A century-year-old Mansfield landmark is getting a facelift and a shot at a new life.
The Harrison house, built in 1915, is getting painted, buffed and polished, with plans to be finished and leased in the next two months, said owner Charles Morales.
“There’s been a bunch of people looking at it,” Morales said. “I want to rent the whole thing for $3,500. It could be offices. There’s a church looking at it.”
The commercial builder bought the house at 404 E. Broad St. in 2002 for $82,500 from the city. Morales began to renovate the house, but stopped in 2005 after running into trouble with the city over building permits on a nearby duplex he owns. Morales boarded up the old white house, and it has been sitting unfinished since.
In 2015, Morales spray painted “Keep Out” on the front of the house and the 99-year-old Farr Best Theater, which he also owns, after becoming angry with the city over its support for The LOT, a live outdoor theater a block from the Farr Best, 109 N. Main St.
This spring the city worked out a lease agreement with Morales for the Farr Best to use for city arts commission events.
Morales said he hopes to have the Harrison house ready to lease by Christmas, and has had no problems with the city.
“I think they want me to re-do it,” he said.
The house does have a different look, with a bright blue paint job with white trim.
“That was the original color,” Morales said. “I scratched down and found that color. It was blue, then light green. The inside I left as much as it was.”
Vicki Collins, president of the Mansfield Historical Society, said she was glad that the house was being restored.
“I went to first grade there in 1966,” she said. “It used to be a private school. I don’t remember much about it.”
The home, which Morales estimated at 5,500-6,000 square feet, has a large room, kitchen, bath and enclosed porch on the first floor, and three rooms, bathroom, kitchen and enclosed porch upstairs. The house was built by hardware store owner John Henry Harrison in 1915, according to the Mansfield Historical Society archives. In 1946, it was purchased by Dr. Raymond Thomas, who lived and practiced there until 1952. In 1976, the house was purchased by the city of Mansfield, which used it as a senior citizens center.
After the Mansfield Activities Center was built, senior activities were moved there, and the house was sold to Morales.
This article contains information from News-Mirror archives.