BY: RACHEL SMITH
What if I told you there was a place in town that could take you back in time? A place full of history, of bits and pieces from a simpler time.
Intrigued? Well, it just so happens there is such a place – and it’s right across the street from the Surf Ballroom.
I had the privilege to take a tour of the “Fox House” a few weeks ago, and it took me until now to get an article written because it literally left me speechless. It felt like I’d walked onto an old movie set. Time magazines adorned the coffee table, the Kennedy family smiling happily on the front cover. Shag carpet covered the living room floor as a console television set and a flowered, green sofa completed the décor.
Suddenly, the world faded away. No longer was my brain consumed with all the negativity and heavy issues of today’s world. Instead, I felt light as air as I moseyed from room to room, surveying the many aspects of this fantastically preserved house.
So how did this happen, you ask? Well… let me give you a brief history. Carl Fox (originally spelled Fuchs, but changed due to constant mispronunciation) was one of Clear Lake’s most visionary businessmen. He was instrumental in establishing our beloved venue for dancing and entertainment: The Surf Ballroom. After a devastating fire, the new Surf was built in 1948 its current location, and the Fox family purchased the house across the street.
As time continued to progress, the Fox family home was passed down from generation to generation; however, the home was no longer used for full-time living and, honestly, was barely used for vacationing either.
Recently, the Snyder family had the opportunity to purchase the home. What they found upon closer inspection was astonishing, because the house was stuck in the 1960s. Instead of cleaning it out and redecorating in more current times, they decided to do some minor cosmetic updates to preserve the Fox house as is.
The question now is… what could it be used for? As the Snyder family and the Surf Ballroom contemplate the various possibilities to keep this piece of history alive in our town, the Lake Leadership classes held a reunion celebration at the home.
As I left that afternoon, I felt like I was walking on air as I crossed the street to my vehicle in the Surf Ballroom Parking Lot. And, you know me, I had this moment of just… wow. Goosebumps rose on my arms as I looked up at the iconic Surf Ballroom, thinking of all the history in that one building. I mean, people come from all over – ALL OVER – to see this building. The nostalgia of the entire afternoon was almost too much to process.
I truly hope you get the chance to see this hidden gem someday. And incidentally, if you have any suggestions on the use of the Fox House, your feedback is welcome!
See ya at the Lake!