Ollie Booker, 916 E. Humphreys
This mid-century home in Seguin’s College Heights neighborhood was purchased by its present owner, Ollie Booker, in 1985 from Debra Hildebrand. The home, simple in form, originally clad in asbestos siding typical of the time period, consisted of four rooms all painted beige. The living room and two bedrooms had narrow wood plank flooring. The kitchen was nondescript with plain counter tops and linoleum flooring.
From 1985 to the present, Ms. Booker has gradually transformed her home. At the time of purchase there was no walkway up to the front door and the driveway was gravel. The “scrawny” pecan tree in the front yard, but a baby then, now towers over her home. After a walkway and a poured concrete driveway were put in place, the partial porch on the front of the house was extended with a wood decked porch that runs the remaining length of the house.
As for the backyard, there was no landscaping to speak of so in went a fig tree and out went two china berry trees to make way for a fish pond. A backyard with no fence would eventually morph to one with a chain link fence, then later to the present-day wooden fence.
On the inside of the home, first came refinishing the wooden floors, followed by an overhaul of the bathroom. A kitchen redo was next, complete with new, heather green, Mexican glazed tiles for the counter tops along with rust-colored Saltillo tile to replace the linoleum. Ms. Booker made the journey to Nuevo Laredo personally to hand select her materials.
Next, the small garage on the side of the house was transformed into a dining room. That in turn led to the creation of a back porch that runs the length of her home with a deep overhang to fend off the sun.
In 2005, Booker had a studio/showroom built in the backyard to house her Guatemalan import line. Today this is rivaled by a water collection tank, two large garden plots, two storage sheds (one formerly a chicken house), and a winter greenhouse for her tomato plants.
Central air and heat came late in the game, about five years ago, give or take.
And now after some 34 years, Booker has given the interior of her home an entirely new outlook. Moving away from an all white color pallet, her home has now taken on the look and feel of a Mexican cassita, the rooms bursting with color in shades of rust, turquoise, ochre, and lime. All this compliments Ms. Booker’s collection of folk art purchased through the years from her dear artist friends in Honduras and Guatemala.
The First Church of Seguin, 213 E. Live Oak St.
Seguin’s First Church was initially built in the center of town near the market square to support the Methodist ministers’ district convention of 1849. The church then served the immediate needs of the small town. Very quickly the church became a home for all denominations in Seguin, as well as circuit riders.
The architecture of the church is simple and very typical of German traditions. The two separate doors provided a left entrance for women and children, while the right entrance was for the men of the church. Once inside, the congregation sat on their assigned side.
The interior of the church is very much as it was when first built. With the help of generous contributors, the church has undergone a fifth move to its current location in 1990 and numerous repairs. The Vordenbaum family donated the lovely 1875 piano. The pews are new but made to look like the oldest pew in the church. They are all made of reclaimed pine from an old building that was demolished in downtown Seguin and donated by the Dwyer family. The secretary was built by an early circuit rider, Reverend Joyce whose family donated the piece to the SCS. The First United Methodist Church of Seguin donated the pulpit and hymn boards. The Bell Tower, although not original was a project of the Seguin Chamber of Commerce Leadership Training Class of 2003.