Happy Historian

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Happy Historian last won the day on April 2 2013

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About Happy Historian

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  • Birthday 08/08/1955

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    University Green
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    preservation
  1. A Brief Guide to the Work Of Wylie W. Vale.

    Eagle Lake High School would now be part of the Rice Consolidated School District and they have no high school in Eagle Lake. I would probably guess that the building has been repurposed to another school type if it still exists. Their present high school is in Altair. Not a very dynamic area anymore as they are just waiting to be absorbed into the Houston Metro Blob that's eating it's way across the west. Rice production is way down since many of the established farming families aged to indifference after 40 years of the youth's exodus to the big city. Besides in Alvin, Katy, and Sugar Land they long ago decided it was easier to plant suburban sprawl over the most fertile farm lands in the state than actually farm. Other than some oil & gas production the major industry has been in the many gravel pits. For three generations my family was part of the Parker Brothers group that developed that resource. The overwhelming majority of aggregate that went into the concrete that built Houston/Galveston and southeast Texas since the 1930s came from that area. And there are still massive deposits there to continue with.
  2. Midcentury modern

    Gee willakers Robert, the link from Houston Mod be expired! Dogs REALLY like Glenbrook back yards! My family raised 7 there over the years. Lots of trees - no waiting.
  3. What was Main Street like before the light rail?

    As a guy who can recall Houston before suburban shopping malls, when you had to dress up in bow tie and suit to go downtown shopping, I'm fairly positive about current trends. Of course my mother and grandmother wore hat and gloves because Downtown was a vibrant wonder then. There were also street cars and numerous train tracks. We'd meet friends and leave from Union and Southern Stations in that area. Of course we had and drove the period land yachts too! And cruised downtown during Christams to see all the window decorations and lights, because that's where you went to see THE Santa. We then entered a period of de-centralization and it became a time where the bow tie and suit were replaced by discreet soft body armour and rapid transgression through the area without stopping. Big store windows were bricked up and everybody dodged and hid. We shopped at River Oaks, Palm Center and Gulfgate as they were built. We also wondered why they built that Astrodome thing way out in the country? During the 70s and 80s Downtown kept sliding really down. The core of our city was becoming a decaying core without vitality. The train and revamping are not entirely new concepts. Choking over conjestion of automobiles full of anxious perturbed people is not a real good plan for urban renewal, nor converting it completly into warehoused poverty. Did you know in the 1930s you could get from downtown Houston to the Galveston front faster than you can possibly get there today? Electric railways cars left Houston every hour or so every day. They then built the Gulf Freeway on top of it and it's been conjested and under construction continuously since. And besides that, when you ride the trains you can text to your hearts content - and not run over anyone or anything (unless another idiot fails to "see" the train!)
  4. Camp Logan Cemetary?

    Then there is the little infamous Camp Logan riot's that would have really enticed the military and pwers that be to erase and rapidly redevelop as soon as possible. A cemetary would also have been set aside on the area's deed plat maps of that period. I would assume the Harris County archives might be of use there. Unfortunately, none of that is available for a midnight webb browse - you have to get it the old fashioned way by physically digging and snooping.
  5. LSM 45

    Wow, the Houston/Galveston area shipyards were large contributors to the primary causality of the Allied victory in WW2 - U.S. industrial production. Brown Shipyard was at the end of Industrial road where my grandfather had built/run the Parker Brother's Shipyard on Green's Bayou until my father took over for him in the 1970s. Has always appealed to me to resurrect the San Jacinto Shipyard that was between the present Battleship Texas and Lynchburg Ferry. Make graving docks to store vessels like the Texas, this vessel, a subchaser, etc in drydocks to preserve them and tell the story of the real logistical might. That would be both the best for their prservation and telling the story of what it takes to build and especially maintain these vessels. They would also be in full view showing complete hulls, propellors, and how they really work. Buildings resembling the actual machine shops and working sheds could in addition house displays and active presentations for complete education. This would also be a lot more cost effective than an artistically overbuilt concrete planter concempt they are presently in love with. Plus, graving docks are reversable and it's what the Brisitsh have over a hundred years sucessful experience with in preserving HMS. Victory, Cutty Sark, and other historical vessels.
  6. Save the Jim West Mansion!

    Is now spruced up and has a DR34M sign out front.
  7. Original Golfcrest Country Club

    You may be right NenaE, I grew up in Garden Villas in the late 1950s to 1970. Saw a lot of area changes - BUT discovered girls somewhere in there and smooth clean lost my mind too! The yacht was broken up and hauled off sometime in the 1970s after mainly returning to nature.
  8. White Terrazzo Floors

    We've had several houses with terrazzo built in. The last one was design/built by my father for my grandparents in 1964 in Glenbrook Valley. Longevity depends upon the quality of the foundation and installer. They hold up to lots of little boys on steel roller skates, wagons, inumerable dog "accidents", droped plates/cups, thrown plates/cups/glasses, flower pots (fixed/overwatered and mobile), crashing fully loaded Christmas trees, kids in metal baseball/football cleats, golf shoes, and dragging pianos and sofas with minimal impact. Why do you think they use them in high traffic public spaces? It will definitely be THE only floor you put in. The residencial tradescape has since evolved into a lowest bidder litigious spiral causing the best trades to only do commercial where client's are more rationally managed. When you find a good trade with a reputation and verifyable history, make descisions, hire them, and let them do their job. I wish the people we used were still around (they've become VERY retired now), but trades that are good members of the trade association above mentioned will be your bet current bet.
  9. Save the Jim West Mansion!

    A quick glance of the county records still shows that Olajuwon Farms LLC still owns 3303 E. Nasa Boulevard (does anyone else REALLY dislaike renaming NASA Road 1 this "parkway" crap?) They bought it in October of 2006. It had belonged to Rice University until 1995. The property value jumped $1million this year and the owner's paid roughly $49K in taxes in 2011. $50K a year is a lot just to let something return slowly to nature. Looks like it's getting a basic spruce up for something. Not much long term thought going into putting up a steel tube fence there as it will only last 10 years at the most before totally rusting out - shorter if made of cheap import steel. But at least it's an improvement. The other house of note nearby is the one now used as the yacht club across the road behind the hotel at Bal Harbour Marina. That house is named Windemere in 1929 when built by a Hughes Tool Co. executive.
  10. Save the Jim West Mansion!

    I now live a mile or so away from it and drive by every few days. I grew up here and recall a few of our friends big boats piled up on the bridge by it after Carla blew through. I've noted the sprucing up - appears to be at a snail's pace for any significant rehab of a residence like that. I'm more than curious.
  11. Hermann Park Golf Coarse

    The golf course serves as a continuom of a cultural imperative. It's not for the masses, but for the masses to aspire to and the few to demonstrate by example. It's like the sport of fishing - not about catching any fish, but taking the time to exercise and think while casually occupied. Golf is far more about a positive social experience rather than manicly slamming the bejeesus out of a little plastic ball then anxiously praying it will miraculously seek a hole. I miss the stables and bridle path that used to allow one to relaxingly canter among the oaks around the park. I enjoyed feeding the ducks while picnicing and climbing all over the locomotive that once rested there when an embryonic Houston was far more bright potential than contemporarily conjested delima. The best use of that land is preserving a public course where small groups of communicating people engage in social interaction and problem solving outcomes while comfortably recreating rather than hordes herding with blaring iDevices shouting into multi cell phones while trampling everything in sight.
  12. Glenbrook Valley Historic District designation

    If you notice on the photo where it is marked "I45" that is actually the road bed of the Houston - Galveston Electric railway. You could get to Galveston faster from downtown Houston in the 1930s than you can now. The Gulf Freeway was built over much of that railroad bed. Those streets were not there in 1944 south of Sims Bayou as that was mainly the Burton horse ranch. Telephone road was just that - a road built along the telegrah then telephone line then State Highway 35. Garden Villas was there as it had begun in the mid 1920s with Carter Lumber developing the airport. Belfort wasn't built through until the early 1960s with the bysecting of then GolfCrest Country Club. I remeber seeing JFK drive by on Broadway as he came into the airport. The next day he flew to Dallas and the world forever changed ...
  13. Switching subjects

    I've recently begun a new renovation project in a residence designed by M. Arthur Kotch originally built about 1958. Throughout it has apparently original light switching that I had never seen before. So far I think they are relay type low voltage switching made by Sierra Electric. Here is a view of a single and a triple light switch. Has anyone else had any experiences with these? The homeowner presently plans to leave these in place and clean as many plates and switches of the many coats of paint that now cover some. There are matching receptacles and even a dimmer in the residence that all appear to work. Of course, the receptacles are dual prong with no ground.
  14. Glenbrook Valley Historic District designation

    I'm excited. The neighborhood began where the Gulf Freeway's initial concrete span changed to asphault for the long run to Galveston in the early 1950's. Imagine being an upwardly mobile professional able to get on the nation's first post war super highway to their office downtown in minutes! And there was also THE regional internatiopnal airport next to the neighborhood - how convenient! When the NASA folks were doing their national site selection tour they came right up Broadway through Glenbrook. That dispelled the "hicks in the stix" stigma Houston had then. And JFK and Jackie drove right up Broadway in an open limo on the day before their trajic Dallas visit. Glenbrook Valley has a rich history and a right to a bright future again.
  15. Sputnik Disappears- Modern World in Crisis

    That completely explains my sag in energy as of late!