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Historical spotlight

Profile image for By Bj Lewis / Staff Writer
By Bj Lewis / Staff Writer

Rayzor House to receive marker at dedication ceremony

The James Newton and Eva Tabor Rayzor House is set for its time in the historical spotlight. The home will receive an official Texas Historical Marker in a public dedication ceremony to be held at 11 a.m. April 13 at the home, located at 1003 W. Oak St.

The Texas Historical Commission is recognizing the home as a Recorded Texas Historic Landmark, the highest honor the state bestows to historic structures for architectural integrity and historical associations. The house continues a growing line of structures, houses and other landmarks in the county to be preserved and revered for their historical significance.

The Texas Historical Commission is recognizing the James Newton and Eva Tabor Rayzor House as a significant structure in Texas history by naming it a Recorded Texas Historic Landmark. It is a legal designation that comes with a measure of protection for the preservation of the structure.

“It’s very significant. It’s a beautiful house — not just the exterior but the interior, as well,” said Beth Stribling, chairwoman of the Denton County Historical Commission. “The construction of those houses, you are just not going to find that in houses built today with all of that mill work [and] high, tall ceilings. Some of that history is, in a sense, new history because no one has ever compiled it and put it together in one big historical narrative.”

The narrative of the home was written by Salty and JoAnn Rishel, who sponsored the marker, as well, working closely with the Razor family.

Among the details in it are James Newton Rayzor’s move to Texas in the fall of 1866, settling with his family in Collin County. After a few more moves, he settled in Denton and married Tabor in 1884. An active man in the community, Rayzor was involved in several businesses and community organizations. Rayzor and his wife purchased the property on which their home would be built in 1906, completing the work in 1909. Descendants owned the home until 1978.

One of those descendents, the oldest living grandchild, Lucile Rayzor Hutchinson, will be traveling from New Haven, Conn., with her son to attend the ceremony.

“I think that is a wonderful thing that they are preserving those old homes,” Hutchinson said. “When I left Denton, the population was 10,000. It’s a completely different place people see than I saw.”

Hutchinson said it means a great deal to her and likely would to her grandparents, as well, to receive the honor.

Hutchinson will be one of the speakers at the event, alongside Sarah McClesky with the Texas Historical Commission and Denton Mayor Mark Burroughs.

“One thing I will say in my talk is they had the foresight to invest in Denton. They knew it was the community they wanted to settle,” Hutchinson said. “It was not only a viable community, but there would be growth there. I think that their choice was very good.”

One thing the historical marker does is provide a layer of protection against changes, Stribling noted.

“[Anyone] would have to contact the THC before they do any alterations to the exterior of the house and anything approved will be keeping in line of how that house was actually built,” Stribling said.

This house is the third designation on Oak Street, and Stribling said she would like to see more on what was known as Silk Stocking Row.

“A lot of the well-to-do merchants and businessmen and leaders in town built houses on those streets; we’re very fortunate that street has been preserved with all those beautiful historic houses,” she said.

Stribling said officials at the commission are always proud of each marker they are able to obtain.

“Those markers tell the story and history of whatever is being marked, they are really tools of providing history of Denton and Denton County for people who have grown up here or people who never lived here before. It gives a connection to this town.”

BJ LEWIS can be reached at 940-566-6875 and via Twitter at @BjlewisDRC.