The Story of the Little Bungalow at 4414 Gibson St.

This 1940 bungalow in Magnolia Grove had been all set to be torn down, showing up in the Daily Demolition Report on Wednesday. But the previous owners, who bought the 1,200-sq.-ft. Gibson St. house in 2005 and sold it in 2012, say that it has been “spared.” Here’s their story:

After discovering that we were expecting our second child, we quickly realized that the 2 bed, 1-1/2 bath was not large enough for our growing family. We hoped that perhaps a single person or couple would purchase the property. We were naive, of course, as the only offers received were from builders planning to build the typical 3 story, 4K square foot beast near downtown. After much heartache and a few tears, we accepted an offer from Urban Living and fully expected the home to be demolished.


The previous owners continue: “A month or two later we learned that the home itself was sold to be moved.”

“[Here] are a few pics of the move that happened one late night in mid-March. The entire neighborhood gathered for one last goodbye as the little bungalow travelled down Washington Avenue with a police escort.”

“The last image shows the home making the turn from Shepherd onto Washington,” the owners write, “with El Rey Taqueria in the background.”

Photos: HAR; Previous owners (all others)

15 Comment

  • Where’d it go?

  • Soooo…
    What’s the next chapter in this story? What is the status of The Little Bungalow now?

  • *Not specific to this house or these owners*, but I am cynical when it comes to tears and heartache. I’ve been the buyer (numerous times!!) who lost out when multiple developers and investors got involved. I went my highest – probably more than what anyone would offer given the repairs – but even still, I simply could not (and cannot) compete with a developer or investor.
    No one’s forcing you to sell to a developer. If you choose to sell, it’s a cognizant decision you made in order to get the new home or money you want. Yeah, I get why people piss and moan how classic homes are being torn down, but realistically, “we want the most money for our house, but we also want it from someone who will live in this house instead of tearing it down” will not fly.
    I’m sure these people exist out there, but I have yet to meet a homeowner who is less than keen on the bidding wars with 2-3 developers on their property.
    Post-rant: specific to this house, kudos to Urban Living for moving this house instead of trashing it, regardless of their reasons.

  • Previous comment sections have gone back and forth over the economics of repurposing and recycling building materials. With the building boom, especailly multi-family, the demand for lumber has caused the price to skyrocket. I am seeing new construction in the Heights using repurposed wood floors more and more because it is actually getting to be cost competitive with new lumber considering the quality of the old growth hard wood flooring from the 1920s.

  • @Old School, I’m not entirely sure it’s a cost issue, Heights is a perfect place for such gimmicky things as repurposed wood floors in new construction. I personally haven’t noticed any increase in price of standard wood floors to make a difference.

  • Where was it moved to? I felt sure my home in Montrose would meet the bulldozer, but they restored it, something I couldn’t afford to do, especially since we moved to another city.

  • “I’m sure these people exist out there, but I have yet to meet a homeowner who is less than keen on the bidding wars with 2-3 developers on their property.”

    We were very lucky to buy from a family who didn’t want to see their mom’s house go to a developer — we made our offer in the first week it was on the market and there were 13 bids against us, but the seller’s agent told ours that our bid was selected largely because we *weren’t* developers. We were a family who wanted to live in the home and fix it up, not scrape it off. Since we were only able to offer $4K over the asking price, I doubt ours was the highest bid, and I’m very grateful that we got to buy from a seller who valued the architectural integrity of the neighborhood. We love our mid-century house!

  • A guy bough one of our rundown shack houses in Rice Military a couple years ago, he paid us $20k and paid for moving it, so it was great because otherwise we would have to pay for many dumpsters and a bulldozer. As I recall he moved it to some acreage property in Montgomery county as a hunting shack or a meth lab or something.

  • Old school loves to make statements of altruistic actions, as well as to make authoritative statements about how things are. The fact is, the “building boom” is not that much of a boom nationwide (lumber prices are affected by nationwide trends). The price of lumber was affected by Hurricane Sandy. In several months it will be affected again by the tornadoes in Moore, OK.

    As for cost competitive repurposed wood floors? People buying $800,000+ homes in the Heights are not pinching pennies on the floors. Commonsense wins. They are a marketing gimmick.

  • A friend of mine did a renovation in his house and had to add wood flooring where tile had been. He got salvaged 80-100 year old quartersawn 2 1/4″ oak for $1.75/SF. That’s a hard deal to beat, and it looks great.

  • I highly doubt Urban Living had anything to do with moving the house. The purchaser of the house most likely was who arranged everything from that point on.

  • Per the May 22 demolition report comments, the house was moved to a vacant lot near the U of H.

  • @CK; yes you are right, I highly doubt Urban Living had anything to do with it. They repeatedly outbid SFH buyers. Urban Living, no bueno.

  • What a delight this site is! The little bungalow at 4414 Gibson St belonged at one time (well a long time) by my aunt, Olene Graben. She lived there from the late 60’s through early 90’s. She was a single woman who bought the home on her on, a very independent woman I might add. She was nurse when Methodist Hospital opened in the Medical Center. She even worked in the surgery room with Dr. DeBakey. She ended her career as a private nurse in River Oaks working for the Duncan family who used to own Maryland Club coffee. This was a lovely old house. I spent many summers there as a girl and teenager. I had to help mop those wood floors and to dust the cedar paneling in the dining room going into the kitchen. It was a small home but every space was accounted for. It looks so different now than when she lived there but the bay window and the two windows up front are still there. I am calling her this weekend (she is 92) and will let her know how her little house is doing. So glad it was not torn down. On a sad note, it is the home that my dear sweet grandmother passed away in. Her name was Mattie Graham. Oh the memories in that home. Lots of love, family dinners, and visiting!

  • Thanks for sharing, Gail – nice to hear.