Owners devastated by historic home's destruction

By Philippe Djegal - email
Posted by Ellen Krafve - bio | email

MINEOLA, TX (KLTV) - An East Texas treasure, more than 100 years old, burned to the ground early Wednesday morning. Video captured by an East Texan shows the Magnolia House Restaurant in Mineola engulfed in flames. The fire started around 3:30am on North Johnson Street off Highway 80.

"I'm just beyond devastated," said Katherine Campos. "I just can't believe that this is actually happening."

Campos bought the building in 2005, and six months ago turned it into a fine dining restaurant called the Magnolia House.

"I restore historic homes," said Campos. "I own a place here in Mineola and, I just fell in love with this house."

Campos purchased the home from Pam Trent who broke down the moment she walked up to the wreckage. Trent and her husband owned the home for more than a decade.

"I was able to walk out it and I was okay with it because I knew that they thought as much of the house as we did," said Trent. "But, I didn't expect the reaction that I had when I walked up to it."

Trent says losing the house is "like losing a family member." More than 30 fire fighters with the Lindale, Quitman, Haynesville and Mineola Fire Departments did their best to put the fire out.

"I don't think anything's salvageable," said David Madsen.

But, the damage had already been done.

"I say it was fully involved, which means flames were everywhere," said Madsen.

It was the second time a building on the property had burned down.

"The first time was in the 1890's when it was a baby, and the house burned then, and then Judge Hart rebuilt this house...here," said Trent.

It was a home former Texas Governor Jim Hogg visited frequently in the late 1980's.

"...because he was law partners with the man that owned this house," explained Trent.

"Oh, it was just so grand and beautiful," said Campos.

"It's pretty devastating because Mineola loved this building," said Madsen. "It is a historical building."

"Mineola lost a grand lady," said Trent. "But, I would also say that it brings home to me that nothing in this life lasts forever, and I just thank God that there's another life."

The cause of the fire is still under investigation. However, according to the Mineola Police Department, about an hour before the fire started, there was an attempted burglary at First Baptist Church, across the street from the historic house. Police aren't saying if the two incidents are connected.

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