From the editor’s desk: Happy 100th birthday, house

The Perez home at 306 E. Ninth has undergone multiple renovations in 100 years, but was still recognizable when one of its original inhabitants visited in 1994. (Photo by David Stevens)

The Perez home

By David Stevens
Editor

Fidel and Teresa Perez are thinking about hosting a birthday party. Their house at 306 E. Ninth St. in Clovis, is 100 this year.

Attorney J. S. Fitzhugh built the four-room home with a basement from concrete and wood after his original house on the same property was destroyed by fire in 1913.

The Jan. 9, 1914, issue of the Clovis Journal reported the new Fitzhugh home had just been completed and described it as “splendid.”

The house, which cost about $10,000 to build a century ago, has undergone multiple changes through the years, even an additional room, but Fidel Perez, 67, said much of the structure is exactly like it was in 1914. The floors, rafters and built-in cabinets are original to the house, he said.

He purchased it in 1986 for $30,000.

The Perez home at 306 E. Ninth has undergone multiple renovations in 100 years, but was still recognizable when one of its original inhabitants visited in 1994. (Photo by David Stevens)

The Perez home at 306 E. Ninth has undergone multiple renovations in 100 years, but was still recognizable when one of its original inhabitants visited in 1994. (Photo by David Stevens)

“The roof was leaking, it had all kinds of problems; it was a piece of junk really,” Perez said.

He’s done major renovations to the kitchen and basement and added stucco to the outside, but has tried to retain the integrity of a century-old dwelling with hundreds of stories to tell.

Perez said he showed the home to J.S. Fitzhugh’s son Gordon, who was about 9 when his family moved out of the house, just a few months before Gordon died in 1994.

“You could tell he had tears in his eyes,” Perez said, because childhood memories were all around.

Clovis historian Don McAlavy in 2003 researched the history of the Perez house, tracking it through four owners before Perez.

Fidel Perez said the built-in cabinets were part of the house in 1914, but the mirror at right was originally a window looking onto Gidding Street. A room has since been added behind the mirror. (Photo by David Stevens)

Fidel Perez said the built-in cabinets were part of the house in 1914, but the mirror at right was originally a window looking onto Gidding Street. A room has since been added behind the mirror. (Photo by David Stevens)

Jeff and Zena Bailey lived there the longest, from 1918 to Zena’s death in 1956. Zena Bailey is best known for robbing a Clovis bank at gunpoint during the Depression, allegedly because bank officials refused to provide the money she had deposited, McAlavy reported.

Fidel and Teresa Perez live there alone now, though family and friends are regular visitors, particularly appreciating the sturdy basement when tornado sirens sound.

So how do you celebrate a house’s birthday?

“Probably just a barbecue,” Fidel Perez said.

From the Editor’s Desk was compiled by Clovis News Journal Editor David Stevens. Contact him at: dstevens@cnjonline.com