The Yellow House

The Yellow House on Commerce Street is one of the oldest structures in Magnolia. The Yellow House on Commerce Street is one of the oldest structures in Magnolia.[/caption]

Though the iconic, now-vacant Yellow House at 312 Commerce St. remains a reminder of a former restaurant space, the building also once served as a home to Magnolia families for nearly a century.

Built in the early 1900s by Calvin Yon, the house is one of the oldest structures still standing in Magnolia, according to Magnolia historian Celeste Graves. In 2011 the house was donated to the city of Magnolia and moved from its original location on Nichols Sawmill Road to Commerce Street near the Magnolia Stroll.

From the 1930s though the 1960s the house was occupied by John and Belle Damuth. The couple raised their five children there and are believed to be the home’s longest residents, Graves said. The Damuths’ granddaughter, Ginger Ware Astolfo, said she remembers the house from her childhood.
“It had a white picket fence around it, and my grandmother had a rose garden with every imaginable rose that she could find,” Astolfo said.

While much of the home’s exterior has gone unchanged, the interior has seen many renovations throughout the years, Astolfo said.

“They’ve reconstructed the inside several times, so it doesn’t look like it did back [when it was built],” Astolfo said. “The house itself is still very sturdy—it was very well constructed to live as long as it [has] lived.”

The house was originally located on 20 acres of land, differing largely from its small-scale lot near the Stroll today. When it was first built, the house had three bedrooms, a large living room and a sleeping porch, which was a screened-in area where the home’s residents would sleep during the summer to keep cool, Astolfo said.

According to Graves, several families occupied the house before it was moved, which may feed into the local folklore surrounding the Yellow House. She said she has heard several accounts of the home being haunted but none from any of the former homeowners.

“[People] claimed it was haunted, but I wouldn’t take that to the bank,” Graves said.

In 2011, the Yellow House became the Montgomery County Grille, a home-style restaurant. After two years it was sold and renamed The Old Yellow House Cafe in April 2013. The cafe closed after a few months, but Graves and Astolfo said they would like a new dining option to occupy the space soon.

Even while vacant, the house has been maintained by the city to ensure residents will be able to keep a piece of history in the downtown Magnolia area.

“It’s not quite the oldest home there, but it’s getting close and that’s why the city wanted to preserve it,” Astolfo said. “I’m really happy that they did because it’s got a lot of childhood memories for me.”
By Wendy Sturges
A Houston native and graduate of St. Edward's University in Austin, Wendy Sturges has worked as a community journalist covering local government, health care, business and development since 2011. She has worked with Community Impact since 2015 as a reporter and editor and moved to Tennessee in 2019.


As variants are isolated and identified, Houston Methodist's Dr. Ian Glass believes the vaccines available can handle identified variants (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
'The vaccines we have are effective against all the variants out there': Houston Methodist's Dr. Ian Glass discusses variants, vaccinations

As Houston Methodist identified its first case of the lambda variant July 19, Dr. Glass believes vaccines can handle known variants.

Yes Resale will sell used items to benefit Crossbar Academy. (Photo courtesy Wendy Alexander)
Yes Resale coming soon to Hwy. 249 in Tomball

The store will sell used donated items to support Crossbar Academy.

A total of 700 homes are planned for Magnolia Ridge, located in the city of Magnolia. (Chandler France/Community Impact Newspaper)
Magnolia sees surge in single-family development with thousands of homes coming

More than 18,000 lots have been identified for future homes across the three Magnolia ZIP codes.

Peter Lake (left), chair of the Public Utility Commission of Texas, and Brad Jones, interim president and CEO of the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, provided an update on state regulators' electric grid redesign efforts in Austin on July 22. (Ben Thompson/Community Impact Newspaper)
Regulators: Texas electric grid prepared for potentially record-breaking demand next week; 'once-in-a-generation reforms' underway

The heads of the agencies in charge of the Texas electric grid met in Austin on July 22 to provide updates on their grid reform efforts.

Barbarossa Coffee Roasters is hosting an event with GlossBoss Auto Specialists July 25. (Courtesy Barbarossa Coffee)
Food market, anniversary celebration: 4 things to do in Tomball, Magnolia July 24-25

From eating barbecue and enjoying live music to letting the kids take their toy cars out for a spin, here are four things to do this weekend in Tomball and Magnolia.

Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo is pleading with residents to be more vigilant, asking all residents to start wearing masks again in indoor settings and asking those who are vaccinated to urge their friends who are not to get the shot. (Screenshot Courtesy Facebook)
Harris County raises coronavirus threat level as Hidalgo asks all residents to mask up indoors

Although those who are vaccinated are very unlikely to end up in the hospital, officials said wearing masks in certain situations could help reduce transmissions to the more susceptible unvaccinated.

A COVID-19 vaccine dose is administered to a person's arm
Montgomery County sees July increase in COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations

Active COVID-19 cases in Montgomery County climbed above 1,000 for the first time in two months, just after June recorded the lowest active cases since 2020.

Harris County Emergency Services District 11 commissioners received updates on the status of its upcoming ambulances services at a July 22 board meeting. (Community Impact Newspaper staff)
Harris County Emergency Services District No. 11 commissioners discuss upcoming ambulance service

The district will take over providing emergency medical services across more than 177 square miles of north Harris County, currently being provided by Cypress Creek Emergency Medical Services, on Sept. 1.

Tomball's new Never Forget Garden is now open to the public at Jerry Matheson Park on Ulrich Road. (Courtesy city of Tomball)
Daughters of the American Revolution, city of Tomball dedicate 'Never Forget Garden' at Matheson Park

The garden at Jerry Matheson Park in Tomball features red and white roses in honor of the centennial of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.

Magnolia Ridge will feature 700 new homes in its newest section. (Chandler France/Community Impact Newspaper)
Roundup: 6 developments to follow in Magnolia

Multiple developments are ongoing in Magnolia, with thousands of homes currently being constructed or planned.

Memorial Hermann has locations throughout the Greater Houston area, including Memorial Hermann The Woodlands Medical Center. (Courtesy Memorial Hermann)
Memorial Hermann visiting policies change as COVID-19 cases rise

As of July 21, Memorial Hermann has changed its visitor policy in light of a recent increase in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations in the Greater Houston area.