Heritage, Volume 5, Number 1, Spring 1987 Page: 9
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Prominence in Preservation
unteered their time. The publicity committee
placed stories in major newspapers
in Houston and San Antonio, a special
article in Texas Highways, and a feature
on "P.M. Magazine." Finding the homeowners
who would be willing to open
their residences to the public was a major
concern, but the tour committee was
able to persuade six owners of outstanding
structures to participate. That first
tour was probably one of the most distinctive,
since it ranged from a Catholic convent
to a New Orleans-style "house of
Over the past six years the tour has become
a major attraction. In 1986 more
than 1,500 visitors from all over Texas
and various parts of the United States attended.
A bake sale, a plant sale, food
and drink booths, and a quilt exhibit
were added features to the tour. The 1986
tour featured an unusual group of buildings
known as the Santa Rosa Restoration
Project, which consisted of five homes in
the 600 block of Santa Rosa Street. The
project required more than two years to
complete. Jane Gregory and Tom O'Connor,
Jr. combined their imaginations
to turn an ordinary strip of turn-of-thecentury
row houses into a neighborhood
worthy of inclusion on the Home Tour.
"We chose this area," explained Ms. Gregory,
"because of the beautiful trees, and
we thought, wouldn't it be wonderful to
redo an entire block." The houses were
dilapidated when they were acquired.
Each has been completely rewired, replumbed,
and leveled. Ms. Gregory has
managed to retain the Victorian charm
and still bring the houses to the 1986
standard of living. Window treatments,
carpeting, and wall coverings were selected
in authentic Victorian patterns to
match the pastel exteriors. In the fall of
1985 O'Connor and Gregory were given
an award by VPI for their outstanding
contributions to the community in the
interest of preservation. The Home Tour
has truly helped to promote interest in
saving these charming relics of the past.
All proceeds from this event help defray
the many programs and projects of VPI.
Many visitors to the older areas of Victoria
have been charmed by the multitude
of historical structures and sites and often
ask merchants and the Victoria Chamber
of Commerce for information or guides to
Row houses on Santa Rosa Street have been rehabilitated into picturesque bed-and-breakfast cottages.
The project has contributed significantly to revitalization of a once-neglected area.
The Renaissance Revival Old Federal Building has been adapted to accommodate a variety of uses.
The building now houses offices, a handsome reception area, and private living quarters on the third floor.
these areas. In 1981 VPI, the Bronte
Club (a 100-year-old literary club), and
the Victoria County Historical Commission
embarked upon a major project to
implement a walking and driving tour of
old Victoria. The three organizations decided
to join forces and pledged $1,000
each to produce 5,000 brochures. The
Cultural Council of Victoria awarded a
grant to VPI for half of its pledge. The
brochure consists of a brief history of the
city, two walking tours of the downtown
and adjacent residential area, and a driving
tour that includes some forty-eight
sites across a much larger portion of Victoria.
The following sites offer an interesting
sampling of highlights in the guide:
The Leibold Building-102 S. Main,
built in 1910 by famed architect Jules
Leffland. The building was constructed by
Louis Leibold, who operated a drug,
book, and stationery store in it. This is
considered to be the oldest comer drugstore
in the state, and there has been a
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Texas Historical Foundation. Heritage, Volume 5, Number 1, Spring 1987, periodical, Spring 1987; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth45438/m1/9/: accessed June 29, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas Historical Foundation.