Linda Coburn of Midland said her heart sank when she and her husband drove onto Milton Avenue Saturday morning and saw a half-dozen people working at the historic home of Greenleaf Fisk.
With a large City of Brownwood dumpster positioned in the front yard, the great-great-granddaughter of Fisk was scared the house had been condemned and was being demolished.
Instead, as she and her husband discovered, the home is in the preliminary stages of restoration.
“You can say the Fisk family is very proud that the citizens of Brownwood have gotten behind this project,” Linda Coburn said as she and her husband discussed with volunteers the plans the Brown County Museum of History has to make the home a visitors center with a focus on pioneer families.
Linda Coburn said she and her husband had tried unsuccessfully several times in past years to purchase the property.
The couple was in Mills County this weekend to attend a reunion on his side of the family, and decided to drive by the house in Brownwood while in the area.
“We’re going to be a part of this,” Clark Coburn said of the restoration. “Our family is going to assist with this financially. If we’d known about the project this morning, we would have come with our work clothes.”
Clark Coburn said he plans barbecues and fund-raisers professionally, and is accustomed to preparing events that attract hundreds of people. He said he would be available to handle a fund-raiser for the Fisk home at an appropriate time.
Jerry DeHay, a member of the board of the Brown County Museum of History, said the turnout for the clean-up was small, but that everyone who was there did a lot of work.
“It’s amazing what we’ve been able to accomplish today,” DeHay said. Mountains of debris had been left inside the home by unauthorized occupants. The house, situated on Adams Branch, had been left unoccupied for several months before the owner, whose late husband had also been a descendant of Greenleaf Fisk, decided to sell the property to the museum last year. They had lived in the home for about a decade after ownership had been outside Fisk’s descendants for decades.
Museum officials used a $20,000 matching grant from the Texas Historical Commission and obtained donations to cover the remaining cost.
Future fund-raisers are being planned to help supplement other anticipated grants to assist with the restoration.
Construction of the home began in 1870. Fisk donated acreage to establish the city of Brownwood on the west side of the Pecan Bayou, after the town had initially been settled on the east side. Fisk also donated land for the original portion of Greenleaf Cemetery.