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Westwood Off Stella Link


JHC

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I'm very interested in learning more about the old 'Westwood' subdivision which lies just south of the Loop and west of Stella Link. I grew up in this neighborhood in the late fifties and early sixties and attended Shearn Elementary School from 1959 to 1964. I have so very many fond memories of my childhood there but have not visited or had any contact with the area for well over thirty years. I currently live in Southern California and have heard and read reports that the area had fallen on some pretty tough times in the past three decades. I do not know if my old neighborhood avoided the problems associated with the general area or not. I lived at 4118 Omeara Drive, and I recall that Oboe Drive bisected Omeara right where our house was located. I believe that most of the homes in this neighborhood were built in the fifties. They were small tract houses but had a lot of nice features - a lot of windows, hardwood floors, tile bathrooms and kitchens, nice yards, etc. I also remember that there was a UTOTEM Store near the corner of Omeara and Stella Link and a Weingartens further north near Braes Bayou.

Anyway, I'd love to hear from anyone who knows about this area - where it's been, where it is now...and, where it's going. Westwood was truly a wonderful and secure little world back in the fifties and early sixties with a lot of young, upwardly mobile families (still at the height of the Postwar Baby Boom).

Jeff C in Apple Valley, California B)

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Nowadays Shearn does not have much of an academic reputation. Most of the kids from Shearn come from the apartment complexes east of Stella Link instead of the homes west of Stella Link. HISD states that it plans to consolidate Shearn into Whidby Elementary School and sell the current Shearn location. EDIT: That plan was later canned

The neighborhood is zoned to Pershing MS (but since Pin Oak MS was built in 2003, kids have the option of going there).

Nowadays the section of the actual Westwood subdivision north of West Bellfort is zoned to Bellaire High School; the section south of West Bellfort is zoned to Westbury High School. The apartments east of Stella Link are zoned to Madison High School.

Westwood seems to be better now than it was in the 1990s.

Edited by VicMan
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Nowadays the section of the actual Westwood subdivision north of West Bellfort is zoned to Bellaire High School; the section south of West Bellfort is zoned to Westbury High School. The apartments east of Stella Link are zoned to Madison High School.

Westwood seems to be better now than it was in the 1990s.

I live in one of the apartments across Stella Link from Westwood. I'm pretty sure Pin Oak MS and Bellaire HS are options here. I think that was on the handout I got (can't think of what I did with it) but since I have no kids it has no bearing on me personally...

Westwood is nice. Other than the occasional burglary not much at all happens over there. Same goes for the Willowbend/Willow Meadows subdivisions. They don't have much of a suburban feel anymore but it's a good place to live. This whole area is a lot better than it was 10 years ago.

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I live in one of the apartments across Stella Link from Westwood. I'm pretty sure Pin Oak MS and Bellaire HS are options here. I think that was on the handout I got (can't think of what I did with it) but since I have no kids it has no bearing on me personally...

Pin Oak is an option since the apartment complex is zoned to Pershing (all Pershing MS-zoned people have Pin Oak as an option).

I do not recall the apartments having Bellaire as an option. The apartments are within Madison High School's attendance zone (seen here): http://dept.houstonisd.org/ab/schoolbounda...s/MadisonHS.pdf

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I live between Brays Bayou and Bellaire a mile or so up Stella Link from Shearn.

There are still some rotten apartment complexes east of Stella Link, although they are relatively small and it does seem to be getting better slowly but surely. There have been a few shootings there the last couple of years -- I often see the 3800-4000 blocks of O'Meara (and adjacent cross streets) in crime reports. (The most recent one was back in January -- a Saints fan and a Bears supporter got into it over a playoff game and shot each other dead.) I have also been propositioned by skanky ladies of the night at what probably used to be the U-Tote-Em of your youth.

Just inside the loop, the hyper-ghettodelic Davis Food City supermarket (maybe the old Weingarten's) just went out of business. You couldn't even take shopping carts in and out of the shopping area there -- they had turnstiles before you got to the food. I am assuming it closed for lack of clientele, so that is probably a good sign.

The crumminess of Shearn is holding the property values down for now. If they can turn the school situation around, there's no real reason that neighborhood would not take off, almost to the extent of Braes Heights and Ayrshire.

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The crumminess of Shearn is holding the property values down for now. If they can turn the school situation around, there's no real reason that neighborhood would not take off, almost to the extent of Braes Heights and Ayrshire.

HISD talked about consolidating Shearn with Whidby. I would personally close Shearn and redirect the apartments east of Stella Link to Whidby. I would then direct the homes west of Stella Link to Red Elementary School in Willow Meadows.

EDIT: The plan to consolidate Shearn was canned

H-E-B should replace Davis Food City.

Edited by VicMan
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I live between Brays Bayou and Bellaire a mile or so up Stella Link from Shearn.

There are still some rotten apartment complexes east of Stella Link, although they are relatively small and it does seem to be getting better slowly but surely. There have been a few shootings there the last couple of years -- I often see the 3800-4000 blocks of O'Meara (and adjacent cross streets) in crime reports. (The most recent one was back in January -- a Saints fan and a Bears supporter got into it over a playoff game and shot each other dead.) I have also been propositioned by skanky ladies of the night at what probably used to be the U-Tote-Em of your youth.

Just inside the loop, the hyper-ghettodelic Davis Food City supermarket (maybe the old Weingarten's) just went out of business. You couldn't even take shopping carts in and out of the shopping area there -- they had turnstiles before you got to the food. I am assuming it closed for lack of clientele, so that is probably a good sign.

The crumminess of Shearn is holding the property values down for now. If they can turn the school situation around, there's no real reason that neighborhood would not take off, almost to the extent of Braes Heights and Ayrshire.

Wow.

Thank you so very much; that gives me a really good picture - albeit bleak - of where the area is today. Ironically, my father installed a lot of the AC systems in those apartments east of Stella Link that went up in the early sixties - roughly across from Shearn. You can correct me if I'm wrong here, but my understanding is that those older apartment complexes constituted what eventually became known as 'Link Valley.' My family relocated to Central Texas in 1967, so I had no idea how bad that area in and around Stella Link eventually became until I started reading reports about the criminal activity there in the LA Times during the early 1990's. I've looked at satellite images of the area, and it looks to me like a lot of those apartments are gone now (?!). Good riddance, perhaps?

I also remember my Mom complaining about all of the apartments going up in the area back then; she must have had some sense of things to come.

Unbelievable about the present activities around the old U-Tote-Em store! It's not surprising, though, based on what you've told me about the area. Shearn's demise is especially sad, though; it was truly a top notch little school at one time.

I wouldn't know whether or not the Davis Food City was the old Weingarten's. I do know that the Weingarten's was located on the west side of Stella Link - just south of Braes Bayou. I also remember that there was a small toy store located on the north side of the associated strip mall, facing Braes Bayou. I wonder if anyone else might remember that? I did learn recently that the Three Brother's Bakery, just north of this location, is still in business. I remember when the family opened that location - again - back in the early sixties.

It's good to hear that Braes Heights and Ayrshire have taken off, again. And, thank you - again - for your information on the area. Very interesting stuff here.

If anyone does have photos - then and now - of the area, I'd love to see them.

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I'm very interested in learning more about the old 'Westwood' subdivision which lies just south of the Loop and west of Stella Link. I grew up in this neighborhood in the late fifties and early sixties and attended Shearn Elementary School from 1959 to 1964. I have so very many fond memories of my childhood there but have not visited or had any contact with the area for well over thirty years. I currently live in Southern California and have heard and read reports that the area had fallen on some pretty tough times in the past three decades. I do not know if my old neighborhood avoided the problems associated with the general area or not.

Welcome from the High Desert, Jeff.

I have a friend who also grew up in Westwood in the 60s and 70s and has thought of moving back there. The homes are starting to be torn down and replaced with McMansions, which would indicate that the nabe is moving up the economic ladder, which in Houston usually means near complete architectural erasure.

I think the average 50s house over there goes for around 160K.

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I wouldn't know whether or not the Davis Food City was the old Weingarten's. I do know that the Weingarten's was located on the west side of Stella Link - just south of Braes Bayou.

The location (at 8620 Stella Link) later became an Appletree. Now it is a Sellers Bros. (A blue collar, mostly Hispanic-oriented grocery store).

Sellers Bros.'s growth is mentioned here: http://www.bizjournals.com/houston/stories...ewscolumn4.html

Edited by VicMan
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JHC, here are some photos of your old house. They are from an MLS listing. The house is currently a rental. It leased for $900 in April 2007. Here is the listing info: Just minutes from the Texas Medical Center, downtown, and University of Houston. Convenient to bus lines. Hardwood floors, living, den, large back yard and spacious kitchen

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Thanks JHC.

Yeah, after you clarified the location of the Weingarten's I figured it must now be the Sellers Brothers store. That one is several notches above the Davis Food City that closed.

There's a Spec's next door to the Sellers Brothers, and a dollar store, and a Burke's Outlet in the strip.

There's a Shipley's down there still near the strip mall and a funny little restaurant run by a Korean family that can deep-fry the hell out of anything you want two different ways. (London-style or Cajun.) It's really good, but every meal you eat there probably takes 12 hours off your life.

Further south, closer to Shearn, there's a Vietnamese-run "You-buy, we-fry" seafood store that is said to be very good. I've only bought raw seafood there, and it was good.

Bleak as my portrait was, I meant to leave you feeling somewhat encouraged. Things have turned around a lot in just the 15 months I have lived near there. What's more, the difference between now and 10 years ago is huge. That little pocket of ghetto is getting smaller every month. Cruddy apartments are being replaced by nicer townhouses, and there's even a Catholic Montessori school back there now too.

Farther south, there's a huge Jewish school (the Weiner School) and some of the ball fields for the newly merged West U and Brays Bayou little leagues. Yes, it's still kinda sketchy around Bellfort, but again, nothing like it was five or ten years ago.

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JHC, here are some photos of your old house. They are from an MLS listing. The house is currently a rental. It leased for $900 in April 2007. Here is the listing info: Just minutes from the Texas Medical Center, downtown, and University of Houston. Convenient to bus lines. Hardwood floors, living, den, large back yard and spacious kitchen

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What a pleasant surprise for me to get these photos!

I've got to tell you that - incredibly - after well over forty years now, the place looks much the same. I am so very happy to see those hardwood floors and the pine paneling in the Den still in tact. These are just some of the features that give these homes a lot of charm from both an architectural and a nostalgic standpoint (something worth preserving, I believe). Anyway, the kitchen is recognizeable; however, it is the one room that appears to have undergone significant renovation.

Thank you so very much. I've shared these images with both my Sister and Mother in Fort Worth. They were delighted to see them, too.

You are very kind. And, I might just try to grab that old house if it ever goes on the market...dependent, of course, on how the area holds up and/or continues to improve.

Warmest regards from S. California,

Jeff, aka 'JHC'

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Thanks JHC.

Yeah, after you clarified the location of the Weingarten's I figured it must now be the Sellers Brothers store. That one is several notches above the Davis Food City that closed.

There's a Spec's next door to the Sellers Brothers, and a dollar store, and a Burke's Outlet in the strip.

There's a Shipley's down there still near the strip mall and a funny little restaurant run by a Korean family that can deep-fry the hell out of anything you want two different ways. (London-style or Cajun.) It's really good, but every meal you eat there probably takes 12 hours off your life.

Further south, closer to Shearn, there's a Vietnamese-run "You-buy, we-fry" seafood store that is said to be very good. I've only bought raw seafood there, and it was good.

Bleak as my portrait was, I meant to leave you feeling somewhat encouraged. Things have turned around a lot in just the 15 months I have lived near there. What's more, the difference between now and 10 years ago is huge. That little pocket of ghetto is getting smaller every month. Cruddy apartments are being replaced by nicer townhouses, and there's even a Catholic Montessori school back there now too.

Farther south, there's a huge Jewish school (the Weiner School) and some of the ball fields for the newly merged West U and Brays Bayou little leagues. Yes, it's still kinda sketchy around Bellfort, but again, nothing like it was five or ten years ago.

Thank you, again. Your insights on the area have been wonderful, and I enjoy reading them so very much. BTW, I played ball in the Braes Bayou Little League about forty five years ago! :)

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As it is, I'd say pick it up if you get the chance. I don't see this area going downhill anytime soon. With the Medical Center ever expanding, this is a great close-in location. Westbury is going up and that is starting to carry over to Westwood and Willowbend (which is not a bad area either).

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I live in Westbury (a stone's throw from this area) and actually looked at a house in Westwood before buying here in 97. The area's only problem, like others have said, are the apartments that have become slums on the east side of Stella Link just south of 610 and on W. Belfort (north side) just before Stella Link.

If you are ever in Houston and come back to see this area I think you will find the stretch of W. Belfort between the railroad tracks and Stella Link to be sort of preserved in time. There are really no modern (post 1980s) structures anywhere to be found. Stanco plumbing has a building that is from when the area was first built up and they have preserved it very nicely. A few doors down from them is a car repair shop that looks like something right out of the 50s. The only problem area is the corner of W. Belfort and Stella Link. There is now a Citgo on the NW corner that has all sorts of riff raff hanging out pandhandling or up to no good.

Stella Link between W. Belfort and Willowbend has very clean and well maintained light office buildings and warehouses. In fact, Al's Formal opened a building there a few years ago. The warehouses that were there on Willowbend between Stella Link and the railtracks to the west have remained the same. They did find a dead body between those buildings about 4 years ago. I never followed that story much. There was also a plant nursey that was located on Willowbend that closed last year. The land has been turned into a baseball field that is maintained to perfection. Next to the tracks on Willowbend there used to be Kruger Motorsports (closed in 2000 and now demolished) and a small used car lot (closed shortly after Kruger....building stands abandoned).

I am in in the area all of the time so I can snap a few pics soon.

Anyone know more info about Kruger? They looked to me like they were struggling to pay rent towards the end cause they hardly had any customers and it looked run down. Had they been there since the 50s or 60s? Was it the place to go to get custom performance work done on your car in SW Houston?

I wish I had taken photos of the building before it was lost. =(

Oh, and does anyone know whatever happend to the man who owned the shoe repair shop in the strip mall on the north side of Willowbend just past the rail tracks? The windows are all blocked out with paper and it has been closed for about 3 years. I assume he passed and the store was shuttered. Now he was a nice guy. He also had a huge collection on toy cars, planes, boats, etc....displayed in glass cases in the store.....very cool stuff.

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I think westwood is one of the last undervalued subdivisions in this part of town. If you look at a map and plot out the values of the surrounding subdivisions, it's all alone. The smart money is buying everything available in there.

The new construction has already begun (most of it junk) and the values will trickle into westwood even more so than it already has.

The only thing (other than some of the sketchy apartments and retail around it) it has working against it is the small size of the houses, and common lack of 2 car garages.

Post Oak Manor suffers the same problem.

flipper

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  • The title was changed to Westwood Off Stella Link

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