Area's historic houses deserve chance

By Caryl Calsyn

Special to the Bulletin

Too many homes of historical value have been torn down or left to rot. Horseshoe Bay has only one still standing and that is the Fuchs (Fox) House and is one of only a few in Burnet County. The house was an important part of our past and can once again be an asset to the community.

The Fuchs house was built in the late 1870s of native stone and was the home of Conrad Fuchs and family. Among other things it was a stage coach stop and post office.
We go to great lengths to save endangered species but not to save our history. I am the owner of a property (Christian-Matern House in Marble Falls) that no one cared about. It stood empty and would have rotted from the roof down if I had not seen the potential. I did the research and found out it was built in 1892 for a founder of Marble Falls. I put my heart, skills I didn’t know I had and yes, money into the restoration.

My house is now an asset to the community. Not only for the tourism dollars it brings, but for the benefits held here such as the Falls on the Colorado Museum open houses. Many meetings are held here also because I feel strongly feel this house is meant to be shared.
I see the same potential for the Conrad Fuchs house; another important property that stands empty and will rot from the roof down. I can think of several historic houses that exist no longer due to neglect or demolition.
This, of course leads to what is happening and what is not. A Fuchs House Golf Tournament is planned for June 17 at Slick Rock Golf course in Horseshoe Bay. What is needed — players, sponsors and donations. The Burnet County Historical Commission is planning to visit the house on May 7. Grants are available through the state commission and a fund raising event sponsored by BCHC will take place in the fall.

All donations for both events are tax deductible. Grants have been applied for and one has been granted for $10,000. The problem is any grants from the Texas Historical Commission and the grant already received cannot be applied to the most urgent need.
That need is to replace the roof and the rear porch that is attached to it. The Horseshoe Bay city council voted on September 18, 2018, to donate $50,000 to the house restoration. This was gratefully received and raised hopes that the house could be saved. However, matching donations must be raised by September 18, 2019. Less than five months remain to accomplish that goal.
This is what is not happening. I have heard there are people who want to donate and also heard that they are reluctant to do so until they are sure something is happening. I understand the hesitation, but unfortunately without tax deductible donations nothing will happen. For this reason I went to First United Bank of HSB who then contacted Stan Farmer at the city. Tax deductible donations need to be made payable to Friends of the Fuchs House and mailed to First United Bank of Horseshoe Bay, 6905 W. FM 2147, Horseshoe Bay TX 78657. The city will also keep a record of all donations received. Contact Francie Dix, Fuchs House Advisory Chair at 830-220-2474 if any questions arise.
I will drive miles out of the way to visit historic properties but would not drive two blocks to see the ruins of a house that used to be.
The Fuchs House does not have to die. If we match the money voted for by the city council we will have nearly enough to replace the roof and the rear porch. If this does not happen the day will come when I will stand in the front yard and cry. I will not be standing there alone.

Caryl Calsyn is a member of the Fuchs House Advisory Committee in Horseshoe Bay and a Burnet County Historical Commission member and past chair. She is also a board member of the Falls on the Colorado Museum in Marble Falls.

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