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Historic home demolished during weekend of historic homes tour

By JR Ortega
April 10, 2010 at 10:03 p.m.
Updated April 9, 2010 at 11:10 p.m.

A Spanish colonial revival home at 607 Main St. was demolished Saturday. The home is on the National Registry for architectural homes.

A TIMELINE OF VICTORIA PRESERVATION INC.

1980: A group of citizens concerned about Victoria losing its historic buildings formally organizes.

1981: The first Historic Homes Tour is organized. The group also receives its official non-profit status and adopts its first formal by-laws.

1983-84: Victoria Preservation Inc. conducts the Historic Resources Survey, which documents more than 2,200 pre-World War II structures in Victoria.

1986: More than 90 structures are entered into the National Register of Historic Places.

1988-89: The organization hires its first executive director, Rebecca Borchers.

1991: Victoria Preservation Inc. helps get the original town site of Victoria designated as a historic district.

1996: Gary Dunnam takes over as executive director.

2001: After spearheading the effort, the the old 1892 courthouse is restored and officially dedicated.

2004: The organization holds its first annual cemetery tour. The tour has sold out the past three years.

Victoria lost a piece of its history at the same time the city was celebrating its historic homes tour.

The Krenek House, a Spanish Colonial revival style home on the corner of Main and North Street, didn't go down without a fight when it was torn down Friday and Saturday.

"It's really a great loss to Victoria," said Gary Dunnam, Victoria Preservation Inc.'s director. "It comes at a really sad time because this is the weekend we have our annual historic homes tour."

Though the home was not a part of this year's tour, Dunnam, along with other preservationists in the city, gathered across from the house Friday and attempted to stop the demolition, believing that the owners might not have realized its historical significance to Victoria.

After touring the home and talking with owners about their reasoning for the decision, however, the preservationists relented.

"It was a hard decision for the family," said Joni Brown, executive director of Keep Victoria Beautiful.

The family felt the home was uninhabitable and were worried for the safety of others, Brown said.

The home was built in 1926 and was on the National Register of Historic Places for its architectural significance, Dunnam said.

It was the only house in the area that showed that strong of a revival style area, he said.

It was owned and built by F.J Krenek and since then has been passed down to a descendant of the family.

Jon Riggs, the owner of the house according to Central Appraisal District site, was unable to be reached for comment, Saturday.

While some landmark registers do not allow the destruction of historical places, the National Register of Historic Places does.

Property owners can do whatever they want with the property so as long as there are no federal monies attached to the property, according to the register's Web site.

"It's not just something of local interest in Victoria. It's of statewide and national interest," Dunnam said of the home.

Just two weeks ago, Dunnam and several other preservationists were talking about what could be done to restore the home and officially make it part of Victoria's historical home tour.

Its demolition was a reminder of how important it is to preserve historical landmarks in Victoria, he said.

"We are about 20 years too late," Brown said.

On Saturday, the white, stucco-looking home was no more but a flattened, 84-year-old memory.

"This is a great loss for the city," Dunnam said.

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