What's In a Name?

Crim-Kubiak Home

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One of Kilgore’s most eye-catching Boomtown-era homes has a new owner as of Friday.

For decades, the 5,921 square-foot residence at 2012 S. Henderson Blvd. has inspired comparisons to the work of Frank Lloyd Wright as well as rumors the vaunted architect had a hand in the home and its various Art Deco-influences. He didn’t, but the spirit’s there.

Meanwhile, for much of its history the house’s grounds regularly-provided an annual photo backdrop for the Kilgore College Rangerettes.

The home was originally built for L.N. and Tincy Crim. Surviving blueprints dated 1939 show the opulent house was crafted Stone & Pitts Architects of Beaumont.

Reportedly, Wright himself recommended the firm to Crim when the local man met the vaunted architect during a visit to East Texas on another project. Local realtors echo the tale that Stone & Pitts –

working under a different moniker today, if at all – included acolytes of Wright, and the resulting architecture clearly shows the influence of his style.

That said, it also clearly shows the influence of the International Style, local designer Harry Crouse explained, and it immediately caught his eye when he moved to Kilgore in the 1990s.

In need of extensive, costly renovation at the time, it wasn’t to be.

“All the hardware was fabulous,” he said Thursday. “It was Art Deco stuff in an International Style house. It was a mixture of those two styles. It’s definitely out of the typical box,” and a testament to the runaway prosperity of the oil boom: “It’s all part of that history.”

Kimble and Shelly Kubiak acquired the home in 1996 and began a substantial remodel, saving what original touches remained.

Years on the local real estate market, the house was most recently listed at $399,000. Negotiations through Mobbs Real Estate were being finalized Thursday and Friday – the buyer has not been named.

“It’s an awesome piece of history that someone’s going to enjoy,” realtor Jessica Holmes said Friday, making a final tour of the home alongside the property’s agent, Linda Melton.

Part of that history includes a visit by a man who would one day reside in the White House: among other celebrities and dignitaries who spent time at the home, Lyndon Johnson visited the original owners for a backyard barbecue and overnight stay.

L.N. Crim was the son of one of Kilgore’s oilfield matriarchs, Lou Della Crim. His brother, Malcolm, built another large home – in an altogether different style – just north on Hwy. 259. Another brother, John T. Sr., bought a home around the corner on Woodlawn, according to grandson Trey Crim, great-nephew of L.N.

The Crim-Kubiak house was fully-appointed when L.N. and Tincy moved in, Crim said.

“Every room was furnished with period furniture that went along with a very modern look. It was a showplace,” he said. “That house was full of chrome and glass. It was just a monster that was built back in the good ol’ days.”

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