City of Fulshear to demolish Switch House, salvage materials

The City of Fulshear revisits plans for the future of its oldest building, constructed in 1896.

The City of Fulshear revisits plans for the future of its oldest building, constructed in 1896.

The small, blue building off of FM 359 just north of downtown Fulshear will soon be gone.

At the Feb. 19 meeting, Fulshear City Council approved to demolish the historic Switch House, also known as the Station House, and salvage materials for a future historic preservation or recreation project.

The two-story, five-room Switch House—which is located next door to Encore Arts at 7926 FM 359—is an original building from the Fulshear Railroad Station, according to meeting documents. The building was moved to its current location at Frances Smart Park in 2016.

The date of the structure's construction is unknown, but it is believed to be one of the oldest buildings left in Fort Bend County, Mayor Aaron Groff said.

“There is much concern countywide about this station house,” he said. “I’ve had a number of people across the county reach out [to discuss the future of the Switch House.]”

Both the Fulshear Historic Preservation and Museum Committee and the Fulshear Parks and Recreation Commission recommended that the city demolish and salvage materials based upon the number of resources it would take to properly restore the building to its original condition.

“No one wanted this end result,” Assistant City Manager Brant Gary said. “But the results from the architect’s review, the current condition and the fact that that it had been converted into a more modern home. All of those things added to the decision-making process.”

According to meeting documents, the Switch House is a severely decayed structure. The floor and roof joists are failing and rusted, the wood cladding and interior finishes are decayed, and the building has a bug infestation.

“What I recall of [a 2018 historic preservation committee meeting] is that there were so many modifications made to this house already that it would be virtually impossible to get a historical marker for it unless we spent gobs and gobs and gobs of money and find historically accurate architectural features that would replace [existing features],” said Mayor Pro-Tem Kay Kahlich. “No one at the time thought it was a good idea.”

According to the meeting documents, it would cost about $783,000 to demolish and replace the floor, walls and roof. The estimate does not include restoring the interior finishes. Demolishing the structure and salvaging materials is projected to cost the county about $25,000, Gary and Kahlich said.

Groff and other council members stressed that before voting to demolish the building, they wanted to ensure all stakeholders had a chance to review the city’s plan, apply the Switch House for a historical marker or find additional funding sources to restore the building.

“There have been multiple opportunities for people to speak up,” said Council Member Debra Cates.

Council Member Kent Pool agreed.

“Nobody came to the parks department, nobody,” he said. “And we’ve had multiple parks meetings over this. This has not been an easy decision for people who are on the parks commission, [not] at all. It’s been a very tough decision.”

The city is considering renovating Frances Smart Park, according to the Parks and Pathways Master Plan that was also approved at the Feb. 19 City Council meeting. Conceptual plans include building a formal event plaza, walking paths, landscaping and additional parking.

SHARE THIS STORY


MOST RECENT

Bruce and Carol Huff (standing) passed the ownership to Jacob and Astrid Proctor (sitting). (Courtesy Betsy Proctor)
Katy Rock Shop under new ownership

Geologists Jacob and Astrid Proctor are the new owners of the store.

Snow fell at the Tomball Museum Center in early December 2017 (Anna Lotz/Community Impact Newspaper)
Greater Houston area to experience cold front Nov. 11-13; temperature could reach freezing point

The front is not expected to affect travel because the ground is too warm for precipitation to stick.

Drivers on the Grand Parkway will pay higher tolls come Jan. 1, 2020. (Courtesy Fotolia)
Tolls to increase Jan. 1 on the Grand Parkway

Drivers on the Grand Parkway will see toll rates increase 2% on Jan. 1, 2020.

Children’s Lighthouse of Jordan Ranch opened near Katy. (Courtesy Children's Lighthouse)
Children’s Lighthouse opens new location near Jordan Ranch

The location includes a security-controlled building and age-appropriate playgrounds

Dr. Quyen Trinh, far left, is the new owner of Mason Park Medical Clinic in Katy (Courtesy Mason Park Medical Clinic)
Mason Park Medical Clinic in Katy has new owner

Dr. Quyen Trinh took over the practice from his sister.

2 Katy-area leadership programs coming in 2020

The Katy Area Economic Development Council will welcome its first class of Katy-area community members and business leaders to its leadership institute in February.

VillaSport will open in Katy. (Courtesy VillaSport)
VillaSport eyes early 2020 opening date in Katy area

The new athletic club will be located in a 90,000-square-foot facility.

Carrin Patman (center), board chairperson of the Metropolitan Transit Authority of Harris County, thanks voters for supporting a $3.5 billion bond referendum at a Nov. 6 press conference. (Shawn Arrajj/Community Impact Newspaper)
With bond funding secured, METRO officials announce next steps

With voter approval, METRO is moving forward with plans to bring projects in its long-range transportation plan to life.

Summer Moon serves fire-roasted coffee. (Courtesy KM Realty)
Austin's Summer Moon finds new location in Katy area

The Austin-based brand crafts fire-roasted coffee.

Harris County Clerk Diane Trautman
Texas secretary of state refutes Harris County clerk’s claims that state caused election results delay

An explanation for the 12-hour delay in Harris County election results grew more complicated Nov. 6.

Back to top