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Conroe couple purchases,
restores Isaac Conroe home
By Sondra Hernandez

Photo: Michael Minasi, Staff Photographer
Carl and Lyn Howard pose for a portrait in front of the historic Isaac
Conroe house on Friday. The Howards purchased the home in October
and are in the process of restoring it. They'd like to see the home
eventually become a museum for the city of Conroe

It's not every day that you purchase a piece of property and it
comes with its own historical scrapbook.

Photo: Michael Minasi, Staff Photographer
The Isaac Conroe house, originally built in 1885 and recently bought and
 undergoing renovations by Carl and Lyn Howard, is pictured on Friday,
Jan. 5, 2017

The Conroe business owners, who are also supportive of a number of local charity organizations, purchased the home in October with plans to "restore it to its full glory."

Their desire is to have the home eventually become a museum for the city of Conroe and they'd like to sell the home and property to the city for this purpose.

Isaac Conroe

The home originally belonged to the town's founder and namesake - Isaac Conroe.

Conroe was a Union captain in the Civil War who mustered out of service in Houston.

He became engaged in the lumber and sawmill industry and established a mill in this area.

Photo: Michael Minasi,
Staff Photographer

He established a home in Conroe on Ave. A and First Street and a historical marker placed in 1981 denotes the property's place in history.

When the county seat was moved to Conroe in the late 1800s, his home, for a temporary time, served as the county's courthouse, until a courthouse was completed in Conroe in 1891. The structure also served as a post office for a time.

Conroe died at age 62 on Aug. 2, 1897.

However, his children carried on his legacy in Conroe and the house remained in the Conroe family up until his granddaughter's death in the 1980s.

The house was then bought by the Canada family and later the Wells family. The Howards bought it from the Wells family.

It had most recently been leased out as the law office of Baker & Baker.

When the home was put up for sale this fall, the Howards jumped at the chance to own a piece of Conroe history.

Photo: Michael Minasi, Staff Photographer
A picture of the original Isaac Conroe house built in 1885. Notice the buggy step in front of the home. The home is located at 202 Ave. A, in Conroe.

"We want to preserve the integrity of the structure," Lyn Howard said. "When we finish, we hope that he (Conroe) would have been proud."

They went to work right away, putting a new fence at the back of the structure, uncovering the original 1885 floors that were milled from one of Conroe's mills, taking down the sheetrock to unveil the original shiplap with square nails, cleaning out the empty space behind the house, repainting, sprucing up the landscape in the front of the home, putting on a new roof and making gutter repairs and taking out some walls that were used by the law office to convert it into a commercial space.

According to Montgomery County Historical Commission Chairman Larry Foerster, the state historical marker on the property is designated as a subject marker, and does not place restrictions on what improvements or renovations can be done to the home.

The Howards were astonished at the sturdy nature of the home.

"I don't know of any house being built today that 130 years from now (could be in such a shape)," Lyn Howard said. "The bones are so strong and built so well. They built them to last and this certainly has."

Howard is already planning to display some historical pieces in the home.

Some concrete pieces of a mural that depicted early life in Conroe's oilfields will be displayed. They were saved in recent years by local Realtor Pat Moritz from the old Liberty Theatre in downtown Conroe.

Lyn Howard will contribute an old sign from Conroe Creosoting Company and performing arts supporter Susie Moore Porkorski has said she will donate an old sign from her father's Moore Supply Company.

It's also her hope that city officials will consider putting a life-size statue of Conroe that was approved in the fall on the Isaac Conroe home property. City officials gave the green light to local nonprofit Conroe Live to place a life-size statue of Isaac Conroe in Conroe Founders Plaza in September.

"What better place would it be for the Isaac Conroe statue to be there behind the Isaac Conroe house," Lyn Howard said.

The Howards plan to host a big grand opening in February to re-introduce the restored home to the community.

Conroe Mayor Toby Powell said this is an issue that would have to be taken before the council and the city staff before plans could move forward related to the city's involvement.

"It takes forethought and thinking about what we can do at this particular time in our growth," Powell said.

Powell says the city has a lot of its plate for 2018 and it would have to be a project that was very advantageous to the city.

Conroe Courier

January 9, 2018




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