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Historic Fuchs house to be demolished

Conrad Fuchs house

The Conrad Fuchs house after a February 2024 fire. Since this photo was taken, the city of Horseshoe Bay erected a chain-link fence around the house for safety reasons. Staff photo by Nathan Bush

Most of what’s left of the 150-year-old Conrad Fuchs house in Horseshoe Bay will be torn down, the City Council has decided. The house burned on Feb. 25

“The structure that’s left is a dangerous structure,” Horseshoe Bay City Manager Jeff Koska told in an interview a week after the council’s regular meeting on April 16. “It’s basically crumbling because there are no supports. Every day that it gets wind or rain, it gets worse.”

After an executive session on the issue, the Horseshoe Bay council voted to proceed with issuing a permit to demolish the house with three provisions. 

First, owners Jennifer and Paul Raley, who bought the house and 2.67 acres in 2020 for a symbolic $10, must pay for the demolition. The purchase came with deed restrictions, which, at the time, included maintaining the house and grounds and making all but the interior of the home available to the public. The Raleys had planned to live in the house. They are also restricted from subdividing the land or selling the property.

Second, a set of circular stone steps leading to a back door should not be demolished and will remain the property of the city. The plan is to incorporate the stairs into the design of Horseshoe Bay’s proposed new City Hall, Koska said. 

Finally, one corner of the house will be maintained in its original configuration “with that corner being selected at the discretion of the Raleys,” reads the approved motion. 

When asked by about demolition plans, the Raleys said they did not know the city had approved a permit or even passed a motion.

“As of this date (May 2), we have not been notified by the city of their decision,” Jennifer Raley said. “We are unable to speak to what the motion says.”

The couple said they planned from the beginning to pay for any demolition required. 

They also could not comment on when they can begin building a new home. 

“We haven’t been officially notified by the city as to what we can and cannot do with the property,” Paul Raley said.  

Koska said the Raleys will be able to build a new home on the 2.67 acres that came with the house, although that detail was not included in the motion. The couple still will be responsible for the upkeep of the property and allowing public access. What that means in day-to-day practice will have to be decided between the city and the Raleys.

“It was always our intent to have a house there if they couldn’t live in (the Fuchs) house,” Koska said. “The intent is to allow them to build on the property and still maintain part of the structure for the public to access.”

The 1974 Texas Historical Marker, which melted in the fire, would be updated to include the fire and erected in a place accessible for easy public viewing.

1 thought on “Historic Fuchs house to be demolished

  1. What a sorrow to lose such a historical building – thank you to the owners for saving a portion of it.

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