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Everything posted by LarryDallas

  1. I doubt anything will be going in where the building stood. The north side of Pasadena is economically depressed and is shambles. The major retailers have almost all pulled the plug on the mall. The strip malls and restaurants are on the low end of retail. No one is getting into bidding wars to purchase residential real estate in that area. The city will pick up all of the rubble and leave the pavement/parking lot as is then put a lot for sale sign on it. The only way some major investment in a structure will be made is if a local, state, or federal building is constructed in the site. The demolition today was inevitable. It was all about location. If this building had been located in the Kirby, downtown, or Bellaire area it would have been kept well maintained, stayed occupied, and received Historic Building protection. I worked in Pasadena around 15 years ago and would see this building regularly. It’s sad to know it is gone but the reality of the area made preservation/restoration impossible. The asking price when it was on the market was super cheap for a reason.
  2. Great thread. I've lived in the area about 17 years and these are the changes I have seen: The shopping center next to Westbury Square: Blockbuster closed about 6-8 years ago and became a cash advance store The anchor store was an HEB in the late 1990s. They had a chronic problem with shoplifting and finally called it quits around 2005. The store identical in size at Chimney Rock and S. Brasewood still exists. The HEB that closed became a 99 Cent Only store. In 2009 that chain was going to close all Texas stores but they changed their minds. Meyerland Auto used to be at the Chimney Rock side of the center. It moved to S. Post Oak about 5-7 years ago. They divided the space and the car repair bays changed hands twice in terms of who leased them. The main office of Meyerland Auto became a check cashing place. The bank changed from Bank One to Chase roughly 5-6 years ago; it was never a Washington Mutual though. If any place needs gentrification it is that center. It's 100% ghetto now and should just be demolished to develop single family homes or condos. On Willowbend east of Stella Link right before the second set of RR Tracks on the north side of the road there was Kruger Motorsports that closed around 2001. It looked to be a chain gas station at some point prior to a repair shop. The building was demolished a few years later and now it is just a vacant lot. A bit towards Stella Link on that same side of the street was a C- store in the strip mall that had virtually no customers ever. It closed around 2002. In that same strip mall was a small shoe repair store an old man used to run. He had a hug collection of die cast toys he collected for decades in his store. I had shoes repaired there around 1998 and he took a lot of pride in his work. I guess he died; the store has been shuttered for at least 8 years now. There was also a barber shop next to his store that closed at roughly the same time. At the east end of the center was a resale shop in the early 00s that was converted into a banquet hall. It looks as if this has closed too. The entire center is now vacant and shuttered.
  3. I was the complete opposite; I used to hate Studio 30 because of the giant parking lot and how that whole area in those days had the wannabe "racers" with car culture going on. They used to drag race at lights on Westheimer all of the time and it kind of lead up to that notorious HPD raid in the K Mart parking lot where they grabbed pretty much anyone who was young and hanging out there that weekend in August of 2002 to charge them with trespassing since they were not even in vehicles and could not be charged with a moving violation. Over 200 people got arrested because that's how bad the street racing problem was in those days and the police just went on a fishing expedition. The K Mart used to be where Home Depot is now on Dunvale and Westheimer. The traffic is so bad these days I doubt they can race even if they wanted to. http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/news/740780/posts I LOVED Meyer Park 14 before it got all ghetto. The first time I went there was in 1989 with friends to see Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. The last movie I saw there was Fast and the Furious part 2 when the theater was in it's decline. Some elderly lady was shot and killed in the Randall's parking lot behind the theater in the following years during a robbery when she was getting in her car. The Meyerland theater was also a favorite of mine because it was small and built on a human scale compared to the mega sized theaters. It did not last long; less than 15 years I would estimate. They extended the strip of stores over where it used to be and you would never know it was there if you look at it now. The building used to have really pretty neon on it too. The Sharpstown mall theater; I saw Dumb and Dumber there in 1994. We parked in the Foley's garage and that's the last time I was in the mall before it really went downhill. Once JC Penny pulled their store it was the beginning of the end. I'm surprised by how long Fingers Furniture and Macy's stayed there. I did go back to the mall in mid 2014 to just check it out. It's a must do because it is haunting to walk the same corridors some 20+ years later and remember what used to be there. The elevator in front of what used to be the Time Out video arcade is completely unchanged. I never really had a connection to Gulf Gate mall but I did see the movie Independence Day in the theater there. We parked at the mall and took the pedestrian bridge over 610. It was kind of run down even then but those were simpler times for sure.
  4. 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.
  5. UPDATE The Westbury Centerette, the Exxon ruins, and the strip mall next to Autozone are history now. The teardown started about 2 weeks ago and they have already hauled off the waste. Now they are breaking up the pavement to go down to soil that has not seen daylight in over 50 years so I assume they will start building soon. In other words, this is not just a tear down and leave it looking ghetto with the foundation and parking lot still there kind of deal. These were taken yesterday March 30, 2015 facing southwest on Cedarhurst at Moonlight. The laundry place was right at the corner in photo 1 and the Exxon used to be behind the middle tree in the row of 3 in photo 2.
  6. In the late 1980s is when I last noticed that sign; sad to see it gone. They were fools to cut it up. It could have been sold to a private collector if they did not want that roach to be associated with the company any longer.
  7. I just need a little over $9.5 mill and I would buy it. http://search.har.com/engine/2307-River-Oaks-Bl-Houston-TX-77019_HAR17501491.htm The county records show a major renovation was done in 2007 so I doubt it looked exactly like that in the days he was there but still kind of a cool part of history to own. He actually died in the house in 1993. http://www.chron.com/CDA/archives/archive.mpl/1993_1121241/frank-sharp-dies-in-sleep-at-age-87-success-scanda.html
  8. http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/metropolitan/7310659.html The red light camera issue was nothing compared to this. Most people I know don't even know about the downtown cameras that already number in many and will soon number in many many more. How soon before they put a camera in your house and your car so they can "help you" if you are in trouble?
  9. One of his photos is from behind the wing, that's why.
  10. Really? In the same location? It had shut down for a few years. Last time I was there was maybe 2007ish.
  11. GREAT thread and I'm glad I found it. I actually went by that Sears in Santa Monica, CA in January of this year. The famous pier is just a short walk away and unfortunately the LA traffic kept me from doing both attractions so I chose the pier. FYI it costs $5 to park in that Sears but the pier parking is free if you stay under an hour in the winter time. Anyway...getting back to Sears downtown Houston. My memories with it go back to the early 80s when my dad worked downtown and would go at times to buy tools. He took me there sometimes on the weekend and I distinctly rememeber the escalators someone else mentioned. For the most part the 1980s were a very dark time for this part of town. The sidewalk by Sears smelled like urine, there were homeless people on the sidewalk that runs along the east side of the building, and even inside it just looked dirty. The bricked in glass was very ugly. The basement tool department is one of the best in the city but being realistic I don't think this store will ever be restored to the art deco style. The Cafeteria by the parking lot was still around in the 80s as was the key shop. Both sit vacant now. We also used to go on the other side of the parking lot to the "FireSale" store directly on the other side of Main St. from the church. I have not set foot in that building in at least 20 years but they would have tons of laundry detergent and clothes from other stores that were liquidated. The shop was in very poor repair then but that's just the way things were. Anyone know what used to be where the Fiesta store on Wheeler sits? Also, what was on that parking lot between Sears and Fiesta? When the elevated section of HWY 59 went in did it wreck the area? My dad still goes to the barber school on the other side of the Sears parking lot. I think it's $3 haircuts but he mostly goes to chat with them about the goings on in the area since he used to be around that part of town the 80s and likes to walk down memory lane. He actually had a really bad wreck at the intersection of Richmond and Wheeler making a left turn onto Wheeler when a Cadillac going west of Richmond crossed the yellow line and totalled his Buick....that was around 1988 I think.
  12. Excellent photos by all in this thread. I flew in to HOU on gloomy and cloudy days this year. The pilot kept swaying the plane right and left on the most recent flight so it got very quiet inside. I'll have to take photos the next time. LoneStarMike, what camera did you use and what airline had windows so clean you can't tell they are there in photos?
  13. I recently completed the final treatment with a local Houston area doctor and would reccomend him to anyone in town because of the outstanding service and attention to detail. It would be kind of nice to have an area of HAIF someone could go to read up on a doctor, car dealer, painter, etc... Perhaps to avoid any liability with phoney bad reviews written out of spite only allow postings of positive experiences so those businesses and people can get more business from HAIFers who know will know where to go for good service. The bad things kind of tend to weed out themselves if people know about the good and go there. Let me know what you all think. I came up with the classifieds section idea and it has worked out pretty well.
  14. They should get rid of both Greg Hurst and Lucy Noland. Both seem very phoney and like plastic people. They are a poor fit for a historically southern town that is not about those things. They will never find another Steve Smith but maybe give Len Cannon the top job and find another lead female anchor. Cannon is pretty good and does not sensationalize or BS at all. The interview he did with Rick Perry the last time he was up for election was awesome. Greg Hurst did one as well but his was not nearly as good. Ron Trevino is also a good anchor at KHOU and should perhaps do the morning show. Put Arenas on the noon show instead. KHOU has for a long time been the best major news broadcast in town. Their special hometown topic stories are often great.
  15. I voted against all 3 props. because we do not need a rain tax and because IMHO residency requirements to run for local office should be more like 5 years instead of even 12 months. We should not have outsiders who do not know the city well and have been a part of it become leaders here. If they want to become true Houstonians give it time and then qualify. On the red light cameras; I am against them because: -$44 million dollars pretty much went and left the city economy; to Arizona in fact....did not even stay in Texas -The disgusting relationship of city govt. and private business to strip the public of money is deplorable. Yes, this was all about money and had nothing to do with safety. All of the tickets were civil offenses and none were criminal. In other words, if you could afford it you could run as many lights as you wanted, pay your money, and be on your way. The offense should have been criminal and the penalty should have been points added to your license, suspension of license, and even having it taken away from chronic problems. Maybe even jail time if you kept doing this over and over. That would have been about safety and getting bad drivers off of the road and before a judge. -We had existing laws for red light runners. HPD should put officers at the most notorious intersections to catch the people who run the lights. The revenue from the tickets would pay for the officers to be there...DUH!!!! This not rocket science. Ronald Green is just a fear monger saying the $10 million shortfall will cause severe cut in the city services and job loss. If that money was supposed to go for safety campaigns and trauma centers as a supplimental income then why was it budgeted as part of the base/core opperations source of funding to begin with? Hopefully that lawyer who started the cause and got the issue on the table will now sue city because he claims the cameras violated the constituion (not sure how but I am not a lawyer). He should in his case demand that the city refund all drivers who were fined. That would be fun.
  16. I am 99% sure it will be demolished and the company that sits right behind it will expand their existing building or just have a lot. I wanted to purchase one of those lights because they have been there since day one but were left dormant sometime in the 1970s when they added other lighting. Anyway, they said the building was sold and they did not want to breach the terms of the sale by parting things out. So I got the number of the new owner but he never returned my call so I was unable to buy. Sadly, they will probably all end up at a dump somewhere. The building is still there as of today so swing by if you want to at least see if from the street. The wrecking ball will probably swing before X-mas I'm sure.
  17. Houston in the 80s was a GREAT place to live. More than anything specific it had a lower population plus the mentality of people was generally with a positive outlook on things and less hostility. I suppose that is true for all of our culture in the nation. These days people get into an arms race with giant SUVs with tinted windows for privacy and as soon as they get home to their planned community and the garage door drops behind them they are completely isolated from the world. There is some kind of anti-social pathology in the aggregate with this "me me me" egomania and self indulgence. Back in the 80s Houston was more of a traditional southern town where people really did say "howdy" to complete strangers and if you made eye contact with a stranger randomly they were more apt to say hello or at least nod instead of looking away in fear or due to anti-social mental disorder. Downtown was in ruins for the most part and the idea of lofts and urban living was not the in thing. We did have Houston House and the Savoy was still open but people were still flocking to suburbia. I would say we had at least 40% fewer cars on the road and people were much more friendly on the roadways. Prior to the late 1980s expansion of the SW freeway I think we had only 3 lanes going in each direction but it still worked. Something just went wrong in the 90s and what was traditional Houston culture was lost. It was not exactly like carpetbaggers who came to the south after the civil war and altered it but to some extent it was. The best things about the 80s I can recall: 1. That lights lasers show in downtown 2. Sharpstown mall before it declined hard 3. Kiddies Wonderland was still around 4. Astroworld was cheap and nice 5. The Origional X-mas store 6. Houston Zoo was free and not all corporate littered like now 7. JSC NASA was free and focused on science instead of being a playground; you could drive up to rocket park in your own car! 8. Woolworth downtown as stil a true 5 and dime store 9. Marvin Zindler was at the top of his game (plus The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas added to his fame) 10. METRO seemed to just conduct public transit business instead of being a front for deep corruption, illegal deals, and leaders with phoney diplomas/qualifications. As a bonus....I don't think the director of the YMCA Houston took home about 60% of all income they generated back in the 80s like he does now. The "good ole boy" days in Houston seem mild compared to what is normal these days. 7.
  18. I think the buick dealer at Hillcroft and Bellaire was Bob Marco Buick which shut down sometime in the early 90s. The structure is still there but it has been divided into small independent shops that sell food, clothes, music, etc.. Southwest VW was at the SE corner of Hillcroft and Harwin where the X-brand blue roof malls are located now. They closed sometime in the early 90s as well. My dad has a 73 bug that was bought new at that place. The old Southwest Lincoln Mercury location on the northbound feeder of 59 just south of Hillcroft is a puzzle to me. It has sat vacant for over 15 years when they moved further down 59 closer to the beltway. Pretty much everything is still intact but just delapidated from abandonment. They do have 2 classic cars that have sat in the showroom since they left. I can't say if they are complete cars that could run or just shells but they look too good to just leave behind like that.
  19. Here are some photos I took on the final day of business (Aug 31, 2010). If you drive by as of today the building is still there and you might see people inside moving things and vacating what is left over if you go on a weekday. I talked to one of the yard workers on the last day and this was aparently the last of 14 Houston area stores. The owner is pretty much filthy rich and has a 200 acer ranch in SE Texas which is where all of the unsold stuff will be transfered to. They had firesale prices on that final day....I bought (3) 2x14s 16 footers for $3 each and 20 cents a foot for treated 1x4s 12 footers. Pretty much everything you see in the photos has been there since 1946. All of the lumber for the shelter has been there since day 1 and survived the heat/humidity/hurricanes of SE Texas for over 60 years.
  20. If you plan to buy look into Kingwood. It is very close to Humble (15 minutes drive). The internship is temporary so the 30-40 minute drive to the Woodlands is not that bad. Kingwood is safe and has good schools. Also there are a lot of trees and shade if that is the kind of thing you like. $150K will buy a small house there in a clean safe area.
  21. I do not know exactly what her contract said but I'm pretty sure it was not like the one Connan O'Brian had where they would pay him millions of dollars if they decided to remove him from the air. 3.2 mil for a local anchor that does not even get the prime time broadcast spot? KPRC has been just tabloid style garbage since the mid 90s. It was okay when Jan Carson, Craig Roberts, Bob Nicholas, et al...were there. The handover to the next generation was a disaster.
  22. Yes, this place is not in Metro Houston but this topic will get many more views here so I ask the moderators to keep it here. I work in Pasadena and needed some lumber today so rather than go to a big box I decided to go by South Texas Lumber because it is closer and just walking back in time when you are on the property. I walked in and the showroom is almost empty and a closed sign is on the door. So then I got the bad news of the closure. You can read all about it at the link below. They were supposed to close last month but they stayed open a bit longer to be rid of the inventory. Even if you do not need to buy anything I would suggest you stop by and check out the builing and grounds. Everything is pretty much dating back to 1946 and it feels like you are on a movie set there. The most impressive thing is the design of the outdoor lumber yard shelter and how the timbers of the structure are the ones installed back in the 40s. Also be sure to check out the shed area where plywood was once stored. EVERYTHING is so well built and crafted....my jaw dropped. I am very sad to see this place go. A few of the employees I spoke with said that the business directly behind them bought the property so I would assume it will be demolished completely and we lose another historic building. It's almost a holy place IMHO.....Since July 5, 1947 think of all of the workmen and builders than passed through those doors, all of the trucks that drove into that lumber yard out back, and the wood that passed through those gates to end up building huge areas of Pasadena over the decades. You have to check out the safe.....apparently some kids broke into the place in the 1970s so they got it secondhand as a model built in the 1920s. I hope someone takes that thing home and it is not recycled for the metal. Just everything about the place is before the time of "made in taiwan or made in china". The staff is very friendly and will speak with you to answer questions and mention trivia. Oh, but do stop by sometime this week coming up because they are almost ready to close forever. If anyone from STLC is reading this I wish you the best of luck in whatever you do next and I hate that your business is going away. Best Wishes though. http://www.hcnonline.com/articles/2010/06/25/pasadena_citizen/news/061310_lumber_company.txt This place is located in Pasadena just south of 225 on Pasadena Blvd. I will probably go by again with a camera and take tons of photos so look for them soon.
  23. Wow small world. My family used to rent at the Belmont Apartments that were a stone's throw from the Coca Cola place. They were right behind the red brick apartments that were built around 1992 on the Bissonnet side. I lived there between 1995-1997 and they rented a 2 bedroom 1 bath for $525 with a shaded parking space and all bills paid. Those were good times. The area was super nice and clean plus the lawns and trees were huge in that property. These days a similar apartment in that 77005 zip code costs well over $1500 and you pay your own bills while living in a cramped space where you see just concrete and walls when you look out your window. The Belmont apartments were torn down in 1997 not from a lack of maintenance but the sale of the property. A giant retirement place sits on the land now and they cut down all of the trees. Do you remember that Mercedes/BMW/Porsche repair shop on the Coca Cola side of the street about a block up to the east on Bissonnet? It had been there for at least 20 years but I recently drove past that area and saw that a restaurant called "Mateo's" has gone up. I've been in Houston about 30 years and the townhomes are exactly the same as they always have been.
  24. I started shopping them for work related reasons a few years ago. The place is always so busy that you can't take up their time and get into a conversation about the place. The building looks to be at least as old as Arnie's Warehouse on the other side of downtown. They have no air conditioning and leave the seemingly original windows open all of the time. There is new duct work there so maybe central HVAC is in the works. Anyway, it is like going back in time. Any info on the building on the other side of their parking lot? It also looks to be very old. My dad used to buy odds and end there when I was a kid so I know it has been there for years. What was in the building before? Any trivia or details would be appreciated. BTW, this is the place on Congress just SE of HWY 59 in the warehouse district.
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