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H8S 4 LIFE

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  1. details courtesy of AllAccess: http://www.allaccess.com/net-news/archive/story/92845/cox-houston-changes-in-the-works
  2. One flips from Spanish to English (57), so two flip to Spanish. (51, and now 55) http://news.morningstar.com/all/ViewNews.aspx?article=/GNW/221237_univ.xml
  3. Irontiger is correct. There are no visible rails on North Main. The rails are under the pavement, at least from what my father told me many years ago. There are two long "cracks" in the asphalt at that intersection. They are in the center of the road as you are coming north on Studewood and head towards North Main. This is the same direction as the railcar ran, which led me to believe my father was correct in his statement that the rails were simply paved over as opposed to removal. A few years ago, I was disappointed when Studewood was reconstructed as I was hoping that there would be an extraction of the original rails that went down the street. No rails were there, which made me wonder if my father was wrong in his recollection. I simply don't know at this point.
  4. The Kroger at West 20th in The Heights was originally a Weingarten's (the whole strip including the Walgreen's portion) then contracted to just the footprint as it is now. After Weingarten's got out of the grocery biz in '84 it was changed to a Safeway. That lasted until AppleTree and then as it is now as Kroger's. Kroger on West 43rd started off the same way, as a Weingarten's, then Safeway, then AppleTree, then Kroger, now a parking lot with the big Kroger next door to the original store. The furniture store at West Lil' York and the Northwest Fwy was indeed a Safeway originally. It became an AppleTree, then a Kroger, then closed and became a couple of different furniture outlets over the years. There was an AppleTree/Safeway at West Mt. Houston (Hwy 249) and Bingle that is still vacant to this day, I believe. I haven't been by there in quite awhile but it had not been occupied since AppleTree last I drove by. Also, there was a Safeway/AppleTree at West Gulf Bank and Bingle. It too, never became another grocer after AppleTree and sat vacant for several years until some company bought it and made it into a warehouse as it is now. IIRC, the grocery store in the same strip as Furr's Cafeteria at North Freeway between West Dyna and Aldine Bender was a Safeway as well. I don't remember it ever making a transistion to AppleTree, so that may be a mistake. It was either Safeway or Randall's. The Rice Epicurean on lower Westheimer was indeed a Safeway/AppleTree. Not sure about Dunlavy and W. Alabama.
  5. The old SP line that basically paralleled Southwest Fwy was called the "Kenedy Line". Here is a couple of pics of the old Kenedy courtesy of abandonedrails.com. http://www.abandoned...es/ngxf0o1o.jpg http://www.abandonedrails.com/resources/pictures/nqs4djq2.jpg http://www.abandonedrails.com/resources/pictures/7wubkdlg.jpg I remember when it used to cross west of the diamond behind what now is Fox 26. I'm not sure what was back there near Greenbriar/Shepherd that the line still serviced but the tracks were still in use up to Shepherd until the late 80's and Ringling Bros. used the small section between Weslayan and Kirby to park the Circus train until The Summit/Compaq Center closed its doors. There are more abandoned railroads in Houston than I can ever recall. There once was a southbound spur from the SP main that crossed Washington Avenue, had a long bridge over Memorial and Allen Pkwy, and crossed W. Dallas. That line was abandoned when the Ed Sacks Paper Co. closed. The Katy line mentioned above turned south at Dowling and crossed I-45 service road once it was east of downtown. This portion of the Katy was abandoned and tracks removed after MKT was purchased by UP in '88. The Heights had its own SP spur as well. It split off of the SP main where Wal Mart is going to be located and ran parallel with Yale until you reached 7th street. It turned west and ran next to the Katy until it reached Nicholson and then diamonded across the Katy and headed north paralleling Nicholson street until 25th street where it ended at the big warehouse. ...and I guess you could call it an abandoned railroad, as there are trolley rails underneath the pavement on North Main. The only place that I have ever been able to tell where the trolley tracks were is at the intersection of Main, 20th, Calvacade, and Studewood. Look in the middle of the intersection and you will see it clearly....only you probably didn't know what caused that near perfect pair of cracks in the asphalt while you sat at the light.
  6. Yes there was. In the same strip as Hungry Farmer. I don't recall Shakey's though. That Alfie's location lasted up until the early 90's.
  7. Is there enough time to list all of them? I'll keep it to the top 10 in my daily travels. These would be in the north side, since I rarely travel down to the south side of Houston. 10. Gulf Bank @ Hardy Rd. Gulf Bank goes over Hardy Toll Rd. yet there is a light to stop Hardy traffic going southbound for a one lane right turn for the one car every 3 hours that doesn't cross the bridge on Gulf Bank. The other side has the poles for the lights from when the toll road was built, but never had lights placed on them. Shows how pointless these signals were from the start. 9. Yale at I-10. That one has always been a mystery to me. What's the point, when there's no light on the other side of Yale and 10? I think it's because if there were no light there, the county believes the 10 westbound feeder traffic would snarl up Heights Blvd. In all my years in the Heights, this has never been the case. 8. Yale at 22nd. I know. Hamilton Jr. High is there, 22nd is the back entrance to Hamilton, but for years there was a light at 21st and Yale and nothing at 22nd. The city then removed the light at 21st and traffic flowed well...until the 22nd st. light was erected. This light means that at 3 of 4 intersections between 19th and 22nd there is a stop light. It's overkill. 7. North Shepherd @ W. Montgomery. It's a left turn light off of N. Shepherd onto W. Montgomery. It needs to be eliminated. You can turn left at the very next street which is also lighted and make your way to W. Montgomery adding no extra time to the trip. This whole intersection is screwy since they redid N. Shepherd. 6. Cotillion Rd. @ Hwy 525/Aldine Bender. Not enough cross traffic on Cotillion to warrant this light whatsoever. 5. Airline Dr. @ Burress. It used to be a simple red light that when a handicapped person from Independance Hall pushed the button, the light would stop Airline traffic for the pedestrian to cross. Now, they have incorporated the light with Burress and it is a huge mess with 4 different red lights (2 on each side of Airline). Traffic snarls here constantly. 4. W. 24th @ Durham & Shepherd. Never understood these lights as W. 24th is just not that busy. Ever. 3. Airline Dr. @ Service Rd./Link Rd. Service and Link are not directly across from each other, and Airline is way too busy in this area to warrant a stop light at this "intersection". 2. Yale @ Victoria. Can not for the life of me figure out why this one ever made it up. Victoria dead ends into Yale. Just like many other streets along Yale, so what makes this intersection so special? Light on Yale stays red way too long and again is overkill since there is another red light one block south at Thornton Rd. 1. Parker Rd. @ Northline St. The city's worst placed and least needed red light, and it's brand new. This was an installation after they rebuilt Parker into a 4 lane road. This is the biggest waste of electricity and signal use in Houston, at least in the Northside. Taking it in a different direction, how about intersections that NEED a red light desperately? Right off the top of my head I can think of W. Little York at Stuebner Airline. That is a scary place to cross even for a seasoned driver such as myself, and always has been. Actually, it used to be even worse when K-Mart was still open at that intersection.
  8. I believe Foley's was the "Red Apple Sale" wasn't it? IIRC, Penney's was the brand featuring the "White Sale". Too many years...too few brain cells remain, I may be wrong.
  9. As most of you know, Greenspoint Mall has had plans for a few years now to re-work the mall and try to reattract people to the area. Sears announced it was closing its Greenspoint location in March, and is on its last legs as I write this. I passed Greenspoint Mall today heading to work and was surprised to see the former JC Penney's store is now demolished. I spoke with our police officer/security this morning, who is stationed at the GP substation and he indicated that the Sears store and auto center are the next one's to be demo'ed, followed by the Montgomery Ward's old store (which is currently being used to train departing KBR contractors heading to Afghanistan and Iraq). Macy's is getting a complete overhaul, which is desperately needed now that they have destroyed what once was a beautiful Foley's store. JC Penney's former site is to house a 20 screen movie theater in which construction is set to begin this summer. From what I gathered yesterday, MW's store will be an open air concert venue, Sears is a big question mark. Considering it is the only one story department store in the mall, something tells me that Burlington Coat Factory across I-45 on Greens Rd. may be moving into the mall itself. If you want to take one last look at the old girl, you better hurry. Now that the demolition has begun, it sounds like they are going to move quickly on the long awaited plan for resurrection of the mall.
  10. I work in the Greenspoint area as some of you know, and have been watching the demise of GP for quite a few years now. I too remember when Greenspoint mall was the measuring stick compared to all others. Someone made the reference to Greenspoint being more like NW Mall than Sharpstown. This was true when GP first opened in 76. The first two anchors in GP were Sears and Foley's, much like NW Mall was JC Penney's and Foley's. That didn't last very long at all as it was just a couple of years later that Joske's was added to GP then Montgomery Wards, Penney's, and Lord & Taylor's. GP far surpassed NW Mall in a very short amount of time. In my recollection, Greenspoint Mall died the day the City of Houston put the 56 Metro line to Greenspoint. The person that posted the pics of the center court has a pretty good idea of what it looked like internally, of course what mall didn't have that decor in the 70's? There was a huge balcony above the food court that allowed you to gaze down on shoppers while they made their way down the corridor. I made a trip over to Sears last week to see what all the hub-bub was about. It is flat being wiped out. Without Sears, GP Mall is driving in the final nail in the coffin. Dillard's has some very strange hours. Some days it opens at 10am, others at noon, and some days it just doesn't open at all. Macy's has taken a once beautiful Foley's store and "Sand Dollared" it. I had the opportunity to go into the JC Penney's box (GP Event Center). Nothing has been done to the interior of the old store whatsoever. It is unused by anyone at this point, other than for storage purposes. It was only used for events on a couple of occasions. KBR is still using the old Montgomery Ward's store for processing contract workers heading to Afghanistan and Iraq. But for how much longer? We are already hearing word of that concluding sometime before year's end. A movie theater? Really? While there are NO theaters in GP anymore, I am in agreement that this will probably not be the best ROI. Greens Crossing couldn't even make it as a $1 theater, and the GP 5 closed in the mid 90's due to violence.
  11. Best of luck to you in finding additional information on the Katy line. It holds a special place in my heart, and I'm sure others that grew up watching that train chugging along through the Heights. It's getting harder and harder to see where the MKT's ROW was with every year that passes.
  12. The Hempstead Hwy spur past Dacoma was abandoned in the 80's. Late 80's as I recall. The track remained connected to the main line until the mid 90's, but sat unused. I'm not sure exactly when the disconnected it from the main line, but it was around 1997. This is also about the time that the 11th street Katy spur was disconnected from the mainline of the Katy. Let me tell you, those wig-wags were really cool to me as a boy, especially at night. Even now in my older years, I wish I had one of them for my very own. Another relic that is slowly fading away. You are right about the closeness of the road, at least now. Keep in mind, Old Katy Rd. was widened quite a bit after the tracks were removed and the subsequent expansion of I-10 itself. It also was shortened way down to that little section of Old Katy from Hempstead Hwy. to Post Oak. You may be too young to remember it, Tiger, but Old Katy Rd used to keep going...well to Katy. Later on it dead-ended, I think, at Kirkwood. Where that two lane road used to be is approximately the far right lane of the westbound feeder and the grass median next to it. The tracks were definitely where the feeder runs now. Abandonment of the MKT line used by the Union Pacific was in 1997. The year after they acquired Southern Pacific and the double line running parallel with Washington Avenue. Like you stated, this was done due to the tracks redundancy with the SP line. They also removed the switch yard at Harvard on the SP line that same year. Not sure what specific date the Katy line was taken out of use, but it was abandoned in the spring. I remember it being rather hot weather as they began to remove the rails. The line from Katy-Hockley to 610 was removed first. They left the rail up to I-610 for about 2 months as they cleared the switch yard behind Cottage Grove. Once this was done, and the tracks of the yard were reconfigured this small section was also removed and the line was curved and connected to the UP main at tower 13. The rails were then removed from the Heights to Downtown within the next 2 months. The last part of the old Katy line was not removed until Enron Field was built. They sat there abandoned for a couple of more years, and there is still one small section of Katy ROW just east of downtown. It is paved over at Dowling, but the tracks are still there, as well as some of the older warning signals. At least those that haven't been heisted. If you have the time, take a trip to the East End and go S. on Dowling. You will cross the Katy line just before McKinney. Turn left on McKinney and the track will run directly to your left until it CROSSES McKinney just before Sampson St. Now, the track has been removed just before McKinney. It will be obvious where the track once ran, as there is an incline still left in McKinney. As you'll see, the ROW runs clear under I-45 and beyond. Not sure where all the track used to go after it crossed under 45 south.
  13. Better yet, here are several pics of the wig-wag at National St. at Washington Avenue. This is the exact type of wig-wag used all along the SP route, and the various Katy crossings. http://www.trainweb.org/dansrailpix/houston9.jpg http://www.trainweb.org/dansrailpix/houston7.jpg http://www.trainweb.org/dansrailpix/houston4.jpg http://www.trainweb.org/dansrailpix/houston3.jpg
  14. Iron Tiger: the following link illustrates the type of wig-wags that were used. Pics 1&2 are the same type, pic 5 down on the BNSF (the one in Vista, Ca.) is an exact model of the one I am thinking of that was on Witte. This type of wig-wag was also on several crossings along the SP line just south parralleling Washington. I believe the last wig-wag in Houston was located on National St. behind the metal recylcers. It was replaced sometime in the late 90's. http://www.trainweb.org/dansrailpix/WIG_WAG_photos1.htm
  15. Yep, that's the one. It had two warning lights at one time, but a few years after SP abandoned the spur someone ran into it and knocked it over. It sat on the ground in pieces for another year before someone finally came along and discarded it. The spur was dedicated to the line of warehouses just east of Hempstead Hwy, and you may be right about the brewery. I can not attest to that. Nice pic of the wig-wags. Those kind were never in Houston to the best of my knowledge. The wig wags we had here were standard cross hatches with a simple round one bulb lit wig wag swinging from beneath. No type of "piping" around it like illustrated in your pic. Where are those wig-wags located in your pic? I've seen quite a few variations of these warning signals, but your picture is a new type to me. They must not have had any of these down here in Houston. 7th street never had any type of warning device. It was always a simple cross hatch attached to a metal pole. One of both sides of the track. Certainly had to pay attention crossing 7th, Harvard, or Cortlandt since you couldn't see around the curve, and the engineers didn't just lay on the horns as they went through the Heights. It was always a quick "toot, toooot" and done. The engines at that time didn't have the amount of lights on it that they do now either. A single bright white light at the top of the cab was about it. Wish I knew where there were any of the old MKT engines still in operation. I haven't seen one in years. Back to the signals of the Katy, only the main thoroughfares such as Heights, Yale, etc. were lit. Do you see how close the tracks were to the surface street of 7th? It was always a little nerve racking when the Katy chugged by you within arms reach.
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