Northeast Tarrant

Grapevine Candlelight Tour of Homes a walk through historic past

Visitors enter and leave the home of Tom and Jeanette Frick on West College Street during the Grapevine Candlelight Tour of Homes. The home, built in 1902, was originally owned by the W.R. Buckner family.
Visitors enter and leave the home of Tom and Jeanette Frick on West College Street during the Grapevine Candlelight Tour of Homes. The home, built in 1902, was originally owned by the W.R. Buckner family. Special to the Star-Telegram

Celebrating that Grapevine, founded in 1844, is the oldest settlement in Tarrant County, the 10th Annual Candlelight Tour of Homes on Nov. 5 provided a glimpse into the homes of Grapevine’s Historic Township.

The tour included homes on Ball Street, East and West College streets, East Franklin Street, East Worth Street and Main Street — the latter which was built more than a century ago.

The tour, promoters said, included homes that exhibited “many years of tender loving care by only a handful of homeowners, while others have been brought to life through visionary and historically-conscious renovations.”

Unlike many other cities’ tours that feature new homes, Grapevine’s is designed to showcase historic homes. They may not be majestic; rather they are often everyday homes that were owned and are owned by people from all walks of life and feature architecture from across the decades.

“As participants strolled through the residential historic district, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, they had a sense of neighborhood life 60 or more years ago,” said Dr. Curtis Ratliff, chairman of the Grapevine Heritage Foundation.

He said those who toured the homes experienced “the pride, loving care and joy that the owners have in their homes.”

A highlight was the J.EM. Yates House-Foust Funeral Home at 523 S. Main St.

Built in the 1870s by the Yates family, the Foust & Son Funeral Home is a Folk-Victorian house with Queen Anne influences that features magnificent columns and a prime location on Main Street in Downtown Historic Grapevine has gone though many changes over the years.

Despite renovations, time had taken its toll on the two-story structure built more than a century ago for a young bride and groom — Kate Jenkins and Junius Edward Merritt Yates — and later the home and funeral business for the Foust family.

Now owned by Dignity Memorial, but retaining the Foust name, the owners decided to close the funeral home in recent years for a major remodeling.

Their efforts were showcased in February with a ribbon cutting and open house

“The building had fallen into disrepair over the years,” said Jonathan Chance of Dignitary and general manager of the Grapevine funeral home. “Following strict city historical codes, the owners of the building have renovated it to its former glory. It was shut down a year to make that possible. As much attention was paid as possible to its roots, right down to the furniture.”

According to the tour book, “the home is a contributing structure to the College Street Residential Historic District.”

Tour participants walked the route and also rode complimentary shuttle buses circulating throughout the event.

Homes dated from the 1870s to 1996, and included small and large residences. Two vintage homes — circa 1895 and 1924 — will soon be offered for sale by First United Methodist Church.

The tour included the R.L. Fitzgerald House at 526 Ball St., circa 1953, owned by Lucie Muns; W.R. Buckner House at 600 W. College St., circa 1902, owned by Thomas and Jeanette Frick; J.K. Buckner House at 314 College St., circa 1895. owned by First United Methodist Church; H.L. Forbes House at 304 W. College St., circa 1924, owned by First United Methodist Church; J.R. Head House at 205 E. College St., circa 1996, owned by Mark and Kindal Kreamer; L.W. Emery House at 420 E. Franklin St., circa 1942, owned by Doug and Lisa Nichols; and Homestead Winery at 211 E. Worth St., circa 1895, owned by Gabe and Barbara Parker.

When East College Street was established, there was nothing but flat, treeless prairie land, according to historians. The area was described in 1868 as “five acres of land about one quarter of a mile southeast of the business part of the village of Grapevine.”

J.K. Buckner House, circa 1895, 314 W. College St.

The house is named for Jerome Kirby Buckner, one of the early owners of the property. Buckner was an early entrepreneur who, with W.D. Deacon, established the B&D Feed Mill in 1933.

In the late 1930s, Buckner relocated his family’s grocery business to 308 S. Main St. and added a dry goods and hardware department. In 1940, adjacent to his store, Buckner built the Palace Theatre that continues to thrive.

Buckner was instrumental in conducting Grapevine’s cantaloupe festivals.

W.R. Buckner House, circa 1902, 600 W. College St.

The Buckner home is named for William R. Buckner, born in the Grapevine area in 1869. In 1914, Buckner established a grocery business on Main Street and bought the house the same year. William R. Buckner was the father of Jerome Kirby Buckner.

H.L. Forbes House, circa 1924, 304 W. College St.

Harvey Forbes, born in 1888, was a successful farmer. On Nov. 28, 1918, he married Judie Byas, who lived on an adjacent farm. They bought 100-plus acres and lived in the little three-room house for six or seven years until they built a new big house. Forbes was always progressive and up-to-date on all the latest good things in life. The Forbes had a windmill and overhead tank enabling them to have running water in the house as well as the barn. He installed a system that provided electricity for the house and barn. They bought an electric Maytag washing machine and had an electric radio, which they invited the neighbors over to enjoy.