Historic house stands the test of time

Published 5:28 pm Friday, January 7, 2011

Contributing Writer

Next to the former Pantego High School and gymnasium stands a somewhat-hidden piece of history.
An old house carries the weight and works of several generations of labor.
John Britt, owner of the house, explained some of the background of his residence.
“The house was built in 1921 by a man with the last name of Windley who was a lumber baron back then. There were four major lumber companies back then, and Windley had one of them. Around 1930, Windley put the house and property up for a loan so he could keep his business going and pay his employees. A year later, things were still bad and he defaulted on his loan, so the bank came in and took the house over, and he had to leave.”
Then more changes came.
“Then a man named Radcliffe came in, whose daughter taught school at Pantego. He kept it until the 1970s. His two daughters kept it going, and one daughter rented rooms. But this house was never a teacherage, that is a common misconception. The school never owned it.”
Britt added a third section.
“A man named Rudolph Blake bought the house in the late ’70s and worked on rebuilding the house with his wife. But his wife had a stroke and could no longer help with the house. Blake bought a house with elevators out in Smith Shores and put this house up for sale. My wife and I were driving through one day in the early ’90s and stopped by. My wife thought the house was beautiful, and as husbands do when wives like something, they go and buy it. My wife liked the dining room and wrap-around porch the best. We’ve owned the house since May 1991.”
Britt said the house required extensive repairs when he bought it. Little had changed over the years. The walls and ceilings were made with plaster. The upstairs needed heating and air conditioning. When heat is not put in plaster, moisture is absorbed, he said. Many of the rooms were pockmarked with holes.
Other features pointed out by Britt included a painting room that Blake’s wife used to when she painted detailed landscape portraits. A third floor also is under construction.
“But that is for the next owner,” Britt said.