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Carrousel Motor Hotel


Ashikaga

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It sure did. As a kid I wanted to get up there and ride it. It hung on until the early 90s, I think.

Spoke with my Dad. Said that place was really popular. He had an interview there once when he got back from Vietnam. Would have had to move to California though, so he passed.

True Texan

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It sure did.  As a kid I wanted to get up there and ride it.  It hung on until the early 90s, I think.

Spoke with my Dad.  Said that place was really popular.  He had an interview there once when he got back from Vietnam.  Would have had to move to California though, so he passed.

True Texan

I forgot to ask: Is the Carosel Motel is still there?

Chet Cuccia

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Back in the late 70s, I believe many of the rooms at the Carrousel rented by the hour. They advertised X-Rated movies in the rooms, and there was a club at the motel where many of the women there had “managers”.

That was like in the movie "Psycho II." Norman Bates spent 22 years in an insane asylum. When he got out, he fired the guy who was managing his motel. He said that he didn't want his business to be an "adult" motel.

Chet Cuccia

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  • 3 months later...
I love the googie-style folded plate roof. You used to be able to see the foundations of the Carrousel buildings, but I think Metro is building a transit center there now.

I think the foundations are still there. The transit center is finished and its on the other side of Evergreen - not where the Carrousel was.

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I think the foundations are still there. The transit center is finished and its on the other side of Evergreen - not where the Carrousel was.

Boy, I remember that motel. When I was a kid I too wanted to climb up there and hitch a ride on one of the horses. That was the coolest sign. Wasn't it located kinda close to Peppermint Park?

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Did a search on the Carrousel and found an interesting article explaining the links between the Carrousel, the Mafia, and the Kennedy assassination.

... from Pete Brewton's The Mafia, CIA & George Bush (New York: S.P.I., 1992).

I was first told about Mischer's connections to the New Orleans Mafia family by a former deputy sheriff who had worked for a Harris County commissioner in Mischer's hip pocket. He, in turn, referred me to a number of retired Houston police officers who had worked in the old Criminal Intelligence Division. This division followed Carlos Marcello, the New Orleans mafia don, and his relatives, when they came to Houston to look after their numerous business interests.

Mischer said Marcello, whom he described as a "short, squatty Italian" (Marcello's nickname is "The Little Man"), wanted to buy two Houston hotels from him. Mischer and his partner, Howard Terry, owned the Coronado Hotel and the Carrousel Hotel. The Coronado was located in a older neighborhood west of downtown and was noted for its poker games, gambling and prostitution, according to undercover Houston police officers. It was later burned down.

The Carrousel opened in 1960 to great fanfare. The hotel was located between downtown Houston and Hobby Airport. It was supposed to be a hip, swinging place, but instead evolved into a guady and semi-sleazy motel. It had its share of prostitution too. NASA would hid the Mercury astronauts from the press at the Carrousel, where some of them allegedly engaged in certain extracurricular activities.

...Later, the new Houston Intercontinental Airport opened north of the city and Hobby Airport closed for a time. The Carrousel died on the vine and was shuttered in 1975. That's when Marcello came around. But Mischer said he didn't sell to Marcello, because "I didn't want to get run out of town."

However, it appears that Mischer sold the hotel to Marcello indirectly. In our interview, Mischer said he couldn't remember who bought the hotel. It turned out to be John Keneth Coil, a disbarred attorney and convicted pornographer who began offering X-rated movies in the rooms. A sergeant in the vice division of the Houston Police Department said Coil was an associate of the New Orleans Mafia family. In fact, Coil had a similar X-rated hotel, the San Antonio Inn, on the Airline Highway in Metarie, Louisiana, just a few miles down the road from the Town & Country Motel, Marcello's infamous headquarters.

The transaction between Coil, Mischer and Terry over the Carrousel was a strange one. Mischer said they sold the hotel on a contract for deed. This basically means that the title to the property in the form of a deed is not transferred to the buyer until the property is completely paid for. In a normal transaction the buyer gets title to the property by deed and, if the buyer owes the seller or a bank money, then the seller, or the bank, retains a lien on the property.

In the case of the Carrousel, Mischer and Terry retained title to the hotel and continued to pay the taxes while Marcello's man showed porno flicks and ran whores. Mischer said they took the hotel back around 1986 and bulldozed it down.

An independent confirmation that Marcello controlled the Carrousel Motel is contained in an upcoming book, The Man on the Grassy Knoll, by two Houston investigators, John R. Craig and Philip A. Rogers. The book, to be published by Avon, identifies one of the three so-called tramps who were taken into custody in Dallas after JFK was assassinated. the authors show that this man was a CIA agent. One of the other "tramps" they identify as convicted hitman Charles Harrelson.

Craig and Rogers state in their book that after the assassination the CIA agent had called Harrelson, "who was staying at another Carlos Marcello-owned rest stop, the Carrousel Motel at 3330 Reveille, across the street from the Gulfgate Mall. The Carrousel was a well-known hideout and watering hole for bandidos of all persuasions."

After the 1987 interview with Mischer, I talked to two other people in a position to know, who further confirmed Mischer's relationship to the Marcello family. One, a former Mischer employee and close personal friend, said Mischer not only dealt with the Marcellos but also with mob associates from New York and Chicago. This person said he once saw Mischer together with some of the Marcello brothers at the Hofbrau steak house in Houston. The Hofbrau is owned by a man named Browne Rice, who was a partner in the Victoria House Hotel in Belize with Albert Bel Fay, George Bush's political "mentor."

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re; Mischer

Would that be Walter Mischer, Sr. or his equally suspect son, Walter Mischer, Jr.?

Mischer's influence is still being seen today as he develops an area of formerly set-aside forested property once owned by H.P. near 249 and Louetta. His partner? Vincente Kickerillo, of course. All that missing here from the good-old-boys club is the puppetmaster himself, former mayor Bob Lanier.

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  • 3 weeks later...
  • 6 months later...
  • 7 months later...
Yes, the Carousel looked like a nice establishment in its day. But many other places in Houston did too.

Speaking of sleazy motels, I wonder how the Josephine Motel on Telephone (across from where the old K-Mart used to be) manages to stay open these days? The cops are constantly cruising past it and I don't see nearly as many prostitutes on Telephone compared to 5-10 years ago.

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Speaking of sleazy motels, I wonder how the Josephine Motel on Telephone (across from where the old K-Mart used to be) manages to stay open these days? The cops are constantly cruising past it and I don't see nearly as many prostitutes on Telephone compared to 5-10 years ago.

They were quite brazen out in front of The Josephine. You could go shop at Kmart come back to your car and see all the Heidi Fleiss girls hanging out. Blue light special!

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That place is a trip. I can't belive it's still there.

and this is real scary to admit but I once worked at the Burger King farther down Telephone Road across from the new Harley Motorcycle place around 76. We were directly across the street from Houstons porn version of Sunet Strip. I did an earlier comment I think in Telephone Road clubs? That whole strip should be dyno-mited!

The names of all those places are hilarious! My favorite is The Blue Cat Club. Sounds like kind of an underground flop house in Greenwich Village during the Beatnik movement. Who can forget Mr. Peepers adult book store? Had a big neon sign advertising Adult toys! As a kid I could never understand why a grown up would want to play with Tinker Toys? Then I grew up and... What! Real scary!!!!

Edited by Vertigo58
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and this is real scary to admit but I once worked at the Burger King farther down Telephone Road across from the new Harley Motorcycle place around 76. We were directly across the street from Houstons porn version of Sunet Strip. I did an earlier comment I think in Telephone Road clubs? That whole strip should be dyno-mited!

The names of all those places are hilarious! My favorite is The Blue Cat Club. Sounds like kind of an underground flop house in Greenwich Village during the Beatnik movement. Who can forget Mr. Peepers adult book store? Had a big neon sign advertising Adult toys! As a kid I could never understand why a grown up would want to play with Tinker Toys? Then I grew up and... What! Real scary!!!!

The only motorcycle place I recall over there was Stubbs Cycles. And my brother says he remembers a place called the Blue Top Motel very well. Of course after he says this he produces a big evil smile. I drove down That street a few months ago and was surprised to see the old Blue Top with its big neon sign still there. Is the Blue Cat still there? My brother will be driving around the east end sometime in April and will take pictures. I'll be sure to post some.

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and this is real scary to admit but I once worked at the Burger King farther down Telephone Road across from the new Harley Motorcycle place around 76. We were directly across the street from Houstons porn version of Sunet Strip. I did an earlier comment I think in Telephone Road clubs? That whole strip should be dyno-mited!

The names of all those places are hilarious! My favorite is The Blue Cat Club. Sounds like kind of an underground flop house in Greenwich Village during the Beatnik movement. Who can forget Mr. Peepers adult book store? Had a big neon sign advertising Adult toys! As a kid I could never understand why a grown up would want to play with Tinker Toys? Then I grew up and... What! Real scary!!!!

I think that is the place that's now called Las Palmas maybe? Haha, everyone seems to know the Blue Top Motel though! My dad has always had an obscene sense of humor and, growing up, he would tell us tales of it that just got nastier and nastier as we got older and older. It's amazing what has gone on in that place and suprising that it is still open. When I worked at the Lowe's at Gulfgate I would walk to work every afternoon and walk home at night right past the Blue Top.

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and this is real scary to admit but I once worked at the Burger King farther down Telephone Road across from the new Harley Motorcycle place around 76. We were directly across the street from Houstons porn version of Sunet Strip. I did an earlier comment I think in Telephone Road clubs? That whole strip should be dyno-mited!

I have a lil-bit of Telephone Road in me. When I was born we lived off Joplin and g-ma lived behind the theatre.

When I was 3 or 4 (1972-ish) wasn't there a Chineese Restauant in what became one of the slezzy clubs across from BK?

I remember us eating there, or maybe it was on South Main. We bought a Honda 50 at Stubbs.

By the 80s/90s Telephone Road was my back route to UH. There was always somethign to see.

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The only motorcycle place I recall over there was Stubbs Cycles. And my brother says he remembers a place called the Blue Top Motel very well. Of course after he says this he produces a big evil smile. I drove down That street a few months ago and was surprised to see the old Blue Top with its big neon sign still there. Is the Blue Cat still there? My brother will be driving around the east end sometime in April and will take pictures. I'll be sure to post some.

More than likely he will see them filming "Cops" or "America's Most wanted" on location. As crazy as it sounds its probably already been done. I wouldn't mind meeting John Walsh I guess. I could give him a walk through tour of Telephone Road dives. The walk would take about a week all the way to Hobby Airport, so that means wear comfortable shoes, bullet proof vest, hazmat suit & an Uzi. Gotta love old Tel Road, Texas.

Edited by Vertigo58
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I have a lil-bit of Telephone Road in me.

I have always felt I had a lot of Telephone Road in me. For the first 22 years of my life I never lived more than 3 blocks from it. The Las Palmas somebody mentioned earlier is on the other side of 610 from the Blue Top Motel. It used to be called the Four Palms, aka The Pressure Cooker. The story goes that frustrated housewives went there in the afternoon looking for love in all the wrong places and were then forced to use pressure cookers to get the food on the table by the time their husbands got home. Stubbs Cycles started out life on the other side of Telephone from its current location in the big orange metal building that I think is still standing there. Leons Drive In still sits at the end of the strip of clubs that operate there. Way back in the mid seventies all those clubs were there sans any Asian ownership. One was two sided and had topless on one side and totally nude on the other. You could get alcohol on the topless side and not on the nude side. They had an internal door between them and you could wander back and forth as your thirst drove you. I think it was this club that lead to a change in City ordineces that disallowed this type of activity. The Blue Top was the hang out of the local woorking girls and I still see them there occasionally when I drive by. The current Stubbs location used to be woods and where Lowes is was a trailer Park. Just past the trailer park was Old Hickory Stick Bar-b-que. The area has changed a bit but it still brings back my childhood every time I drive down Telephone.

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Telephone Rd should be on Guinness Book of World records for Longest Street with broken curbs and cracked telephone poles from the DUI's over the decades. Be sure to notice next time you cruise it.

I would start a Topic/thread of the fact that Houston was Numero Uno for the most adult themed establishments in a city but ... someone else can if they want. It was always mentioned on the local and national news since the early 70's and maybe before that. No secret. Mother Superior is calling me gotta go now.

Edited by Vertigo58
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Telephone Rd should be on Guinness Book of World records for Longest Street with broken curbs and cracked telephone poles from the DUI's over the decades. Be sure to notice next time you cruise it.

I would start a Topic/thread of the fact that Houston was Numero Uno for the most adult themed establishments in a city but ... someone else can if they want. It was always mentioned on the local and national news since the early 70's and maybe before that. No secret. Mother Superior is calling me gotta

You are right on that one Vertigo! Not to mention the occassional potholes. Although Tel Wink has to be the BEST place in town for a good, cheap breakfast.

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You are right on that one Vertigo! Not to mention the occassional potholes. Although Tel Wink has to be the BEST place in town for a good, cheap breakfast.

I know I'm straying from the subject a bit but most people forgot that Tel Wink was remodeled inside for the filming of the made-for-TV movie of Mohammad Ali about 7-8 years ago. Time flies by. In the scene Mohammad & his manager get out of their car while travelling and go to this truck stop restaurant where they have a bite but after the employees give him a hard time. (scene was supposed to be deep south 1962ish) We noticed that the movie people left it as is when things wrapped up.

Maybe we should start a topic on films done in East End. I know for a fact that "Bad News Bears II" was partially filmed at Eastwood Park on Harrisburg, we watched after school with many neighborhood people. was cool but long forgotten. :)

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  • 1 year later...
Boy, I remember that motel. When I was a kid I too wanted to climb up there and hitch a ride on one of the horses. That was the coolest sign. Wasn't it located kinda close to Peppermint Park?

At Christmas-time, there was a fake santa that rode on one of the horses. The round carousel part of the sign spun around, like a real one would. We would always stretch our necks to see it we could catch a glance of him, as we passed by in the car. He may have been waving, as well. I would like to know what happened to that sign.

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That was a cool sign. I guess that's it just below and to the right of the small sign that says "motor hotel".

Notice the incorrect (on purpose?) spelling of carousel: "carrousel"

Cool, I was thinking of that postcard when posting, thnx. What a cool pool, has a bridge. Too bad, hardly any of these hotels are left, or their signs, in their original condition. That hotel had a sad ending.

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  • 3 weeks later...
The last time I saw that sign it was sitting in a yard at a sign shop on Maudlin off of Long and Wayside. This was about late 80s when I visited my parents back in the old hood.

joe

That sounds like Smith Municipal Sign and Supply at 5567 Maudlin. I don't guess the sign would still be there but you never know. Anybody live in the area?

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Speaking of circular, crenulated roofed buildings.... what about a similar looking structure that is/was on the east side of I-45, inside the Loop, just south of Cullen Blvd., beside the modern Catholic Charismatic Center? That building and the Carrousel Motel look remarkably similar! I always thought it was an old car dealership, but I am not sure. In historicaerials.com, it is built by the 1964 survey. What was it?

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Speaking of circular, crenulated roofed buildings.... what about a similar looking structure that is/was on the east side of I-45, inside the Loop, just south of Cullen Blvd., beside the modern Catholic Charismatic Center? That building and the Carrousel Motel look remarkably similar! I always thought it was an old car dealership, but I am not sure. In historicaerials.com, it is built by the 1964 survey. What was it?

Check out this topic.

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The last time I saw that sign it was sitting in a yard at a sign shop on Maudlin off of Long and Wayside. This was about late 80s when I visited my parents back in the old hood.

joe

Joe, it just dawned on me, there were two carrousel signs in the picture postcard, which one do you remember? The really large name sign, or the carousel one? Someone said in an earlier HAIF post they thought the horses were taken off, and were sitting in an antique store.

Was looking for info. on the motor hotel yesterday, and found references to the Houston one, as well as the one on the NE coast, around Washington DC. The two motor hotels did not look the same, would like to know who built the Houston one, and the similar Helena one. All I know is that they seemed to have links to some very shady characters. That's too bad.

here's a link to the NE coast motor hotels, there's some neat googie style things here: http://retroviews.com/gallery/photo-viewin...galleryid=64952

Edited by NenaE
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I only remember the one carousel facing the 610 loop. It was maybe 10 to 15 feet tall from the bottom to the top of the canopy.

Another sign I would like to see again, but I think it was modified and finally dismantled, is the Orbit Drive-Inn that was on the corner of Hwy 3 and Richy or Spencer. It was a flying saucer with a glass dome and little green alien sitting in it.

joe

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carrousel.jpg

Here's sevfiv's post w/ picture from earlier...the huge sign is in front of the carousel one. I, too, only remembered the one w/ horses.

And yeah, I wonder about the martian, too, from Vicky's Drive-In.

There were some neat ones on Telephone Rd., as well. That space themed hotel sign was neat.

http://ephemera.arch-ive.org/paper/#carrousel

from this great link you can see the chain logo on the back info., I have this postcard, it says "Master Hosts". The Helena Motor Hotel postcard I have does not have the same logo, has AAA symbol, instead.

Edited by NenaE
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