You may think you know everything there is to know about Kessler Park, but did you know about the Middlebrook Sisters and their famous haunted house? That’s where today’s Friday Four Hundred sits, a townhome in the aptly named Middlebrook Place, a spot of land near Stevens Park Golf Course where Cecilia and Margerite Middlbrook lived.
It was once the homeplace of the Stevens Family, a remodeled three-story Victorian farmhouse on top of a hill. It was once a sight to behold, neighbors say, until it fell into disrepair in the 50s and 60s and become a repeated target for vandals.
“The entire 3.5 acres were a wilderness of unkempt trees. These two little ladies would dress in these long black Victorian dresses, and of course when the 1960s came around with “The Munsters” and “House on Haunted Hill” and “Psycho”, it looked like Walt Disney Studios had been sent out to create this.
“They started getting heckled a lot. Teenagers came around drinking beer and threw beer cans at the ladies and broke windows, and of course they couldn’t replace the windows. They would throw rocks at them and hit them with boards. The house had no electricity, no gas, and the windows were boarded up. The fire department came out at Halloween, and a gigantic fireman would stand on either side of them while they gave candy to trick-or-treaters. The police told them they should buy a gun, but they never did. Everyone remembers them as very sweet and cordial.
“The abuse was legendary. The police would arrest dozens every weekend who were harassing these two ladies, and it became a spectacle. People would drive from all over North Texas. They couldn’t leave the house together because the house would be attacked …”
Sounds pretty awful, doesn’t it? Shortly after Margerite died, Cecilia perished in a fire that consumed the old, decrepit mansion. Then the property was sold by the family to a developer that built the Middlebrook Place Townhomes in 1979, one of the final developments in Kessler Park. This lovely soft contemporary is a highly prized end unit inside this development, and it features lush landscaping and great views.
Marketed by Dan Cohn of Virginia Cook Realtors, this townhome at 1224 Middlebrook is priced at just $477,700. That’s a great deal considering the amenities and location. Plus, this townhome is pretty large by any standard, clocking in at 2,452 square feet with two living rooms, two dining rooms, two bedrooms, two full baths, a two-car garage, and beautiful floor-to-ceiling windows. HOA dues are $1,400 annually, which isn’t unreasonable at all. This is definitely one of those properties that would look exceptionally good with sleek, transitional decor and bright white museum-finish walls.
I love the open spaces, the cool industrial-feeling railings that separate the formal dining room and upstairs living areas from the downstairs living room. That huge fireplace is dramatic, too, and would look great with a creative mantle. The floors are stained concrete, which is fantastic and easy to maintain. And all of that light flowing in from those huge windows keeps this Southwest/Traditional decor from feeling too heavy.
The kitchen and breakfast areas have been recently remodeled with bright white cabinets and updated hardware, granite counters, and a butcher block island. However, the double ovens, definitely vintage, remain, but you could easily slide in a couple of Miele convection units in that spot. There’s an over-the-range-top microwave/venthood combo that could be replaced with something a little more fitting, but I have to say that I really do like this kitchen, as it feels more accessible than many townhouse galleys I’ve toured.
If you don’t like the idea of the master bedroom being open to the living spaces below, this home might not be your thing. However, if you prefer your home to have a loft-type vibe, this layout is genius. you get plenty of light from those dramatic floor-to-ceiling windows and views of the huge backyard that is covered with easy-to-maintain Asian jasmine. There’s a great sitting area poised just below the master bedroom, which is perfect for relaxing before you start your day, or perhaps doing a few sun salutations before you head downstairs.
The master bath has a large, double-sink vanity and a gigantic soaking tub. I mean, that thing is huge. I’m almost envious of how large that tub is because it looks like the perfect spot to soak away a hard day. Sore from a long flight or too many asanas? Imagine filling that baby up and sliding right in. Hurry, go get the bath salts!
Of course, if outdoor living is your thing, you’ll love how shady and private feeling this home is. That back deck is splendid, and the lawn in front is so lovely. It’s truly a treasure! What do you think of this home and its history?