners of this home will also get all the things we have found- the cancelled check, the bits of old wallpaper and the glass bottles we’ve dug up. Plus, you will get the limited edition poster of the original marketing materials for this development known as Houston Heights and a copy of the book Houston Heights 1891-1991.