Jump to content
HAIF - Houston's original social media

Long Point/Spring Branch 1970s


Recommended Posts

Long Point was one of those streets that features a lot in my life in the 70s. I don't remember much about the strip between the railroad tracks and Antoine. I noticed the other day that Empress Chinese restaurant is still there. Looks about the same as it always has. Ate there once in the 90s. Next door was Speedy's where they had a game room and a go-kart track. From Antoine to Wirt was always a string a cruddy apartments. Mom always advised us to lock the doors through there. I think she figured Sissy Spacek's babysitter and her two youngest were prime targets.

Weiner's at Wirt and Long Point is pretty much where daily life started. I had to use historicaerials.com to figure out that the shopping center on the northwest corner was completely torn down. Once upon a time there was a Palais Royale there. I went to school at Long Point Baptist from K through 3rd. There was a huge field on the north side of the property were we all went crazy at recess. I think most school administrators, teachers, and parents would have a heart attack at the mere thought of how scattered we could get out there. The only time anyone showed concern was when a classmate was rooting around in the trees and leaves at the far fence and uncovered 5 copperheads. That scared most of us out of there for a little while. But we had to go back. The trees were way too enticing. Many a recess I had to sit on the side because I wouldn't drink my milk. Hated plain milk then and still won't drink it. Usually the lure of monkey bars and chase would convince me to down that warm stuff so I could head out. I remember one of the teachers there saying war was God's way of controlling the population. Based on that I guess we'd be in a real fix these days. The only teacher's name I can recall is Mrs. Courtney for kindergarten. That was in the 2 story building in front of the church proper. Every day we had to unstack our cots and take a nap. Afterward was punch and cookies neither of which I found thrilling. Warm punch and bland cookies. Still, they beat the ice cream scooper of boiled spinach from the lunch room. The uniform was gray pants and white shirt for the boys (with a clip-on green plaid tie for chapel) and the same pattern green plaid skirts and white blouses for the girls. I still have a scar on the back of my neck from 2nd grade. The library was a room on the 1st floor. We never got to spend enough time there so I remember soaking in the titles of books. Looking back I think most of what we were reading or using for classroom material was from the 50s and early 60s.

Down a ways at Long Point and Pech was the Kmart center. That's where my tennis shoes came from. They were in a bin about the middle of the store and part of the process was digging around for my size. Mom was no fool in that regard. As quick as I outgrew pairs there was no reason to be extravagant. The lighting was always dim in there. The place may have only been 10 or so years old at that time but it felt like a cast off relic to me.

There were a few stores in the slightly younger strip built on the same lot. Furr's Cafeteria was one of our eating out mainstays. Most times you could find my school's music teacher playing piano for the diners. Talk about a real touch of class for a mid range cafeteria. There was a record store in the corner near Kmart. I was always freaked out by the life size Molly Hatchet display of the creepy looking dark knight on horseback, I think, they kept there. I was convinced MH had to be really sinister to look like that. It wasn't until a summer in college that I actually heard a song from them - Fall of the Peacemakers on a 70s rock station in DC. I had to laugh at myself for discovering they weren't so evil after all those years. The now defunct post office on Hillendahl was where we got all our stamps. At the corner of Pech and LP is the old cemetery which still belongs to the family that once held a lot of the land that became Spring Branch. I've always liked the rock paving they used there. There must be a name for the stuff. Across the street was the Ridgecrest strip center. There was a home furnishings/electronics store there. The Ridgecrest Barber shop was the backup place if I wasn't going to get my hair cut at Northwest Mall. There was a jewelry store at Norcrest and LP. My youngest sister knew their daughter in high school. I think one or both of the parents was killed in a robbery. Maybe that was the teenager that owned her own house on Mooreberry by Northbrook HS.

At Moritz and LP was Alfies Fish n Chips. Their logo was a happy guy's head in a stocking cap and flowing scarf. I think part of the original building is still there but has been changed radically. Then right before you got to Bingle was the big bull. Judging by the aerials it has been there since '68. It's a tire store now but was a Mexican restaurant then. The building it fronts is unremarkable which only makes the bull stand out all the more. When it's gone I don't think I'll be able to drive through there anymore.

Had my first Blizzard at the DQ just south of LP on Bingle. Cool old school DQ with the covered parking in front. Next door was a skate board park. The DQ is something else now and the Young World day care has been razed.

West from there was the Scoggins and Kay women's boutique. Funny how my older sister said she missed it when it finally closed though she never shopped there. There was also a gas station where LP veers left andSpring Branch Drive goes to the right which was an entertaining back route until I got a car with run flats. I think the guy who ran in serve in Korea based on the flags. The station goes back to the 50s in the aerials. Now it's dust. So are the homes I never really knew much about on the lots behind it.

There is a strip center at the corner of Campbell and LP 9101 Long Point. Back in the 70s it was occupied by a small, even compared to places like the Kroger (Kroger means better meat) on Kempwood, Lewis & Coker on Memorial, or even Continental Minimax in Town and Country. As an aside all three of those stores seemed cramped and dirty back then. Anyway, I haven't been able to find an old enough listing online to show me the name of this store. I do remember it was the place where I could usually convince mom to spring for Fruit Sripe gum. They also had toy warships that were die cast metal because the things were meant to last. They had small inset wheels on the bottom so that carpet became the perfect off-color ocean for your fleet.

Closer to Blalock the old mainstays like May's Fried Chicken and the Hoover repair shop have disappeared while Southern Garden apartments remains. The place was not particularly nice then though not as awful as say the Red Apple or Mount Vernon. Randall's had a decent store at Blalock. The manager was always courteous and the store clean. My first memory of mom asking my youngest sister or myself to get toilet paper are there. She would not say it out loud. Always a very low whisper to go get TP. Oh man, the dirty looks we'd get if we made the mistake of saying toilet paper in a normal voice anywhere away from home.

I still remember the teenager lying face down and bleeding in the ditch at Oak Tree apartments. Came out on the short end of a fight between the gels (jells?) and either the jocks or the kickers. I think every kid except me hunted crawdads in the ditches of Spring Branch.

The old center at Bunker Hill remains. The pad building has been some sort of fried whatever dispensary since the beginning of time I think. To me the place is classic LP. Relics of the building boom of the 50s that created neighborhood life out of farmland. A lot of it is crap but some of it is charming. As the area re-gentrifies I'm sure much will be razed.

If you never saw a movie at the dollar theater or ate at Stockman's you missed out. Also there right before Gessner was a great DQ. Definitely better than watching mid century razing was watching the cars change out over time at the used car place in the same center. If I had the money I'd buy the Royalgate Apartments at 1711 Gessner just to be able to look at them any time I wanted. LP and the surrounding area has a lot in the way of unremarkable buildings that no one would care about should the bulldozer and wrecking ball take them away. But scattered across the landscape of my first years are some real gems. Here is a partial list.

1) 9101 Long Point

2) 1610 Campbell

4) Elizabeth Ring Library

5) 8810 Long Point - formerly Golden Age Retirement Home

6) 1663 Blalock - Ragsdill School where I learned to swim. It looked better when it was red. I really miss Charlie's Burgers (dozens and dozens sold) just a couple doors down

7) Get inside one of the apartments at 9733 Neuens. Was in one a few years ago. A trip back in time to when it was new - that well kept up. Very funky fixtures.

8) the old Der Wienerschnitzel building at Knoboak and Gessner is worth it just for a laugh

9) the Nothing Over $1.15 at Westray and Gessner

10) Dig the roof line at 1636 Gessner - reminds me of my brother's neighborhood (Westbury - and yes, the Westbury UMC is gorgeous enough to convert a soul or two)

11) Mister Car Wash - oh yes. Everything else is just a car wash.

12) Memorial High School - a beautiful place to go to school before the later add ons. I loved going to school there just because you could breathe, you could see more than just school buildings. I told my wife that the library in the Breakfast Club reminded me of MHS's.

13) Memorial Church of Christ on Echo Lane. If Westbury can save your soul. Then this church and Memorial Drive Presbyterian are heaven. Does anyone remember the little house where they had chickens and such on Echo Lane?

14) 730 Marchmont. I lust after this house. Lust!!

14) Mr. Fortenbach's house at the corner of Piney Point and Taylorcrest. Dad once left tire marks all over his motor court. Get a couple scotches in the old man in those days and there was no telling what he'd do. He could intimidate state troopers out of tickets and tell how he once turned brown suede combat boots to black spit polish over night in ROTC. Never did buy that one.

Sorry for rambling. Got to thinking about driving the family down LP on New Years Day and finding Spring Branch Memorial Hospital about a third demolished. I was born there one dark and stormy night in 1970. The window to the room is burned into my memory. Mom drove her '68 Delta 88 until '77 and I saw the small dent in the trunk from where someone rear-ended my parents that night on the way to my delivery. For symmetry my sister dropped me on the sidewalk at our house on Cindywood the day I came home. It was a strange feeling to see the place where I was born in that condition. The hospital, like me, had seen better days. Next they'll be tearing down the Ring Branch Library, or me.Though at least there'll be no more visits to scary Dr. Sedotal, who looks like Esther Wolf's son Dr. Wolf in my fevered brain (frizzy hair, shirt open to mid chest and gold chains but minus the shotgun).

I better get out here before I start talking about life in Memorial and moaning over the loss of the "haunted mansion" at Strey Lane.

  • Like 3
Link to post
Share on other sites

Nice memories. I'd say you probably have enough memories and information that you should start assembling a website or the blog about the area. I'm serious. I enjoy aforementioned West Houston Archives or South Belt Houston Digital Archive (honestly, I prefer WHA because it tends to be better organized and have a broader appeal, though SBHDA has some great stuff on Almeda Mall).

 

There's a great picture out there from a site called Traces of Texas that features the Kmart and the adjacent Jack in the Box (yes, with the clown head--and my god, those prices. Tacos for 30¢ each? Sign me up! This was the link originally sent to me. The sentiments about the Kmart were pretty much the same as WHA too interestingly enough.

 

Alfie's was a chain, I have a scan of a College Station-Bryan phone book from the early 1970s that has the logo. Because of the scan (black on yellow pages), it came out pretty bad, and scanning my photocopy will only make it look worse, but if you really want to see it again, I might be able to be make that happen.

 

And I can't imagine a teacher at least today implying (divine power or not) that war is necessary for population control.

Edited by IronTiger
Link to post
Share on other sites

Mom drove her '68 Delta 88 until '77 and I saw the small dent in the trunk from where someone rear-ended my parents that night on the way to my delivery.

 

A fine automobile, and built like a tank. No doubt "the small dent in the trunk" would have been several thousand dollars of bodywork repair on a modern car.

 

My parents had a '68 Delta 88 four-door until a bit later than 1977, and it's to my eternal regret that they sold it to buy a far less impressive car (as almost every domestic car of late 70s vintage was, compared to those of ten years earlier) before I got a drivers' license. It was remarkably quick for something that big and heavy once it got rolling. I still occasionally think about finding a decent one and restoring it - it's rare that you see Oldsmobiles of that vintage driving around anymore. I clearly remember going to the dealership with my parents when they bought it, and being really taken with a 4-4-2 that was on the showroom floor. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to convince them to opt for the 4-4-2 instead of the Delta 88, which would have certainly been quite a bit more collectible. 

 

Not ours, but it was just like this one, if this one was a deep burgundy and had the dog-dish hubcaps present:

 

lakeoffire-albums-1968+delta+88+holiday+

Link to post
Share on other sites

Well, I was hoping for something that actually went into the detail of the area, not just a small thing on the houses on one particular neighborhood. There's some token mentions to Town & Country Village, but...

 

I hear you. For me the site is a memory jogger. The details fill themselves in. My mental version of Pencil Thin Mustache.

 

My most familiar part of Memorial is between Chimney Rock and Gessner. Within were a broad range of size and styles. From the Coke Bottle house at San Felipe and Memorial to the colonial heavy area around Knipp Road. Here are two my dad owned. Both on the same street but with different wives.

 

post-14214-0-48649600-1433897925_thumb.j

post-14214-0-02472900-1433898198_thumb.j

Link to post
Share on other sites

Hopefully you will be joining us on Facebook as a member of the "We Grew Up In Spring Branch"group. Excellent bit of info and look forward to hearing more about it.

Thanks for sharing!

 

Thank you. Put in my  request. Had no idea that group existed. The longer I'm on the topic the more comes back to me. Like the old XX theater and honky tonk that were at Pech and Long Point. You better believe mom never let her wheels touch that parking lot.

Link to post
Share on other sites

A fine automobile, and built like a tank. No doubt "the small dent in the trunk" would have been several thousand dollars of bodywork repair on a modern car.

 

My parents had a '68 Delta 88 four-door until a bit later than 1977, and it's to my eternal regret that they sold it to buy a far less impressive car (as almost every domestic car of late 70s vintage was, compared to those of ten years earlier) before I got a drivers' license. It was remarkably quick for something that big and heavy once it got rolling. I still occasionally think about finding a decent one and restoring it - it's rare that you see Oldsmobiles of that vintage driving around anymore. I clearly remember going to the dealership with my parents when they bought it, and being really taken with a 4-4-2 that was on the showroom floor. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to convince them to opt for the 4-4-2 instead of the Delta 88, which would have certainly been quite a bit more collectible. 

 

Not ours, but it was just like this one, if this one was a deep burgundy and had the dog-dish hubcaps present:

 

lakeoffire-albums-1968+delta+88+holiday+

 

MK,

 

Mom's was white with the same hubcaps as the one in your family. Black vinyl interior. Erin and I got so tired of being told not to wear shorts in the car during high summer. What else were you supposed to wear? And how my thighs fried on the back seat. She traded it for a Mailbu Classic in booger green that was less car and more rolling disappointment. It was that hideous replacement that first made me aware of nice cars, good cars, and mom's car, lol.

 

 

Dad had a '75 Fleetwood that he sold to my stepmother's parents in '77 for a mere $200. It was the evangelist model - white paint, white leather, and white carpet with black trimmings. My stepmother got an Eldorado that same year. My most vivid memory is her dropping me late for practice with the Spring Branch Bears at SBHS and telling me to run my punishment laps faster from within that air conditioned cavern.

 

Dad was a notorious speed demon and used to run his AMX on the Katy Frwy well over a hundred mph. He sold it before I was old enough to ride with him. My first car was a '79 Malibu wagon in classic puke yellow from Hub Buick near River Oaks. My friend Richard had a '71 Brougham and one day we ran a race from my house on Stoney Ridge to his on Sleepy Oaks (his parents were renting a sprawling ranch house that had to have been on at least a half acre. Sprawl doesn't even do it justice - the place just kept on going. It was amazing. That house is just a memory now). The look on his brother's face as we narrowly avoided a high speed collision on Beinhorn was priceless. I could easily turn this into a stupid teenage driver topic with my own antics. Like the time at Chapelwood when I jumped out of my car to chase a friend only to find my car gone afterward. Turns out I left it in drive and another friend jumped in and went for a joyride. The Village Police knew me but were never in the right place at the right time. Sometimes they followed me hoping for a slip up.

 

The Delta was probably like Richard's Caddy. He took a baseball bat to it. The impact almost took his arm off. Not a scratch on the car though.

 

Link to post
Share on other sites

Sept. 1973 I started my 1st job in my chosen profession as watchmaker, that for the next 31 years I did. I went to work for Laufman Jewelers on the corner of Long Point & Wirt Rd. The strip center was on the northwest corner of that intersection. On the Wirt Rd. side of the center there was A Western Auto store that even sold furniture. On the far west end of the parking lot was a Wolco store. Also in that strip center was a Pier One outlet store. and a country western dance club. Further west on Long Point. across the street from K-Mart (north side of the street) was another Laufman Jeweler that was opened 24 hours a day and their most selling shift was graveyard. I worked there for a year and left to go to work for Bulova Watch co. in Dallas, Tx. warranty center after Laufmans filed for chapter 11 bankruptcy. At Bulova I became an advanced Accutron Tech and after working there for couple years left to come back to Houston to start my own Accutron service where I serviced 57 different jewelry stores all over Houston for the next 5 years. My shop was in a converted motel to business park that was just east of Memorial City shopping center on the service road.

Edited by blue92
Link to post
Share on other sites

Sept. 1973 I started my 1st job in my chosen profession as watchmaker, that for the next 31 years I did. I went to work for Laufman Jewelers on the corner of Long Point & Wirt Rd. The strip center was on the northwest corner of that intersection. On the Wirt Rd. side of the center there was A Western Auto store that even sold furniture. On the far west end of the parking lot was a Wolco store. Also in that strip center was a Pier One outlet store. and a country western dance club. Further west on Long Point. across the street from K-Mart (north side of the street) was another Laufman Jeweler that was opened 24 hours a day and their most selling shift was graveyard. I worked there for a year and left to go to work for Bulova Watch co. in Dallas, Tx. warranty center after Laufmans filed for chapter 11 bankruptcy. At Bulova I became an advanced Accutron Tech and after working there for couple years left to come back to Houston to start my own Accutron service where I serviced 57 different jewelry stores all over Houston for the next 5 years. My shop was in a converted motel to business park that was just east of Memorial City shopping center on the service road

 

The Laufman's was in the little building facing west along Long Point, right?

 

Was dangerously close to buying a Constellation with the tuning fork movement a couple years ago. Was scared off with tales of rapidly disappearing parts. And now my '67 Connie has been sitting at the watchmaker's for a year waiting on a calendar part. Luckily the Cosmic is in good kit.

 

I try not to think about how difficult it is to find watchmakers any more.

 

At this rate I expect to see someone quoting The Rubaiyat.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Had my first Blizzard at the DQ just south of LP on Bingle. Cool old school DQ with the covered parking in front. Next door was a skate board park. The DQ is something else now and the Young World day care has been razed.

 

My grandparents lived on Forum Dr., a stone's throw from the DQ. Three houses on that street were torn down, it appears they're building a couple of McMansions there.

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 6 months later...

I mean the restaurant that is now Tornado Taco, which appears to share the address.

 

Appears to be an 80's KFC sans cupola. Referencing this image. HCAD says the building was built in 1968. No idea if it was a KFC that was remodeled, or an error on HCAD's part. Streetview shows that 2011 and prior it was Smokey's BBQ. The building has been modified, but the original roof line looks intact.

 

Also, are they using a Chick-Fil-A Drive thru menu board/cover?

Link to post
Share on other sites

Appears to be an 80's KFC sans cupola. Referencing this image. HCAD says the building was built in 1968. No idea if it was a KFC that was remodeled, or an error on HCAD's part. Streetview shows that 2011 and prior it was Smokey's BBQ. The building has been modified, but the original roof line looks intact.

Also, are they using a Chick-Fil-A Drive thru menu board/cover?

One of ArchMemo's lists mention it was indeed a KFC. I doubt it was remodeled substantially, as the thing was essentially a walk up, with restrooms to the left of the windows (detached from the main restaurant) and the tiniest eat in area (max capacity 15) that also connected to the kitchen.

Edited by IronTiger
Link to post
Share on other sites

I passed through the vicinity of LP and Campbell many times as a kid.  Most of my memories are from 1960-1970 (and are therefore fuzzier) but some extend into the 80s.

 

In the 60's, I remember the east end of the strip center at 9101 LP being a local grocery store that might have been called "Riley's", but it might also have been a Minimax either then or later on.  My mom shopped there from time to time when my dad's office was nearby on Campbell.   

 

Also, I recall the free-standing building in front being built later and being occupied by a fried-chicken place, which I think was either a local place or a Church's (out of San Antonio).  To me, the best chicken place was Youngblood's, in front of the Oak Village Theatre at LP @ Witte.  

 

OK, to further date myself :-) I also remember when there was an active farm on the land where the LP K-Mart was built.  From Google StreetView, the K-Mart seems to be gone, but the farm's family plot still exists at the SE corner of LP and Pech Road.

 

 

 

 

Edited by ArchFan
Link to post
Share on other sites

I've been having my suspicions that it wasn't a KFC since the late 1960s, though it being fried chicken of some sort originally made sense.

It definitely doesn't look like it was built as a KFC at all, perhaps an even earlier chain from a bygone era.

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 3 months later...

Enjoyed this list, and looking these addresses up... thanks for sharing your memories...

SEVFIV check out #10) 1636 Gessner... I think that's another one of those Asian style - cleaners buildings. 

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
33 minutes ago, NenaE said:

Enjoyed this list, and looking these addresses up... thanks for sharing your memories...

SEVFIV check out #10) 1636 Gessner... I think that's another one of those Asian style - cleaners buildings. 

Yeah, I noticed one of the "Asian cleaner" buildings on Gessner the other day. If only was a dry cleaners, I'd say it was a one-off former Chinese restaurant chain that the name of which has long been lost to time, but since all of the ones we've found involve dry cleaning, they were probably part of a dry-cleaner chain.

Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, NenaE said:

Enjoyed this list, and looking these addresses up... thanks for sharing your memories...

SEVFIV check out #10) 1636 Gessner... I think that's another one of those Asian style - cleaners buildings. 

 

Thanks! I have quite a few in the list to visit including the Gessner one which was Sav-On, then Sunflower Cleaners, then Queen Oak Cleaners well into the 1980s.

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 2 weeks later...

Since this is kind of my neighborhood now (at least for the time being) these are a lot more familiar to me. For example...

 

7) Get inside one of the apartments at 9733 Neuens. Was in one a few years ago. A trip back in time to when it was new - that well kept up. Very funky fixtures.

 

The apartments there (can't recall the name off the top of my head) are a bit of an oddity, since the Shadow Wood subdivisions behind it (and the houses facing Neuens) are deed-protected as single family homes. I like to think that the apartments snuck in before deed restrictions were made. Is that true?

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 3 months later...

My Great Grandmother owned Scoggins & Kay. Today would have been her birthday, and I decided to google for memories sake and smiling. I am glad her store made an

appearance in your own memories of Spring Branch. I joined just to comment and tell you I appreciate the nostalgic smile you gave to me.

  • Like 3
Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 3 weeks later...

Such memories reading your trip down Long Point. May I add a few?  At Long Point and Wirt in the early 60's there was a burger place behind Long Point bank. Might have been McDonalds like at 19 cents each. They had a clown that you could book for parties. On Long Point near Pech was the first 'exotic' Polynesian restaurant and it was round. Can't remember a name.  On Westview at the ditch at Pech was a burger place popular with teenagers. Popular after school was out at Spring Branch High. We used to go to the dentist at Long Point and Hollister. Dr..Reed I think. Still a medical building. Anyone remember Panchos on Long Point and Ridgecrest.. And , yes, that jewelry store. Got my high school ring there. Piano lessons at Brook Mays Music. Mom shopped at the A&P at Hillendahl and Long Point. Bowling lanes behind it was a cool  place to hang out in the summer. And the best were the longhorn steers on Smithdale near Memorial Drive Elementary. Those were there at least thru the 80's. What a great area to grow up!!

Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
×
×
  • Create New...