The Duncan Banner

June 10, 2012

Founder’s Day tour gives glimpse into history

Toni Hopper
The Duncan Banner

DUNCAN — This year, as the Stephens County Historical Society and Museum hosts its annual Founder’s Day home tour, a home that was on the first year’s tour in 1992, returns now 20 years later with a few changes, said Fran Boyd, coordinator of the tour.

“The Schick home is again going to be open for people to see. It’s quite a place, both inside and outside,” Boyd said excitedly.

At 1314 W. Spruce, the home sits on a corner lot and boasts of an immaculate yard, with landscaping of Japanese maples, hostas and other shrubbery.

The home was built in 1937, by Judge and Mrs. Eugene Rice. They moved after six months. It originally was 2,700 square feet, according to The Banner archives from 1992.

In 1964, Dr. and Mrs. Robert D. Schick purchased the home from Mr. and Mrs. Fain.

Since the Schicks have made it their home, they’ve increased the footage  to more than 3,600 square feet, with an addition in the back. The home faces north and sits in what is considered an original historic district of Duncan.

Boyd said many changes have been made to the home over the last 20 years. Interior decor is a blend of many periods, including Victorian, the Depression period, Art Deco and more.

“You just have to see it,” Boyd said.



Also on the tour this year is a more modern home at 1215 Cedar Ave., owned by Joe and Vicki Vermedahl. They purchased the corner property, which faces south, in 1974. Their grand ticket for the three-quarter acreage and home was  $19,200. Four years later, they had central heat and air conditioning installed. Over the years, many upgrades have kept the home comfortable for them, including new windows and a remodeled sun porch that features a barn door theme.

“Inspired by our Iowa roots,” they shared in the home history.

They also managed through a six month remodeling, which finished in March 1982, giving them a widened driveway, a carport and covered patio and a garage conversion for the addition of a family room, to name a few.

Knowing that a home must be maintained and enhanced, they tackled a kitchen and master bath remodel in 2010.

A privet hedge though around three sides of the property didn’t survive the drought.

At the back of the property, there sits a small cottage, which was a preschool from 1982-85, where Vicki taught classes. They both agree the home has been a great one for their family, which included three growing boys and all their friends.

“This has been a wonderful home for us, full of memories,” they shared.

History of the home is vague, even though the Vermedahls have tried to gather as much as they can. They believe the home was built in 1924, when five lots were purchased for $525, by Dr. O.A. and Charlotte Roberts.

The oldest history of the land dates to January 1906, when Israel and Fanny Harris deposited $32.50 for four lots for $650. The Vermedahls noted that their house sits on lot 5, Block 73, which was originally in the Choctaw and Chickasha Nation Indian Territory.

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Still under landscaping is the brick building at 10th and Peach Streets, now owned by local financial advisor Kelsey Avants.

For months, Duncan residents driving on 10th Street, may have noticed the renovation progress of the building. Avants, with the help of Carolyn Rodgers, purchased the property in 2011.

It dates to 1921 and was a water pump station for the City of Duncan. There isn’t much history on the building, but Avants hopes people will share photos and their knowledge of the property with him if they have it, Boyd said.

“In 1951, the water pump station was no longer needed. We do know the McCaslands bought it,” she said. Across the street to the north is the Mack Center, which still thrives today with private businesses and a retail store.

Boyd said in the 1990s the building was loaned  to the Christians Concerned organization to store the food pantry items.

But, for more than a decade, it has sat vacant and boarded up. Avants officially opens its doors Monday for his business, Edward Jones Investments. In keeping with period architecture, exterior lighting highlights the building at night.

It also sits on the Crapemyrtle Trail, one of Rodgers community improvement projects.

If attending the home tour, homeowners and property overseers will gladly share the stories and point out many of the interesting details.

Children under the age of 10 are not allowed admission into the homes, during this tour, noted Boyd.

In 1992, the home tour generated $3,050 for the Stephens County Historical Museum, located in Fuqua Park.

Admission to the museum is always free and children are most definitely welcome in it. For those enjoying Founder’s Day activities, a stop at the museum is encouraged.