Constructed c. 1890s, the Kleb Family Home and its location in the wooded northwestern part of Harris County represent a time of dispersed rural settlement in the area. Edward Kleb, a descendant of German immigrants who arrived in Texas in 1846, built the house on property acquired from his father, Andrew.Recorded Texas Historic Landmark - 2006
Elmer "Lumpy" Kleb (1907-1999), son of Edward and Minnie (Willmann), was born in the house and inherited the property when his mother died in 1967. (Edward passed away in 1951.) Deeply attached to the family land, Elmer planted many of the trees in the area and cared for wildlife, often nursing injured birds. Elmer lived a unique existence - a life without utilities in the natural setting. He also did not pay taxes and amassed a debt of more than $150,000 by 1986. Over Elmer's wishes, a court-appointed law firm worked to sell a portion of the property, which had grown significantly in monetary value, to cover the amount owed. Elmer, however, wanted to donate his land to the Audubon Society.
The situation attracted national attention and soon lawyers, county officials, charities and other agencies began work to find a way to pay the bills and preserve the habitat. In 1991, a Texas Parks and Wildlife Department grant enabled Harris County to buy the land. The county paid the debt and created the Kleb Woods Nature
Preserve. Kleb's determination, as well as help from others, led to the preservation of a wildlife refuge in a rapidly urbanizing area.
The county started a trust fund to cover Elmer's needs until he passed away. Later, restoration began on his house, a vernacular hall and parlor style home featuring side gables with returns.