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Everything posted by Croberts

  1. If you look in the westbury square discussion, there is an aerial photo of your street in the early 1960s, posted by 57Tbird. That photo appears in various forums, it shows up again in Sam Houston Airpark discussion.
  2. seems like a perfect topic for this forum, and if there is a sacred architecture in houston, it is modern. Do you know when this house was built or by whom? I lived in Westbury from 58-77, had a brother in law who lived on effingham, and I was once infatuated with a girl on green somthing next to the rr track. I think this was one of the last parts of westbury east of hillcroft to be filled in.
  3. Very good- I forgot to mention wood plank roads were more common in the south. They were called corderoy roads because of the bumps. What year was the request for bids or the baker mayorship?
  4. The idea of MacAdam roads were that they were paved with stones in layers of different sizes, and at the top, steel shod wagon wheels would pulverise the stones, and the dust would wash into the cracks, and form a binder. The advent of pneumatic rubber tires with tread destroyed these roads because the tread sucked the binder out and the roads would unravel. This lead to oil roads, asphalt roads and concrete roads, and occured after rubber tires became common, ie 1920s. Brick for streets was around a long time. Philadelphia streets had slate tracks for wagon wheels, granite curbstones and granite bricks for pavers. Sometimes brick was used, it was plentiful because it came in as ballast but was mainly used in houses. In the post civil war boom (the mcmansions of the industrialists who manufactured for the war, around rittenhouse square) georgia pine was cut into bricks and treated and used as pavers because wooden bricks made less noise that clay or granite bricks. When and why houston started paving with bricks I do not know. I know of no brick streets in austin, but corsicana has a lot of them still. Seems like my mother used to take me past one in the heights in the 1960s.
  5. I have now been through Andrew, Charley, a couple whose names I have forgotten, Wilma and Katrina (cat. 1 over florida). I still remember Carla as the most intense. We sat in the living room in Westbury, and watched Ronald Reagan in the Santa Fe trail after midnight. I was perhaps 6-8. We lost power for a few hours. We heard that tornadic winds took down powerpoles nearby, and found water mocassins in several backyards, from willow waterhole, we thought.
  6. I think there is a connection between these two. I do not know the history of buffalo speedway, but I know that the speedway in austin was part of Jac Gubbels park and boulevard system, which included 15th, and I think 12th, lamar boulevard and shoal creek park. Park and boulevard systems were designed to promote leisure transportation and recreation, and were a standard feature in urban planning from about 1890 till the 1930s. Speedway was an earlier term than freeway, and contemporary with parkway, which originally meant a linear park with a recreational road. The implication of speedway was that you could do up to 35 mph (the top speed of early autos, so like parkways, they included a design speed. The notion was that the road would not have intersections at every block so that the early auto could achieve its speed potential. However the term was replaced by freeway in the 1930s.
  7. This thread is exactly what I was looking for when I discovered HAIF last july. At that time I was researching skyscraper history for a lecture in my urban geography-american landscape course sequence. Houston has the best collection of skyscraper architecture in the 1970s-1980s for the following reasons in my view (lived there 1953-1979) 1. The early phase of industrial restructuring that resulted in global capitalism meant that large scale investments in rustbelt cities went slow. On the other hand, particularly after the arab oil embargo, there was much windfall profits to be invested by the oil companies in long term investments, ie skyscrapers. Houston in 1970s was what the rest of the world would become after 1990. 2. Philip Johnson who coined the term, intenational style pioneered the glass and steel skyscraper with Mies van der Rohe with the Seagram building in new your. Initially the reation was bad, it even had its taxes raised as punishment, but it did 2 things. It popularized the new architecture amoung people, and it promoted the interior plaza, which is now mandated for high rises in many cities. Johsons connection to the Demenils at the time that their circle was building many buildings makes Houston a virtual museum of international style, from the 1950s to about 1990. Their house should be purchased and made into a museum, or even shrine! Mirror glass office buildings are in my view the best symbol of global capitalism, every beltway in the nation is ringed with them, and they are full of office workers whose main task is to keep track of far flung corporate operation under flexible regiemes of production, ie factories in indonesia. How ever they are now thought to be passe for several reasons Johnson's environmentalism was superficial, they are not very green prone to send sheets of glass to the streets in high winds, ie the closing of downtown houston during hurricanes, when the city is not evacuated, the John Hancock experience in Boston (the plywood skyscraper), and many cities experiences in hurricanes. Finally, corporate arrogance. The interior plaza does nothing for the street, houston is the most frequently cited exaple of a non-pedestrian city, there is even an article entitled the death of the street about downtown in the 1980s. And the Enron scandle has marred the image of glass and steel towers. So it seems that "Space City" with its futuristic downtown, while a model of post 1990 capitalism, is also passe, currently. However, mirror glass skyscrapers may be a thing of the past, and johnson recognized this in some of his later designs, ie transco tower, going back to the radiant city idea, another form of international style. I think of the one architectural style that was developed in s.e. florida. That is mediteranean, by Addison Mizner. Its not really an architectural style, though, because Mizner was not really an architect. He was a designer, that had an eye for detail and a sense of taste and theatrics. He could not pass a college entrance exam, and was never formally educated. Many architectural historians then do not recognize meditteranean as a style. He built about 60 structures between 1918 and 1926 in Palm Beach county, jumping on the bandwagon of Italian renassaince, mission, and spanish eclectic, but claimed it was something new, by adding some venetian details, it was mediterranean. He was ruined in an enronesque scandal over his boca raton resort and club development, more or less banished from palm beach. The modern architects including Johnson hated his style and attacked it. Yet in the 1980s it revied, and Johnson himself built a mediteranean style museum in miami. And one of his last buildings was a mirrored Wachovia bank in boca raton. Style is cyclical, but you may not know it in houston, because things are torn down 5 minutes after they become passe. I hope that is not the fate of international houston, i really think that it is the place to see international style, and I hope the city protects this architectural legacy. That goes for contemporary and ranch style jewels as well
  8. THats the one! Thanks, I would have never remembered it.
  9. [ We regularly rode for miles on the flat concrete bottom of Brays Bayou, occasionally taking side "hikes" into the storm sewers that fed the bayou. There was one big pipe running up the middle of Stella Link in which you could walk (standing) all the way to Bellaire Blvd. I remember riding from rice to Herman park, stoping somewhere near stella link for bagels at a bakery I dont remember the name, and again near ost for antoines poor boys, then spending the day in the park and riding back. I never new that these woods had a name. I must have done this 50 times between about 1968 and 1972.
  10. In 1957-1959 I lived on Redstart street in (Willowmeadows, but that might not be the right "willow" subdivision). I used to climb up on the swingset and watch the siren at the local fire station rotate. we called it the friday noon whistle. I believe it was painted yellow.
  11. Yes, I agree, I saw pieces of the plane the day after, and they were perhaps a dozen yards north of the bayou. We got their by driving up hillcroft, and my memory may be wrong but it seemed like the pieces were just west of hillcroft. I think I was attending St Thomas Episcopal school in Meyerland, and I remember a kid talking about hearing the crash.
  12. The arrpwhead park monorail was totally different from the Fondren road monorail (see my description in the previous posting). To get to the car I had to walk on the rail itself, wrapping my arms around the girder that the car road on-so the car was above and sitting on the rail, rather than under the rail, as in the pictures of the arrowhead park monorail. So there were two different prototype monorails and three altogether, county the hobby airport monorail.
  13. Actually they are not building them any more. Bad Idea. Four hurricanes in the past 3 years have trashed some. All that needs to happen is one window break, and with hurricane force winds, the water trickles down. Developers dont care, since they cant get permits for new ones, the spot where trashed high rises exist are prime for new ones, since the zoning is in place. Currently there is one abandoned one in Palm Beach and another closed one on Singer Island. Rehab time for the singer island one- well its been two years and no potential date yet. One of the things that happens is that the building acts like a seawall, but with a beach in front of it, the enegy of the waves goes into eroding the sand- and undermining the foundations.
  14. At least two others have mentioned this somewhere, but there have been no photos so far. I remember that it stridled the rail, which appeard to be a single girder on a concrete wall, it had rubber tires like a car on either side of the rail, the operator had a lever with a grip that presumably was the brake, it had thick plexiglass windows-would have been amazing to ride in, especially in a storm. The Fondren road section started on the ground and rose up 15-25 feet (im guessing) and there was a couple of hundred yards of elevated track, i would guess. I last visited it when in the 5th grade, around 1965.
  15. I was in kindergarten or the first grade at St. Thomas Episcopal School in Meyerland. We were told to walk straight home, to never talk back to teachers, and to obey their orders immediately. We were told by teachers and parents that the children that were killed would have been saved if they had listened to their teacher and gone back into the classroom. These lessons were repeated for several years, and whenever I heard sirens during school I suspected it was a school bombing.
  16. This may be all folklore, but my grandparents lived on Fairview near shepard when they first moved to houston in the late 1920s. My grandmother continued to live near there till the late 1950s. She told me that Bonnie and Clyde were living in a house in the neighborhood, and that they robbed piggly wigglies (more than one) on Shepards Dam road (now shepard).
  17. I agree. I worked there shortly after it opened, when Donald Rainwater (the original head chef) was there. The food was very good then, and it was my most memorable experience as a chef. The kitchen atmosphere then was excellent- the chef, rather than the manager, controlled the kitchen and its output. This was 1978-1979. It was the human atmosphere and the physical environment that made the place then.
  18. She is right. The article was later than the 1950s, but before the system was completed, it was probably a mid 60s article. The cameras extended quite a ways down the freeway before the elevated.
  19. In the 1950s, houston was the first city to have cameras monitor traffic. The experiment was on the gulf freeway, the elevated downtown section. I recall there were also red/green lights on the ramps,designed to slow entry on ramps. They were timed by observers watching the cameras. They were using the cameras to monitor traffic flow, and this project was of great interest to traffic planners and engineers across the country. I never heard of it till I moved to new york and began to study urban planning and freeway design history. In palm beach county there are in the last two years, two sets of cameras at the intersections. One set is to monitor traffic flow, the other to photograph red light violators.
  20. I was there too. They used the sound system from Woodstock, and it was late arriving so the concert was delayed many hours. Ken Kesey and the Merry Pranksters were there and circulated amoung the audience keeping us entertained. That was the first time I saw Wavy Gravy. I did not see the poster from the second similar concert, which featured quicksilver, john mayall, a third band I dont remember and the greatfull dead. At that concert there was a minor riot when the dead broke into love light, and the crowd rushed the stage. The police were beating heads, and the drummer from the dead got involved. They cleared the auditorium but before the dead left stage they said "we will be back when we have a place of our own," hence the name of the later club "Of our Own"
  21. I was looking for skyscraper photos I could use in my Urban Geography class, particularly Pennzoil Place- instead I found a way to get answers to questions I have had since childhood- I lived in houston from 1953 to 1979. Rarely go there now, but I talk about Houston a lot in my Urban Geography and American Cultural Lanscape classes. Since I joined, I have checked new posts most every day, and started one discussion thread. I plan to start more when I have time. I am also working on scanning and posting historical maps and aerial photographs. I have also joined Kevins austin skyscraper forum and post and monitor that one. I have already learned new things about austin.
  22. Areas in SE florida developed after some point in the 1980s have their powerlines underground. After hurricane wilma, it was an HP and L bucket truck that restored the power in my neighborhood: we were below ground but the lines leading to us were above ground. The discussion of going to all underground lines has occured, after 4 power losses due to hurricanes in 2 years, but the cost of retrofiting quickly is enormous. The new areas will be underground, and the old ones will slowly be converted.
  23. Wow, I havent seen these posters in decades! This is the first reference to the Family Hand "earth foods" restaurant I have seen on HAIF. I wonder what ever happened to Ricky Sharp and Kerry Awn, two of the houston (and westbury?) artists that did some of these posters?
  24. The second bayou that Stu mentioned and I discussed in a previous email is visible on Google earth. The portion south of main looks similar to the way it looks in the 1960 photo. The portion north of main is buried or doesnt exist between main and westbury high water tower site. However, north of Chimney Rock on burdine, alongside the wesbury square site, it exists as a drainage ditch again. It appears to be buried, but exists as a right of way covered in grass up to willowbend blvd. Makes me wonder who built this and when- Its not there in 21, but is there in 60, and runs from at least willow bend to somewhere south of West Orem Drive. Too long for one landowner to have built it, I think, I wonder if it was not some part of flood control projects from the 1940s, that helped drain the westbury area for development?? In regards to the elephant bones, I have searched for them for years, but they dont seem to be on display in texas. Perhaps there was not enough to display, the texas memorial museum has a larger collection in warehouses than they have on display. That is where I heard they went.
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