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I would be grateful for any memories of 1970s Houston. Places, buildings, life.  I was young then, and Houston was good.  We went to Harry's for breakfast when it was a trucker's diner and George cooked. There was an amazing gay club straight out of Tennessee Williams in an antebellum home in Montrose.   It looked derelict by day, and by night, the balconies swung with revelers. The top hairdresser in Houston was Lyndon Johnson, who regaled us with stories of being mistaken for the President: "Of course, I'm the one with flaxen hair!"  We all went to the Opera and afterwards to an all-night Mexican dive,  Las Cazuelas.    We danced on tables at sailors' bars in the Ship Channel and in the wee hours, escaped with our lives.  You paid your check to Ninfa, who sat at the cash register.   A gay bartender who worked at Birraporetti's was murdered brutally with an American flag. The case was never solved.  Howell, a Pan-like man with gold curls, would only cut your hair if he liked you, and if your hair had never been treated with chemicals.   You waited months for an appointment in his Heights home, in a beauty temple he created.  Paul Goldberger wrote his famous piece on Houston architecture, and we thought Pennzoil was the most beautiful building in the world.  We spoke of Miss Ima as if she were our aunt.  And the Warwick Hotel served french toast that was 6 inches tall and deep-friend.  What was the hotdog place downtown where all the lawyers ate?  Or the place where we ate boiled crabs and watched tankers inch through the Channel. . .

 

 

 

 

Edited by Sisters_Golfskirt
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12 hours ago, Sisters_Golfskirt said:

 

 

I would be grateful for any memories of 1970s Houston. Places, buildings, life.  I was young then, and Houston was good.  We went to Harry's for breakfast when it was a trucker's diner and George cooked. There was an amazing gay club straight out of Tennessee Williams in an antebellum home in Montrose.   It looked derelict by day, and by night, the balconies swung with revelers. The top hairdresser in Houston was Lyndon Johnson, who regaled us with stories of being mistaken for the President: "Of course, I'm the one with flaxen hair!"  We all went to the Opera and afterwards to an all-night Mexican dive,  Las Cazuelas.    We danced on tables at sailors' bars in the Ship Channel and in the wee hours, escaped with our lives.  You paid your check to Ninfa, who sat at the cash register.   A gay bartender who worked at Birraporetti's was murdered brutally with an American flag. The case was never solved.  Howell, a Pan-like man with gold curls, would only cut your hair if he liked you, and if your hair had never been treated with chemicals.   You waited months for an appointment in his Heights home, in a beauty temple he created.  Paul Goldberger wrote his famous piece on Houston architecture, and we thought Pennzoil was the most beautiful building in the world.  We spoke of Miss Ima as if she were our aunt.  And the Warwick Hotel served french toast that was 6 inches tall and deep-friend.  What was the hotdog place downtown where all the lawyers ate?  Or the place where we ate boiled crabs and watched tankers inch through the Channel. . .

 

 

 

 

Your last sentence.  Was the name of the place Shanghai Reds?  If so, it was still around in the 80's and 90s.

 

 

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Brady's Landing was another place on the Ship Channel, right next to Shanghai Red's.  My relatives in the East End preferred it and I never went to SR.  We took an uncle from California to Brady's and I told him it was on an island, like Catalina.  Once he saw it he started lecturing me and I had to interrupt him and tell him I meant it as a joke.  We couldn't see much of the passing ships because of the one moored right outside the window where we were seated.

 

There was a big private club on Albany that became a gay club in the early 70s for a short time; I can't remember the name but I'm sure it's been mentioned here.  There's at least one old thread about gay clubs.  I believe I remember a balcony across the front. 

 

Athen's Bar and Grill on Clinton Dr. (?) was the most famous ship channel bar but there were others.

 

A former coworker at KAUM referred me to Howell.  She had also mentioned Lyndon but said I would probably like Howell better.  She was working at KHOU at the time and working with most filmmakers who came to town back then and modeling sessions; she did make-up and also helped find locations and props for shots and filming.  Many shoots for national ads and catalogs were done here then, may still be for all I know.

 

He had a place on Crocker, I think it was, but by the time I got around to calling him he had moved to the Heights.  I don't remember a long wait to get in.  Maybe my friend gave me a good rec or said I desperately needed his services so please take him right away.  I think she referred a lot of people she worked with to Howell and Lyndon.  He grew organic herbs and vegetables in his back yard in the Heights and he told me once he sold some of them to Jamail's.  I think he told me he was related in some way to the Jamails.

 

I liked Howell a lot.  He was a very interesting man to talk to and he always had great music playing.  Occasionally you would bump into a rather strange character.  I was sad when I got the card from his partner that he had passed.

 

ETA:  the hot dog place was probably the original location of James Coney Island.

Edited by brucesw
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Thanks, @brucesw!  You've made me feel it was all real.  Howell wasn't a long wait once he liked you.  At my first appointment, he said he would only do my hair if I agreed to let him buzzcut it all off.  (I'm a woman.)  It was permed, and he was only interested in natural hair.  I trusted him, and those were the happiest haircut years of my life, as it grew back.  His house was lovely!  Tiny and serene.   And yes, I remember the herb garden.  It was my first.    I've missed Howell so often in the following years.  I barely knew him, and yet his presence was the antithesis of all hairdresser experience I've had since.  

 

And the Ship Channel!  I had wondered if it was a dream.  Beer, crabs, and strange oil tankers.  True Houston.

 

I only lived in Houston two years, but this site made me feel they may have been my most formative.  More so than Boston, New York, Richmond, and San Diego--  where I have lived since.

 

 

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Not sure which one it was @UtterlyUrban, after reading your comment and brucesw 's.   But I'm glad to know there were places there.  I just remember it was very basic.  Rough wood outdoor tables and slatted wood for the deck, with the water visible between the cracks.  Lots of beer and sun.  Pre-sunscreen days.

 

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There is a whole blog out there focused on LGBT Houston history. I have forgotten the name of it but it sounds like what you are looking for. From what I've seen, it has great shots of Westheimer from the '70s.

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On 10/2/2016 at 2:28 PM, Sisters_Golfskirt said:

Thanks, @brucesw!  You've made me feel it was all real.  Howell wasn't a long wait once he liked you.  At my first appointment, he said he would only do my hair if I agreed to let him buzzcut it all off.  (I'm a woman.)  It was permed, and he was only interested in natural hair.  I trusted him, and those were the happiest haircut years of my life, as it grew back.  His house was lovely!  Tiny and serene.   And yes, I remember the herb garden.  It was my first.    I've missed Howell so often in the following years.  I barely knew him, and yet his presence was the antithesis of all hairdresser experience I've had since.  

 

And the Ship Channel!  I had wondered if it was a dream.  Beer, crabs, and strange oil tankers.  True Houston.

 

I only lived in Houston two years, but this site made me feel they may have been my most formative.  More so than Boston, New York, Richmond, and San Diego--  where I have lived since.

 

 

Yes I've never had a better haircut before or since Howell.  And never enjoyed the stay in the chair as much.  I realized when I first read your post it didn't hit me that I knew who you were talking about.  Second time through the name Howell stuck out, though.  I never would have described Howell as like Pan; I thought he was real down to earth.  Different strokes, i guess

 

There were other restaurants right on the ship channel - Monument Inn, still there right at the Lynchburg Ferry crossing, and the unfortunately long-gone San Jacinto Inn nearby.  SJI had a large deck or porch but I don't remember any of it extended over the water.  Does MI have a deck?  I can't tell from the aerial photos - maybe part of it is over water at very high tide :o.

 

And then of course there's Stingaree, at Crystal Beach on the Bolivar Peninsula - definitely you could have sat on a deck over the water and picked crabs to your heart's delight.  You would remember the long drive to Galveston and the ride over on the Ferry, I think.  Still in business.

 

I'll have to drive by Howell's old place the next time I'm in the Heights and see if it's still there.

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Here you go, @brucesw.  Howell was very down-to-earth. Straighforward. Independent and beautiful.  I said Pan, because he seems now like myth and with those gold curls.  He also used the one name.  I never knew his last name.  I also had never been to the Heights before.  Howell was a first for me for many things.  This is a haircut I "earned," after the year of the buzzcut growing out. :)

 

The place on the Ship Channel was a dive.  Probably a seafood retail place.  It was not a restaurant.  I only remember cold beer and boiled crabs.  But you could sit outside as long as you wanted.

20161005_125934.jpg

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Great picture!  I can see why you called him Pan with those curls.  By the time I started seeing him, the curls on the side were gone; he wore his hair close cropped on the sides and back but there were still curls on top, just not as many.  I've been trying to remember when I first started seeing him.  Certainly no earlier than '74, perhaps as late as the end of that decade.  Long after you were gone, I take it.

 

I am completely baffled by your seafood place.  Only thing I can think of would be something at Seabrook.

 

Thanks for sharing all your memories of that era.  It has brought many fond memories back to mind.

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What happened to Howard?  Did he move away or did he fall victim to the fate that impacted so many?  I am told that the garden (now a parking lot) behind the old Mary's, Naturally is home to the ashes of many souls who died too young.

 

 

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As for your mystery seafood place, I don't think it's San Jacinto Inn or Monument Inn. SJI from what I've heard was a family-style restaurant, as in, sort of like Babe's Chicken Dinner House, they bring you the sides and the main dish, and you serve them between yourselves. That's what I've sometimes done at Chinese restaurants with family but it's relatively rare for American-style food. I can't imagine SJI had an outdoor eating area with accommodations like that.

 

Monument Inn I have been to but I don't remember an outside area. From 2008, I remember you went in, and you ate in the upstairs dining room, I'm not sure if there was space to eat in the lower level, but that's where the kitchen is. Their "dock" area definitely doesn't look like it's for outdoor eating, at least these days. Besides, their menu is more "fried seafood", less "crabs".

 

Shanghai Red's was torn down in 2001, but Brady's Landing restaurant was supposed to take the menu.

 

Now, I may be able to help you, because in Channelview, there is Riverside Inn Marina at 17433 River Road, which was around in the late 1970s. It may not resemble what you remember because it looks like it had either washed away or burned down sometime between aerial shots (by 1989) but had returned to operation by 1995. I also can't guarantee what the name of it was back then either. It's about half a mile north off from Interstate 10 and it's 12 miles east of the Inner Loop.

 

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19 hours ago, IronTiger said:

 

Now, I may be able to help you, because in Channelview, there is Riverside Inn Marina at 17433 River Road, which was around in the late 1970s. It may not resemble what you remember because it looks like it had either washed away or burned down sometime between aerial shots (by 1989) but had returned to operation by 1995. I also can't guarantee what the name of it was back then either. It's about half a mile north off from Interstate 10 and it's 12 miles east of the Inner Loop.

 

 

Yep. I think you got it.   If I could have sat on their deck and seen oil tankers, that is definitely the place.  I can't thank you enough, @IronTiger.  I've tried for years  to figure out where and what it was.

riverside.jpg

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I remember some of those places.  The original JCI on Walker (I think where the new Aloft Hotel is going in) was iconic.  We would drive all the way from west Houston to eat their chili/cheese dogs (with real sliced cheese, not the squirt kind) and take home a few "bricks" of frozen chili.  Eating in, one sat in wooden desk chairs, like in old public schools.

 

I remember eating at the Athens Bar & Grill on Clinton Drive near the port.  I think the other Greek place nearby was called The Parthenon.  Supposedly they both existed because at one time there were many Greek sailors arriving at the port.

 

Lyndon Johnson did my mom's hair for a while, but unfortunately I never heard any fun stories about him.  I met Mama Ninfa a few times at her restaurants.  She was always very kind and friendly.  

 

Shanghai Red's and Brady's Landing were part of the development planned on Brady Island by the company that developed Ports O' Call Village in San Pedro CA (near the Port of Los Angeles).  I think the latter still exists, tho' it was rather shabby the last time I visited there.  Shanghai Red's was a fun place and had a nice boiled-shrimp platter while it existed.

 

Edited by ArchFan

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Greek bar on the channel?

 

Harbor Lights.  

 

Seriously, I really don't remember much more than that.  It's one of those things like "if you remember the late 60s you weren't really there." :mellow:

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I was raised in the Montrose area at 1525 Sul Ross St. I graduated in 63 and left home and never returned to the area. I do remember that Art Wren's restaurant  was a hang out for gay men. I remember some boys at Lanier and Lamar saying that they would go by in a car and yell things at men coming our the café. That was a long time ago and the house I was raised in is now long gone.

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what was the name of the place in laporte on the ship channel? It was known for burgers and I think crab. iirc you got off 146, drove down the road past the cruise terminal, and turned left to the edge of the channel. It was washed away by Ike I think.

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On 10/2/2016 at 5:26 PM, IronTiger said:

There is a whole blog out there focused on LGBT Houston history. I have forgotten the name of it but it sounds like what you are looking for. From what I've seen, it has great shots of Westheimer from the '70s.

Anyone remember when they changed  Westheimer into 4 lanes from 3 lanes? Without widening the road? That sucked!!! 

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4 hours ago, Sharon said:

Anyone remember when they changed  Westheimer into 4 lanes from 3 lanes? Without widening the road? That sucked!!! 

Yep.  No matter the size of your vehicle, it was like trying to drive a big rig on a bowling alley.

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7 hours ago, Sharon said:

Anyone remember when they changed  Westheimer into 4 lanes from 3 lanes? Without widening the road? That sucked!!! 

One of the less great things that have happened here to traffic.

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On 12/18/2016 at 1:00 AM, Sharon said:

Anyone remember when they changed  Westheimer into 4 lanes from 3 lanes? Without widening the road? That sucked!!! 

I do remember.  I'm guessing mid-1980s.  

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9 hours ago, Subdude said:

I do remember.  I'm guessing mid-1980s.  

 

Sounds about right.

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On 12/19/2016 at 8:10 AM, Subdude said:

I do remember.  I'm guessing mid-1980s.  

Late 70s l think, maybe 1980. I don't think anyone's memory of the 80s is perfectly clear... 

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i take that back... they did the striping job in 81 or 82, since i remember going to Evans with my buddy Wes and trying to drive the boat of a car i had at the time, a 67 Dodge, on those way-too narrow lanes. 

 

They ripped up the sidewalks and widened the road for the first time to make the lanes wider in late 85/early 86

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The original James Coney Island was at the south east corner of Main and Walker (currently the location of BG Group, 811 Main Street).  I remember the desk chairs used in the dining room.

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