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History of Our Building, Part 1

Old coins, including an Indian head nickel that David found for us.

For a few months now, I’ve been delving into the history of the properties we’ve acquired or are in the process of acquiring in the old part of Cameron. There will be a series of posts on what I’ve found, as soon as I gather all my information.

[This post was originally written for the Hermit Haus Redevelopment blog.]

No foolin,’ I got a nice boost of knowledge when a local historian and reader of this blog, David Basonic, showed up at the office and talked to our assistant, Mandi, about what he’d learned after reading my post last week when I solved the mystery of why the Rosson family never lived in the Gillis house (the future bed and breakfast to go with The Hermit Haus), but DID live on the corner of College and Gillis streets (which used to be 2nd St., and before that was Bridge St.). Oh, and by the way, Main Street used to be Belton.

Hard to see, but the red building is the Baptist church, while our building is across the street from it on the left. The Rosson house is at bottom left.

David had more information for me, and also gave me links to some reference material I hadn’t looked at yet, mainly a collection of old fire insurance maps, the Sanborn Collection, and some very cool aerial photographs that you can buy prints or digital downloads of. After I gave David permission to do metal detecting around our properties, I filed all the information away for when I had time to do some research.

You can see that there were actual houses near the churches in 1906.

Meanwhile, over the weekend, he found some old money on one side of the church building but not much else. The Gillis house was just chock full of metal debris, so no luck there. I told him to go check out all the houses (since he lives right near the Washington property, that one won’t be hard).

So, What about the Church?

There are fire maps of Cameron going back to 1885, when there wasn’t much of Cameron at all. But by 1901, the Baptist church across the street from our property was built, but had no electricity or gas. In 1906, our building was there! The Gillis house was also there, but more on that in another post. In 1912, our building was listed as a “vacant” church. But in the next series, it’s the Christian Church, which it remained until last year!

Continue reading “History of Our Building, Part 1”

We’re Still Here!

Mandi and Sue Ann announced our move on Facebook.

We started this blog, then decided to keep posting about The Hermit Haus on our company pages until we are ready to accept rentals. In the next couple of weeks, we’re going to share some of the pictures and posts from during the construction phase, though.

What’s been happening?

We have mostly been getting ready to start the remodeling process, while we wait for our architectural plan to be finished. We don’t want to get permits to do the work until we know for sure what that work will be!

It may not look great, but we can work here!

Our company, Hermits’ Rest Enterprises, IS now located in the pre-renovation basement, though. Tomorrow is the big day when the doorbells get installed, so we will know when we have visitors. 

We also put decorations inside the building!

We’ve removed the old signs outside, donated the crosses to a worthy cause, and put up some Christmas decorations, so the building looks loved.

Lee is working on the signage. Soon we’ll have our own sign.

Former occupants

We are very happy to have bought this building, because we’ve noticed in the paper that the church that used to meet in the building has been making some kind donations to local charities, the police department, and others. That’s where we want our money to go, back to the community.

We Are Started!

We’re just sharing a couple of pictures to show that we’re up and running on the renovation of this space.

Kitchen ceiling gone!

We wanted to get the basement ceiling and old air conditioning ducts removed before we moved our offices in, so our contractor team of David and Kim got to work.

I don’t think we’ll miss the yellow ceiling tiles or fluorescent lights, either.

This connection was not safe!

We are glad to remove lighting that had bare wires touching metal. Yow. Only prayer was keeping that from going zzzt.

We will blog more here as things move on and we are open for business.

A Potential Spiritual Community

church exterior
Do you know of any organization or individual who might want the crosses in front of our building?

We can’t go into details yet, but Sue Ann had a meeting with a minister she knows, and they talked about the possibility of having a branch of a church in Cedar Park meet at The Hermit Haus on Sundays, starting next year.

We’d like to offer new options for the local community, so we are excited at this opportunity! It would be a Unitarian Universalist Church, so if you know anyone in the area who’d be interested in helping on the project, contact us! We will have more information in coming weeks, assuming the project gets approved.

Our thoughts are that we will be able to book the sanctuary for other events on Sundays, as needed, by just moving the church meeting to our conference room. The plan is to have a lot of flexibility.

Speaking of Church Stuff

If you know of a local church or other organization that might be interested in the wooden crosses outside our building, comment below and we will get in touch with you about it.

Welcome and Background

outside
This is what our building looked like when we purchased it. It can only go uphill!

We’re really excited about what we can do with the building we just bought. It was a church here in Cameron, Texas for many years, but membership was declining as building maintenance costs rose. The congregation decided to meet elsewhere, but had to sell the building first.

It took a team with a vision to take over the property, so it remained for sale for a long time, until Hermits’ Rest Enterprises decided to purchase it. Our reasons were two fold:

IMG_1074
Our previous office location, before we moved in a couple of years ago.

We wanted a commercial building for our offices, so we could make the house we were currently using available for a family with a small business that could use the attached warehouse.

We were looking for a way to bring more visitors to the downtown area of Cameron, and we could see the potential of the building to host medium size meetings, concerts, conferences, weddings, and other celebrations.

Most wedding/conference venues in the area are in ranch settings, so we hope we will be able to offer a more traditional spot for people who don’t have a church or building of their own to use, in a neutral setting that can work for multiple styles.

Want to learn more?

Prior to setting up this website, we chronicled our purchase, with lots of pictures and stories, on the Church Conversion page of our Hermit Haus Redevelopment site.