Garland Not Giving Away Historic Homes Saved From Demolition

House hunters flood city after national magazine says two homes are available for free

By Tammy Mutasa
|  Monday, Aug 12, 2013  |  Updated 8:31 PM CDT
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Some historic homes in Garland that were supposed to be demolished are now in limbo as city leaders decide what to do with the homes.

Tammy Mutasa, NBC 5 Garland Reporter

Some historic homes in Garland that were supposed to be demolished are now in limbo as city leaders decide what to do with the homes.

House hunters from all over the country hoping to get historic homes from Garland for free are out of luck.

National magazine This Old House says two historic homes that were saved from demolition earlier this year are available for free. Hundreds have flooded the city in hopes that the 19th century houses are up for grabs, an option the city once considered with restrictions.

But the city is not accepting any offers for the houses.

"City Council has directed city staff to explore the possibilities for keeping the houses here in Garland available for public use," city spokeswoman Dorothy White said.

The homes were slated for demolition to make way for a parking garage and apartment complex in downtown Garland.

"You don't take your history and hit it with a wrecking ball," said Cleo Holden, Friends of Olde Downtown Garland chair.

This Old House has "Save This Old House" slideshows of the two homes, an 1870s farmhouse and an 1890s farmhouse, on its website. The magazine lists the price for both as being $0 and says that buildable lots in the area start at about $15,000.

One of the slideshows says that a This Old House reader "led the charge" to save the home and helped convince the City Council "to hold the wrecking ball and grant the home a six-month reprieve, allowing time for a fellow reader to step up and rescue this historic home one more time."

Some are rallying to keep the houses in Garland.

"I think it would be a very large insult to the people of Garland, because these places, these structures, are actually their property," Holden said.

"I just want to wrap my arms around these houses and save them," she said.

Since May, the houses have been sitting on truck beds at the edge of a downtown parking lot.

City leaders said it would cost about $500,000 to move both houses to Garland's Central Park, which is about a mile away.

"They have to be moved safely," White said. "You have utility lines that have to be dealt with and other infrastructure issues -- the street's not necessarily built for houses to go down the street."

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