BEAUMONT, Texas — Thousands of dollars in grant money is jump-starting plans to restore a historic Beaumont home to its former glory.
The Caroline Gilbert Hinchee House is a historical home near downtown Beaumont. It is located on the corner of Park Street and Irma Street.
The home was built in 1904, and the last hundred years have not been kind to the home. Organizers with the Caroline Gilbert Hinchee House and a few other non-profit organizations are working to return the house to its former glory.
A $50,000 grant is allowing property owners to move forward with their vision for the house.
Many historical homes are restored into museums. Those behind the efforts to restore the Hinchee House want to see new life return to the home, so their vision for it is different.
The vision is to turn the home into a community place where people can gather.
Kate Beaver is the administrative director for Hinchee House and Bruce Hamilton executive director of Hinchee House. They have been looking after the home since the group acquired it from a private seller in 2018.
“I think at one point this house was an icon for the community and it needs to be that again,” Beaver said.
They recently received the first $50,000 installment of a $250,000 grant from the National Parks and Recreation Texas Historical Commission.
"We have a slew of people who would love to come in and help us but unfortunately the house is not currently in a condition to where we can allow people to come in, but we're hoping with this grant we'll be able to bring it up to standards,” Hamilton said.
The installment will only take them so far.
"One of the hurricanes put the chimney over into the tile roof and started the flow of water which he did not address so unfortunately the house deteriorated rapidly under those conditions and no one was living here at the time,” Hamilton said.
Despite the dust and decay, Hamilton and Beaver describe the home as a diamond in the rough.
“We originally wanted to see veterans start their own businesses through here whether it be a book store coffee shop this could be a police substation I want it to feel like home for everybody,” Beaver said.
Now that they have the first installment, the first step is getting the house stabilized, including flooring and the roof, so they can have volunteers come in and help get the home where they want it to be.