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Victoria Preservation Inc. 25th Historic Homes Tour is April 9-10

By ALLISON MILES
April 4, 2011 at 6:04 p.m.
Updated April 3, 2011 at 11:04 p.m.


WHERE TO BUY TICKETS

Pre-sale tickets are available for $12 through April 8 at a variety of locations. Those include the following:

Rogers Pharmacy, 4402 N. Laurent St.

Longleaf Coffee Company, 215 S. Main St.

Cultural Council of Victoria - Leo J. Welder Center for the Performing Arts, 214 N. Main St.

Shop the world, 6902 N. Navarro St.

Victoria Preservation, Inc., 205 W. Goodwin Avenue

Devereaux Gardens, 1313 N. Navarro St.

Tickets are also available for $15 the day of the tour.



VINE STREET VISTA

The J. Meredith Tatton House was designed by noted Houston architect John F. Staub and completed in 1937. The Tatton and Murphy families lived in the house for almost 70 years. It was recently granted status as a Registered Texas Historic Landmark. The house and servants' quarters are at 601 W. North St.

The John H. Fulks House, 604 N. Vine, was built in the late 1920's of the finest lumber available; Jack Fulks was manager of Temple Lumber yard. After his death, his widow, Florence Fletcher Fulks, married Charles H. Dessart. The house received a total renovation during 2009-2010 by the current owners.

The Joseph L. Conti, Sr., house was designed by architect Kai J. Leffland in 1931. The Conti family lived here until 1947. From 1947-2010 it was owned and occupied by the J. D. Moore family. Mr. Moore was president of Victoria College for 27 years. 1505 N. Vine.

The F. S. Ferguson House was moved to its current location - 1707 N. Vine - in 2010. Formerly located at 803 N. Washington St., it is an excellent craftsman style house, recently renovated for life in the 21st century.

The Old Conti Place on the north bank of Spring Creek is a well known landmark in Victoria. The house was built by James Dukelow, and enlarged by Bartholomew Dillon whose heirs sold it to Louis Haller. Haller then sold the house and land to Louis J. Conti whose family retained ownership for 73 years. The house sits just north of Spring Creek across from Country Club Drive. 5507 N. Main.

J. Barney Daniel House - City Attorney Barney Daniel had this house built for himself and his wife in 1935 by anchor Lumber Yard. Substantially enlarged over the years, it has recently been returned to near-original condition by the current owners. It is beautifully sited on a sloping lot at the west end of Commercial Street. 707 W. Commercial St.

Dr. John Kisalus and his wife, Virginia, aren't the first people to live in their large white home at 601 W. North St., but the self-proclaimed history buffs can tell you a little about the people who were.

"Our house was built by the Tatton family in 1937," John Kisalus said. "Then, it was owned by the Murphy family from 1949 until we purchased it in 2005. It's been around for a long time."

The 25th Victoria Preservation Inc. Historic Homes Tour is April 9-10, and the Kisalus family has two homes on display - the North Street site and another at 1505 N. Vine St.

Pre-sale tickets are available for $12 at several locations, and tickets go for $15 the days of the tour.

This year's event, dubbed "Vine Street Vista," includes six homes, three of which sit on Vine Street.

Tour-takers receive a map at the beginning of the event and drive to the various homes, said Gary Dunnam, executive director of Victoria Preservation Inc. Once there, a docent leads the group through the home, pointing out furnishings, architecture and other points of interest.

"People are very curious about how other people live," he said. "I think that, through the years, this tour has really satisfied lots of curiosities."

The tour typically lasts three to four hours.

Homes on the tour are selected mainly because of their appeal to the public, Dunnam said. Not every one qualifies for a historical marker because of alterations, but they maintain Victoria's historic feel.

The family who owns the John M. Fulks House at 604 N. Vine St., for instance, replaced the building's wooden exterior with hearty plank, added energy-efficient windows and more.

"When people go inside, I think they will be amazed," Dunnam said. "They really have done a phenomenal job with the house.

And the event brings a boost to Victoria's economy.

Dunnam said the historic homes tour draws people from as far away as Boston and Greenville, Miss. Visitors eat at Victoria restaurants, shop at stores and stay in hotels, he said.

"That money rolls over and over and over after it's spent," he said, noting that between 700 and 1,300 people typically attend.

People with homes on the tour also spend money updating paint jobs, working on landscaping and more, Dunnam said.

"I tell people, 'If you commit to put a house on the tour, you will be amazed how much you will get done,'" he said with a laugh. "When people have a deadline, all of those to-do lists get completed."

Kisalus learned that last point first-hand as he worked on his properties. On March 25, he busied himself building an arbor behind his North Street home, while refinished flooring dried inside the Vine Street house.

"With that one, we'll be fighting to get it all done before the tour," he said during a break from his work. "But I think we'll be fine."

Kisalus admitted it takes patience, care and a bit of hard work to keep an older house up, but he said he enjoys it.

"What you end up with, in my opinion, is better than anything you could build," he said. "You can't build history."

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