Miss Belle’s House has been located on the Owens Farm property at Plano Road and Lookout Drive since 1979. Property owner Standridge Companies notified the city last fall that it would like for the house to be moved within six months, Assistant City Manager Shanna Sims-Bradish told City Council at a March 22 meeting.
The decision was made to relocate the house down the street to the city’s Fire Training and Emergency Operations Center on Lookout Drive. The move will cost the city $70,000, plus an additional $30,000 to cover expenses associated with accommodating the structure, such as hooking up temporary power and security cameras, Sims-Bradish said.
Miss Belle’s House was built at 206 Sherman Street, Richardson, in the late 1800s. In 1902, it was purchased by Margaret Robberson for her daughter Virginia, known as “Miss Belle,” who ran a school on the bottom level and lived on the second floor, Sims-Bradish said.
The house changed ownership several times before being donated to the city of Richardson in 1979, when it was moved to the Owens Farm property at Plano Road and Lookout Drive. The structure was designated as historic by the Texas Historical Commission in 1982. After a slew of renovations, it reopened to the public for tours in 2001.
The city expects Miss Belle’s House to stay at its temporary location for about two years, City Manager Dan Johnson said. Staff has already begun thinking about a permanent home for the structure, which should be at a centralized location, be amenable to the public and surrounding property owners, and have good visibility, among other criteria, Sims-Bradish said.
The Texas Historical Commission has approved the city’s relocation strategy and will need to approve the structure’s permanent location as well. Recommendations for a permanent home will go to the Parks and Recreation Commission sometime over the next year before proceeding to council for final approval, Sims-Bradish said.
Editor's note: This story has been amended to include the correct dollar amount for site improvements at the temporary location of Miss Belle's House.