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Paul1956

Beverly Hills Sandpit?

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There used to be a huge sandpit/lake just outside the Beverly Hills subdivision (off Kingspoint). I remember that there were frequent drownings there in the late 1960's, early 1970's. I'm just wondering if they ever filled that hazard up.

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There used to be a huge sandpit/lake just outside the Beverly Hills subdivision (off Kingspoint). I remember that there were frequent drownings there in the late 1960's, early 1970's. I'm just wondering if they ever filled that hazard up.

Whoah! You are the first person to bring up Houston's old sand pits! Should get an award! :D

We used to pile in the gang and head to the one out by or off Mykawa Rd somewhere? It may have been even further out by Almeda Road good Lord I can't even remember. This was in early 80's though. There was always a big mix of assorted crowds, mostly hippies hanging on to the 60's flower power era, motorcycle gangs ie; Bandido's, Hell's Angel's and more, even nudists on ocassion! What!

Seldom did you ever see cops around these places at least not where we went. Some of the pits had a middle island where you could swim out to them. People used to take loads of brew and the scent or aroma of Wacky weed always filtered about.

I assume most have been filled in since those days. This topic should go to Houston History ....really. :)

We never thought of taking a camera either but I am sure some out there have some hidden in the archives.

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There used to be a huge sandpit/lake just outside the Beverly Hills subdivision (off Kingspoint). I remember that there were frequent drownings there in the late 1960's, early 1970's. I'm just wondering if they ever filled that hazard up.

I grew up in Beverly Hills, and recall an apartment complex being built in the early 80's (?) called the Windmills (?) that was built around a lake. First time I'd ever seen something like that. Seemed pretty damned innovative at the time, even to an 8-year old.

My parents told me that the lake was an old sandpit. I wonder if it's the same one.

I believe this was off of Almeda-Genoa near Rowlett.

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I grew up in Beverly Hills, and recall an apartment complex being built in the early 80's (?) called the Windmills (?) that was built around a lake. First time I'd ever seen something like that. Seemed pretty damned innovative at the time, even to an 8-year old.

My parents told me that the lake was an old sandpit. I wonder if it's the same one.

I believe this was off of Almeda-Genoa near Rowlett.

That would be Windmill Lakes. That was a very innovative, state of the arts new complex that Houston was very proud of in its hey day. We "young-uns" would pass by and be amazed at what new design our city was in store for. Mostly young professionals resided there (imagine that now) :mellow: I cannot think of the developer that has now enveloped the area but all of that was wooded I mean wooded. We wonder why the area floods so badly now Doyyyy.

I honestly do not believe it was a sand pit ever. That was a manmade built lake strickly for Windmill Lakes. Unless I am corrected by someone. We still know good old family friends that live at end of Radio Rd/street near by and they would know.

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I honestly do not believe it was a sand pit ever. That was a manmade built lake strickly for Windmill Lakes. Unless I am corrected by someone. We still know good old family friends that live at end of Radio Rd/street near by and they would know.

Historicaerials.com shows that the Windmill Lakes sandpits (between Kingspoint and Almeda-Genoa) were started sometime between 1957 and 1964.

The apartments were built sometime after 1981 (but not long after, from my memory.)

Even without looking at the historic aerials, there are a couple of indications that the lakes weren't dug just for the apartments: first, the apartments were built before storm water detention was required, and second, the sheer size of the lakes compared to the size of the apartments. The economics aren't there to dig lakes of that size without some kind of serious revenue or other benefit to compensate. Lakes are pretty, but there's not enough of a financial premium from renters to justify the expense.

In any event, I don't believe sandpits are ever filled with anything other than groundwater or possibly trash (landfills).

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Historicaerials.com shows that the Windmill Lakes sandpits (between Kingspoint and Almeda-Genoa) were started sometime between 1957 and 1964.

The apartments were built sometime after 1981 (but not long after, from my memory.)

Even without looking at the historic aerials, there are a couple of indications that the lakes weren't dug just for the apartments: first, the apartments were built before storm water detention was required, and second, the sheer size of the lakes compared to the size of the apartments. The economics aren't there to dig lakes of that size without some kind of serious revenue or other benefit to compensate. Lakes are pretty, but there's not enough of a financial premium from renters to justify the expense.

In any event, I don't believe sandpits are ever filled with anything other than groundwater or possibly trash (landfills).

Very astute and sound reasoning.

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Historicaerials.com shows that the Windmill Lakes sandpits (between Kingspoint and Almeda-Genoa) were started sometime between 1957 and 1964.

The apartments were built sometime after 1981 (but not long after, from my memory.)

Even without looking at the historic aerials, there are a couple of indications that the lakes weren't dug just for the apartments: first, the apartments were built before storm water detention was required, and second, the sheer size of the lakes compared to the size of the apartments. The economics aren't there to dig lakes of that size without some kind of serious revenue or other benefit to compensate. Lakes are pretty, but there's not enough of a financial premium from renters to justify the expense.

In any event, I don't believe sandpits are ever filled with anything other than groundwater or possibly trash (landfills).

Do you recalll ever seeing some people jet skiing in it? I could swear I saw some frolicking about. Windmill Lakes was known for having mostly single's then early 80's.

I wonder what became of the other sand pits off Mykawa? :P

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I moved away so long ago that my memory has failed on where the Beverly Hills pit used to be exactly, but it does sound like it might be the current Windmill lakes location. I remember it as a huge deep pit.

A guy down the street from me had a huge magnet and used to regularily troll the pit for metal - he latched on to motorcycle engine one time.

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There was one off of Hammerly in the Spring Branch area that we used to go to in high school at night to make out. Supposedly, there was a construction site that hit a spring or some unexpected underground water source and all the construction equipment was at the bottom of it. I think there were the occasional drownings.

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I'm at a loss here. Why were these things dug and why were they called sand pits when they ended up being lakes?

Edit: I looked it up and indeed these were sites for sand extraction. Interesting, I thought we just had that nasty clay gumbo in these parts. I wonder if any of these are still around and if not, how'd they fill them in?

Edited by rsb320

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I'm at a loss here. Why were these things dug and why were they called sand pits when they ended up being lakes?

Dig a hole, fill it up? ;)

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They're similar to the old gravel pits on the west side of Columbus. Holes were dug to mine fill dirt, gravel, or sand in this case. The material was sold to construction companies, but the pits were left and eventually filled up with water. I believe that there are laws now that require the person who digs the hole to backfill it after the resource is extracted. I could be wrong, though...

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The Beverly Hill's Sandpits are now known as the Windmill lake Apartments. I grew up fishing those sandpits with my friends and continued to fish them even after the apartments were built. They did do some modifications to the shore line but for the most part the sandpits are original. I don't ever recall seeing any jet skies because there were no gas powered engines allowed in the lake due to pollution. We caught a lot of nice fish out of those lakes back in the day. The Mykawa Sandpit is still alive and well but has been privately owned since the 80's it is located at the corner of Cottingham and Schurmier. It was owned and operated back then by the family across the street, can't remember the families last name but their daughter's name was Dana. :wub: They called the place Armadillo Lake and charged like $5 a car load. I was born and raised three country blocks (about 3 miles) away from that one and remember running down there the day they struck water. It was a deep hole with a road that sloped up from the bottom around the circumference of the pit. There was a dairy caddy corner from the pit where we would get our milk. Don't remember the name of that family either but their daughter's name was Bernadette. ;) There was a good vein of sand that ran down the east side of town and there are or where several sand pits. I also remember when the sandpit on cullen got filled in during one of Houston's floods around 1979 and is now John Bass Park. Most of the pits run along the north side of the beltway and the ones in Pasadena are split by the beltway.

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Thanks! I took a walk around these today and yesterday - the southern "lake" is losing a lot of water and looking awful sandy! :blush:

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Yep, the lakes at those apartments were the original sandpits. There was another sandpit in Genoa off of Old Galveston Road where it intersects with Genoa-Red Bluff.

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Here's an in depth article from 1980 in the Southbelt-Ellington Leader about the many drownings that occurred at these sand pits with pictures:

 

http://southbelthouston.blogspot.com/2014/03/6580-deadly-sandpits.html

 

There were also at least two murdered bodies dumped there:

 

http://southbelthouston.blogspot.com/2014/03/72380-sand-pit-murder.html

 

This whole site is an incredible resource for anything related to the history of the Southbelt area from the late 60s through the mid 80s. Tons of photographs and information.

 

 

 

Edited by bred
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^Wow, thanks for posting those links!

No problem.  I figured that would be really interesting for anyone from that area.  Didn't it seem like there was a disproportionately high number of instances of people driving cars into/through houses back then in that area?  That's what I noticed anyway.  Maybe just the times.

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Yeah... Thanks for the Southbelt links... Interesting. Good article on Almeda Mall and cool ads of local places.

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There is an article about the contaminated neighborhood across from the SE Memorial Hospital on those links. Sad.

Edited by NenaE

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I can remember, driving my Motorcycle out to a Sandpit/Gravelpit that was off Almeda Rd. I think the side road was Fellows. There was a water filled pit, rather large one and sticking out of the middle of it was a Crane .  It was at the end of the road (fellows) and in a area where people would go do their thing.  If I remember correctly, it was called, " THE SANDPITS" !!

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I just moved into the Beverly Hills neighborhood into my girlfriend's house.  She says that the neighborhood kids would go swimming in what they called "The Pits", which is what you guys are calling sandpits.  Easily accessible by going down to the corner of Fonville @ Alta Loma, and then just passing through the road's dead end there and into the grassy area behind the houses.  Crazy to read about the dead bodies found there!  Can't wait to share these links with her and her mom.

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Welcome to the (greater) neighborhood! I visit the old sandpits pretty often on foot - sometimes via Beverly Hills Park and there's also a decent trail between two of them off of Windmill Lakes. Here's a view from the beginning of the trail:

 

sandpits001.jpg

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Yeah, there are all sorts of treasures out there! It is now gone so I assume the apartments go around and clean things up once in a while. On a good day there are a few people fishing and some even on boats.

 

Here are a few more views:

 

 

sandpits002.jpg

 

 

 

sandpits004.jpg

 

 

sandpits003.jpg

 

 

sandpits005.jpg

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Love these pictures, and thanks!  I might have to head out there and take some pictures myself this afternoon.  First I'll have to bathe myself in mosquito repellant.  :)

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Whoa...That looks like a lake, not a sand pit. I don't remember it being that large. Looks like the part with the island needs to be cleaned up. And those grocery carts are supposedly very expensive. What is that, a road or a concrete wall in the background? or both? Post 29. 1st pic.

 

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Around the end of the 1950's or beginning of the 1960's, my father used to play softball at the Beverly Hills Park. While they were playing softball, my brother and I would explore the sandpits not too far away. I can tell you from looking at Google Maps was that the lake that says Windmill Landing was not there at that time. Parts of it may have been there, but it would have been expanded since I had seen it as a child. I know it was NOT as close to the softball diamond as it shows on Google Maps. The other lakes were probably the sandpits we explored back then. It seems to me there were more sandpits than just three, but the sandpit close to the park may represent multiple sand pits that were combined into one giant lake.

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