This large 1-story ell-wing Folk Victorian cottage was built in about 1889 at 1812 State Street by Christina Whyte. In 1906 it was purchased by Philip Helfrich, who worked as an engineer in the Houston Water Works. He lived there until his death in 1937 and his wife Margaret lived in the house until 1951. The roof was replaced in the early 1920’s to its current bungalow style. The house was moved in 1999 to its present location and is the office of Harry Gendel, an architect. He and his wife Diane received a Good Brick Award in 2000 for their restoration of the house. In 2017 they completed construction of their current residence at 1814 State Street, where the Helfrich house was formerly located.
The Helfrich house occupies lot 13, and lot 12 is a parking lot for the architect's office. Until the 1960's a 2-story house built by Dr. William Coleman, physician and surgeon, in about 1882 stood on lot 13. In the 1910's a famous early Texas photographer, Frank L. Schlueter, built a beautiful Prairie style house on lot 12. That house replaced an early 1890's house. Schlueter's house disappeared in the 1950's.
Philip Helfrich's daughter Margaret Westerman was for many years the city secretary, and the city hall annex is named for her. His daughter-in-law Ella Helfrich created the Tunnel of Fudge Bundt cake, which won second place in the 1966 National Pillsbury Bake-Off contest.
The original house that stood at 1807 Decatur.
The Philip Helfrich house arrives at 1807 Decatur.