RobNPhx

Old Plantation Near Polk and S. Wayside

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Does anyone have any knowledge of what may have been an old Southern plantation, or a very old plantation-like home, that once occupied the area just south of the intersection of Polk and Wayside? I grew up just west of that area (Jefferson and Henninger) and seem to recall at least one old and dilapidated stucture, covered by dense foliage and surrounded by several really old trees, back in that general area. Back in those days (mid 60's) I would ride my bike all along the railroad tracks, from Jefferson up to Polk, then scoot over to that area around Wayside. It was maybe some time between '64 and '67 that I discovered the place.

I distinctly remember thinking that the place seemed kind of spooky and that I probably shouldn't be there, but my natural curiosity always got the best of me, so I kept going back until I either lost interest or forgot about it. One thing that really stood out about the place, aside from it's creepy feeling, was the row of shanty-style houses that occupied the lot. If memory serves me well, I think there was a manor home, as well. At least it looked to my young eyes like a smallish Southern plantation-style manor home. What I considered back then, and still do this day, was that the place had once been either a prominent manor house with multiple guest quarters, or it was a slave plantation, or both.

Now I admit that my memory may be somewhat clouded, or perhaps even totally off-track, but from time to time I have such vivid dreams of that place that I will wake up and think "Wow! Why do I keep thinking of that place after all these years?"

If anyone has any information, I would love to hear about it--one way or another. Thanks.

Edited by RobNPhx

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Are you remembering the country club? It's now the Gus Wortham Golf Course but there is a thread about the old country club around here on HAIF somewhere. Houston Country Club I believe it was named.

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I agree, RobN is probably remembering the Simms estate. We used to go there in groups during High School and just snoop around. It was dangerous I'm sure, but we didn't know that then. I think it caught fire a few times and finally burnt to the ground sometime in 1970 or 71.

If you enter the Fiesta parking lot off of Wayside and notice the palm trees in the landscaping traffic island, they are orginal to the Simms estate.

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Thanks to all who replied to my question. I was never aware of the Simm's Estate's existence, but that would sound about right. I don't believe it was a part of the Country Club, but I was so young that...well...who knows? Anyway, thanks again for the replies.

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There is a woman in HCCP who has done extensive research on the Simms family estate. I met her once at a superneighborhood meeting when they were held in the Villa de Matel. She has photos too. If someone was truly interested, they could probably contact the HCCP civic club for more information. She may no longer be alive but I believe she may have written an article about it for their newsletter. IIRC her name may have been Virginia or Veronica.

I initially thought that the OP was talking about the property directly across Wayside from the intersection with Polk. That would have been the country club.

Apparently he meant the area closer to Lawndale.

In the 70s, my sister lived in the apartments at 1010 S. Wayside. They were pretty nice then. I did not live in the area at that time but I do remember a frat house that sat back from the street, right next to the Royal Wayside Apartments. It was a very large plantation like house. It would have been between the apartments and what is now the elementary school. I often wondered about it but was not curious enough to do any research.

Edited by little frau

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No doubt you are referring to the estate built by Col. Edward F. Simms c. 1910. There is some information on this estate somewhere on this site. He named the house "Wayside" thereby giving the name "Wayside" to the street on which it was located. As I recall, it was one of the first houses in the Houston area with a swimming pool.

As a young person, I went past the house many times (probably on my way to Sears).

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Edward F. Simms of Kentucky came to Houston about 1901 and made his fortune at Spindletop. In 1912 he decided to build a Mansion on his newly purchased 210 acre estate, which he called Wayside. His estate was located between Polk on the north, the original Houston Country Club Golf Course site (1908 – 1956) on the east, Yates Gulley on the west and Lawndale on the south.

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Does anyone have any knowledge of what may have been an old Southern plantation, or a very old plantation-like home, that once occupied the area just south of the intersection of Polk and Wayside? I grew up just west of that area (Jefferson and Henninger) and seem to recall at least one old and dilapidated stucture, covered by dense foliage and surrounded by several really old trees, back in that general area. Back in those days (mid 60's) I would ride my bike all along the railroad tracks, from Jefferson up to Polk, then scoot over to that area around Wayside. It was maybe some time between '64 and '67 that I discovered the place.

I distinctly remember thinking that the place seemed kind of spooky and that I probably shouldn't be there, but my natural curiosity always got the best of me, so I kept going back until I either lost interest or forgot about it. One thing that really stood out about the place, aside from it's creepy feeling, was the row of shanty-style houses that occupied the lot. If memory serves me well, I think there was a manor home, as well. At least it looked to my young eyes like a smallish Southern plantation-style manor home. What I considered back then, and still do this day, was that the place had once been either a prominent manor house with multiple guest quarters, or it was a slave plantation, or both.

Now I admit that my memory may be somewhat clouded, or perhaps even totally off-track, but from time to time I have such vivid dreams of that place that I will wake up and think "Wow! Why do I keep thinking of that place after all these years?"

If anyone has any information, I would love to hear about it--one way or another. Thanks.

The mansion & a Church were located on what is now an elementary school property located just North of the intersection of Lawndale & Wayside...a few short blocks from the Fwy. & near Idylwood & Country Cub Place. Loving old houses, I always wanted to see inside. Don't know who owned/lived there. The Church was beautiful as well. If memory serves me correctly that Church merged with thel Church on corner of Dismuke & Gulf Fwy at Telephone Rd. This Church also was closed for a while recently, now I'm seeing work being done. A sign was being put up. Anyone know anything about it? I had kinda thought the Church on Dismuke/Fwy. would be bought & used as a private school for the area because of it's convenient location. Always loved the stone on the Church. Sad most of the old Churchs & old large homes are disappearing. There is still a plantation style home in the Forest Hills area by Forest Park Cemetery & overlooked the bayou. It had been for sale several yrs ago. Need to drive by & see if it's been updated or ?

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The Simms Estate was featured in a research article, in the Houston Country Club Place Newsletter. It had many great local history articles of that particular area. And nice photographs. You could read the articles on-line at the HCCP newsletter site. I recently tried, and could not access the information, anymore. Maybe they will publish the material. It's really great research data. I wrote the elected officials about the information, never got a reply.

I had no idea that large estate stood on that property. I grew up passing by it, and visiting a relative in HCCP. I also was never aware of the mansion overlooking the bayou, on Pasadena St. Wish my grandmothers were around, to ask, or my great Uncle Curtis. They date back to the area, as far as 1910, at least. One of our old family houses (sold years ago) sits across from TelWink grill. Old letters talk of the building of the Electric Railway to Galveston.

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Thanks, OldHouseLover, for the information. The Simms Estate was, more than likely, what I remember from those days.

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My Grandmother (almost 90) grew up in Houston in a place she always called the Simm's Estate. She spent her entire young life there. Her mother was the maid and her father was the butler. The little house on the property wasn't a school house like I've heard some ppl speculate but the home of my grandmother and her family. She had a brother and sister also. Her father ended up running off with the Simm's hired nanny when she was a young child. After that Mrs Simms and my great grandmother became best friends. My great grandmother stayed devoted to them. We have many of the Simm's heirlooms including a silver tea set and tea spoons the family often used. I'm certain I have seen pictures and could try to find them to post. My grandmother kept many of those things. I will try in the next week or so to go threw her photos and see what I can find if anyone is interested still!

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RachSmith, Yes of course we are interested. There are a whole slew of us out here, that come to HAIF to read about and comment on Houston's unique and seldom documented past.

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On Saturday, July 28, 2012 at 2:07 PM, RobNPhx said:

Does anyone have any knowledge of what may have been an old Southern plantation, or a very old plantation-like home, that once occupied the area just south of the intersection of Polk and Wayside? I grew up just west of that area (Jefferson and Henninger) and seem to recall at least one old and dilapidated stucture, covered by dense foliage and surrounded by several really old trees, back in that general area. Back in those days (mid 60's) I would ride my bike all along the railroad tracks, from Jefferson up to Polk, then scoot over to that area around Wayside. It was maybe some time between '64 and '67 that I discovered the place.

I distinctly remember thinking that the place seemed kind of spooky and that I probably shouldn't be there, but my natural curiosity always got the best of me, so I kept going back until I either lost interest or forgot about it. One thing that really stood out about the place, aside from it's creepy feeling, was the row of shanty-style houses that occupied the lot. If memory serves me well, I think there was a manor home, as well. At least it looked to my young eyes like a smallish Southern plantation-style manor home. What I considered back then, and still do this day, was that the place had once been either a prominent manor house with multiple guest quarters, or it was a slave plantation, or both.

Now I admit that my memory may be somewhat clouded, or perhaps even totally off-track, but from time to time I have such vivid dreams of that place that I will wake up and think "Wow! Why do I keep thinking of that place after all these years?"

If anyone has any information, I would love to hear about it--one way or another. Thanks.\

 

I realize I'm rather late responding to this post.  If memory is correct, the old plantation style home was located that is now an elementary school on Wayside between Polk & Lawndale by Country Club Estates.  I have read the story of the old home, but forgotten.  This home was destroyed ca. late 1980s to make way for the school & I think some apartments.  Another platation style home is located across Wayside in back of the gold course & very near the original part of the cemetery.  I think it was sold ca. 2000? & is still standing.  I stopped to take picture of it one day & an elderly lady came out of the house & did give the impression she was pleased with my interest in the house:).  I'd love to know the story of that plantation style house.  Oh, yes!  It overlooked the bayou!  I'm wondering if a ship captain family may have built it?  Anyone with any knowledge, please share so we can learn more about these houses which are a rich part of the Harrisburg/EE history.  OldHouseLover

 

 

 

 

 

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Sorry @ my response to Plumber ended up on same post.  Both plantation style homes were very important to the EE.  Hope more information can be obtained about their history.  OldHouseLover

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OldHouseLover, I think the second house is the one located in Forest Hill, on Pasadena St. It's still standing, overlooking  the bayou, and faces a NE direction. It's also near the old section of Forest park cemetery. We have talked about it quite a bit on this forum. It was originally built by a person associated with the railroads. And btw, the original main entrance to the Forest Hill neighborhood was off of Harrisburg Blvd. 

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Messing around the other day and wondering whatever happened to the old fraternity house I lived in when I was attending UH back in the early '80's and ran across this site.  I lived in the old Simms Estate house for a couple of years.  Absolutely beautiful house, thick stucco walls, big spiral staircase, hardwood floors, big front yard with lots of big trees. My room was on the second floor to the left side in front above the great room.   I remember the "pool" in the back.  It had gone pretty feral by the time I was there.  I think there were turtles and frogs swimming around in it.  I also remember the round silo in the back.  I was never quite sure what that was.  Maybe a grain and food storage building.  The house was located between the church to the north and the apartments to the south on the west side of Wayside Drive across from Gus Wortham Golf Course.  Evidently photos of this house are few and far between but I found one in my fraternity's directory from 1980.  I know we rented it from someone but I don't know who that was.  I was told that after we left the house, it remained vacant for a number of years until some squatters started a fire in it and burned it to the ground.  It is a real shame, that house and the grounds it was on were a real treasure.  I probably didn't appreciate it then, but now almost forty years later I sure do.

.SimmsEstate.jpg.40bd0ceb118c7e4261ab0a8b763a970b.jpg

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Awesome photo you discovered there Tejano. This was propoably one of the outer structures on the propoerty and not the main Simms house, as the main house was a larger plantation style home, which was 3 stories. I know this because a group of us high schoolers were in it one night in 1970 or possibly 1971. It was empty and pretty trashed out at that time. We were coming down from the third floor when a group of guys (probably east enders) cornered us and wouldn't let us by. They were acting kind of bullyish toward us until the girls in our group shamed them into letting us by.

 

Gotta love those hippie girls.

 

 

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Could be Plumber, I think the original Simms tract was much larger than what this house sat on in 1980.  Probably stretched down to Lawndale and farther east and north.  This house was actually in fairly decent shape...decent enough for a bunch of frat boys anyway.  But it was livable.  A little research on Edward Simms revealed he became very wealthy at Spindletop Field near Beaumont and Goose Creek Field near Baytown.  Had a few monster gusher oil wells come in.  He went back to his home in Kentucky and raised race horses.  Interesting fellow.

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