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Michelle C

Another Building Question

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Michelle C    81

Does anyone know anything about this building? I can't make out the lettering on the front of it. It appears the picture was made in the mid fifties. It was located on Leeland between Fannin and San Jacinto streets

post-11998-0-69993600-1418236371_thumb.j

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FilioScotia    112

Michelle, I must have driven past that building a thousand times back in the 50s and 60s, but I cannot remember what it was. It's maddening to be unable to make out what that sign says. I'm thinking it may have been one of the downtown car dealerships. I see the name JACK on the far left end of it. 

 

I'm almost certain it wasn't on Leeland between San Jacinto and Fannin, as you say. I reached that conclusion on Google Maps. Using the street view I maneuvered around that end of town until I found the exact same angle view of the former Texas National Bank Weather Eye Bldg in the background. That angle is from the corner of Bell and Fannin, one block north of the location you cite. 

 

 

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sevfiv    1,344

In 1955, Adding Machine Exchange was located at 1401 San Jacinto - right about at Clay St. - though I think that would have made the building on the north end of the block.

Also, JJ Lemmon Co. business machines was at 1520 San Jacinto (between Bell and Leeland) - that may be a better match.

 

Does the sign across the street say "automotive electronics?"

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marmer    69

Looks like the Cohen Building by Joseph Finger on Main Street, but it's probably not.  The cornice detailing is similar, though, with the "pine cones."   I think the vertical corner sign reads "J. J. Lemmon."   I think the building across the street says "Automotive _electricians._"  Your instinct that aftermarket auto electronics as an industry is several years in the future is absolutely correct.  However, the postwar years and especially the 1950s saw a dramatic increase in the complexity of auto electrical systems, with power steering, power brakes, power windows, power seats, power door locks, signal-seeking radios, automatic headlight dimmers, air conditioning, turn signals, back-up lights, and quad headlights all beginning to appear, especially on the luxury cars that might be more numerous in a large city.

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Michelle C    81

I have a 1970 city directory and at that time it was Houston Safe and Lock. What was in that building in the mid 50's is a mystery.

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FilioScotia    112

The Weather Eye was put up by Texas National Bank when the building was completed in October of 1955 and taken down in 1964. I've been told it was a hazard to aviation because incoming airline pilots complained that it was a confusing distraction, especially when it was Red or blinking Red. Remember the jingle?  "Red light warmer weather, White light cooler weather, Green light no rain in view, Blinking light rain is due."

 

Look at Houston on Google Earth and you'll see that Hobby's main NW to SE runway is on a direct line to downtown. Planes on final for that runway had to be well under a thousand feet by the time they passed over downtown. And remember that in the 50s and 60s, Hobby -- or Houston International -- was our ONLY airport for commercial airlines. 

 

One final note: The Weather Eye was put away in a warehouse for a few years. When Astroworld opened in 1968, the marketing director, Dene Hofheinz Anton, wanted a big globe of the Earth at the front gate. Somebody told her the old Weather Eye would make a great globe, if it still existed. She tracked it down, bought it for a song, and it sat outside the front gate till the park closed in 2005. Here's how it looked. Yes that was the old downtown Weather Eye. I have no idea where it is now, or even if it still exists. Probably not. 

 

photo9.jpg

Edited by FilioScotia

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marmer    69

OK, how did you do that?

 

I have a reasonably high-definition display.   On Safari on my Mac, I used Command + (plus sign) to zoom in.  You can do Command - (minus sign) to zoom out or Command 0 (numeral zero) to return to original size.  Of course you are limited by the resolution of the original image, and I am not 100% confident of the words.  Call it about 85%.

 

If I really wanted to, I could download the image, resample it, and do various contrast, lighting, and sharpening enhancements in Photoshop, which might improve it a little.  I don't think this image would be improved enough to bother, though.

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Michelle C    81

It was not a car dealership of any make vehicle. I have nailed down just about every car dealership that was located in downtown Houston during that era.

 

Next time I am back in Houston or Austin, I will go by the library and look in some of the city directories from the mid fifties. In fact I have some business in Houston next week, and I will allow for a little extra time to go by the library.

Edited by Michelle C

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Materene    19

Looking at the side sliding door on the rear it may well have been an older dealership, Al Parker was in the same area but that's not Al Parker Buick,  you will find a building off Sheperd Drive and Washington with the same styling and I believe it was a grocer long long ago, they used those steel rod supports that came from the top of the brick work down to the awning rooftop, it was on many buildings in the 50's, wish I knew what it was since I worked in that particular area in 1970.  I worked at a few of the old downtown dealerships in my day, Al Parker , Mike Persia.. and I'm blank on it !

 

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Michelle C    81

Marmer had it right, it does say and cash registers and adding machines. I found it in a 1958 Houston city directory. The address is on San Jacinto street and it is the J.J. Limmon Co. business machines. One more figured out. 

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sevfiv    1,344

Okay good - I was hoping it was one of those!

 

Marmer had it right, it does say and cash registers and adding machines. I found it in a 1958 Houston city directory. The address is on San Jacinto street and it is the J.J. Limmon Co. business machines. One more figured out. 

 

Also, JJ Lemmon Co. business machines was at 1520 San Jacinto (between Bell and Leeland) - that may be a better match.

 

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Michelle C    81

Looking at the side sliding door on the rear it may well have been an older dealership, Al Parker was in the same area but that's not Al Parker Buick,  you will find a building off Sheperd Drive and Washington with the same styling and I believe it was a grocer long long ago, they used those steel rod supports that came from the top of the brick work down to the awning rooftop, it was on many buildings in the 50's, wish I knew what it was since I worked in that particular area in 1970.  I worked at a few of the old downtown dealerships in my day, Al Parker , Mike Persia.. and I'm blank on it !

 

Is this the building you were talking about? It was located on the south east corner of Shepherd and Washington Ave. It is an old Madding's drug store.

 

 

post-11998-0-23361400-1418774193_thumb.j

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Materene    19

Yes that seems to be it, here is what it now looks like and they were busy remodeling when I left Houston again 6 years ago, a little erie because just a block down Shepherd is the old Presbyterian Church that was my close friends whom both died within two months of one another and I left at that time after the funeral and moved back to La, I see the Church is now no longer the Presbyterian but something different. All our Churches are almost gone now, the good friend was a friend of my ex wife from back early 70's , she had been a member of this Church for 80 years, and now like her, it's gone.  I wouldn't have known this unless I had seen this post about the building in question.  I won't be surprised when I finally come home at the end of this winter.  Let's see if I can get those google images showing.  That pawn shop over across the street from the one above, I can remember pressing my face against the front plate glass as a young kid.33wmlis.pngs5ut82.png

 

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Michelle C    81

That building is on the north west corner of the intersection and is the old Weingarten' store. I lived only a few blocks from that intersection in the early to mid fifties and it was a Weingarten's then. The Madding's drug store is on the opposite side of the intersection and was still a Madding's drug store in the fifties. Today the building is gone and a El Rey toco place is in its place. Where the Jack in the Box is located across Washington used to be a Prices fast food place in the fifties, and on the other corner across Shepherd was a Gulf service station. The pawn shop you speak of was a Weiner's clothing store long before it became a pawn shop.

 

 

Yes that seems to be it, here is what it now looks like and they were busy remodeling when I left Houston again 6 years ago, a little erie because just a block down Shepherd is the old Presbyterian Church that was my close friends whom both died within two months of one another and I left at that time after the funeral and moved back to La, I see the Church is now no longer the Presbyterian but something different. All our Churches are almost gone now, the good friend was a friend of my ex wife from back early 70's , she had been a member of this Church for 80 years, and now like her, it's gone.  I wouldn't have known this unless I had seen this post about the building in question.  I won't be surprised when I finally come home at the end of this winter.  Let's see if I can get those google images showing.  That pawn shop over across the street from the one above, I can remember pressing my face against the front plate glass as a young kid.33wmlis.pngs5ut82.png

 

 

 

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