After months of being unoccupied — except by some unauthorized individuals who left considerable amounts of trash — the historic home of Greenleaf Fisk needs some work. So volunteers are being recruited to help clear debris from the inside and weeds from the yard Saturday.
“Work will begin at 8 a.m., and volunteers are asked to bring their own tools and equipment, such as brooms, WeedEaters and rakes,” said Jerry DeHay, a member of the board of the Brown County Museum of History. “The City of Brownwood will provide a large trash dump unit to collect the refuse and remove it from the property.”
The Museum of History, working with a handful of individuals, has agreed to purchase the property at 418 Milton, behind the Brownwood Coliseum. A $20,000 grant from the Texas Historical Commission was approved in November, and fund-raising for the match began over the winter.
“This work is necessary to prepare the historic house for repair and restoration,” DeHay said. “The museum has applied for a grant for restoration funding from the Texas Historical Commission and will be submitting additional grant requests to other funding sources in the weeks ahead.”
Donations continue to be sought from local sources, and they made be made payable to the Fisk House Project account at Mills County State Bank.
Museum officials envision using the restored home as a visitors’ center. Plans are already well along for a tribute to pioneer families in Brown County, featuring those who have registered themselves with the Brown County Historical Commission. Families who settled here before Dec. 31, 1910, are eligible to register, and those that assist with the fund-raising will have a permanent marker inside the home. Information about the families included in the applications will also be available for viewing by visitors.
DeHay said museum officials hope to have the project completed within a few months. Until the Fisk home is restored, the display will be placed at the museum.
Fisk — whose names are given to two streets in Brownwood — lived in Bastrop and Williamson County (Liberty Hill) before moving to Brownwood in 1860. Because he donated 60 acres of land to move Brownwood to its current location from east of the Pecan Bayou, and because of other pioneer achievements, he is often referred to as the “father of Brownwood.”
Fisk also donated the land for the city’s cemetery — Greenleaf Cemetery — and his grave is located there.
The hand-built home on Milton Street behind the Brownwood Coliseum is believed to have been started in 1870, and took 17 years to complete.
DeHay said the project is important to complete because Fisk left his mark throughout Texas before he came to Brownwood. He fought in the Battle of San Jacinto and served in the Texas Legislature before Texas was a state.