Will the historic 1861 Collinwood house get a happy ending after all? Descendants of the Collinwood house’s original owners, the Haggard family, will save the city’s oldest home from demolition if a recently approved plan by the Plano City Council comes to fruition. The city council on Monday unanimously approved Haggard Enterprises’ bid to move Collinwood off the future site of a city park and take ownership of the troubled house that’s been on the verge of destruction.
The city will subsidize the Collinwood’s relocation, pitching in $250,000 in previously approved funds to move the home off the city’s property at the Dallas North Tollway and Windhaven Parkway, which is the future location of Windhaven Meadows park.
Haggard Enterprises plans to move their ancestors’ home to their property, which includes several plots in west and central Plano. The move is expected to take place within 90 days, or as soon as qualified building movers are available. As part of the agreement, the property’s chicken coop, pole barn and wooden fencing will also be included.
However, the attached in-ground cellar will not move with the home.
That’s a shame because the cellar could be even older than the house, which already pre-dates the city of Plano’s incorporation and arrival of the Houston and Central Texas railroad, says Candace Fountoulakis, a longtime supporter of Collinwood’s preservation.
“It’ll lose the connection to the original land,” she says. “It’s still preferable to keep it where it was built, but I’m very pleased the house won’t be demolished.”
After no one took up the city’s original offer in 2015 to relocate the home off city property and onto their own, it went to a $3.5 million bond vote in 2017, which failed by a small 600 vote margin. This May, the home went to bid for any qualified owner that would relocate the fragile historic house. Haggard Enterprises submitted the only bid.
“We couldn’t have asked for a better option for this home’s future and we look forward to assisting the Haggards in getting it to its new location,” Plano Parks and Recreation Director Robin Reeves said in a release.
One of Plano’s original families, Clinton S. Haggard and his wife Nannie Kate, lived in and raised their children in the house from 1862 until 1884. Collinwood stayed in the Haggard family until the 1930s when it was sold to a Highland Park family, according to Fountoulakis, who’s done extensive research on the home’s history. The home was later sold to the Sowells, a prominent Texas pioneer family, in the mid 1950s, when a Sowell granddaughter moved in and maintained residence there until 2013.
As part of her research, Fountoulakis has read through the Haggard family’s diaries, which are on display at the Haggard Library in Plano. “They’re fascinating to read,” she says.