Proud of East Texas: Omen House - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

Proud of East Texas: Omen House

Source: KLTV Staff Source: KLTV Staff
EAST TEXAS (KLTV) -

Mike Roquemore was so intrigued with the historic 'Omen House' that he bought it twice.

"I've been here since 1984 and I'm still building," Roquemore said.

When Mike and his wife Glenda were looking around East Texas for a historic old house for their retirement, they found just what they were looking for in the Omen House.

"We bought it twice.We bought it in 1992, and then we discovered, we were living in California, we were headed for Saudi, so we backed out on the deal and we came back in 1994 and it was still on the market, so we bought it again," he explained.

Roquemore describes the house as 'a mess' when they bought it.

"We bought the house but a couple was renting it and they had 35 dogs," said Roquemore.

The couple and their dogs moved out, but their fleas remained for the Roquemores to exterminate. The fleas were only the first of many projects.

In fact, while the bones of the house were still good, time and weather conditions had left their marks.

"The roof was just about to go and it was already sagging in a place in the back," Roquemore said. "The first thing we had to do was go in there and shore that up and stabilize it."

The roof was only the first of many projects facing the home's new owners.

"I've got an engineering degree, but I'm the world's worst carpenter, but I learned," he said.

The home's upstairs was also one of the early renovations.

"The upstairs had to be stabilized, shore the floor up and the beams were sagging, you know, so we had to rebuild all that," he explained.

Since Glenda wanted a big bedroom, most of the upstairs was turned into a master suite.

"A 1450 square-foot bedroom upstairs," Roquemore said.

As the restoration of the omen house progressed, people in the community began to get more and more interested in the results.

"We'd be out in the yard working and someone would pull up and ask if they could come in and look at the house." said Roquemore.

People also began to share the history of the community, once called 'omen', with the Roquemores.

"I got this stuff from people who just dropped by and said 'let me show you what I collected from the Omen House,'" Roquemore said.

He learned that the community had originally been called Canton, but when the post office came in, they had to change the name because of another Canton in East Texas. He also learned that the community had once been much larger, and even had a college.

"What happened was the railroad passed them by," he explained.

The Roquemore scrapbook of the home's history features the original owner, surrounded by friends, who were also Civil War confederate veterans.

The restoration of the Omen House was a dream for Mike and Glenda Roquemore, but it's a dream that Mike now carries on along. Glenda died in 2011, although the home still bears her touches.

And as for Mike, he says he still wakes up early in the morning to plan what improvements he can add to the home hat day.

"It's never dull. It's fun," he said.

Fun, as well as a page from history, preserved for the future.

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