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Versatility highlights the history of the
Bays Evans home in Conroe
by Brad Meyer


The Bay Evans home at 118 West Pauline Street was built in 1934 for William Arthur “Bay” Evans and his wife, Garnet. The building has been used as a bed & breakfast, an Italian restaurant and a boutique store. It currently houses the Hopkins Law Firm.

A stately structure built 80 years ago as the residence of a Conroe civic and business leader is a touchstone to the past - with connections to the Great Depression, a rock & roll legend, a center for hospitality and a haven for those in search of justice.

The Bay Evans home at 118 West Pauline Street was built in 1934 for William Arthur “Bay” Evans and his wife, Garnet. The building was designed by architect Blum E. Hester who incorporated elements of the Renaissance Revival style into the building. Hester was a highly regarded professional who also designed the Creighton Theatre and several houses in the neighborhood that surrounded the Bay Evans home. Many of Conroe’s wealthy and influential residents lived in the area north of the Montgomery County Courthouse.

“A lot of skilled craftsman poured their heart and soul into the construction of this building,” said current owner, attorney John Paul Hopkins. “There wasn’t a lot of work available at that time and many skilled craftsmen were willing to work for whatever they could get. The architectural detail and attention to detail throughout the house - inside and out - is amazing.”

A community leader in Conroe during the city’s oil boom period, Evans operated the Humble Oil Company Bulk Storage and was a director at the First National Bank. He also served as a city councilman and Chamber of Commerce president.

“Conroe was a wonderful place to grow up and live back then,” said Priscilla “Tib” Scarborough, daughter of Bay and Garnet Evans. “It was safe place for kids to play and no one needed to lock their doors. It was a lot like the mythical town of Mayberry depicted on television back then, but it was real.”

Born in 1935, Tib recalls being something of a tomboy when she was growing up - playing football with the boys in autumn and baseball in the spring.

“Football was a big deal back then,” recalled Tib. “Everybody would come to the games. It was a great time shared by the whole community.”

It was especially convenient for the Evans family because their home was across the street from David Crockett High School, the predecessor for Conroe High School built in 1964. Rigby Owen Jr. recalled that the house was used every year as the background for class favorite pictures. The school is now Travis Intermediate School.

In addition to great feats of athleticism, the school and football field played host to a musical icon - before he was world famous. In August of 1955, a concert event known as the Louisiana Hayride took place on the field, featuring a young Elvis Presley.

“I wasn’t in Conroe for that,” said Tib, “but my sister Rachel was there. It was a big deal for Conroe.”

Mary McCoy, KSTAR radio personality was 16 years old at the time of the event - one of four times she got to work and perform with Elvis.

“He was one of the nicest, most considerate guys you could ever meet,” she said. “His career really took off after the tour that brought him to Conroe.”

At the Bay Evans house, Tib recalled that someone had inscribed “Rachel + Ty” on the wall of an upstairs closet during a Cinco de Mayo party in 1957. It was reference to the boyfriend of Rachel, a junior in high school at the time. Rachel married Ty Rampy in 1959.

“The inscription is still there,” confirmed Hopkins. “The house has been through a lot of changes over the years, but everyone has thought that was a pretty special sentiment and left it alone.”

Following Bay Evans’ death, the house served a number of purposes as Conroe grew. The building has been used as a bed & breakfast, an Italian restaurant and a boutique store. It currently houses Hopkins’ law practice on the first floor and his residence on the second floor.

While Tib is happy to see her childhood home survive and be well cared for, she is less favorably inclined to her hometown and its evolution.

“Conroe used to be a pretty special place,” said Tib. “It was a small, friendly town - but it’s not that anymore.”

In its continued growth and expansion, Tib said she felt Conroe has lost much of its original charm. The town is crowded, the roads are congested and quality of life is diminished from what it was.

“It’s a shame,” said Tib. “Progress is important, but I’m not sure it’s better.”

For Hopkins, keeping the Bay Evans home in good order remains important. He plans to expand the services offered by adding mediation service in the near future.

“This is a great landmark for Conroe and a connection to the past,” he said. “That’s something we need to hang onto.”

A historical marker resides outside The Bay Evans Home at 118 West Pauline Street in Conroe. The home was built for William Arthur “Bay” Evans and his wife, Garnet by Blum. E. Hester, the architect who designed the Creighton Theatre.

For information on Conroe and Montgomery County history, visit www.heritagemuseum.us or call 936-539-6873.


Conroe Courier

May 3, 2015


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