A Crowdfunding Campaign To Keep the Wichita St. Mystery House Under Renovation for Another 30 Years or So

A CROWDFUNDING CAMPAIGN TO KEEP THE WICHITA ST. MYSTERY HOUSE UNDER RENOVATION FOR ANOTHER 30 YEARS OR SO 2309 Wichita St., Riverside Terrace, HoustonA former city librarian is channeling the don’t-stop-the-renovating spirit of Charles Fondow in her bid to raise enough funds to purchase the seminal Houston DIY-contractor-hobbyist-visionary’s remarkable former home in Riverside Terrace. “Help us raise the funds to buy it outright so we can complete the additions in our own time,” writes Virginia Verner in the promotional copy for her crowdfunding effort on website GoFundMe. Keeping the whir of power tools going appears to be one of the goals: “Current plans are to repair necessities first, inhabit the front house, and over time work to complete the unfinished bits. Events for repair and recreation will become a fixture in this abode.” The homeowner Verner hopes to replace in the 4,861-sq.-ft. expansion and renovation project at 2309 Wichita St., just 5 houses east of the Hwy. 288 feeder, worked consistently at his creation for 31 years before passing away in 2011. Perhaps paralleling the sincere, hardworking, but perenially underfunded Fondow, Verner has set the fundraising goal for her effort at $150,000 — the exact asking price for the property, which appeared on the market last Friday for the first time since its foreclosure in 2011. No mention is made how renovations might be funded after the acquisition. As of this morning, the website indicates she’s received pledges for 0.1 percent of her goal. [GoFundMe; previously on Swamplot] Photo: HAR

14 Comment

  • Yay! Whether or not this succeeds, someone got off their ass and did something…it’s inspiring to see someone throw some effort at this house for once. This seats the hell out of all the pontificating about what others should do with it.

  • If anyone would like to pay for my house too, I’m accepting paypal payments, semperfudge@notanemailaddress.com. There are prizes; for every $25 you kick in, you can come rake the leaves off the front yard.

  • Wait, she want’s someone else to pay for HER to live in that house? And presumable ask for more money for renovations at a later date? A person who would ask for something like that must be the most naive and frankly dumb person to ever walk this earth.

    What about if price goes over asking? What about closing costs? Taxes? What about the 30% haircut IRS will want to give her because it would be considered a taxable gift since she will claim the house as her own?

  • This isn’t the Galveston Historical Society raising funds to buy the Bishop’s Palace from the Archdioces, this is some random woman with no real game plan trying to get others to fund her purchase–I mean, who will own it, how will the litany of repairs be paid for?–to have other commenters blathering on about her getting off her ass and walking to the computer and asking others to fund her dreams is the limit–hey, but if she can get idiots to purchase a house for her, more power to her.

  • Commonsense … that’s easy … she gets to keep the money! What a scam!

  • Excellent! As I have come upon some recent financial success from having sold my properties on Park Place and Oriental Avenue, not to mention the interest I’m earning from the house on Boardwalk, I will be delighted to fund the additional amount she requires just as soon as I can Get Out of Jail and roll a 7.


  • I don’t know a thing about GoFundMe and don’t care to either but when I first read it, I thought it was a joke.

    Does anyone know positively that she’s earnestly seeking donations?

  • Great respect for the effort. But I plead with the originator of this kickstarter (update: lol, I mean “goFundMe”, a ‘me too’ Kickstarter clone?): Either make the goal $300k (so there is $ to fix from day one) or make it quite clear that more $ will be needed.
    Let’s say they raise the $150k and buy the house. Then the first demand for the city comes to get permits to fix the unsafe blah blah blah. If that’s not done (with more $) soon, you get big time fines. Or, who pays the first property tax bill that comes? Who pays the water deposit? This is outside the massive bill for work that’s going to be needed.
    I hope it’s kept alive, but realistically I can’t see that being done by a crowdsource campaign (unless it serves popular enough to raise $300k+ so there is PLENTY to fix it up)

  • Yes, I know the person in question. She is earnestly seeking donations. Admittedly, the funding campaign was really meant to be circulated amongst her friends and associates, but I figured public exposure wouldn’t actually hurt her chances.

    Do I expect it to actually work? No, not really. However, I figured that more public exposure might her i put in touch with someone who might be thinking about buying the property, but without the personal energy/drive/time to renovate it in this fashion.

  • While Ms. Verner’s intentions may be sincere, everything about this is flat-out tacky and distasteful. This has to be a joke. The lack of thought to serious questions posed by other users is something that should have been addressed (but maybe not because this has to be a joke – right?). For donating money, you get the “privilege” of fixing up a house that doesn’t belong to you. Delusional. If you donate $25 to fixing my roof, I’ll serve you beers in a bikini while cooling you off with a palm frond on a summer evening in between yoga poses; no labor required from you to actually fix my roof. And from what I can gather, on Go Fund Me, she can keep all of the funds donated, even if she doesn’t reach it (unlike Kickstarter).

  • Saw this. Almost died laughing. http://www.gofundme.com/6z95k4

  • This should be fun.

  • “If you donate $25 to fixing my roof, I’ll serve you beers in a bikini while cooling you off with a palm frond on a summer evening in between yoga poses”

  • The Orange show should buy this place.