Bush Childhood Home seeks items from ‘50s
Midland Reporter-Telegram, Stephanie Sparkman – MRT Correspondent
February 17, 2003
As the name implies, the 501(c)(3)-classified non-profit corporation runs the home at 1412 West Ohio Ave. where George W. Bush lived with his parents, sister, and younger brothers from 1952 to 1956.
During those years life in Midland was like life in other towns across the nation. But, there was a certain all-American quality to life here that clung to every grain of West Texas sand that blew through windows and door facings of homes as if they were invited.
It is that piece of West Texas nostalgia project coordinators most want to portray as they work to turn back the clock in the neighborhood of 1412 West Ohio Avenue, transforming the house and surrounding area into a window through which a portion of the life of two men who would become Presidents can be seen.
According to Darlene Marwitz, whose focus is the historic research of the house and neighborhood, interest in 1950’s popular culture is growing by leaps and bounds. “There are very few museum installations in the country that interpret this period because it is still such a new period by museum standards,” Ms. Marwitz said. “But, it is actually a period of time that is growing in leaps and bounds in terms of its popularity, I think it’s because so many of us baby boomers have grown to the point where we’re old enough that we’re really kind of looking back to the comfort and security of our childhood.”
What started as an idea to recapture the sort of a home that was very special to the president quickly turned into a project that would tell more than the story of George W. Bush’s childhood. It grew into a project that will also celebrate the lives of two Presidents, two Governors and two First Ladies.
Dealey Herndon of Herndon, Stauch & Associates in Austin, is managing the Bush Childhood Home Project. Ms. Herndon, who managed the enormous Capitol renovation project in Austin several years ago, has learned plenty about the impact Midland had on George W. Bush. “I think that the community has know the President and loved him since before he was in any public office,” Ms. Herndon said. “The openness and the welcoming way in which Midland accepts their friends and neighbors is sort of exemplified in the way that they’ve enthusiastically embraced this project. “It says a lot to me, not being from Midland – in fact never having been in Midland until I came to see this house – it says a lot to me about why he loved living there and why he’s a very open person. It’s a really wonderful environment.”
In order to understand what the house looked like during the time the Bush family lived there, Ms Herndon and Ms. Marwitz have poured over photographs that were taken during that time. Ms. Marwitz also interviewed Barbara Bush and was able to get valuable information from her about the house. Now the logical next step is being taken.
“What we’re looking for now are photographs and memorabilia that other people might have that can help us set the period, not only for the house, but of the neighborhood with in a block or so of the house,” Ms. Herndon said. “We want to determined things like, when George W. is out there in the yard playing baseball when he’s eight what did he see? What’s around him? What houses are across the street? What did the yard look like? What did the street look like? We want to put the whole neighborhood into context.”
Ms. Marwitz echoed the sentiment. “We are looking for much more than just photographs of the Bush home – although, indeed, many of these same families who may have photographs of the adjoining houses, it’s also possible they may have 1412 West Ohio in the background, with would be wonderful, “ Ms Marwitz said.
The George W. Bush Childhood home is destined to become as important a part of the community as its namesake.
“This is going to be great for Midland. Our project will fit right in with the Commemorative Air Force and Petroleum Museum and of course our project will fit right in with the Presidential Museum in Odessa.”
Tues–Sat 10 AM – 5 PM, Sun 2–5 PM
Tours given until 4:30 PM
Closed Mondays, Easter, Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years Day
1412 West Ohio Avenue
Midland, Texas 79701
Phone: (432) 685-1112