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Urban Commando

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Posts posted by Urban Commando

  1. I know times change, but it's still kinda sad to see the big ranches "riding off into the sunset..." I feel like we are losing part of our Texas heritage when they do. I wonder just how many people remember a large ranch called the "Nine Bar Ranch". I always remember the large, open spaces of that place. I don't think any of that one remains anymore...the land it was became "Fairfield" off of 290.

  2. Thank you. I wasn't sure if the previously posted structure was pink at one time. This is the structure...


    It's listed as a 12,000 square foot apartment building bulit in 2002.

    Ok...this is also in close proximity to me. It is an apartment building. I remember when it was being built...what they were building it woth is more like the material one would use to build a tool shed (read: CHEAP).

    For those not familiar, it is located on the Hardy Toll northbound between Parker Rd. and Little York.

  3. This place?


    This building is only a few years old and is, as previously mentioned, rather cheaply constructed. It is located at the intersection of Cromwell and the Hardy Toll Road. I think the original purpose was as the office for some sort of building contractor who may have gone bust or had something else happen. I have no idea as to what its fate will ultimately be. It seems to me it was originally designed to stand out, which it does splendidly.

    I live in the neighborhood and am more than familiar with it.

  4. Greenspoint Mall opened in 1976. It was the place to go on the weekends replacing Northline Mall and ultimately causing that mall to slowly wither and die.

    I remember Hickory Farms having a store there as well as a little of just about everything. Of course, times and the area changed rather quickly. I went to the mall a few months back...it is IMHO on its last legs and reminds me of Gulfgate in its final years. It is a matter of time before it joins Northline Mall as a memory. Like Sharpstown Mall, Greenspoint has its nickname of "Gunspoint" for a reason. That reason, no matter how much someone may come in and try to spruce it up, will remain. In the not too distant future, I expect it to be gone and replaced by apartments, office buildings, and a strip center like Northline and Town and Country became.

    Again, IMHO and with few exceptions (The Galleria, Woodlands, etc) the era of the big mall is dead in Houston and I highly doubt it will make a successful comeback...especially with all of the Super Wal-Marts and Targets going up every ten miles or so down 45.

  5. Back in the 50s there was this guy who flew a small plane around Houston broadcasting announcements of various kinds on a loud speaker. Local businesses hired him to fly around advertising their sales and special events.

    He'd fly around in big circles very slow at about a thousand feet, and he had that amplifier cranked up so loud you could hear him a mile away. The one I remember most from that period was about Frizzell Pontiac, 69th and Harrisburg, where you get A WHALE OF A DEAL. He also did occasional short announcements for the Pasadena Citizen newspaper.

    He was an audio version of one of those flying billboards that trailed behind the plane. And isn't it "lovely" to see those monstrosities are making a comeback? What's next? Sky writing? It just proves there's no such thing as a "new" idea.

    I find those cropdusters with the signs annoying. They sound rather rickity as is. For a long time, though, all of these disappeared when the Goodyear Blimp was stationed here and pretty much had the corner on aerial advertising.

    Now days, everyone has a blimp and the flying banners have taken over the sky.

  6. While I've been reading on this forum for quite a while. I have seen many things discussed except one issue; the ice cream man. Now that we are entering the good ole hot summer time, I'd like to bring up these old vendors and whatever happened to them. Growing up in the late 60's and 1970's, I remember the pickup turcks with the freezer in back as operated by Sun Valley, Red Wing, Dixie Maid, Aspen Cool (snow cones), and Mister Softee/Frostie (still around, but not here) . I wonder what happened to these companies and were there others.

  7. BTW...the Armadillo Flea Market (advertized as "the largest indoor flea market in Texas") took over the old Garden Ridge pottery on 45 and Airtex. If I remember correctly, it always WAS and was originally built as a Garden Ridge.

    I've been to it under both incarnations and WAS NOT/AM NOT impressed.

    Garden Ridge also had a location not too far awy from this in Humble on FM 1960 across from Wally World (WalMart)...it didn't last very long, either and is now some sort of church.

  8. Both the former Garden Ridge at Airtex and the current Garden Ridge at Fry Road were originally opened as Buyers Market malls. They were developed as anchorless, off price malls by a Canadian company, named Bramalea Ltd, in 1984. Some of the stores in the mall included Draperies, Etc, Lavenders (craft store), Kids Capers and Holcombe Linquist Pianos. Bramalea was unable to secure anchors for both malls due to the stiff competition from Deauville, Houston's sagging economy at the time and competition from area department stores in the form of stiffer sales promotions. Tenants starting leaving in droves after the first six months of opening and within a year, Bramalea closed both malls.

    Off price retailing was a hot trend during this time period and Houston saw several other similar developments, such as Deauville's four, off priced malls (Southwest, North, South and Kingwood). Even though Deauville was more successful in luring numerous recognized anchors for all four of their developments, they too, failed not long after Bramalea's centers did.

    Thanks for jogging the old memory circuits! I remember the mall in Kingwood...it didn't last very long and sat empty for a while. It is now Kingwood Medical Center.

    If the Deauville was the mall on Cypresswood near the blimp base, I remember it was empty for a long time. At one time, they had a monthly gun show in it...which was probably the best business it had!

  9. I have got to know a few things about the "Space City". I was curious about a few "first's" in our great city. Maybe some of you can help. For instance: Where was the first McDonalds, Jack In The Box, Taco Bell...just to name a few....in Houston?

    Also, when did HISD High Schools start to include 9th Grade?

    When did Houston open its first XXX movie theateres?

    When did Houston get COORS BEER?

    Oh, one more...why is there a street off of 610 named "MINIMAX"?

    Thanks for the help!!

    McDonald's came into Houston in the early 1970's...prior to 75.

    Minimax Road was named for Fleming Foods, the parent company of Minimax Stores, whose warehouse and supply point

    (a rather large campus) is now an empty field at Minimax and 610. I believe they were bought out by Grocers Supply Company and the facility was closed and stood vacant for several years.

  10. Never knew about the spectacular murder case with which he was connected.

    My recollection was that when he went bankrupt in the 80's he claimed that the penthouse he occupied on top of an office building was covered under the homestead exemption, and by some stretch, so was the entire building.

    His testicles should be bronzed and placed in a museum.

    The penthouse in question is at the top of Arena Towers at the Southwest Freeway and Fondren.

  11. To be blunt, I am familiar with this story and it is "supposedly" linked to paranormal activity on Patterson Road between Eldrich and Hwy 6 and the bridges across Langham Creek.

    I worked in that area for a good long while and drove down Patterson in all kinds of conditions and in day, evening, and middle of the night...in regards to the "ghosts" I would venture to say that the "spooks" that hang around out there aren't ghosts at all, but still QUITE dangerous!

    In regards to this "Civil War Battle", I find this story to be dubious and more of an urban legend than anything. If there was any fighting around there it would've been between the settlers and the indians or bandits! I seriously doubt ANY military conflict occurred in that area

    The NEAREST actual Civil War battle was at Galveston.

  12. Eric Gray, QB of the 1990 National Title team, lived back there...he got shot back there one night

    How could Acres Home be zoned to MacArthur and Nimitz? That's a 20 minute ride......simply pitiful how they broke that area to fill a dang quota..

    I think I can answer that question, at least from the late 1970's- through the 1980's.

    AISD "revamped" G.W. Carver High School in the late 70's early 80's. It became known as Aldine Contemporary Education Center. The school was unique in the area as it allowed students a certain amount of flexiblity with classes, schedules, and work load. The staff was, as you would expect, very small and were hand picked. Classes were small by urban high school standards. As a student, you really couldn't get "lost in the crowd" like the rest of Aldine's high schools. ACE's first principal was Mr. Ralph O. Norman, who later became Principal of Aldine High School.

    The establishment of this program meant that the students who would normally attend Carver were dispersed out to the remaining high schools in Aldine. Transportation was provided.

    Carver is now a magnet school within Aldine and the school has undergone significant changes to where it is almost unrecognizable to an original ACE student who attened since day 1 of the program. The state has placed a historical marker outside it's auditorium facing S. Victory Dr. detailing some of its history and the school's original beginnings as part of the defunct White Oak School District.

    -You can sign me on this issue as one of the original students of this unique school.

  13. Do you remember another theater near the Granada called the "North Houston Movie Theatre"? My mom worked there back in the 50's. I would love to get her some info or photos, but I have hit a dead end. I know that it was next to Harold's (men's clothing) on Jensen. Any memories that you may have would be greatly appreciated.

    If I remember correctly, the North Houston was in a strip shopping center near the intersection of Luell and Jensen. It was a very small theatre. It closed down by the early 1970's and became a hangout for the homeless when that area became blighted. It is still there, but in pretty sorry shape.

    Jensen Drive used to be THE shopping area during the 1960's. My parents bought my school clothes at Danberg's Dept. Store. The Godwin Variety was an old fashion five and dime in the same area. And I always loved old HFD station 34 right across Berry Rd from the Firestone store...which is ironic as it is the only store of that time that still remains in business.

  14. Ken Garnett was seriously injured during a traffic stop around 1967 and had some brain damage. After recovering I believe he returned to HPD. I think he died about 10 years after that and may have commited suicide.

    Yes. He was a regular fixture on TV with the patch over his eye and sergeant stripes all the way up his arm. He vanished from TV pretty much after making Lieutenant and was, I think, transfered to juvenile division. I remember that he had a terminal illness and ended his own life. But for a guy so well known in that era (on a par with Tiny Rouman) there isn't anything about him on the net that can be found...at least none that I have. I was hoping someone could point me in the right direction.

    He and Tiny Rouman(sic)(who I met once when I was very small....that cop went on forever) were the reasons why I tried to pursue a career in law enforcement.

  15. Sgt. Garnett was a hero of mine when I was a wee one. I remember him on TV during the 1960's, especially on Kitirik. He and Sgt. Tiny Romound were always what I thought Police Officers were supposed to be. I have seen info on the late Sgt. Romound on line, but not Sgt/Lt Garnett. Is there anyone that can point me in the right direction?


  16. I remember it as Officer Ken Garnett in the mid 60s, there was a Lt. Kenneth R. Garnett in a 1974 Texas Monthly google entry, so I imagine he got promoted through the years.

    Yep, that was him. Sadly, he had a terminal illness and took his own life. A lot of guys in that era became Houston cops because of him. He was one of my heroes.

    Ken Garnett and Tiny Roman were kind of legends with HPD of that era.

  17. Mary Jane's Magic Castle was on KPRC Channel 2 and was in a similar vein to Kitirik. I believe at one time or another, every station in town had a live local kids show. But Cadet Don and Kitirik seem to be the ones mostly associated with these shows.

    I am curious about the HPD officer with Kitirik, do you remember who that was? I remember Sgt Ken Garnett. HPD Motorcycle Patrol with the patch over his eye. He was one of the major influeneces for my trying to get into LE work at one time.

  18. It is implied in this thread that toward The End, the tracks were in really bad condition. Can anyone confirm this?

    I'm afraid so. Not only was the trackage a "derailment waiting to happen" in a lot of areas but a lot of equipment and rolling stock had seen its days as well.

    Miss Katy was, for all intents and purposes, "operating on life support".

    For myself, it was heart breaking...especially when watching an MKT GP locomotive barely making speed, even in the open.

    Of all the railroads operating in Houston at that time (MP, RI, SP, SSW, BN) only Miss Katy and the ATSF could boast the most colorful equipment.

  19. I've been fascinated with the late MKT ever since I discovered an old ROW across from Memorial City Mall, but one thing that continues to confound me is MKT in the Heights: after it crosses Heights Blvd., it parallels 7th Street and cuts straight across 7th and Cortland, making two nasty railroad crossings at two ends of the intersection. While blurry aerial photos and the "property lines" on Google Maps confirm this (by the way, the house on the southwest side was built later) I just can't see this working out in 1990s Houston. (link)

    1. Does anyone remember the strange/dangerous railroad crossings at Cortland and 7th? What were they like?

    2. When exactly was the MKT abandoned/stripped?

    3. Does anyone have any photos?

    I mean, the whole thing looks just so surreal to me. I mean, just looking at Arlington Road, it's an extremely suburban-type area, and a railroad barreling through there just less than 15 years ago is...odd.

    Iron Tiger, The Missouri-Kansas-Texas railroad had its Houston yard (the Eureka Yard) smack dab in the middle of the Heights (it could be easily seen from the Dhepard Drive/Durham Street overpasses) and was, in its time, a major economic source for that area. "Miss Katy", as many railfans refer to it, was pretty typical of railroads in Houston that often had its lines run right down the middle of streets in several neighborhoods (Texas and New Orleans aka Southern Pacific did the same thing in fifth ward) with several extremely dangerous crossings.

    Miss Katy was a railroad that had, quite literally, became a pale shadow barely keeping out of bankruptcy in her later years...the rolling stock and rails showed this. She was partially owned by the Missouri Pacific (MoPac) in her final years. When MoPac was merged with the Union Pacific in 1988, Miss Katy ceased to be, her flag fell, and was gone with scarcly a word and very quickly. Her rolling stock was repainted or sent to the cutters torch.

    The line from Eureka down I-10 was used by the Union Pacific up until I think the mid 1990's and then was abandoned. It ultimately became part of the I-10 expansion.

    It you check YouTube, there are several videos on there showing Miss Katy in operation. Several were taken in the Heights back in the day. There are many photos of her on-line, as well.

    Miss Katy was my favorite railroad. I still miss her and her "John Deere" colored equipment.

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