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Who remembers Magnolia Gardens?


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I don't see any threads here regarding Magnolia Gardens which was, for years, a popular music venue where country-western acts as well as early rockers like Elvis, Carl Perkins, Jerry Lee Lewis and Johnny Cash played often. The place sits on the San Jacinto River, I thought in the Cloverleaf/Channelview area north of I-10, but I believe that it is actually north of old Highway 90. The old memory is pretty unsteady about this since I haven't been there since about 1973 or so. It had a big open-air dance floor and bandstand in its heyday.

When we would fish the San Jacinto, my dad liked to motor over there in the boat and talk about all the people who played Magnolia Gardens. By that time (the 1960s) I remember that it had a restaurant/club that overlooked the river and they used to have boat races. Singer Rodney Crowell wrote about seeing shows there on his 2001 album The Houston Kid (which any HAIFer who prowls the history board should have).

Any memories, relics of the place?

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I don't see any threads here regarding Magnolia Gardens which was, for years, a popular music venue where country-western acts as well as early rockers like Elvis, Carl Perkins, Jerry Lee Lewis and Johnny Cash played often. The place sits on the San Jacinto River, I thought in the Cloverleaf/Channelview area north of I-10, but I believe that it is actually north of old Highway 90. The old memory is pretty unsteady about this since I haven't been there since about 1973 or so. It had a big open-air dance floor and bandstand in its heyday.

When we would fish the San Jacinto, my dad liked to motor over there in the boat and talk about all the people who played Magnolia Gardens. By that time (the 1960s) I remember that it had a restaurant/club that overlooked the river and they used to have boat races. Singer Rodney Crowell wrote about seeing shows there on his 2001 album The Houston Kid (which any HAIFer who prowls the history board should have).

Any memories, relics of the place?

Magnolia Gardens is off of Garrett and Sheldon rd North of (old) hwy 90

http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&hl=en&...055275&z=14

No memories other than when it was a place to go swimming at the river and seeing people swimming there when we skied by. (80's)

I always heard it was a big deal with the Big Bands in 40's and 50's (similar to Sylvan Beach).

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Interesting, I grew up in the area but I had never heard that those musicians had played there. My parents didn't drink (or dance, or smoke), so it was considered "off limits" for us kids as I remember it being referred to as a beer joint. I had no idea it was north of Hwy 90 though, I thought it was out on the river east going toward Baytown. Thanks for stirring the cobwebs though, I haven't heard that name in years.

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I don't see any threads here regarding Magnolia Gardens which was, for years, a popular music venue where country-western acts as well as early rockers like Elvis, Carl Perkins, Jerry Lee Lewis and Johnny Cash played often. The place sits on the San Jacinto River, I thought in the Cloverleaf/Channelview area north of I-10, but I believe that it is actually north of old Highway 90. The old memory is pretty unsteady about this since I haven't been there since about 1973 or so. It had a big open-air dance floor and bandstand in its heyday.

When we would fish the San Jacinto, my dad liked to motor over there in the boat and talk about all the people who played Magnolia Gardens. By that time (the 1960s) I remember that it had a restaurant/club that overlooked the river and they used to have boat races. Singer Rodney Crowell wrote about seeing shows there on his 2001 album The Houston Kid (which any HAIFer who prowls the history board should have).

Any memories, relics of the place?

My dad took his little outboard out on the San Jacinto w/ us several times while I was growing up. I have memories of a wooden building that extended over the water, at a place where you launched boats. Bldg. had a restaurant in it, I believe, in the mid/ late 1960's. Could that be it? It had a "park-like setting". Had been there since my father was a young guy, in the 50's, when he used to water ski w/ friends.

I do remember dad talking of Elvis playing at Magnolia Gardens, when he was still an unfamiliar name.

(on second thought)...I just recalled that place mentioned above... he always referred to as "Riverside"...must have been near Magnolia Gardens.

I think I will look for it on the maps.

Edited by NenaE
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Got to searching and found this site of Elvis' concert and appearances dates:

http://oldies.about.com/od/elvis/a/elvis1955_2.htm

How did this guy play a gig every day in so many different cities? He was all over the place. I don't think musicians do that today.

And some dates he'd have an afternoon and evening show, or an early evening show and midnight show.

Remember that back then, bands only played a 30 minute (or so) set. The jamboree shows had several different acts performing.

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Yeah, I remember the Riverside which was on a bluff just north of I-10 in the Four Corners area. Magnolia Gardens was further up the river. It did burn down, but I can't remember when. Very popular place.

HarrisCountyEx, I have seen that site. I used it to look up the date my dad saw Elvis Presley live: April 25, 1955 at his high school auditorium in Seymour, Texas. Stuns me to think that Elvis went through that grinding schedule to play in towns of sometimes no more than 2,000 or 3,000 people in gyms and small clubs. Check it out: He plays Cook's Hoedown in Houston (located on Telephone Road) on the 24th then hauls it 400-plus miles to play two dates the next day, the first inWitchita Falls then an hour south to Seymour. After that, he goes all the way out west to Big Spring. That a a damn rigorous schedule.

Judging by the Google pics, the old Magnolia Gardens building is long gone. I remember they had a big circular drive in front of it.

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Yeah, I remember the Riverside which was on a bluff just north of I-10 in the Four Corners area. Magnolia Gardens was further up the river. It did burn down, but I can't remember when. Very popular place.

i believe Riverside Inn was right here:

http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&hl=en&...&iwloc=addr

On River road just north of 10 on the main river channel. There is a store and boat ramp still there or there was several years back.

Could you be thinking about Tugboat Annies just north of 4-corners on 2100?

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Stuns me to think that Elvis went through that grinding schedule to play in towns of sometimes no more than 2,000 or 3,000 people in gyms and small clubs. Check it out: He plays Cook's Hoedown in Houston (located on Telephone Road) on the 24th then hauls it 400-plus miles to play two dates the next day, the first inWitchita Falls then an hour south to Seymour. After that, he goes all the way out west to Big Spring. That a a damn rigorous schedule.

Typical tour schedule for struggling musicians in those days. Still is for some!

Cook's Hoedown Club was actually in the heart of downtown on Capitol (and Milam?). Across the street from the City Auditorium (now Jones Hall).

Floyd Tillman made a record called "Magnolia Gardens Waltz."

It had been a recreational place since the '20s but I don't think they started having bands there until 1950. It was strictly country music.

I guess it went downhill in the late '60s, like everything else... :angry2:

Edited by Don Julio
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Floyd Tillman made a record called "Magnolia Gardens Waltz."

It had been a recreational place since the '20s but I don't think they started having bands there until 1950. It was strictly country music.

I guess it went downhill in the late '60s, like everything else... :angry2:

Good grief, I had no idea anyone would remember Magnolia Gardens!

I remember my dad played there once in '68 or so--my youngest brother and I went with him and my mom one night. (I don't know if he played there more than once since we kids just went that time.) My dad used to play with Floyd Tillman a lot in the 50's and 60's.

If anyone has an old picture of the place, please post it! :)

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Interesting... I'd never heard of this place before.

Saw a few people had posted on various sites some video of Elvis playing there, August 7, 1955.

In the old newspapers:

In the 1890's and decade following, there seemed to be a lot of Magnolia Gardens lots changing hands.

In 1929, rescue workers searched for a mother and son feared drowned in the SJ river "below Magnolia Gardens just above the Crosby road bridge."

In 1932, a 20-year-old woman celebrating her birthday at Magnolia Gardens intentionally drowned herself "after quarreling with a young man at the party.

In 1935, a 40-year-old man drowned in the SJ river "near Magnolia Gardens, about 18 miles from Houston."

In 1957, a tornado hit "the Magnolia Gardens Clubhouse near Lake Houston."

In 1964, a 22-year-old woman drowned in the river "at Magnolia Gardens."

So - not much, and somewhat depressing. On the map, it looks like Magnolia Gardens is an entire area on the San Jacinto River north of Hwy 90 and south of Lake Houston. The newspaper articles seemed to be more about the area than the dancehall, unfortunately, except for this sort of random mention in a San Antonio newspaper article:

"Celebrated Houston Attorney Percy Foreman in town last week, and recalling the day back around 1952 when an unknown youngster singing at Magnolia Gardens in the Bayou City ambled into Foreman's office seeking a loan of $750 to make it to Hollywood and a crack at the big time...."

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  • 4 weeks later...

I drove by out there a few months ago. The site is now a sort of resort catering to Hispanics -- all the signs are en espanol. The area is thickly wooded and there a few trash dumps and ramshackle houses scattered around.

It had really odd hours -- it is closed on weekends or something like that.

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I drove down there as well. Looks like Hurricane Ike, Tropical Storm Allison and the floods of the 1990s have pretty much wrecked the area. Nothing left of what I remember Magnolia Gardens looking like.

I'd love to see some photos if anyone can dig some out.

Edited by Retama
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I drove down there as well. Looks like Hurricane Ike, Tropical Storm Allison and the floods of the 1990s have pretty much wrecked the area. Nothing left of what I remember Magnolia Gardens looking like.

I'd love to see some photos if anyone can dig some out.

I have some Magnolia Gardens photos; I'll scan them and post them here in the next day or so.

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I don't see any threads here regarding Magnolia Gardens which was, for years, a popular music venue where country-western acts as well as early rockers like Elvis, Carl Perkins, Jerry Lee Lewis and Johnny Cash played often. The place sits on the San Jacinto River, I thought in the Cloverleaf/Channelview area north of I-10, but I believe that it is actually north of old Highway 90. The old memory is pretty unsteady about this since I haven't been there since about 1973 or so. It had a big open-air dance floor and bandstand in its heyday.

When we would fish the San Jacinto, my dad liked to motor over there in the boat and talk about all the people who played Magnolia Gardens. By that time (the 1960s) I remember that it had a restaurant/club that overlooked the river and they used to have boat races. Singer Rodney Crowell wrote about seeing shows there on his 2001 album The Houston Kid (which any HAIFer who prowls the history board should have).

Any memories, relics of the place?

Magnolia Gardens is in what is considered to be "Sheldon."

I'm much too young to remember anything past this decade, so it is surprising to know that it used to be a popular place.

I went by Magnolia Gardens last year and there is no evidence of there ever being anything big there.

I did some research, and there are plans to re-develop the area into an environmentally friendly mixed-use place with single-family residences and a senior citizen center. ^_^

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  • 3 months later...
Typical tour schedule for struggling musicians in those days. Still is for some!

Cook's Hoedown Club was actually in the heart of downtown on Capitol (and Milam?). Across the street from the City Auditorium (now Jones Hall).

Floyd Tillman made a record called "Magnolia Gardens Waltz."

It had been a recreational place since the '20s but I don't think they started having bands there until 1950. It was strictly country music.

I guess it went downhill in the late '60s, like everything else... :angry2:

Cook' Hoedown stirs a lot of memories. I am the caregiver for Mrs. Cook. Her husband owned Cook's Hoedown. She has a lot of stories and I am trying to get them recorded.

I will share when we get them done. Does anyone have any stories or memories of Cook's Hoedown? Where should we discuss this? here or start another forum?

Any Help would be appreciated.

CedarBreak

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During the late 60's I had went dancing there a few times myself. A local country act Bud and Bud the Hooper twins played there some as well as some other great bands that I can no longer remember the names of. Can't remember for sure but I think this picture was made at the gardens circa 1969.

post-11998-0-73340400-1397443635_thumb.j

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place used to be nice in the 80's.. families went. bbq and swimming..heard its been taking over completely by mexicans..  now it's like a 'Tj'  friday night with donkey shows, drunks/gang bangers, loud shitty music... fat big belly latinas with white trash inspired neck tats chasing their brat kids around while holding a cold modelo beer.. (slightly exaggerated depiction but not far off)___>> this is our future folks. get used to it.. we are becoming the lowest common denominator in class and culture..  

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I remember the white sands at Magnolia Gardens when I was a kid.  My parents enjoyed going there many a time.  They saw Elvis when he was there.  I remember going with them around '62 and George Jones was playing there at the time.  During a break I took a picture George Jones leaning on his white '60 Ford Falcon with a broken head light and a Pearl beer on the hood.  He was wearing his cool flat top at the time.  'Ol George was my Dad's favorite country singer.  I'll find that picture and post it on here one day.  

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  • 9 months later...

I remember Magnolia Gardens and the big outdoor open dance floor! I was so happy to read a post of someone else who remembered the place. My memories are fuzzy, I was a young teen and went with my mom and stepdad. Probably 40 years ago.... hard to believe. We would  ride our ski boat, dance and have a blast. Thanks for the memory! I wish it was still there. The live bands, food and polka dancing..... good times!

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  • 3 weeks later...
On ‎12‎/‎2‎/‎2015 at 9:52 PM, vw4fun said:

I remember the white sands at Magnolia Gardens when I was a kid.  My parents enjoyed going there many a time.  They saw Elvis when he was there.  I remember going with them around '62 and George Jones was playing there at the time.  During a break I took a picture George Jones leaning on his white '60 Ford Falcon with a broken head light and a Pearl beer on the hood.  He was wearing his cool flat top at the time.  'Ol George was my Dad's favorite country singer.  I'll find that picture and post it on here one day.  

Post the picture of George Jones, we would love to see it.

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  • 7 months later...

my brother went there in about 1953 to see elvis preesley .  the owner told my brother that elvis charged 100. and that was more than he paid most musicians but that he made it up in beer..  my brother brought home an 8 x 10 glossy of elvis.  i sure wish i had it now

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  • 2 years later...

I was born and raised in Magnolia Gardens.  I have tons of memories of the magnolia gardens beach park.  My great grandmother Agnus Schmitz purchased 5 acres right off of 1st street in the early 50s.  My grandparent frequented the park even before moving there.  Agnus passed and my grandfather inherited the property. In the early 60s he gave each one of his kids a piece.  My mom.and all her siblings.   They all built and raised there families there.

That's the subdivision magnolia gardens now let me tell you about the park.  Growing up I always heard the stories of the days when Elvis Presley performed there along with many now famous country singers.  Grandma Burroughs, we all referred to her as grandma,  owned the park. Grandma was a drinker.  As the story goes, Conway Twitty called one day and introduced himself and ask if he could play at her park.  Well grandma being half lit and a spunky ole gal said " I dont know no damned tweety bird" and hung up on him.  Another time George Jones was doing a gig there but the left early because  it was to hot.  He stopped at the beer joint at the corner of our street and finished his concert in the aur conditioning. My momma took her one year old daughter,  my oldest sister and went a watch George Jones performance.  That would have made it 1962.  I was born in 68 and my whole life I spent my summers at magnolia gardens .  In 1977 my mom.married the brother of the park owner Jean Manson.  Jean inherited the park from her late husband , the son of grandma Burroughs.  Jean and her  husband C.E. ran the park until the he flood of 1994 destroyed it.  There was a live band every Sunday starting with Easter.   They would have a huge egg hunt.  Hundreds of people would be there.  It was  the place to be in those days.  There was nothing like it.  The beach was beautiful.   And the layout of the park was genius.  The bandstand and the  dance floor were on as huge concrete  patio about the size of a football field.   Picnic tables  rowes up on both sides.  There was an outdoor bar and a cafe where they served hamburgers and french fries along with several other menu items.  The Sunday event were so big, hundreds of people from all over, they had Harris County sheriff's deputies for security.  One Sunday they sent a black deputy outr there.  Racism was very prevalent back then and one of the local men started harassing the officer.  One thing led to another and the man broke a beer bottle and started toward the black deputy.   That deputy  fired a bullet right thru his heart .  He died right there.  Then all hell broke loose and the crowd took after the officer.  They locked him in the cafe. Where my and my cousins where as well. I guess I was about 8, Missy 9 and Marcy  was  7. With a linch mob outside breaking window and shouting " we're going gonna kill that ______"  it wasn't long and there was about 200 county brownys .lined up for miles. 

That's what we called Harris County sheriff's  cars.  They were brown and tan back then.  

Yeah there was some crazy things went on down in that river bottom but It was a little piece of paradise right on the San Jacintio River.  Up river was Laje Houston,  across the river Crosby, and downriver past Highlands the Houdton Ship channel.

Those were glory days.

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  • 10 months later...

I remember Magnolia Gardens, saw so many of the C&Wstars, including ElviS, George JONES, ETC....A group of us went by boat (can'tr emember where we put in at  but think Humble Area/Duessen Park maybe) and docked at Magnolia Gardens---GOOD OLE DAYS----eLVIS HAD "BLONDED" HIS HAIR ON ONE VISIT...AND GEORGRE, HE'D DRINK ALL OUR "OLD cROW" WHICH WAS ONLY WHISKEY WE COULD AFFORD...

 

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