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

Proud of East Texas: The Old Omen House

(Source: KLTV staff) (Source: KLTV staff)
TYLER, TX (KLTV) -

The 113-year-old house on Old Omen Road was almost past saving when Bruce Smith began clearing off the property a couple of years ago.

"It was built a year after they bought the land and they bought the land in 1903," says Smith. How much did they pay for the land? $600.

"It was in bad shape,"says Smith.

'Bad shape' meant three-quarters of its front porch gone, a tree growing through the roof, and a missing floor in the dining room. However, there was just enough of the original house left to get Smith's attention.

"The rest of the house had cedar wood in it, no bugs, pretty good shape and I started building it back," says Smith.

He had never thought much about the history of the house until people started coming by and filling him in.

"I started clearing the land. I cleaned around the home and people started stopping by and asking me what are you doing to do with it," Smith says.

The house, built by R.E. Barbee over a century ago, began to take on a life of its own as Smith restored it, often doing much of the labor himself.

When a neighbor complained about the cost of renting a yard for his daughter's wedding, Smith decided his house, with its lovely garden, would be perfect for small intimate weddings.

Manager and event planner, Celia Balko says couples looking for small country settings, especially love what the place has to offer.

"It appeals to them because it's smaller than some of the venues and it doesn't have to be a flashy wedding, it can be more family oriented," says Balko.

In addition to the restored home with its upstairs bridal suite and balcony overlooking the garden, Smith has built a pavilion for larger groups.

The first wedding at the Old Omen House was Smith's daughter, and after her stamp of approval on the facilities, this historic old house has begun to enjoy a new life as a wedding venue.

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