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Everything posted by Malvie

  1. LOL, I vividly remember them narrowing Westheimer's lanes between 610 and Gessner. Great care had to be exercised in the MUCH LARGER and less easy to control cars we had then. I remember dodging the buses, and your memory is spot on about the lanes just -ending-. No warning, no help, no kidding, just suddenly you were in a lane that wasn't there any more. Then you had to get over by squeezing in. You were talking about growing up here; I grew up in Dallas, Ft. Worth, and San Antonio, and I can assure you, none of those places were nearly as wild as Houston. When I first got here (as a 21 year old fresh college grad) in 1979, it was like this: if it was Friday and you didn't have at least ONE party invitation for the weekend, something was desperately wrong. Usually, the difficulty was figuring out how to fit all the parties in, together with all the other activities (baseball in the Dome featuring Nolan Ryan, festivals, ALWAYS something to do.). If you were bored in Houston in the 70's, it was your own fault. Friendliest big city I've ever seen, full of fun and interesting people who knew how to work and knew how to play. Moved back to Dallas and the difference was striking---Houston was wide-open, Dallas was restrained; Houston was friendly, Dallas was reserved; Houston was full of partying singles, Dallas was full of young churchgoing married people with kids. Huge differences. Great thread.
  2. Boogaloo, that was without a doubt the finest and most entertaining series of posts I've ever read on this forum (and I've read a lot of them; I just don't post much). Thank you a TON for all that fascinating info! I lived here in 1979, and, as I said, I always thought that "when I grew up and got rich" (ha) I'd like to live over here. I lived in "Swingin Singlesville" Southwest Houston, at Bissonnet and what is now Beltway 8 (but what was then not even West Belt; it was just a wide open swath of land that "some day" they were going to build a freeway on. I had to wait a week to move into my apartment; it was called DoubleTree, a new Harold Farb, and I had to take it at "preconstruction" (meaning I had to sign the lease while it was being built) in order to even GET an apartment. Then, when it was ready, I had to wait a week because they couldn't get the water connected---there weren't enough City workers to connect it that fast, Houston was growing by 2,000 residents a week at that point. Anyway, I was in and out of the city (I've moved all over the country since then) periodically over the years and it's changed (has it ever...). I KNEW that Briar Forest was NOT constituted like it is now, I just couldn't remember what it was like---it stopped at Rivercrest! And Chimney Rock didn't go through to IH 10, either (I'll bet there was some rich folks hue and cry over that when they cut it through). I remember the Westchase Hilton being all shiny and new; I stayed in it many times when coming back to Houston on business. This area out here was "far west Houston" then, and Dairy Ashford, as I recall, was just about the end of the civilized universe---fields and ranches past it. I remember Andrau Airpark vividly, and Westpark was a road with a railroad track and power lines beside it. Bellaire Blvd. stopped somewhere about where the Beltway is, and I remember driving on the "newly expanded" Westheimer out to Highway 6 when there was literally nothing out there. A subdivision here and there and a lot of cows. I wrecked my new car on Highway 6. Why? I was dating this girl in Tomball (!), and I'd been up to Tomball to see her and came back down 1960 to Highway 6 down to the (then 4 lanes each way past Bissonnet) Southwest Fwy, then home. Highway 6 was mostly 2 lane, but they were expanding it and it was under construction. The young lady and I had, um, imbibed quite a bit, and I was driving home when I shouldn't have been, and, well, I ran into the cones and off into the rebar/open construction area. The car would still go and I left the scene (is the statute of limitations expired at this point? 31 years ago, wowsers...). It was the company's car and I had to pay to fix it myself before they found out. That was somewhere around the current Highway 6 and Briar Forest, and there was absolutely, positively nothing out there (I was the only car on the road). I remember the first time I went that way, I was shocked that Westheimer went all the way out there (and stopped). Your descriptions of the area are amazing and wonderful, Boogaloo. You are a great storyteller in the grand old Texas tradition!
  3. Like you, I live in the West Houston area. I've lived in Houston twice in my life; in 1979 and now. I remember "Sunday driving" out in this area where I live now, thinking, "Gee, I'd sure love to live here some day!" and I do.... I've found out a couple of things (probably discussed elsewhere on this forum, so please don't everybody jump me). 1. How Dairy Ashford got its name: It's one of those Houston-special hyphenated names, denoting place to place. "Dairy" was what is now Alief, and referred to a concentration of dairy farms in the area. "Ashford" was a small community located close to the current Westheimer/Dairy Ashford intersection. So the road between them was "Dairy-Ashford", just like "Barker-Cypress", "Aldine-Bender", etc. I am not aware of another area that names roads like this. 2. There is recent work from UH and Rice indicating that there are a large number of geologic faults in the area, which are responsible for the terrible condition of the roads---and the foundations---in the area. I don't remember, though, from 1979 when I was driving my company car (and their gas...) around out here looking at houses, the now bombed-out intersection of Wilcrest and Briar Forest at all. If anybody knows, what grocery store was there before Food Town? Was it a nice shopping center? Did it start to go bad with the arrival of the Katrina refugees, or was it going downhill beforehand? I just remember everything out here being new in 1979.
  4. Depends what part of Gessner. My second trip to Houston (first was on a Super Constellation with my mother; I was 3 and wearing saddle oxfords and a sailor suit...Mother had her Jackie Kennedy pillbox and wore heels, pearls, and a suit) was in 1973; my aunt had a brand new 73 Lincoln Mark IV and I had a learners' permit; she handed me the keys and let me drive all the way! Her friend had taken a job as an apartment manager and we all went to see her; she was managing these apartments waaaaaaaaaaay out in the west part of town---Gessner and IH 10. When I moved to Houston in 1979, I lived southwest (where all the other young single people lived) in a brand-new Harold Farb apartment that I had to lease pre-construction (so as to get an apartment at all). It was on Bissonnet (my gf's family lived in Missouri City; I thought it would be a good compromise). It backed up to this great greenbelt; they were going to build a freeway on it at some point in the distant future (Beltway 8). All of that was west of Gessner---but just barely. There were a few strip centers on Gessner (mostly in the middle of empty fields). They built the brand-new Hilton Westchase---standing all by itself---and I remember thinking, "Who on earth would stay all the way out here? How will they keep it going?" I remember driving around the neighborhood where I now live. It was out in the middle of the rice fields north of Andrau Airpark. The houses were "beautiful" to me; I remember thinking, "I wish I could afford to live there some day." Well, here I am. This seemed like "halfway to San Antonio" then; now it's right in town. While I no longer think the houses are "beautiful" , I do still love the neighborhood (I always have liked the "Houston/Cal-contempo" style, and I still do). It looks better now with mature trees; "civilized". I've lived all over the US since then, and wound up back here. I maintain this is the friendliest big city to which I've ever been; I love the architecture here and the big freeways and all the great diversity. To the OP: thanks for the tip, I'd never heard of historical maps being available on Google Earth, either.
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