1937 Construction & Design Prints

Howdy Crew!

I forgot I had these and wanted to share. When we were doing the due diligence of the property, one of the in town Architects, Ben Boettcher, was kind enough to search his company’s archives. It would appear that his company, BBA Architects LP, formed when Ben purchased it from Travis Broesche, the local State of Texas Registered Architect in Brenham. These drawings were done in 1937, and made a proposal on updating the exterior of the building to the standards of the day. A few of the proposals were done in the down stairs sections (Bathrooms for sure) that I can see. Unfortunately, the building was updated again in the 70s, and we may have lost the transformation to the ravages of time.  Only one entry remains the same, and that is the entry to the stairs on the front elevation. You can find the drawing below as well as a PDF file with more details here: 1937 Zeiss Building Construction Documents 1937_Zeiss_Building_Const Proposed Front


Fun Zeiss Advertisement

To catch everyone up, our move from Conroe to Brenham was successful. We’re now living in a quaint townhouse a mere block away from the William Zeiss Building, making it very convenient for renovations. In fact, from our balcony, we can see the rooftop of the building that is connect to ours on the east side!

Later this month we’ll be meeting with the two final architects that we are considering. Very excited to get this process started! One of the architects is located directly across the street from our townhouse. Small town, indeed.

On to something juicy! While taking a break from packing, I remembered some research I’d been doing on a Texas history website, The Portal to Texas History. Specifically, I was trying to find mention of William Zeiss and the building on Main Street. In the December 3, 1881 edition of the Brenham Banner, I found this great advertisement for Mr. Zeiss’ bakery. I might just have to get this printed and framed! Here’s the excerpt:

Wm Zeiss Bakery Ad Dec 3 1881


Back to unpacking!

Photography: Past and Present

I am an assistant organizer for a large photography group called Houston Photowalks. After a suggestion from the head organizer, we set up a photoshoot (or photowalk as we call them in our group) to photograph the interior of our building. I know a lot of photographers, including myself, like to photograph odd objects, abandoned rooms, and the like. This was a great opportunity for our photographers to have access to our building’s upper floor. I kept the group limit small, just 25 photographers, but everyone seemed to be really excited to attend, and we even had a waiting list. We wanted to do the shoot before the weather got too hot, and before we started the renovations. The group is still uploading photographs to our group website, but keep checking this website for more really unique shots of the interior of our building. There’s even some incredible photographs of an interior closet where there’s normally no light.

After the photowalk, my husband and I took a walk around Brenham alone. This was a first – no kids, no distractions, just the two of us. And since it was a Sunday, it was really quiet. We peered in windows, getting more ideas for our own loft. We walked through a pretty spot in downtown that showcases a historic cistern – a very important rain-catching device, especially before modern water structures were put in to place. The area contains the cistern, a pretty urban flower garden, and several historical plaques retelling Brenham’s early history. Since we didn’t have our usual distractions (our urchins), we were able to more carefully examine every history plaque.

Union Soldiers March on Brenham

Union Soldiers March on Brenham

We were stunned to discover that one of them had a huge photograph of our building, showing Union soldiers marching by it! The original photograph is located in the Brenham Heritage Museum (and I’ll definitely research that later), but I took a quick snapshot with my phone’s camera. We are excited to see the original brick exterior, and the simple porch that covered the plank “sidewalk.” We discovered that the windows were not floor-length windows as we had previously assumed, but appear to be only waist-high, at least on the western-most window. In the photograph, our building was white-washed in the front, and left plain brick on most of the side. Our building runs from the left side of the photograph to the window and two doors in the middle of the picture. The last door will hopefully be our stairwell to our home, eventually. Fascinating find! I can’t wait to spend a few hours in the Brenham Heritage Museum doing research.

After our educational walk, we picked up the keys for our rental home for the next year – a lovely townhouse just two blocks away from the Zeiss Building. We’re so excited to have found a nice comfortable place to live while we renovate the Zeiss Building. It is probably bigger than we need, but we’re hoping that the extra space will give visitors helping us with renovations a place to crash for a night or two.

We also have a contract on our house in Conroe, and are half-way through the steps to process the sale. All is looking well in that department. If all continues to go smoothly, we’ll say good-bye to Conroe at the beginning of June.