George W. Bush Childhood Home looks to expand to ‘A Presidential Site’
Midland Reporter-Telegram, Ed Todd – Staff Writer
January 20, 2002
“The project will be one of the most significant visitation sites in West Texas,” said Bill Scott, who is president of the 18-member George W. Bush Childhood Home, Inc., board of directors.
Developing the 1950s Bush homestead at 1412 W. Ohio Ave. and neighborhood is under oversight of Dealey Herndon, a partner in the Austin-based Herndon, Stauch & Associates construction-management firm, Scott noted. “She is probably the premier preservationist in the Southwest,” Scott said.
In the 1990’s, Ms. Herndon managed the $192-million restoration of the Texas Capitol. She and her cohorts “know the Bushes and know the Bush family,” Scott said.
"She is quite a talent,” Scott noted. “With her help, our vision has expanded…to the Presidential Site. We are going to acquire additional properties and expand from just the home to a Welcome (Visitors) Center and Museum-Exhibit space also.”
Joanne Langston, a Midland real-estate executive who serves on the Bush project’s board of directors and who is the project’s finance (fund-raising) chairman, said, “historic restoration is extremely technical.” “We want integrity in the restoration,” Ms. Langston said. “We are bound to do that.” Ms. Herndon “is the one who led us beyond the house restoration to neighborhood restoration,” she said. Select residential properties neighboring the Bush house “will have facades” of the 1950’s. “The neighborhood will look like the neighborhood did back in the mid-1050’s.”
Bush was living in the modest house in his early formative years. “Our deepest values in life often come from our earliest years,” Bush said in Midland on Jan. 17, 2001, when he and his wife, Midland native Laura Welch Bush, were en route from their Waco-area ranch to his Inauguration in Washington, D.C.
“Great joy and great tragedy filled those (1950s) years “for the Bush family at the home on Ohio Ave., Ms. Langston noted. The senior Bushes’ first daughter, Robin, who was born in 1949, died of leukemia in 1953.
Bush’s parents had purchased the house in late 1951 for $9,000. The house had been built by Midland builder Houston Hill for Mildred Ethridge, a tobacconist at the old Hotel Scharbauer, for $4,590.89, Scott noted. Last year, following a series of owners, Dallas-resident Mark Edmiaston, who in the early 1990s had purchased the house, deeded the property over to the George W. Bush Childhood Home, Inc.
The project has received endorsement of the Texas Historical Commission (THC) and Texas Preservation Trust Fund and the National Trust for Historic Preservation. “It certainly helps in our fundraising efforts to have their (the Texas Historical Commission) endorsement and their support just like it did with the National Trust for Historic Preservation,” Scott said.
Cookie Wetendorf of the Permian Basin Area Foundation is assisting on grants for the project, Ms. Langston said, as are Sharla Hotchkiss and Lucy Woodside. THC historian Frances Rickard said the THC if “proud” of its involvement with the Bush house project.
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