Celebrate Downtown Homes
By Robert Griffith, Updated May 2009

Downtown Burleson has so much to be proud of. Some businesses and citizens deserve special recognition for their creative use and preservation of older homes.

The Porch
140 South Wilson Street

The Porch is located on the corner of Wilson and Bufford Streets in Downtown Burleson, two blocks west of Renfro Street. The restaurant opened as Our Place in July 2006 in the home of Marsh "Good Roads" Wilson. The home has been refurbished, and the Our Place folks added a charming deck around the front and west side of the home to serve patrons beneath a large old live oak. The restaurant offers a host of home-cooked dishes, my favorite being the chicken-fried steak with mashed potatoes and fried okra. Prior to Our Place, Hatch's and Country Kitchen kept home-cooking alive in the heart of Downtown Burleson.

March 1, 2009
Photos Copyright Robert A. Griffith

La Vue Day Salon
100 East Bufford Street

Though I have not taken a personal visit to La Vue Day Salon, I have it on good authority that it is one of the finer salon and spa locations in Burleson and a true gem in Downtown Burleson. La Vue Day Salon is located behind Busy Bee Daycare a skip and a jump from the railroad tracks opposite the historic brick structures housing Babe's Fried Chicken, J.J. Mocha's, and other local businesses.

The history of the home La Vue Day Salon occupies has escaped me to now, but I hope my friends reading this will clue me in with an e-mail!

March 1, 2009
Photo Copyright Robert A. Griffith

Lookin' Sharp Salon
125 North Wilson Street

Lookin' Sharp Salon is owned and operated by Chuck and Loretta Sharp and is located in the historic Moritz Home one block east of Renfro Street at the corner of Wilson and King Streets.

John Moritz constructed the handsom Victorian-style home about 1900. It is the last residential dwelling still standing which is pictured in a 1910-era photograph of the Burleson skyline. In 2007 the old home caught fire, severely damaging the roof and underlying structure. Through the help of friends, their church, and the community, the Sharps carefully restored their business and in the process greatly improved its appearance.

March 1, 2009
Photo Copyright Robert A. Griffith

Other Prominent Old Homes in Downtown

117 East Renfro Street

Built as the parsonage for the First Methodist Church of Burleson.

According to a March 24th, 2009 email from a reader, 117 East Renfro was for a time in the 1990s home to Dance World, a studio specializing in clog, tap, ballet, jazz, tumbling, and other forms of dance owned and operated by Joan Loyacono. Know more? Email Robert Griffith.

March 1, 2009
Photo Copyright Robert A. Griffith

368 South Dobson Street

Home of J.W. Norwood (1889-1967), longtime Burleson Superintendent whose name is forever enshrined at the school named in his honor, J.W. Norwood Elementary, and in the annual J.W. Norwood Award given by the Burleson Ex-Students Association. After the death of his mother, Norwood was taken in by his sister and brother-in-law, Dr. and Mrs. S.P. McNairn. He attended school at Burleson, Polytechnic Preparatory Academy and College, and Texas Christian University before entering the teaching profession. A true pioneer educator, J.W. Norwood taught at many early Tarrant and Johnson County schools, including at Village Creek, Oak Grove, and Egan. He served in the Army during World War I and returned to Burleson to settle down. From 1920 until 1956, Norwood served as a teacher, coach, and school superintendent during a time where Burleson witnessed unprecedented growth.

March 1, 2009
Photo Copyright Robert A. Griffith

360 South Dobson Street

Home of S.P. McNairn (1869-1936), one of Burleson's first doctors and more prominent citizens. According to Burleson: The First One Hundred Years, Dr. McNairn "came to Burleson around 1898 to set up his practice of medicine" before which he "traveled around in a horse and buggy tending the ill." The doctor maintained an office above the Rudd Drug Store. Untold scores of children were delivered by Dr. McNairn during his long career. In addition to being a doctor, McNairn became a founding member of the first Ford dealership in Burleson, the Thompson Motor Company, and a charter director of the Continental State Bank & Trust Company of Burleson.

It is hard to say when the McNairn Home was built, although since the doctor came to Burleson in 1898 it stands to reason the home might have been built between 1898 and 1908.

July 17, 2005
Photo Copyright Robert A. Griffith

117 East Ellison Street

Home of H. Walton Baker, a great-grandson of Henry Carty Renfro, owner of the land which became Burleson. The home was constructed for his parents around 1920 in the craftsman style. Walton Baker established the Baker Foundation in 1998 benefitting educational efforts in Burleson. Mr. Baker died in 2006, and the home is being cared for by his foundation.

March 1, 2009
Photo Copyright Robert A. Griffith

More to come. . .