BAYSIDE – For years, the rumor was that the house was a Sears & Roebuck kit house that was shipped from New Orleans.

That wasn’t quite correct.

After owner Chris Naylor died July 28, and the property was sold, the  house was discovered to be a Gordon Van Tine kit home, dating to 1930 in Refugio County Appraisal District records.

That means the actual kit was assembled at a manufacturing plant in 1928-29.

So the home is historical and unique in nature, and more than 90 years old.

New owners Nancy Henderson and Sarah Robbins, of Bayside,  became enamored with the house and have set out to restore it.

Henderson said the house at 405 First St. was sent by ship from Port Lavaca to (she believes) Rockport and then by boat to Bayside.

Henderson said Terry Williamson owned the house before Naylor and  Williamson had inherited the house or bought it from relatives.

Longtime Bayside resident Orville Downs, 86, said a “Mother” Pitzer lived in the house when he was a little boy.

“I used to mow the yard for her with an old push mower. I was paid 50 cents,” Downs said.

That would have been in the 1940s.

“She always had a jaw full of snuff,” he added, laughing.

From Antique “Gordon Van Tine, like the other kit house manufacturers, offered a wide range of kit homes in various styles during the first half the 20th century. Delivered to the home owner’s city from a manufacturing facility, each home came virtually complete. Everything was included. 

“The home owner had but to construct the foundation and begin assembling the home from pre-cut pieces according to the building instructions. With the help of a few friends or family members, or by hiring a local carpenter, American homeowners were able to construct handsome, high quality homes for less than having a comparable home built locally.”

Henderson and Robbins have had workers strip the insides of the house so it can be redone.

A new roof is being installed currently.

“Interior framing for remodeling was scheduled to start Tuesday,” Henderson said.

Plumbing for two and a  half bathrooms has been completed.

An add-on structure is being revamped into a guest  house.

Henderson said she and her sister hope to have it all completed by July. 

Tim Delaney is the Refugio editor at the  Advance-Guard Press and can be reached at 361-526-2397, or at