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Old Addicks Fairbanks Rd (now Eldridge Parkway)


Goatman79

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I am new to this website, but I have been viewing threads for some time during various topics of research. I am a local Houstonian from the Addicks/Satsuma area, and have lived here since Sept. 1981. I have recently become fascinated by the abandoned stretch of road just north of the intersection of Eldridge Parkway and Patterson Rd. This small segment of road is nearly all that remains of Addicks-Fairbanks Road, the street that ran along the path of present day Eldridge until the very early 1980's.

When Eldridge was expanded (and slightly elevated to eliminate flooding problems on Addicks Fairbanks Road), most of Addicks Fairbanks Road was paved over, but at Patterson Road, the new alignment was changed from a sharp, right angle turn to a gradual curve to the east, and back to the left. This allowed traffic to pass by at higher speeds without having to slow down for the sharp bend.

This bend is the location of the entrance to the Hillendahl-Egglin (or Blue Light) Cemetery, for those having trouble distinguishing between that and the slightly younger graveyard at Patterson and Highway 6. I am wondering if anybody who has lived in Houston longer than I may have some experiences to share involving Addicks Fairbanks Road when it was actually still in use.

Today, the only stretch of concrete you can easily find is on the west side of Eldridge Parkway between Patterson Road and the entrance to Bear Creek Pioneers Park. There are still yellow lane dividers visible, and the roadsides (in the trees) are lined with old barbed wire fence that has fallen down, and old underground cable markers. North of the park entrance, the old alignment had been covered by grass and is well groomed, but the right of way can be followed up to Clay Road where it meets up with the new alignment of Eldridge.

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I thought this may have been the old right of way as well, to the immediate east of Eldridge. The path was straight, flat, and the correct width. However, on Google Maps, the grassy corridor to the east didn't line up very well with the segment of asphalt road that begins above Patterson Road. On the map, I noticed a clearing in the trees that seemed to run parallel to Eldridge, but just north of the park, it veers to the right and ends up crossing Clay Road to the east of the light at Eldridge.

When I drove to this point, I could see a clearing, but no signs of a road having ever been there. Only markers for a gas pipeline. I wondered if what I presumed to be the old path of Addicks Fairbanks was actually just a gas pipeline corridor, and the real old road was buried beneath the new one.

If I am wrong, I definitely need to be corrected, but I could use some help or additional clues. Is there any evidence of the old road on that flat grassy corridor to the east of Eldridge? At this point, I'm assuming to be a gas pipeline corridor, but I just found out about this from the TexasFreeway site a week ago, I may have some things to discover yet.

This past Saturday, I parked my car at Bear Creek Park and walked the length of Addicks Fairbanks between the park entrance and Patterson Road. Mainly to see what was off in the trees to the side of the road...old trash or other signs of the past. I found a few interesting things.

1.) An old Coors Light beer can from the early 80's. It wasn't a peel tab, but it was a very old can design with lots of oxidation on the aluminum.

2.) A very old discarded tire. Not a modern day radial belted one, but an old bias-ply tire with a fat whitewall on it. They haven't used bias tires on passenger cars for decades, so unless some classic car buff walked all the way down to chuck this used tire in the woods, I would imagine it has been sitting in the same spot since I was an infant.

3.) An old manmade structure in the woods to the left, if you're entering the curve from Bear Creek Park. All that remains is a concrete foundation, some corrugated fiberglass panels, and electrical boxes. I have no idea what it may have been, and no history suggests anything was ever built here. I didn't go too deep in because of the thick summer foliage, but I imagine in winter, it would be easier to explore. Further down the road where it bends 90 degrees, there is a pathway leading off into the woods, which I believe is the heavily trampled entrance to the Hillendahl-Egglin (Blue Light) Cemetery. Also something I was not willing to explore by myself when nobody knew where I was.

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http://www.houstonar...metery__st__200

I've been reading about the farm houses in that area, that were moved due to recurrent flooding. The thesis research one A&M masters student, Andrea Stahman, dug up is incredible, see post #237 by geopainter, in the HAIF link above. What a great paper. It might help with some answers. Has many photos and diagrams included.

Edited by NenaE
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I made some phone calls. You are right Eldridge Parkway was built on top of the old Addicks-Fairbanks Road. The area to the east was a temporary re-alignment used during construction.

As a side note...historicaerials.com has some nice aerials of Addicks-Fairbanks Road back to 1957.

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Oh wow!!! I never saw the Historic Aerials website before! I just spent a good half hour looking at the Addicks area from 1957, 1964, 1973, 1981, 2002, and 2004. Unbelievable that we have satellite photos going back that far (and in such clarity too). That clears up any mystery about the path of Addicks Fairbanks Road, I guess.

I guess now I sort of know what used to be built on the side of Addicks Fairbanks Road that I found in ruins last weekend. From the 1957-1973 photos, it is much less covered by trees, and I can see some sort of structure built there just before the road straightens out to the northeast near Bear Creek Park. There is also some sort of ditch leading to it running east-west.

The entrance to Hillendahl-Egglin cemetery is much clearer in the 1957 & 64 aerials. The little road spouts off from the 90 degree turn. This road is the only right of way all the way up to the 1981 photo, so the new Eldridge Parkway must have been done after 1981.

I also scrolled down south of Patterson, west of Addicks Fairbanks, and found the mysterious cross of trees buried deep within the greenery. According to the 1957 aerial, it used to be surrounded by cleared farmland, which makes sense that it was some sort of fish farm. There is also a road running east-west to Addicks Fairbanks directly below the circle/cross, which I presume is the forgotten Lamb Rd.

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Oh wow!!! I never saw the Historic Aerials website before! I just spent a good half hour looking at the Addicks area from 1957, 1964, 1973, 1981, 2002, and 2004. Unbelievable that we have satellite photos going back that far (and in such clarity too). That clears up any mystery about the path of Addicks Fairbanks Road, I guess.

I guess now I sort of know what used to be built on the side of Addicks Fairbanks Road that I found in ruins last weekend. From the 1957-1973 photos, it is much less covered by trees, and I can see some sort of structure built there just before the road straightens out to the northeast near Bear Creek Park. There is also some sort of ditch leading to it running east-west.

The entrance to Hillendahl-Egglin cemetery is much clearer in the 1957 & 64 aerials. The little road spouts off from the 90 degree turn. This road is the only right of way all the way up to the 1981 photo, so the new Eldridge Parkway must have been done after 1981.

I also scrolled down south of Patterson, west of Addicks Fairbanks, and found the mysterious cross of trees buried deep within the greenery. According to the 1957 aerial, it used to be surrounded by cleared farmland, which makes sense that it was some sort of fish farm. There is also a road running east-west to Addicks Fairbanks directly below the circle/cross, which I presume is the forgotten Lamb Rd.

Yes, that is the forgotten "Lamb Rd", mentioned on at least one of the Houston maps on texasfreeway.com.

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Oh wow!!! I never saw the Historic Aerials website before! I just spent a good half hour looking at the Addicks area from 1957, 1964, 1973, 1981, 2002, and 2004. Unbelievable that we have satellite photos going back that far (and in such clarity too). That clears up any mystery about the path of Addicks Fairbanks Road, I guess.

I guess now I sort of know what used to be built on the side of Addicks Fairbanks Road that I found in ruins last weekend. From the 1957-1973 photos, it is much less covered by trees, and I can see some sort of structure built there just before the road straightens out to the northeast near Bear Creek Park. There is also some sort of ditch leading to it running east-west.

The entrance to Hillendahl-Egglin cemetery is much clearer in the 1957 & 64 aerials. The little road spouts off from the 90 degree turn. This road is the only right of way all the way up to the 1981 photo, so the new Eldridge Parkway must have been done after 1981.

I also scrolled down south of Patterson, west of Addicks Fairbanks, and found the mysterious cross of trees buried deep within the greenery. According to the 1957 aerial, it used to be surrounded by cleared farmland, which makes sense that it was some sort of fish farm. There is also a road running east-west to Addicks Fairbanks directly below the circle/cross, which I presume is the forgotten Lamb Rd.

Not to be pedantic (who, me, pedantic? ;-) ) but most of the pre-twenty-first century photos are aerials, shot from airplanes, instead of satellites. Google Earth also has historic aerial imagery in some areas, and it is different from that on Historic Aerials.

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http://www.oscarmail...egion_large.jpg

...from a fellow HAIFer Houstorian's Map Compilation, shows Lamb Road.

http://www.lib.utexa...endhal-1915.jpg

...a very eary topo. map from the Univ. of Texas collection, showing the original roads in the area.

http://www.tshaonlin.../articles/hla04

history of Aldine.

http://www.texasfree...ble_highres.jpg

...this TexasFreeways Map shows an airport (Crutcher-Roff-Cummings) next to the south end of the Addicks dam and the Katy Frwy. Wow...not a lot of room.

Edited by NenaE
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I saw that the Crutcher-Rolfs-Cummings airstrip was around at least through the sixties. By 1973, the aerial photo shows the land on the northeast corner of I-10 and Eldridge being plowed up....presumably for the new cut of Dairy Ashford Road where it intersects Eldridge. There are also a lot of newer buildings there now.

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  • 1 month later...

After I spent enough time on Historicaerials.com, I figured out how to use the "compare" feature, which allows you to slide back and forth between the new and old aerial photos. This makes it much easier to identify landmarks and roads that have remained the same through the years, and to determine exactly how a road was re-aligned.

I was a little in the dark about how exactly Addicks Fairbanks road was re-aligned until I saw the old photos from 1957 and 1964. The new Eldridge Parkway was built to the west of Addicks-Fairbanks Rd. starting at I-10 and moving north. The section of land that once was occupied by an airstrip is now home to a recently constructed series of office buildings. Prior to their construction, another small strip of the old Addicks Fairbanks road could be seen in the "frontyard" of that construction site in the 2002 & 2004 aerial photos. Obviously, construction eliminated this visible portion, but it helped give some perspective on just how much of the old road one would expect to find. The small stretch bordering the east side of Bear Creek park is pretty much all there is left today.

On another note, I found some other interesting abandoned road sections while browsing the old aerial shots. Cypress North Houston was apparently realigned sometime in the 70's or early 80's just east of the Barwood bend subdivision. The old rural road used to have a corner in it, and today this corner serves as an entrance/exit road to the Mackel Private School.

Huffmeister and Old Huffmeister Rd. are a little more well-known, because the old section of Huffmeister just north of Cypress N. Houston was still open to traffic until about ten years ago. Even with the new alignment of Huffmeister built, the old section was still a viable passage with many business entrances. At some point, Old Huffmeister was cut off from New Huffmeister, and became a dead-end road. But it was once a classic example of rural road designs...stopping and then resuming several blocks away in a separate location.

Telge Rd. also has an interesting past to it (not very old but still...), sometime in the late 1970's, Telge Road was expanded between West Road and 290. It originally sat several block to the west, serving the many factories there, and was much narrower. This old passage can be seen in old aerial photos as the only route north and south in this region. After Telge was realigned to the east, this small stretch of road became Cameron Rd., an industrial road for the factories to use that is apparently private now. I have not yet tried to get in.

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Yes, the historicaerials compare function is quite handy, I use it often. The info. you share is interesting.

Do you have any info. on the small one story Victorian trimmed house that sits near Jersey Village, right on the railroad? Sits on the south side of the rail, maybe near Jones Rd. I'm curious about it, thought it might have something to do with a train stop in earlier years, maybe a rail station, mail drop for a small town. It is always associated with a Halloween spook house in the month of October. I can't see why it would sit so close to the railway, without having such a purpose. The is also an old animal pen sitting close to the house. The condition is not so good, looks like it's used for hay storage.

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I think that old house is just one of the many random old houses along Hempstead Rd. in the old days that managed to survive (if you can call it that) to today. The house is obviously a genuinely aged home, and not a forced job by the haunted house attraction. It looks ready to collapse on itself.

On another note, I was reading about another abandoned road called Addicks Clodine, which was abandoned around the time the barker reservoir was built. I think I can find an overgrown path within the dam, but am not sure if it's Addicks Clodine Road or not. Are there any remnants of the road left today? And how would one go about accessing it for photos?

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and 1970

I think that old house is just one of the many random old houses along Hempstead Rd. in the old days that managed to survive (if you can call it that) to today. The house is obviously a genuinely aged home, and not a forced job by the haunted house attraction. It looks ready to collapse on itself.

On another note, I was reading about another abandoned road called Addicks Clodine, which was abandoned around the time the barker reservoir was built. I think I can find an overgrown path within the dam, but am not sure if it's Addicks Clodine Road or not. Are there any remnants of the road left today? And how would one go about accessing it for photos?

I hate to see that old house decay.

regarding the other road...have you referenced these, for early road names?

see the Addicks 1955, 1970 map, from the

parent list from the Perry-Cast...link...below.

I like these, you can see where the actual towns were located, before being swallowed up by Houston development.

http://www.lib.utexa...aps/topo/texas/

see all Addicks maps, may look under Clodine, as well, or other town names, for specific roads & their early names.

I use these sources, as well as Historic aerials, GoogeEarth, all open at the same time, to compare. The "compare" years feature on HistAerials is priceless.

I vaguely remember a town and road within the (south of I-10) dam area, on one of those old maps I've directed you to.

Edited by NenaE
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I found some other abandoned roads in the west Houston area, thanks to some tedious work comparing new and old aerial photographs of the city layout.

1.)Cypress North Houston Rd.: West of Eldridge Parkway is a bend in C.N.H. road that was the result of a bypassing, probably in the early 1980's. Today, Galson Auto Repair is at the apex of this turn, and directly across the street is the old "dead man's curve" of C.N.H. Road, which now serves as an entrance to a small private school. The old yellow lane dividers are still there as well.

2.)Telge Rd: South of 290: The segment of Telge Rd. between 290 and West Road was constructed in the very early 1980's to the east of the original road, which ran directly north/south and ended at a power station near present day Tuckerton Rd. When Telge Rd was expanded south of 290 to link with West Rd, the old two lane asphalt road was swallowed up by the nearby factories to serve as a transit route between factories, and became known as Cameron Rd., after Cameron Iron Works. Most of this road is off limits to non-employees, but a small offshoot road near the train crossing will give you a view of the old road surface.

3.) Spencer Rd./FM 529: North of the present intersection of FM 529 and 290 (which dips below grade), there is a small remaining abandoned segment of the original FM 529 where it intersected with Hempstead Rd. This road is still accessible by a small driveway immediately east of the train crossing (see Google maps), but it is heavily overgrown, and littered with discarded tree limbs, tires, and hot tub shells. Not the most welcoming place to go exploring, but a fascinating abandoned pathway.

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  • 4 months later...

In regards to Addicks Clodine Rd., I finally found a good access point for photos (as well as a good hike). If you head west on Westheimer from HWY-6 South and enter George Bush park, there is a small parking lot directly across from Addicks-Clodine Rd. There is a small gravel path with a gate leading into Addicks-Clodine.

The gravel path turns to the right into a bald spot on the reservoir, but the actual road itself is dead ahead, barely discernable unless you notice the trees in a straight line. The road surface is almost totally washed away, but the drainage ditches on either side contain discarded tires and rims, and this sunken path is the best way to explore the old alignment. The abandoned path continues north all the way to the north end of Barker dam, but it's quite a hike.

I would recommend going in two vehicles, parking one at the north end, and driving to the south end to begin the hike. Once you reach the north end, drive back to the south access point and retrieve the other vehicle.

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I used to bike in Barker Reservoir and -- now having looked on historicaerials.com -- am surprised that there used to be more roads there than I suspected.

At first, I thought you were referring to Barker-Clodine, which has been converted into a hike & bike path. According to Louis Aulbach (in the section entitled "Families of Barker Reservoir", http://users.hal-pc.org/~lfa/Buffalo.html), this path lies "near the ruins of the Habermacher Settlement". He describes the Habermachers as a family of Germans who immigrated to the area in the 1830's.

From your description, there must still be a bridge across Buffalo Bayou for the old Addicks-Clodine Road, as there is for Barker-Clodine. On the other hand, the bayou there is quite narrow, so far upstream, so perhaps it wouldn't be difficult to cross over by foot. In the 70's I hiked up the bayou there (from Hwy. 6) and was surprised to encounter bow-fishermen shooting gar several feet long in such a narrow stream.

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