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KristinDaugherty

old house on the edge of downtown

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Yeah, so perhaps the thread title isn't as catchy as "dead skunk in the middle of the road" ... but you gotta start somewhere!

So there's this house I see, on my rare voyages into downtown to get cheese from the big Spec's. I'll be heading out of Spec's, so southwest on Smith until I get to 59, and just after I pass under the Pierce Elevated, on my right is this huge gorgeous old house.

I am positive someone here has the skinny on it, what it is and what it was and how old it is and all that interesting info.

(Frankly, I wouldn't be surprised if there's already a thread on it and I just can't ID the sucka.)

Thanks, y'all!

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Your directions seem impossible. If you're heading out of Spec's and going SW on Smith toward 59, you're not going to pass under Pierce Elevated, because Spec's is SW of Pierce Elevated...perhaps you mean a different house by 527 Spur or something?

Edited by kylejack

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Kirby%20Mansion_full.jpeg

The Kirby Mansion. It is currently DWI lawyer Gary Trichter's law office.

Didn't it used to be a Boy Scouts headquarters?

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Didn't it used to be a Boy Scouts headquarters?

I believe it was the Red Cross headquarters years ago - remember attending a meeting there when I taught in Houston ISD. At that time, most of the original interior features were gone or covered up in a mid-century modernization attempt, but I remember seeing part of a bathroom wall with some fantastic tiles.

My mother lived in Houston during the early years of the last century and recounted that, when the Kirby mansion was newly built, it had a natatorium where nude swimming parties took place.

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The Guide says that Mr. Kirby and his family lived on this site from 1897, but in 1925 they replaced their Victorian house with this "rambling, 36-room English manor house" designed by James Ruskin Bailey. It has apparently been used for offices since 1948. James Ruskin Bailey was busy in the 1920s. He also did the education wing of First Methodist Church, a bank building downtown, and additions to Eastwood (later Lantrip) Elementary School.

Having said that, I agree with kylejack that Kristin may mean one of the buildings he posted near Spur 527 instead of the Kirby house, which is north of Spec's.

Edited by marmer

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2 minutes ago, H-Town Man said:

So it has already been annexed to the Cadillac dealership. Isn't the house slated to be moved?

 

Is it? Last I heard Preservation Houston was trying to convince the dealership not to knock it down. Did they agree to move it?

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2 minutes ago, j_cuevas713 said:

Is it? Last I heard Preservation Houston was trying to convince the dealership not to knock it down. Did they agree to move it?

 

Thought I heard it was going to be moved, on a different thread.

 

There's a pretty vivid (and unsettling) description of Kirby's lumber empire in early 1900's East Texas in the book Backwoodsmen by Thad Sitton. If anybody is interested in the story behind the name.

 

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