Katy Heritage Park buildings receiving restoration efforts

By R. Hans Miller | News Editor
Posted 10/31/20

Renovations are underway at Katy Heritage Park after Katy City Council approved funding for repairs to two of the historical buildings in the downtown historic park near the intersection of Avenue D …

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Katy Heritage Park buildings receiving restoration efforts

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Renovations are underway at Katy Heritage Park after Katy City Council approved funding for repairs to two of the historical buildings in the downtown historic park near the intersection of Avenue D and George Bush Drive on Sept. 28. The rooves of the Stockdick Home and Wright Museum – two of the oldest homes in Katy proper – are either replaced or in the process of being replaced.

“These homes show how Katy was really established,” said Bryant Gauthier, owner/partner at This is Livin’ Homes. “It’s not just rice fields. Oil and gas were there as well.”

This is Livin’ Homes was awarded the bid for the repair with $9,150 going toward repairs of the Stockdick Home and $20,400 going to repair The Wright Museum, said Adrienne Davitz, who will take up the mantle of president of the Katy Heritage Society in January. The society is the organization responsible for caring for Katy Heritage Park, among other functions honoring Katy’s past.

The repair for the Stockdick Home were less costly because of the type of shingles used and the need to remediate asbestos from the Wright House, Davitz said.

Gauthier said the process for working on The Wright Museum – the closer of the two buildings to Avenue D – will take more time to complete than the Stockdick House. The home has asbestos where work needs to be done that means the involvement not only of city inspectors but of the Environmental Protection Agency and other organizations that work to ensure asbestos-contaminated materials are disposed of properly where they will not impact the health of those visiting the landmark building.

Davitz said there was a lot of discussion regarding the types of shingles to be used on The Wright Museum as well. The home was originally built with architectural shingles that overlap similar to a fish’s scales rather than traditional three-tab tar shingles most modern homes have. However, given budget constraints and the difficulty in locating those types of shingles, the Katy Heritage Society board elected to move forward with a less expensive shingle that could be more affordably replaced, especially given the difficulty in raising additional funds for repairs during the COVID-19 pandemic, Davitz said.

Davitz said This is Livin’ Homes is doing additional work on the homes at no additional cost such as repairing flooring and decking and power washing the outsides of the two buildings prior to repainting them.

All of the work – paid or not – is being undertaken with the mindset of preserving as much of the original materials as possible in order to maintain the buildings’ historic integrity as possible, Gauthier said. Some minor concessions have had to be made due to budgeting, but Gauthier said he and his team are committed to preserving as much of the history as possible while still keeping the buildings safe for use.

“(They get rented out) for a wedding reception or a bridal shower type thing – no overnight stays,” said Gauthier, who is also a member of the Katy Heritage Society.

The historical buildings at Katy Heritage Park were open one Saturday a month prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, Gauthier said. However, the society is hopeful that after the repairs make the buildings safer and bring them back to their glory, the society will be able to have them open on a weekly basis. Ideas being floated around include food trucks on the weekend and anything that will help residents and visitors enjoy the historical park.

Repairs to the Stockdick Home began Oct. 22 in the early morning by the This is Livin’ crew and were finished around midday Oct. 23. Repairs to The Wright House are expected to begin Oct. 29 after being delayed due to expected inclement weather, Gauthier said.

Regardless of asbestos challenges and weather delays, Gauthier said he’s glad to be a part of preserving and telling Katy’s history.

“It’s a timeline of how everything has happened over the years with these original families – Stockdicks, Wrights, Foremans, Freemans, the list goes on, you know – that needs to be preserved and we need to be educated on that,” Gauthier said.

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