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Thank you musicman, we miss her desperately. :( She loved her location even though it was dangerous. She was robbed early on but insisted that Telephone was the best place for her kind of store.

I spent many an afternoon browsing the mazelike stacks in her store - for anyone even remotely interested in Texana, it was a goldmine. I was saddened when she closed the store, but not nearly as saddened as when I spotted her obituary in the Chronicle some time later. She was a great lady.

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Reading on another thread about the Meyer property reminded me of a big house on the SW corner of Telephone and Bellfort. It was a big brick house with ivy growing on the walls. It looked like it may have pre dated Garden Villas.

I was once told that most of that area of town was once horse ranches. There were large mansions everywhere. An example is the big house off Dixie near Broadway, the house next to a church on Dixie near Chaffin and the old construction office on Mykawa off Dixie. They looked like some of the anti-bellum homes you would see in the old south.

joe

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Thank you musicman, we miss her desperately. :( She loved her location even though it was dangerous. She was robbed early on but insisted that Telephone was the best place for her kind of store.

I can trace my interest in Houston history directly to Coleen's books. I bought a copy of Sig Byrd's Houston from Coleen as well as Theodor Dresel's Houston Journal. After reading the Sig Byrd book I wanted to find the source of the "Queen of Vinegar Hill" story. I did...Queen Caroline Riley...who lived in the 1870s during Vinegar Hill's heyday. The thing I like about Coleen is that is you wanted to talk she would talk all day, but if you didn't she would just leave you alone. Does anyone have the obit to post? I missed it.

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I can trace my interest in Houston history directly to Coleen's books. I bought a copy of Sig Byrd's Houston from Coleen as well as Theodor Dresel's Houston Journal. After reading the Sig Byrd book I wanted to find the source of the "Queen of Vinegar Hill" story. I did...Queen Caroline Riley...who lived in the 1870s during Vinegar Hill's heyday. The thing I like about Coleen is that is you wanted to talk she would talk all day, but if you didn't she would just leave you alone. Does anyone have the obit to post? I missed it.

From the Chronicle, 4/16/2006:

A noted bookstore proprietor and Texana collection owner, Colleen Urbanek dies at 88

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Reading on another thread about the Meyer property reminded me of a big house on the SW corner of Telephone and Bellfort. It was a big brick house with ivy growing on the walls. It looked like it may have pre dated Garden Villas.

I was once told that most of that area of town was once horse ranches. There were large mansions everywhere. An example is the big house off Dixie near Broadway, the house next to a church on Dixie near Chaffin and the old construction office on Mykawa off Dixie. They looked like some of the anti-bellum homes you would see in the old south.

joe

Know exactly what you're talkin about. I think one of those on Dixie is a B&B

bad link for me.

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Know exactly what you're talkin about. I think one of those on Dixie is a B&B

bad link for me.

Paper: Houston Chronicle

Date: Sun 04/16/2006

Section: B

Page: 2

Edition: 4 STAR

A noted bookstore proprietor and Texana collection owner, "Colleen Urbanek" dies at 88 / Her dedication to readers, writers spoke volumes

By LYNWOOD ABRAM

Staff

Colleen Urbanek, the witty, high-spirited proprietor of Colleen's Books, a used bookstore that attracted literary lions, seekers of rare volumes and ordinary readers to Telephone Road, died last week in her southeast Houston home. She was 88.

Her husband, Dan Urbanek, found her dead in her bed last Sunday afternoon when he returned from a trip to Nashville, Tenn. He said she apparently had suffered a heart attack.

For 30 years, Colleen Urbanek swapped jokes, stories and wisecracks with such writers as Larry McMurtry, David Westheimer, Leon Hale and Mickey Herskowitz.

Hale, the longtime Houston Chronicle columnist, recalled that one day, "I walked in the store and she seemed angry. I asked her what the matter was. She said, `Oh, these people keep coming in here and buying my favorite books and taking them away.' "

In her store in the 6800 block of Telephone Road, near Hobby Airport, Urbanek was renowned for the aphorisms that she posted on slips of paper.

Two samples tell a lot about Urbanek: "Old Age Comes at a Bad Time" and "Be the First on Your Block to Own a Book. Amaze and Stupefy Your Friends."

Hale said he first visited the store on the recommendation of a friend.

The friend confided: "You might not like the books, but that old gal who runs the place is worth the trip."

"I did like the books," Hale said, "but he was sure right about Colleen. I went back there many times, and Colleen became one of the few special friends I've made in more than a half-century in Houston.

"I mean, if I called her at 2 o'clock in the morning and said I was in jail, she would come get me out. That kind of friend."

Hale once quoted Urbanek in his column as saying that the funniest remark she ever heard in the store came from one of two customers who were discussing a gift. One said: "You're gonna give him a book? He's GOT a book!"

In 1971, tired of being a housewife, Urbanek opened her store with about 5,000 books in 1,600 square feet of space.

When she closed the store in 2001, it had expanded to 3,000 square feet of space and housed 75,000 used and out-of-print books, including one of the state's finest collections of Texana.

When he first visited the store, Hale said, he "first thought that somewhat seedy stretch of Telephone Road was a curious place for a used/rare bookstore, but it was an excellent location because of Hobby Airport.

Collectors and other dealers could fly in there and come across the road to Colleen's and stock up and fly out."

Dan and Colleen Urbanek met 57 years ago when they were technicians in the Shell Oil research lab at Deer Park.

Born in Sweetville, La., Colleen Stockford Urbanek was the daughter of Louis G. Stockford and Myrtle Anna Morris Stockford. She graduated from the University of Arkansas with a degree in English.

Dan Urbanek said his wife's motto was, "Damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead."

When she retired, he said, she continued her lifelong habit of reading. She also missed the people who came to visit the store.

Besides her husband, Colleen Urbanek leaves four sisters, Eloise Campbell, of Fort Pierce, Fla.; Bobbie Ann Commander and Mary Gail Cox, both of Brenham; and Lucille Ferguson, of Houston.

A memorial service was held Thursday at Crespo Funeral Home.

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I am a native Houstonian and a sixth generation Texan. I can basically trace almost every event of my life back to Telephone Road or something that was at least within a couple of miles of Telephone Road. At its North end Telephone turns into Leeland and goes into downtown, just a few blocks from Leeland is St Josephs Hospital where I was born. At the South end Telephone turns into SH35/ N. Main in Pearland and crosses Dixie Farm Road on the South side of Pearland. I currently live about 2 miles from 35 off Dixie Farm. When I came home from the hospital my parents lived in some apartments on Woodridge just a couple of hundred feet from Telephone. I grew up just off Telephone and Broad near Griggs and spent a lot of time running up and down Telephone. My first movie adventure on my own was a double feature at the Santa Rosa featuring "The Alamo" and "The Charge of the Light Brigade" on a rainy Saturday afternoon. My Father was friends with Charlie West who was the owner of the Hicory Stick Bar-b-que place. Dad's Ice House was Sheffields at Telephone and Lancaster and its still there today. Mom used to shop at the A&P which was at the corner of Telephone and McHenry. Just down McHenry was Golfcrest Elementary where I went to school from the 2nd to the fifth grade. The place we got our donuts and kolaches is still there just north of Long Drive called the Kolache Shop. My Father got all his hardware from Golfcrest Hardware. I remember the Four Palms and the articles in the Chronicle referring to it as the pressure cooker because housewives used to go there in the afternoons looking for romance and got home late and had to cook dinner in the pressure cooker so it would be ready by the time Dad got home. It's called Las Palmas today. I remeber the stretch of clubd and dirty bookstores on Telephone just south of the TeleWink Grill and the unsavory types that hung out there. I had a friend who lived on Plumb Creek just off Telephone near the Hickory Stick. His mom was a waitress at the Hickory Stick and we spent a lot of time at Leons the little convience store that was next to the strip of clubs. Stubbs Cycles forst building backed up to his house and one year playing with some fireworks we caught a bunch of boxes and styrofoam on fire behind Stubbs and we thought we were going to burn the place down.

Telephone Road brings back a lot of memories of my childhood and growing up in Houston.

By the way, I heard its called Telephone Road because the original long distance phone lines into Houston were strung along the path Telephone Road runs and they just got to calling it the Telephone Road and the name stuck.

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At its North end Telephone turns into Leeland and goes into downtown, just a few blocks from Leeland is St Josephs Hospital where I was born.

Actually, Telephone is disjointed at the north end. It takes a jog up Ernestine and starts again just south of Polk, then continues in a northwesterly alignment to McKinney, where it ends and Eastwood Street begins.

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Yeah thats true but to anyone who doesn't know very specific details it seems it just turns into Leeland right before the new Cage Elementary, so for my purposes I just kind of see it turning into Leeland. I found out years ago where Telephone actually went when I went to a meeting at the Knights of Columbus Hall right there. It's address is actually on Telephone Road. My cousins lived in Broadmore and attended the old Cage. I went to Jr High at Jackson on Polk.

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brerrabbit,

Sheffields on Telephone was owned by the same family that owns Sheffields Grocery on MLK. I grew up across what was then South Park Blvd.. It was a small green building with garage doors on three sides they have since built a big store there. I was in there almost everyday buying models and balsa wood airplanes. During a flood in the late 60s early 70s we took a flat bottom rowboat from our house on Southseas across to Sheffields back down Southseas to Crestmont to Van Fleet by the old KMart back to Southseas down South Park without ever touching ground.

joe

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Wasn't there a reasonably spectacular big wavy slide (the kind kids slide down on a piece of cardboard or waxed paper) at Almeda-Genoa and Telephone? There where it makes the one-block jog north to continue to the east? ISTR a ?junkyard? there on the lot in the 80's and remnants of the slide structure still being visible.

Marty

Yes, there was one of those big slides in a junkyard there. It sat there for years and years rusting away and finally one day it was just gone. Further on down Telephone was the Telephone road drive in theater which had three screens at the time it closed. I went there in the 80s after it closed and was able to get into the projection booth where they had left all the equipment behind with film still on the reels. I took two or three rolls of film that day of the booth, it's contents and also the snack bar which you could not get into, but still had all its fixtures. I returned there about two years later and the projection booth building had caved in, the projectors were gone and the snack bar was empty. Two more years later, the screens had been dismantled. It was abandoned for probably seven or eight years before the area was finally levelled off.

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Does anyone know where one of the pre-JSC NASA buildings used to be? There was one somewhere on or around Telephone Rd. What I know, which may be incorrect, is that there were buildings or office space being rented at Telephone Rd., Gulfgate Mall (in the basement areas), and at UH, possibly an old KUHF building. All this was at the very begginings of NASA, pre-1964, before they broke ground at what is now Johnson Space Center. The original group of people came from a pre-NASA organization called "NACA", from Virginia if I am not mistaken. Anyone have any info on this?

Edited by 2112
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Yes, there was one of those big slides in a junkyard there. It sat there for years and years rusting away and finally one day it was just gone. Further on down Telephone was the Telephone road drive in theater which had three screens at the time it closed. I went there in the 80s after it closed and was able to get into the projection booth where they had left all the equipment behind with film still on the reels. I took two or three rolls of film that day of the booth, it's contents and also the snack bar which you could not get into, but still had all its fixtures. I returned there about two years later and the projection booth building had caved in, the projectors were gone and the snack bar was empty. Two more years later, the screens had been dismantled. It was abandoned for probably seven or eight years before the area was finally levelled off.

Yeah the guy would pay neighborhood kids, my brother being one, to coat/wax the superslide. it was located right where the current 2laned Almeda Genoa runs into Telephone.

I remember 2 screens at the Telephone theater. At least per Google it hasn't been completely levelled off.

http://www.google.com/maps?f=q&hl=en&a...mp;t=h&om=1

Edited by musicman
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Does anyone know where one of the pre-JSC NASA buildings used to be? There was one somewhere on or around Telephone Rd. What I know, which may be incorrect, is that there were buildings or office space being rented at Telephone Rd., Gulfgate Mall (in the basement areas), and at UH, possibly an old KUHF building. All this was at the very begginings of NASA, pre-1964, before they broke ground at what is now Johnson Space Center. The original group of people came from a pre-NASA organization called "NACA", from Virginia if I am not mistaken. Anyone have any info on this?

There's a post on HAIF hat has a great map of several of the nasa buildings pre JSC. One building on telephone is still there on the corner of Telephone and Westover. It's the Ambox building I believe. Office City (near Woodridge) also housed several facilities. I also have a Texas magazine which was all about JSC. This issue is from approx 1962 and discusses Clear Lake as a master planned community and even had a map which is still surprising accurate today. The only "wrong" thing i saw was that the townhome area across from JSC credit union on Saturn was supposed to be more office commercial vs. residential. I think there were even a few high rises.

I think I've mentioned this before but a Pecan Park resident used to be a NASA photographer and she has some wonderful memories about the astronauts eating lunch at Gulfgate, etc. She said the person she was most excited to meet was Wernher Von Braun himself!!

Edited by musicman
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Does anyone know where one of the pre-JSC NASA buildings used to be? There was one somewhere on or around Telephone Rd. What I know, which may be incorrect, is that there were buildings or office space being rented at Telephone Rd. Anyone have any info on this?

There is a thread on HAIF somewhere that discusses the old buildings esp the old HQ, current parks dept building on wayside.

The building on telephone road is currently the Ambox building (i think they make boxes). It's on the NW corner of Telephone and Westover. There is a picture on the internet somewhere of JFK looking at some mockups or some such inside that building.

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Check out chapter 3 of the history of jsc. It discusses setting up operations in Houston.

it also has the map of all the early facilities - that i think musicman was referring to.

http://www.jsc.nasa.gov/history/suddenly_t...ow/suddenly.htm

here is the previous HAIF thread on the topic:

http://www.houstonarchitecture.info/haif/i...080&hl=nasa

the map is there too.

Edited by gnu
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There's a post on HAIF hat has a great map of several of the nasa buildings pre JSC. One building on telephone is still there on the corner of Telephone and Westover. It's the Ambox building I believe. Office City (near Woodridge) also housed several facilities. I also have a Texas magazine which was all about JSC. This issue is from approx 1962 and discusses Clear Lake as a master planned community and even had a map which is still surprising accurate today. The only "wrong" thing i saw was that the townhome area across from JSC credit union on Saturn was supposed to be more office commercial vs. residential. I think there were even a few high rises.

That would be this post. NASA Map

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Check out chapter 3 of the history of jsc. It discusses setting up operations in Houston.

it also has the map of all the early facilities - that i think musicman was referring to.

Yep that's the map. most of the facilities of interest are still around. I'm gonna have to go hunt for the East End State bank.

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Cool. Where did you find that?

I think that nightclub didn't last too long. From what I could find it was out of business in the early 1960s.

I saw Jimmy Reed and Albert King there in 1966 so it was still there then. It was packed that night, surprise of the night was when Lightnin' Hopkins walked out on stage and jammed with Jimmy Reed, talk about a night to remember.

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There is a thread on HAIF somewhere that discusses the old buildings esp the old HQ, current parks dept building on wayside.

The building on telephone road is currently the Ambox building (i think they make boxes). It's on the NW corner of Telephone and Westover. There is a picture on the internet somewhere of JFK looking at some mockups or some such inside that building.

Wow, I did not know that. Before it was the Parks Dept. it was StransSteel HQ. I always thought they built it for themselves.

joe

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The old East End State Bank was on Leeland right before Cullen on the left as you drove towards downtown. Ballatoris was across the street in what looked like a converted house. On the corner at Leeland and Cullen is Mandola's Deli that still has some pretty good food. Joe Mandola who ownes it lives in Pearland and is a cousin to the Mandola that owns Nino's and Vincents. The old East End Bank building was taken over by the city after it moved to its new location on the Gulf Freeway. I think its a water utilities building now. The building East End moved to is on the Gulf Freeway right in front of U of H on the freeway feeder. It was built to look like a cash register and the bank has since been aquired by another bank that still occupies it.

The Ambox building and the Parks Department building are two seperate ones. Ambox is at Westover near the point where Telephone and Reville come together. The Parks building is on Wayside north of Griggs road. A friend of mine growing up had an Uncle who was the night security guy at the old Stran Steel Company and we used to go see him sometimes when he was working and look around the place. His uncle lived at the Rock Motel on Telephone which was basically right across the bayou from where he worked and we spent a couple of summers swimming at the pool there. We also fished for alligator gar off the Telephone Road bridge across the bayou that was also right there.

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The old East End State Bank was on Leeland right before Cullen on the left as you drove towards downtown. Ballatoris was across the street in what looked like a converted house. The old East End Bank building was taken over by the city after it moved to its new location on the Gulf Freeway. I think its a water utilities building now. The building East End moved to is on the Gulf Freeway right in front of U of H on the freeway feeder. It was built to look like a cash register and the bank has since been aquired by another bank that still occupies it.

Thanks for the info....I know exactly where you are talking about.

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Regarding early NASA facilities along Telepohone Rd, I was assigned to the Franklin Apartment complex. This was near the interesection of Telephone and Wayside, and as I recall, right across I-45 from the Petroleum Center (where other NASA offices were located); I remember needing to go over to the Petroleum Center for meetings, and could literally see it from my office, but had to "go the long way around" to actually get to it.

Does anyone remember those Franklin apartments, and the street they were situated on?

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it's a pretty seedy area - keep in mind that across the street are the eagle lounge, happy lounge, and the little toy club.

it looked like the gate served as a checkpoint to access the houses. maybe they don't like visitors...heh

That's is so hilarious to think that someone even photographed this dive! It's probably been filmed too (by undercover) for years. I used to work at Burger King a block or 2 away around "75". Talk about bizarre! I was just a teen and would see the most bizarre crowd shuffle in to get a whopper. It could be freezing and the exotic dancer's across the street would come in just a fur coat (imitation) and high heels! What! Sometimes they were men, so the area was up there with Montrose. Sometimes there would be shootings and stabbings across the street and we would just yawn, it was just so common. Still can't believe The BlueTop is still going full steam ahead! You go girls!

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Yeah thats true but to anyone who doesn't know very specific details it seems it just turns into Leeland right before the new Cage Elementary, so for my purposes I just kind of see it turning into Leeland. I found out years ago where Telephone actually went when I went to a meeting at the Knights of Columbus Hall right there. It's address is actually on Telephone Road. My cousins lived in Broadmore and attended the old Cage. I went to Jr High at Jackson on Polk.

If everyone looks at the link :

http://www.cah.utexas.edu

and search Theaters, there is The Eastwood I was told this is where Telephone Road actually starts!

My old stomping grounds too.

Any idea when abouts your cousins went to the original old Rufus Cage? We attended 1969-73 ish. There is another thread dedicated to Cage Elementary pretty cool. I was always teased that we went to a BIRD CAGE!

Funny. I also went to Jackson JR H aaprox 1974-76, talked about cutlure shock! It was quite turbulent even then. We were just too young and used to the camp,innocent 60's I guess. There were plenty of huge cafeteria riots, gang fights (no one ever got along with the crowd from the other side of the frwy) and vice versa. The school was already what 50 yrs old? We remember all the faculty well. I recall all those old trophies in the glass cases up front. So mysterious cause they dated to the 1920's. I still have dreams I am rushing to get to class on time and I cant open my locker fast enough! I still have my old combination lock & number. 32-10-4 gym was 46-36-26 now thats scary! Like another person shouted earlier...Go Leopards!

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If everyone looks at the link :

http://www.cah.utexas.edu

and search Theaters, there is The Eastwood I was told this is where Telephone Road actually starts!

My old stomping grounds too.

Any idea when abouts your cousins went to the original old Rufus Cage? We attended 1969-73 ish. There is another thread dedicated to Cage Elementary pretty cool. I was always teased that we went to a BIRD CAGE!

Funny. I also went to Jackson JR H aaprox 1974-76, talked about cutlure shock! It was quite turbulent even then. We were just too young and used to the camp,innocent 60's I guess. There were plenty of huge cafeteria riots, gang fights (no one ever got along with the crowd from the other side of the frwy) and vice versa. The school was already what 50 yrs old? We remember all the faculty well. I recall all those old trophies in the glass cases up front. So mysterious cause they dated to the 1920's. I still have dreams I am rushing to get to class on time and I cant open my locker fast enough! I still have my old combination lock & number. 32-10-4 gym was 46-36-26 now thats scary! Like another person shouted earlier...Go Leopards!

I went to Jackson from Fall of 1971 through the Spring of 1974. My last cousin to attend Cage would have been Sharon Diamond and I think she was a year behind me. She never made it to Jackson because she lived with her Grandmother, my Great Aunt who moved when her husband retired to Hempstead and Sharon finished school there. Her two older brothers had already graduated from Austin by then, their names were John and Bernie Chambers. I was probably in the 9th grade at Jackson when you were in seventh as I graduated from Milby in 1977.

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If everyone looks at the link :

http://www.cah.utexas.edu

and search Theaters, there is The Eastwood I was told this is where Telephone Road actually starts!

My old stomping grounds too.

Wow. See now that's a theater! Puts the RO Theater to shame.

From one of the photos of the site and your description of it as being where Telephone Road starts, I think it might have been at or near where Lantrip Elementary is now, but I could be wrong.

e_bb_1760_pub.jpg

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you were reading my mind isuredid. thx. looks like the intersection was redesigned subsequently. Eddington is still there and since the old houses are as well. you've got to assume that is how it was back then.

isuredid any maps of lockwood nearby?

Thanks. So it appears to be the northwest corner of Telephone and Lockwood, per the present street-naming conventions, right across from Fire Station #18.

the map makes me think leeland used to turn into eddington with telephone bisecting them.

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Thanks. So it appears to be the northwest corner of Telephone and Lockwood, per the present street-naming conventions, right across from Fire Station #18.

It looks like they re-configured the streets to a degree. Telephone used to turn NW at that intersection..now it just becomes Leeland and part of the road that used to be Telephone is now Lockwood...although it doesn't seem to follow the same course. It's interesting that the Sanborn map shows a deep gully to the SE of there. I don't think any remnant of that is still around

Eastwood_Sanborn.jpg

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You confirmed my suspicions isuredid. thx for your prompt response!!

IIt's interesting that the Sanborn map shows a deep gully to the SE of there. I don't think any remnant of that is still around

In that area the gully is history but i believe as you drive eastward on polk past dumble, there is a gully behind the homes. before you get to jackson. i'll have to drive by and confirm

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You confirmed my suspicions isuredid. thx for your prompt response!!

In that area the gully is history but i believe as you drive eastward on polk past dumble, there is a gully behind the homes. before you get to jackson. i'll have to drive by and confirm

This is from a 1917 Topo map of the area. The gully was the beginning of Slaughterpen Bayou. The road leading NW from Kensington is Telephone. You can probably make out the rest compared to a modern map.

Eastwood_1917.jpg

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This is from a 1917 Topo map of the area. The gully was the beginning of Slaughterpen Bayou. The road leading NW from Kensington is Telephone. You can probably make out the rest compared to a modern map.

You are good. Yes i'm sure the gully is still there near polk.....i was going to say that it also extends to the other other of Polk and the topography map confirms it...thx again.

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Wow. See now that's a theater! Puts the RO Theater to shame.

From one of the photos of the site and your description of it as being where Telephone Road starts, I think it might have been at or near where Lantrip Elementary is now, but I could be wrong.

e_bb_1760_pub.jpg

Exactly,

I still say when I win the lotto, I am going to have one of these reconstructed from scratch from original blueprints & renderings, maybe have part as a minitheater the rest upscale dining and games for all ages. and oh yes, I will be in my living quarters above to oversee all! Hard to believe there is not one such place from Gulfgate all the way to downtown. This is such a showcase view from 45. Would spark so much interest from passerby's. ala Tinsletown...

I would have huge klieg lights shining into the heavens to becon the masses. My staff would be dress in period (1930's) attire and would have extra's toss rose pedals as patrons enter in awe!

Next door I would build a replica of the huge movie-set of the classic silent "Intolerance" complete with huge columns, huge elephants and tons of extras and palm trees lining the streets all around.

What an imagination?! It is possible though!

I have always been a major worshipper of the old studio system.

The Golden Age of Hollywood

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