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Riverside Terrace - a neighborhood in transition.

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Over the past nearly 20 years, I have watched Riverside Terrace return from a very bleak period in its history.  The neighborhood is pulling itself out of the seedy area it had been allowed to become.  There is still much to do.  Every time we lose a house to demolition, it reminds one of the fact that so much has been disregarded and disrespected in this neighborhood for far too long.  

 

http://vimeo.com/41671048

 

As I can, I will post photos of houses we've lost recently, and ones that are in danger of being lost.  Hopefully, we can bring more attention to the neighborhood, and help to save some of these magnificent homes.

 

This first house was demolished about a year ago, and was located at 2507 Calumet.

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Here is another down on the end of Binz at the 288 feeder.  The home had been completely gutted, and all the doors and interior moulding were carefully removed and stored in the house.  But the new owner, deciding against restoring the house, just wrecked it a couple of months ago - with the interior features still inside the house.

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This is the style so many suburban homes copy. Sad story.

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Once that kudzu-like stuff starts growing on the brick, it will actually destroy the concrete that keeps the bricks together. I think it would be nice for a family to move in and fix up the home to make it a rather nice place to live.

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Any news about the stucco, French-styled one that looked abandoned? it was on the South side, near Hwy 288, one or two streets off the main drive. Had a porte-cochere, drive thru feature, with room on other side. Another style copied in the suburban mcmansion creations. 

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NenaE, I am assuming you mean this house on Oakmont?  Wouldn't someone have such a lovely home if they were able to get ahold of this one?  And can you imagine how it would look all landscaped?  It's a shame to see it in such state.  I heard at some point a while back that the owner lived in Austin, but per HCAD, he lists the address of the house as his mailing address.

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This poor house on the east side of Riverside Drive facing N. MacGregor Way never had a chance.  It had been a barber shop for the longest time - always a strange use of a nice house in what should be a residential neighborhood.  After that closed up, it remained vacant for years and used as a heavy trash dumping ground, unofficial homeless shelter, etc.  It finally met its fate earlier this month, becoming landfill.  Never really had a chance, though - the current price tag on the property is $1.25M, and that may be why it has sat vacant for several years.

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This is really a shame.  I don't know how salvageable these houses would have been after so many years of neglect.  But, I hope that out there somewhere are some energetic entrepreneurs who will see value in doing something with them, rather than just razing them.  I do think that it takes a special kind of person to take on projects like that, plus they probably need to be able to deal with a potentially long time horizon.  So ... I recognize that it might be a risky proposition financially ... but, I wonder if we are more risk-averse in this town than people in other cities.

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Yeah, thats the one...RiversideT. and I agree. It has sat vacant for quite a while. Nice to know it's still there. Hope it gets some love. We have an old thread here, on HAIF, that talks about it. Yeah, ArchFan, I agree, salvage or re-use what you can, if it's being wrecked. Unfortunately, the freeways chop up original neighborhood plans, leaving a mangled version. Those houses on the outskirts of the neighborhoods are especially vulnerable. It's a shame. I'm guessing they are hoping to sell the land for future high rise development. 

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Yeah, thats the one...RiversideT. and I agree. It has sat vacant for quite a while. Nice to know it's still there. Hope it gets some love. We have an old thread here, on HAIF, that talks about it. Yeah, ArchFan, I agree, salvage or re-use what you can, if it's being wrecked. Unfortunately, the freeways chop up original neighborhood plans, leaving a mangled version. Those houses on the outskirts of the neighborhoods are especially vulnerable. It's a shame. I'm guessing they are hoping to sell the land for future high rise development. 

 

Funny you should mention salvaging or re-using what you can and how the freeway chopped up the neighborhood. I heard a story of a house that was in the way of 288. When it came time to tear it down, the house wasn't razed, but instead the owner had it dismantled. Some of the materials such as bricks and windows went to build what I believe was his replacement home in the Acres Homes area, and others were able to take what materials they needed, too. I wish I knew more about that and where the home is located now.

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I don't live in near this neighborhood, but I went to UH in the 80s and my major professor lived in a house on the bayou.  not one of the cool houses from when it was "where the rich Jewish people" lived, but a nice 70s style house that I think is gone now.  

 

Anyway, I think the general neighborhood has a lot of potential, despite the construction of 288 that seems to have ripped it apart.  I hope that it will continue to recover, without just "gentrifying"... aka,  kicking out the families who have lived their for decades.

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So much is being razed. The developers probably don't want to bother with what they may perceive as just a hinderance (salvage). On a somewhat positive note, I've seen many small homes on blocks near downtown packed up, ready to move, not dozed. One paper I ran across had the addresses of previous slave's homes, along with stories of their lives. I looked up the two Houston ladies homes, both were gone, empty lots. That's sad.

 

I'm taking photos of as many as possible. The neighborhoods are changing, fast. I'd be ok with it, if they would keep some historic structures, to save the identities of the neighborhoods. Maybe the little corner store. I just don't see it happening. I do see a lot of churches. So many generic town homes are replacing full streets of homes. I'm afraid everything is gonna look the same. It's boring, no matter what name they conjure up. I often wonder...What would Peter Papademetriou and Stephen Fox say? 

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It is scary to think that so much human history, memories of human lives actually, will be forgotten if we just throw everything away.  even if its just for selfish reasons, i think we and future generations will gain so much benefit from knowing who and what came before us.  even in Houston, which people tend to think of as having no history, actually does have a history that is interesting and enriching.

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This old gal went down hard yesterday.  Corner of Riverside and Almeda.

 

 

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For anyone interested, the house at 2507 Calumet that replaced the house in the very first set of pictures is for sale:

 

http://search.har.com/engine/2507-Calumet-Houston-TX-77004_HAR56050744.htm

 

http://swamplot.com/a-steel-framed-live-work-studio-by-carlos-jimenez-on-the-slopes-of-riverside-terrace/2014-06-26/

 

Definitely would not have any problems finding this one since it is so out of character with the rest of the houses along the street.

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The Calumet one is across the street from me. I was sad when they tore the old one down, but was glad while definitely not fitting in the neighborhood, it is at least a single family home. 2522 Calumet has also been vacant since at least 2009.  Someone recently bought it, but they haven't done anything with it yet.

 

That is sad about the one at Almeda and Riverside. That was a beautiful house.

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Alsal29 are you a member of the Riverside Terrace NextDoor.com group? There are some interesting threads on there about the need to preserve the character of the neighborhood.

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WERE SAVING 2522 CALUMET!!!

 

My father and i have been actively trying to save as many third ward homes (and their ORIGINAL features) as we can. We've done 2618 Rosewood, 2417 Blodgett, 2906 Ruth, 6670 sylvan & 6223 Jefferson (those two were in the second ward but needed desperate attention...), and now, most exciting of all, we will be restoring 2522 calumet and MY family will be moving into that one! It's to special to sell to anyone else. Feel free to pop in if you see my dad and I working over there and introduce yourselves! 

 

-Rachel Paxton

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WERE SAVING 2522 CALUMET!!!

My father and i have been actively trying to save as many third ward homes (and their ORIGINAL features) as we can. We've done 2618 Rosewood, 2417 Blodgett, 2906 Ruth, 6670 sylvan & 6223 Jefferson (those two were in the second ward but needed desperate attention...), and now, most exciting of all, we will be restoring 2522 calumet and MY family will be moving into that one! It's to special to sell to anyone else. Feel free to pop in if you see my dad and I working over there and introduce yourselves!

-Rachel Paxton

Thank you. Houston needs more folks like you and your family.

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What's the build date on these houses? Anyone have a summary of what exactly happened? I see there's something about 288 but I don't know the history of that.

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Riverside was developed back in the 1930s for the wealthy Jews (it was "on par" with River Oaks) as they were not welcome in River Oaks.

I remember watching a PBS special 25 years ago about Riverside. When 288 went through, it was a real calamity for the neighborhood as it split streets and neighborhoods in half. I am unsure when the Jews moved out and the African Americans came in.... The switch may have been prior to 288. I don't recall. Regardless, many of the homes in this area are quite "stately" ..... The type of thing that would have been built in River Oaks in the 1930s, 40's and likely 50's.

By the late 50's, 288 was planned to come through.

I don't know much about Riverside beyond that.

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Is there any knowledge on why 288 was built so wide, and with so few crossings?  I hear a lot about it dividing up neighborhoods, killing businesses on Almeda, etc. but no reasons for its routing and size

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Is there any knowledge on why 288 was built so wide, and with so few crossings?  I hear a lot about it dividing up neighborhoods, killing businesses on Almeda, etc. but no reasons for its routing and size

 

288 was supposed to be a dual freeway. In the middle would be an express freeway that would allow travel between 610 and downtown without mixing with local traffic entering and exiting the freeway. They didn't have enough funding at the time to build the lanes, but they will be built in the near future, though not as free lanes as originally intended. They will be managed lanes like what you see in the middle of I-10.

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YAY Rachel! You have no idea how excited that makes me! I have seen that you started some work last week, but couldn't tell what or who was doing it.  I have not seen anyone over there when I have been home but I can't wait to meet you! it is such a beautiful home! Welcome to the neighborhood!

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Our daughter and son in law recently purchased a home in the northern part of Riverside and have spent months fixing it up. Its such a lovely bungalow and there seems to be more of that going on in this area. There are hundreds of these homes just begging for a little

special care. Its such a great location for the med center area and downtown.

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Is there any knowledge on why 288 was built so wide, and with so few crossings?  I hear a lot about it dividing up neighborhoods, killing businesses on Almeda, etc. but no reasons for its routing and size

 

The reason that The South Freeway was routed through Riverside was to appareantly avoid having to purchase NABISCO and the Dominican convent on Almeda Rd. Although NABISCO remained a major employer for awhile, the Domincans tore down their old motherhouse in the early 60's and built a modern dormitory adjacent to it.

 I'd rather have seen the convent and bakery go instead of the destruction of Riverside. There surely could have been an alignment that didn't do as much damage as the eventual South Freeway route did. They could have curved it around things further in, possibly staying on the west side of Almeda Rd, taking out the Turn Verin, Hermann Park Stables,the Jewish Comminuty Center and the east parts of the Veteran's Hospital property before veering back east to meet up with it's current intersection with the South Loop. 

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Welcome to the neighborhood, Rachel.  We certainly welcome people with your spirit and dedication to bringing new life back into these wonderful homes.   :)

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Our home at 2522 Calumet is nearly done and we can't wait to have a block party in October to celebrate! Thanks to everyone who's dropped by to say hello and welcome us into the area. 

 

On another subject, specifically having to do with Calumet street; I have personally almost run into vehicles parked along the side of the road near the intersection of 288 and calumet in front of the town homes. When your on the service road and you veer right to turn onto calumet, there are always cars parked precariously close to the intersection in the second lane on the far right. It is straight up DANGEROUS. Not only that, but when cars are parked on both sides of the street only one car can get down the whole street at a time. 

 

WOULD THE 2400-2500 BLOCK OF CALUMET LIKE OR DISLIKE PERMITTED PARKING?? I had permitted parking on my old street and we loved it. It discouraged thieves, and helped keep traffic/accidents to a minimum. Also, the street just looks a lot more inviting and pretty if everyone simply uses their driveways and garages. 

 

THOUGHTS, COMMENTS???? Ill do all the leg work and get the signatures, i just need to know if the residents are with me on this or if i am going to hit a brick wall! Also, if you want to help, let me know.

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Excited about your house!

 

I think most of the single family home owers would probably be for it, but I think getting some of the townhome owners on board will be tough.  I think that is the issue with our street is that I have a feeling that most of the current street parkers is residents instead of visitors.  I know one woman down the street that rents out all of her rooms and then the rooms in the garage apartment also, and they will maybe park one car in the driveway. 

 

I would suggest sending messages on the next door app and see what the response is. That is how I was able to contact many people on the street for the minimum lot size. Would be happy to  help if I can and let you know the best people to talk to. 

 

I did see on one of the Houston planning maps that our street was earmarked to be widened. I do not really want that to happen, so I would be in support of this. Something has to happen as our street is impossible.

 

Amanda

 

 

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Glad to hear that you are saving a piece of Riverside Terrace, Rachel. 

 

In the early 1940s, my grandmother resided with one of the families that lived on your block.  (Unfortunately, I don't remember exactly which house, but I know it was on the north side of the street.)  She worked as a governess for the family and helped raise their children.  

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HELLO ALL!

 

Check out our Facebook page "daddy daughter demo" if your interested in seeing what we've been up to inside 2522 calumet. I post a lot about what we are up to and a lot of the problems we encounter while renovating historical homes. PLEASE LIKE IT IF YOU WANT TO STAY IN THE RIVERSIDE RENO LOOP!!  And just a fun tid bit: there's even a video on our page of us finding baby raccoons inside a soffit in our garage apartment!

 

https://www.facebook.com/daddydaughterdemo

 

 

To 9075,

When I was researching the history of my home I also came across information that implied there was a governess and grounds keeper that lived in the garage apartment when the home was first built. However, our house is on the south side of the street; its a shame because I would LOVE to find someone who could fill me in on the fist owners and occupants of my house! 

 

 

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My mother grew up at 2615 N Calumet and I lived there for a few years as a child .  We sold it to the fraternity that currently owns it.  The Deutser's lived next door and it became The Groovy Grill.  I remember the houses being torn down to build the apartments (that were torn down to build town homes now.)

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OH how i wish the fraternity would sell it to someone who could restore the property! It's one of only about SIX homes in "Riverside sections 5" that are still standing!!!! I can only imagine the crazy things that I fear go on in there......It's unbelievable that so many mansions around the park have been demolished without a second thought. The scariest thing of all is that, if i am correct, only the 2400-2500 block of calumet has minimum lot size, so technically a builder could build a crazy high rise anywhere on Riverside Drive, Binz, or N and S Calumet. What a risk...

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My wife and I just bought a home built in 1950 on Fernwood between Scott and Cullen. It sits on a nice size corner lot and needs some serious love and care.

We took the carpets out last week, in the living room, entry, stairs, dining room, both upstairs bedrooms and found beautiful hardwood floors which really made our day. Someone said there is someone who takes old carpet and recycles. If anyone knows about this Would appreciate the name.

I just started demo work on the 1970's add on master suite and just finished taking out several closets and cabinets that enlarged the bedroom by  two feet the length of the room. Opened up the small closet into the adjacent utility room to make an 8 foot deep walkin  closet 6 feet wide.

sheetrock work to follow and a complete gutting of the bathroom and vanity area. Wish I was about twenty years younger. This sixty six year old body doesn't respond as well as it used to. I can feel every nail pulled and stud I demo'd today. The hot shower felt so good. Going back over this week to continue demo in bathroom. Have to figure out how to take apart one of those old walkin tubs that is larger than the bathroom doorway. Hopefully I can take it apart or sawzall it into pieces. Also if anyone has any advice on how to take out large mirrors that seem to be partially glued to the wall without having mirror shards everywhere I'd appreciate the suggestions. Thanks

Edited by bobruss

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36 minutes ago, bobruss said:

My wife and I just bought a home built in 1950 on Fernwood between Scott and Cullen. It sits on a nice size corner lot and needs some serious love and care.

We took the carpets out last week, in the living room, entry, stairs, dining room, both upstairs bedrooms and found beautiful hardwood floors which really made our day. Someone said there is someone who takes old carpet and recycles. If anyone knows about this Would appreciate the name.

I just started demo work on the 1970's add on master suite and just finished taking out several closets and cabinets that enlarged the bedroom by  two feet the length of the room. Opened up the small closet into the adjacent utility room to make an 8 foot deep walkin  closet 6 feet wide.

sheetrock work to follow and a complete gutting of the bathroom and vanity area. Wish I was about twenty years younger. This sixty six year old body doesn't respond as well as it used to. I can feel every nail pulled and stud I demo'd today. The hot shower felt so good. Going back over this week to continue demo in bathroom. Have to figure out how to take apart one of those old walkin tubs that is larger than the bathroom doorway. Hopefully I can take it apart or sawzall it into pieces. Also if anyone has any advice on how to take out large mirrors that seem to be partially glued to the wall without having mirror shards everywhere I'd appreciate the suggestions. Thanks

 

Kevin told me you were doing this. I love home renovations and preservation.  I hope we get to discuss this in person soon!

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mmmmmmmm.... mayhemmmmm.... Go get 'em, Bob.

 

On the tub question... take a tape measure to it and see if it will fit through the doorway on its side.  My deep '24 Kohler made it, even with its feet still on.  Very few tubs are two and a half feet deep.

 

Regarding the achy stuff, just remember that age and treachery beats youth and enthusiasm on any day.  No disrespect, but I'm pretty sure that there was some physical pain in my first DIY remodel in the 80s, which was helped greatly by natural substances like corn squeezins and other plant based rheumatiz medicines.  Rumor has it they are still around.  There's also the soothing balm that the passage of time gives to the memories of our younger, more bulletproof selves.

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That's so cool!  We've been looking for a place over there, but haven't had any luck yet.  I love the area and would love to check out what you're working on!  

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I'll let you know when I'm going to be there . I plan on working over there quite a bit on Thursday thru the weekend.

Still looking for advice on taking out large mirrors that have been partially glued to the wall. Someone mentioned some kind of 

adhesive sheets of a gauze type material that holds the broken glass together. Is anyone familiar with this or have any thoughts.

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Awesome!  And this is a totally random idea, but maybe you could glue a tarp to the mirror and then try to pry it off?  Hopefully the tarp would hold all the pieces together.  

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Thanks for the advice. Its an exciting adventure and we love the neighborhood. Everyone has been so nice and welcoming.

I've got great neighbors and look forward to getting past the renovations and to just be able to enjoy the area.

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Were about to move in. I wish I had a way to show you  some before and afters, but I  have'nt been able to put

my images on the site. I must have taken a thousand images of befores, progress images and afters.

I'm really pleased with the 1st floor master we completely gutted and created a new master bath and walk in closet area. Lots of white subway tile and  very dark rectangular porcelain tile floor. Pewter grab bars and a euro shower system that we ordered on line.

 

By the way we taped the mirrored in  diagonal strips of duct tape running both ways sort of like people do for hurricane preparedness. 

I don't know if it helped or we just got lucky, but the mirror came out without a break, and went away  a few Saturdays ago with a lot of demo'd material.

Doors and cabinets went to Habitat for Humanity. 

I just finished hanging art throughout the down stairs and working on taking the wall paper off the walls of the 2nd floor bath.  I'll prime it this weekend and paint. Then I'll put in a new vanity, toilet and new faucets. 

 

After the movers left last week I took out the last of the carpet in the stairwell. The steps are all in great shape but I have to fill all of the risers with putty after I took out the carpet and pad and a million staples nails and carpet tack strips. You have to be very careful when you grab a handful of carpet tack strips. Its like picking up a thorny cactus or a short quilled porcupine.

The best thing, is I've lost 17 pounds since I started work December 20th.

 

Hope this didn't bore you but you asked for an update.

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That's awesome!  Not boring at all.  Glad the mirror didn't cause any trips to the ER!  It sounds like the house is coming along nicely.  I'm sure it has been hard, but also rewarding work!  Good luck with the stairs and upstairs bath.  Thanks for the update!

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I have been watching all of the birds that fish along Brays in an area east of 288 and west of what I call the Big Bend. Its a stretch that the Herons, Egrets and other waterfowl love due to the current which almost forms rapids. The fishing is great in the bend. Theres always at least ten of those birds working it.

Lately we've had three Osprey working this stretch of bayou and they're amazing fisherman. 

Well this morning I couldn't believe my eyes but there was a bald eagle fishing the bend and I just was blown away.

This was about 7:00 this morning and my wife works on the sixth floor of the UT Nursing school by Lake Flato. Her office faces the bayou and she called to confirm as she was watching it fly back and forth and could see its white head. Truly an amazing morning catch.

I wish I had my camera ready. Hopefully it will be back tomorrow.

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I wonder if there will be an impetus to improve Lockhart Elementary as Riverside Terrace gentrifies.

 

http://www.houstonisd.org/cms/lib2/TX01001591/Centricity/domain/32468/boundarymaps/Lockhart_ES.pdf is the attendance boundary.

 

https://www.schooldigger.com/go/TX/schools/2364002521/school.aspx states that free and reduced lunch students make up 70% of the enrollment. Its academic performance seems to have declined dramatically from 2009 to 2016; its student body merged with that of Turner Elementary in 2011. I wonder where the wealthier black parents prefer to send their children.

Edited by VicMan

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On 4/14/2017 at 11:36 AM, bobruss said:

I have been watching all of the birds that fish along Brays in an area east of 288 and west of what I call the Big Bend. Its a stretch that the Herons, Egrets and other waterfowl love due to the current which almost forms rapids. The fishing is great in the bend. Theres always at least ten of those birds working it.

Lately we've had three Osprey working this stretch of bayou and they're amazing fisherman. 

Well this morning I couldn't believe my eyes but there was a bald eagle fishing the bend and I just was blown away.

This was about 7:00 this morning and my wife works on the sixth floor of the UT Nursing school by Lake Flato. Her office faces the bayou and she called to confirm as she was watching it fly back and forth and could see its white head. Truly an amazing morning catch.

I wish I had my camera ready. Hopefully it will be back tomorrow.

 

I've seen the bald eagle flying around the neighborhood, too. I can never catch it on camera though. Usually, I manage to get a brown spot with a bit of white.

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