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Posts posted by brucesw

  1. Yes. After about 10 years on Westheimer @ Mandell, the restaurant moved out on Memorial just east of Dairy Ashford, as I recall. Ca. late 70s-early 80s. I went only once. It lacked the charm of the original for me. I don't think it lasted but 4 or 5 years there.

  2. For a time the Stratford was one of the hotels controlled by W. Albert Lee, a commercial real estate broker who came to control 8 hotels in Houston and a resort in the hill country.


    In 1948 Lee got into broadcasting, launching KLEE, 610 AM, the station that is now KILT. On New Year's Day 1949 he launched KLEE-TV, Channel 2, Houston's first TV station, now known as KPRC-TV. He died in late 1951.


    There is a Master's Thesis from UT on Lee; a copy is available at the Metropolitan Research Center at the Central Library.  You could access this there.  I was only interested in a little of his early biography and his broadcasting related activities but I think --- I'm not absolutely sure --- there was more in the thesis about his hotel operations. This might fill in a few details of the history of the Stratford.


    Here is my brief bio of Lee on my radio history blog which names some of the other hotels he controlled.  I cite the source at the bottom so you will know exactly what to look for.


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  3. I lived in Houston from April 1999 thru Oct. 2001, in the Cooperfield part of NW Houston off 290 & 6. There used to be a Japanese buffet right in front of the Willowbrook Mall. Is it still there, what's the name of the place? They had the best Sushi I've ever eaten. It was 21 bucks a person for all you could eat. Also there was fish place that was built in a boat on 1960 Capt. somethin anyone know the name of it and is it still in business? They served fried catfish.  


    That was originally a Captain Benny's.  A guy named Tom was the manager of the Captain Benny's on 59 @ Wilcrest where I was a regular in the 80s.  He told me Benny Heileman (?) had been approached many times by investors wanting a franchise and he finally let a couple of guys open that one on 1960, but they weren't restauranteurs and the place did poorly.  Tom wanted his own place so Benny let him take it over.  There are now 3 Capt. Tom's and several Capt. Benny's still in business.  The menus are very similar but Tom always claimed his recipes for gumbo and deviled crab were better so the dishes may be a little different.


    The Capt. Benny's on 59 was moved down Murphy Road about a half mile due to the widening of 59 but the berm it perched on is still there, I think, right at the intersection.


  4. I agree this is not Kiddie Wonderland.  That's an open arena for shows, not a path for ponies to walk around.  Also it's apparent the ponies had to be trucked in for the event.


    The trees in the background are consistent with what grows on the south side of Houston, less so, in my experience, with growth to the north.


    Did Regal Ranch have an arena like this?  Was Regal even there 46 years ago?  I'd say the facility is not new, either, so we're talking about someplace that's been around more than 46 years.


    I think it's a small town rodeo arena, of which there were several around, Simonton, Bailey's Prairie in Brazoria Co.  I'm sure there had to be one on the east side (where was the Chevron facility?  What kind of facility was it?  Where did the employees live?)  There may have been one somewhere off S. Main, farther out than Kiddie Wonderland.


    I see bleachers, a speaker mounted on a pole for announcing events, are there signs on the fence in the distance?  This is not the setup for a kiddie rides park.

  5. The Buick dealer on Kirby was Demontrond which moved out on 45N.


    I don't remember Earl North in Houston at all but I believe there was an Earl North in Austin in the 60s, had a dealership right down on Town Lake as I recall.

  6. I have been trying for years to find someone who remembers Costen's Drugstore.  The location that I remember was at the corner of Shepherd and Westheimer, across from St. Anne's School and Church.  Students were forbidden to go there to buy cokes in the small bottles.  I went with my parents and was scared  to death of old Mr. Costen, a cranky old coot.  He had a neat soda fountain, a creeky screen door at the entrance and the only product I remember on the shelves was Jergen's lotion which is a hint as to why we were not allowed in the store by ourselves.


    I do not remember what other stores were in that strip.  I'd love to find an aerial photo of all 4 corners.


    See the Historic Aerials link in the above post and move it over to the Shepherd/Westheimer intersection or use the search feature to get there.


  7. When I got to town in Sept 1970 that was a Tenneco station on that corner.  It was the first of that brand I had ever seen and I don't remember there ever being another brand operating there.


    The Historic Aerial for 1953 shows the intersection has no developments. 





    Many of the Historic Aerials are very indistinct but by 1962 the awning of the Tenneco is there and there is another gas station on the NW corner of the intersection.  There is nothing where the Pappasito's is now but a building is apparent there by 1973.  It does appear to be smaller than the building at that spot in much more recent aerials.


    I don't remember that building that far back and haven't been able to place it or remember what it was but there's no way it was a Pappasito's that early.  The Pappas brothers had been in the restaurant business for some years (Strawberry Patch, Dot Coffee Shops, Brisket House) before they started working the family name into the names of the restaurants.  I think the Pappas Seafood House on 59 in Sharpstown, ca. 1982, was the first to do that and the Pappasito's came along later.  The Little Pappasito's came after the Pappasito's brand had been established but I don't remember just when that one opened.  I do remember it raised some eyebrows - it was probably the reporter in the Chronicle or Press that noted the restaurant industry was surprised when that one was announced because up until then, Pappas and Ninfas had kept their distance from each other and here not only was Pappas putting it's Tex-Mex brand right across the street from an existing Ninfas but was creating a new, smaller concept in order to do it. 

  8. Yes, the Fiesta on Fondren @ W. Bellfort was a Weingarten's, then Grand Union, then Safeway, then Appletree.  I thought all the Albertson's were new construction?  Yes, the Foodtown on S. Braeswood @ Fondren was an Albertson's.


    I never knew there was a Jumbo out on Bissonnet.  In the poorly maintained strip center on Fondren, running south from South Braeswood, was a Jumbo.  There was also a Jumbo out on Westheimer in the Westchase area, not sure of the cross street, that may have later become a Randall's.  I believe the original Jumbo was in West Columbia and there was also one in Alvin at one time, I think (remembering what was printed on the bags)..  The Jumbo on Fondren became a go-to grocery store for me.  After Handy Andy left the market and before the advent of Randall's Flagship and Kroger's Signature stores, it was better than your average Safeway or Weingarten's.  Except the store on Fondren was in run-down shape.  My most vivid memory is of the sagging shelves.  The store in Westchase was in better shape, almost as nice as a Handy Andy.  My relatives who lived on the east side would always go by the Jumbo on Fondren on their way home from visiting their children and grandchildren in Missouri City and First Colony; they told me about it.  Their son used to live in Maplewood.  When my parents came up to visit,they would also always make a stop at Jumbo. 


    When the Jumbo on Fondren closed it became a Tuesday Morning after af few years I think.  I never went in but it must've been a huge one.

  9. Covington's on Bingle and I think they had one on Airline?  Only went to the one on Bingle and that not until much later when I got a place where I could have a garden.  They were popular with gardeners for their vegetables and seeds.


    Okay, correction to what I posted hastily the other day - I don't remember one at 610 and San Felipe or the one on Richmond you mentioned and where was Gardenland?


    There was the River Oaks Plant House, Westheimer @ Buffalo Speedway, replaced now by West Avenue.


    I lived in Montrose 70-74 and went mostly to Teas but I keep thinking there was another sizeable one but I can't recall where or what the name was; I'm pretty sure it wasn't any of the other ones named so far.


    I guess Home Depot and Builder's Square, then Lowe's, played a roll in a lot of these small nurseries going out of business?


    What was the predecessor of the ubiquitous Houston Garden Centers chain?

  10. I remember all of those things very well.  I went to Lanier from 91-93 and we lived in that area when I was a kid.  Next to Academy was a Western Auto store that had glossy black glass like flooring.  


    The car dealer was Hub Buick that moved out to 290 during the 90s because the value of the land soared.  My dad would have his car serviced at that dealer and spent $800 something once to repair the a/c which was a freakin lot of money in those days.  But he once bought OEM GM made in USA shocks for his car from there around 1986 and paid about $12-15 each which tells you how the purchasing power of the dollar has collapsed.  Chinese made struts now start at $40-50 for the cheapest quality; if you go premium OEM it's over $100 now.  I can clearly remember when the first Buick Reatta models arrived at the dealer and were on display. It was a 2 seat FWD luxury sports coupe that was expensive.  The car has all of the newest technology of the time but was a complete failure for GM and they pulled the plug only after 3-4 years.  


    Southland Hardware is still there but I have not set foot inside in over 25 years.  The surge in land prices are what changed things in that part of town.  RMS auto care is still around down the street from Southland.  I think they still have the rotating sign that I could see from Lanier in one of my classes on the 2nd floor.  


    Hub Buick was on Kirby, just north of Westheimer.  Originally DeMontrond, I believe.  When Demontrond went suburban, the service or parts manager,whose name was Hub, took over that dealership for a few years.


    The dealership on Shepherd south of Westheimer was Jimmie Green Chevrolet.


    Here's one old thread of old dealerships and there are several others.


  11. Yes, I can remember we've talked about Weldon's in the past, maybe not on this thread.  Miss that one.


    There was a Piccadilly at 7750 W. Bellfort also that closed in the last year or so; I think the building has already been leveled.  That would have opened ca. late 70s, early 80s (W. Bellfort didn't even go through until about that time).


    In the 60s there was a Pickwick Cafeteria in Freeport.  I'm sure that must have been a chain but I don't know if they had any locations in Houston. Then there was Furr's and Albritton's.  I never went to a Furr's and went to the Albritton's on Waugh maybe 2 times but I think there were other locations.

  12. I haven't been to Lake Jackson much in the last ten years.  Funny that the article says the lows were never that bad - when I was dealing with my Dad's estate in 03-04 the market was so depressed because of lay-offs I had a hard time selling the house and got a lot less than I expected and the estate sale brought in pennies.  I still have a storage room full of my mother's antiques that wouldn't sell and I refused to just put out on the curb.


    What the city has allowed to happen to its historic legacy is depressing to me, the sad state 'Carriage Square' was allowed to deteriorate to before it was almost completely razed and the sad state of most of the rest of the original downtown laid out by Alden Dow.    The historic Lake Theater is derelict with the roof caved in.  And I know the 'government duplexes' weren't any sort of architectural wonder but, dammit, that was a neat neighborhood with winding streets like Trumpet Vine, Coral Vine and Grapevine Turn. It just became a slum right on the edge of downtown and now it's going to be an HEB parking lot.  Lake Jackson was a very unique town to grow up in in the 40s and 50s.  I can get intellectually upset over the loss of Houston history but Lake Jackson hits me in the gut.


    Freeport, hated rival that it was, is even sadder.  Downtown Freeport has been a ghost town for decades.


    But thanks for posting about all this.  Maybe someday I'll get psyched up and go take a look at the old burg again.

  13. I grew up near Hillcroft and Main Street.....

    I remember an ice cream place on Hillcroft before you got to Braeswood on the corner in the same parking lot Rice used to be in...before that right past St. Thomas More Church, there was a place called Jacks Yogurt Stop that was the first place I ever tried Frozen Yogurt that was right before the Frozen Yogurt craze of the 90s...


    Not sure why I haven't replied to this before but I can't find it - the ice cream parlor was either a Swenson's or a Carvel.  I only went once and I'm remembering old-timey ice cream parlor decor.


    It's now a realtor's office, I think.

  14. 1400 Hermann was my first guess and it was wrong.  The buildings in question are much too close to the dome to be 1400 Hermann. 


    In 57Tbirds second photo above, if you draw a line from the dome across the Mayfair to downtown, a mid-rise building is right on the line, between Mayfair and DT; that, I think, is 1400 Hermann.  Which means it is the building visible in the first picture beyond the Mayfair, also.


    Filio is correct; at the time of these photos, the Pavillion was likely still known as the Park Towers.  Somewhere in my research I have notes about newspaper ads I saw for the openings of both buildings in the 50s but I didn't get photocopies of the ads.


    KRBE-FM had it's original studios in the 1400 Hermannn building when it went on the air in 1958 as a classical music station ("You're Keyed to Radio Broadcasting Excellence.')  The calls also stood for Roland Baker Enterprises, the owner, who lived at 1400 Hermann.


    The Park Towers was the home of the original studios of KHUL-FM, 95.7, 'Cool' radio, in 1959, fondly remembered as a jazz station though in fact it played show tunes, standards, just about anything but rock and country.  The studios were on the 15th floor.  KHUL later became KIKK-FM.

  15. The low buildings in the left foreground should be Med Center hospitals.  


    The background left edge looks like Cullen Center.  The Sheraton-Lincoln is probably one of the two structures shadowed to the left of the Exxon Building.  


    I thought that was too far out for S-L, I forgot about Cullen Center.


  16. I'm sticking with First City.  It's in the right place, and from a distance has a paneled appearance with its dark glass inset from the white marble outer grid.


    Sheraton Lincoln would be difficult from this angle - it might be the structure that's a bit lower than First City, immediately adjacent to and behind the Humble Building.


    Okay.  Thanks for the link.  Yes I miss the lobby and the plaza out front.  When I first came to town I was tempted to open an account at First City just so I could use that lobby.

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  17. A straight line drawn from the dome to the east side of downtown passes right in front of the Pavilions.  I was drawing lines toward Main Street last night, a mistake.


    The 1964 Historic Aerial shows a couple of large buildings just east of Holcombe and Braeswood, the two buildings in the photo to the left of the dome.  The Prudential, far off to the left, is very identifiable from the air.   Good resolution on this one.


    It doesn't seem to be possible to link directly to the image, only the home page.  I used the search parameters Braeswood and Holcombe, Houston  Texas

  18. There appear to me to be perhaps two buildings to the left of the crown of the dome with the one in front possibly Prudential, the second one I have no idea. 


    However, I have trouble with that being so close to the Pavilion, if that's what the subject of the original question was.


    I have been working on the assumption that the  low buildings at the left edge of the photo are the structures in the Med Center at that time that were on the eastern edge which rules out the Prudential, also.

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