Historical marker for home of former railroad official unveiled in Crestview

CRESTVIEW — The future home of the city’s first museum to share Crestview history received a special addition to its front yard Monday afternoon.


That’s when members of the Crestview Historic Preservation Board unveiled a historical marker for the Lorenza Bush House, 198 Wilson St.


The two-story house with a metal roof and spacious front porch was built in 1925-26 for Bush, who at the time was the tracks supervisor for the Louisville and Nashville (L&N) Railroad. Crestview and the seats of several other Panhandle counties grew up along the L&N line.


In his house on Wilson Street, Bush took in boarders, many of whom were local merchants, Historic Preservation Board President Ann Spann told about 20 people at Monday’s ceremony. He was elected to the City Council in 1935, she said.


The unveiling of the marker is "a fabulous thing for the city of Crestview and this historic site," said District 3 Okaloosa County Commissioner Nathan Boyles, whose district includes the Bush House.


District 1 Commissioner Graham Fountain, whose district also includes part of Crestview, agreed.


"We don’t have a lot of historic buildings left in the county," Fountain said. "A lot of the old houses were torn down for redevelopment."


Bush was born in Fort Deposit, Alabama, moved to Crestview in 1910 and lived there until he died at age 74 in 1948, according to his obituary. He is buried in Greenville, Alabama.


Bush "was my first cousin, twice removed," said Baker resident Michael Bush, who had a total of five relatives who worked for L&N.


He and other local residents are excited about the planned renovations to the 3,661-square-foot Lorenza Bush House, which currently houses an office for Elder Services of Okaloosa County.


The city has about $100,000 in Community Redevelopment Agency money that it hopes to combine with $200,000 in potential state funding to pay for the renovations, which will bring the house back to its historic look as much as possible, City Manager Tim Bolduc said. Most of the work will be done to the building’s interior, he said.


Bolduc currently is negotiating the project cost with a contractor, and he estimates the renovations might be ready to get underway within about two months.


Besides continuing to house the operations of Elder Services, the improved building will include space for the Crestview history museum, as well as office space for the Crestview Main Street Association.


"Getting it back to what it looked like originally is awesome to me," Michael Bush said.


The house has served many purposes, noted Historic Preservation Board member Bazine McDonald.


"Having it serve as a museum for the area is great for the community," she said.