Temple’s Ferguson House once again displays an appealing historic grandeur, and is on the market for buyers who are seeking the kind of space an almost 3,000-square-foot home can provide.
The once drooping Queen Anne-style house on North Seventh Street is no longer on the verge of collapse, and after $300,000 worth of repairs, is ready for residents. Jim Ellis purchased the house in June 2012 at below the asking price of $84,900.
“It was an old house, and it intrigued us,” Ellis said. “I’m a retired builder and was looking for a project. The staircase sold us, and the historic value.”
Ellis was able to restore the house with its original historic staircase, but much of the outer structures needed to be replaced. The former home of two governors — James and Miriam Ferguson — was designated as a “Texas Recorded Historic Landmark” in 1978, and Texas Historical Commission officials require that changes to the house be made in accordance with historic stipulations. A new foundation was laid under the house — after Ellis discovered it was 3 to 4 inches off level in various areas — a new roof was put on, the porch was rebuilt and columns
replaced. “The Historical Commission said I couldn’t change any of the structure on the outside,” Ellis said. “But they let me use fiberglass instead of wood” for the columns.
The Historical Commission did not require Ellis to keep the house — which was built in 1907 — the same mustard yellow color it previously was, but he chose to keep it the color close; it is a now a light yellow hue. Ellis built a three-car garage alongside the house, and laid a new driveway for it.
Dottie Shirley, a real estate agent with First Texas Brokerage, brokered the deal for the house. She said it previously had graffiti and the porch looked ready to collapse.
“When I showed the house, I wouldn’t allow anyone to go on the left side of the porch,” she said. “It was too dangerous. You didn’t dare walk on it.”
Ellis said he believes the absence of a moisture barrier within the structure led to the decay.
The house features a new kitchen, new walk-in bedroom closets, two redone fireplaces, a remodeled laundry room, and additional storage in its interior. A portion of the house’s 29 windows had been broken out, but many of them are original models.
“The Historical Commission demanded we keep them,” Ellis said of the windows.
Ellis said he spent a total of 16 months reconstructing the Ferguson House, and hopes to find a family large enough to use the space the four-bedroom home provides.