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Sharpstown History?


Modernceo

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Ive always been curious about the developments on Bellaire blvd, and as much as I can see what they are now, im curious what kind of business's were there before.

Specifically, the gessner and bellaire area, gessner area north of bellaire, etc.

What kind of grocery store was in the Fiesta mart lot before Fiesta ? It looks like an old Krogers store from the 80's inside. When did Fiesta take over that space ?

North of Bellaire, but south of Harwin, what kind of business's were in the strip shopping centers on the east and west sides ? Does anyone have any pictures of these areas in the 70's, 80's, etc ?

Id love to hear others input, or stories, or photos about this area of Sharpstown, Bellaire.

Cory

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Another business im curious of, that looks like its been in the same location since the mid 80's is a car wash called Royal Car Wash. I cant believe that place is still open as there are no customers there whenever I stop by. Whenever I go into the Royal Car wash I feel like ive stepped into a time warp, they have faded framed pictures of cars from 80's, and antiquated car wash equipment.

Other than that business, and the Mcdonalds close to it, everything else seems like new business's occupying old spaces, or new business's in 90's era strip shopping centers.

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What kind of grocery store was in the Fiesta mart lot before Fiesta ? It looks like an old Krogers store from the 80's inside. When did Fiesta take over that space ?

in 1994 it became fiesta. it was an apple tree from 1989-1994, a safeway before that (at least 1984, probably before).

apparently it was built in 1977

Edited by sevfiv
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i looked at the tax/appraisal history of the address for fiesta (hcad.org only goes back to 1984 i think)

I can tell a little from firsthand experience, as I used to live in that area back in the 70's and early 80's. The grocery store you are referring to started off life as a Safeway. Kmart and a movie theater were in the strip mall at the corner of Beechnut and 59s. There was a Winchell's Donuts right there also. The strip mall that houses the smoke shop and others across from that Fiesta, has been there for quite a while. The tireshop on the end of it used to be a Firestone. I will take a drive around there and it will all come back to me.

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I can tell a little from firsthand experience, as I used to live in that area back in the 70's and early 80's. The grocery store you are referring to started off life as a Safeway.

ok cool, then it was a safeway from 1977-1989

Edited by sevfiv
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I can tell a little from firsthand experience, as I used to live in that area back in the 70's and early 80's. The grocery store you are referring to started off life as a Safeway. Kmart and a movie theater were in the strip mall at the corner of Beechnut and 59s. There was a Winchell's Donuts right there also. The strip mall that houses the smoke shop and others across from that Fiesta, has been there for quite a while. The tireshop on the end of it used to be a Firestone. I will take a drive around there and it will all come back to me.

I have never seen anything like a tireshop at intersection of bellaire and gessner.

Theres a very small building thats a flower shop, but its too small to be a firestone building..

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I have never seen anything like a tireshop at intersection of bellaire and gessner.

Theres a very small building thats a flower shop, but its too small to be a firestone building..

On the end of the strip mall across from Fiesta, where Bizarre Bazaar is, there isn't an after market wheel place there now ? Like I said, I have to drive over there, I will make a special trip.

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I was born and raised in Sharpstown, SHS class of '85.

You may want to check out the Southwest Freeway section of the Houston Freeways book. It includes some history of the origins of Sharpstown.

http://houstonfreeways.com/ebook.aspx

Also, the Southwest Freeway outside the loop video has some information about Sharpstown

http://houstonfreeways.com/video.aspx

Sharpstown is actually a fascinating piece of Houston history. It was Houston's answer to New York's Levittown and was touted as the "World's largest residential development." You can still see the original 1955 plaque for the time capsule at Sharpstown Park at Bellaire and Mary Bates. The alignment of the Southwest Freeway was changed to go through the middle of Sharpstown since Frank Sharp donated the right-of-way for the freeway. Sharpstown Mall was Houston's first enclosed mall and Houston's first air conditioned mall (opened 1961). As a publicity stunt, Sharp donated homes on Rowan street to the original 7 astronauts when NASA was located in Houston. (Apparently the astronauts were not allowed to accept the homes.) Sharp planned a large zone of high rise condos north of Sharpstown mall, but only 3 towers were built and there is still really nothing to compare to them outside of the loop and uptown. Sharp designed the community to have all urban amenities, including hospitals, the Houston Music Theater (still there), a university (HBU), and a country club (now Sharpstown Park). He sold the land for Strake Jesuit and St. Agnes for a low price since he wanted those schools. It was all quite forward-thinking in 1955 when the project was launched. Houston's first true "master-planned" community was Clear Lake City, launched in 1962.

As for the Fiesta, I heard that the land originally belonged to Strake Jesuit but Jesuit was forced to sell when the Sharpstown Bank went bankrupt in 1971. Jesuit apparently had a large account at the bank and lost nearly all of it in that bank failure.

In terms of Gessner north of Bellaire to Westpark, I can't remember anything notable in the retail establishments on that strip. It was always lower-tier retail development. As the apartments became low-income, retail adapted to that market. There was a tire dealer on the corner of Bellaire and Gessner at the south end of the strip center, but it was not a Firestone.

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You can still see the original 1955 plaque for the time capsule at Sharpstown Park at Bellaire and Mary Bates.

Whoa.

I have an employee who lives off of Mary Bates and Bellaire.

Where is the plaque ? When will the time capsule be pulled up ?

Id love to share with my employee information on the 1955 plaque !

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Whoa.

I have an employee who lives off of Mary Bates and Bellaire.

Where is the plaque ? When will the time capsule be pulled up ?

Id love to share with my employee information on the 1955 plaque !

The time capsule was opened March 11, 2000 with a ceremony and good-sized crowd. Here are photos

http://www.angelfire.com/tx2/hapyom/page17.html

Sadly, moisture had infiltrated the metal enclosure and the contents were destroyed.

The time capsule enclosure is still there, with the original Sharpstown plaque proclaiming the "World's largest residential development". The enclosure and capsule where originally located at the corner of Hillcroft and Bellaire, where Sharpstown was launched on March 13, 1955. It was relocated when the drive-in cinema was turned into a shopping center in the 1970s. Now it is just north of Bellaire next to the Sharpstown park community building.

The capsule enclosure is shown in the video on HoustonFreeways.com

Edited by MaxConcrete
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Gessner, north of Bellaire Blvd, was one of the last streets to be built and be developed in this area. Until the early 1970s, the road existed from Buffalo Bayou (no bridge) and extended north thru Spring Branch to West Little York. There was a small portion of Gessner along the western edge of Tanglewilde from Westheimer to Richmond Avenue. Then a two lane portion started again at Sands Point and extended to almost Bissonnet, down the edge of Braeburn Glen.

Since Gessner was not a thru road, it did not have enough traffic to make commercial development worth-while. When the Westchase development was started in the mid 1970's, Richmond Avenue was extended past Gessner and Gessner was completed from Richmond south to Sands Point. The bridge over Buffalo Bayou was built a bit earlier and Gessner was connected thru Woodlake to Westheimer. After all was connected, the commercial strips began to fill in. Westchase had strict land use regulations so all the low end commercial developers were attracted to the Gessner strip just outside the Westchase boundry thinking it would still be close enough to the nicer area to be profitable but without the costly demands. The result is just what you see today- poorly conceived strip commercial. It was never attractive and much of it never got leased for years. It's really a-shame since that is so near the newest section of Country Club Estates. I imagine Frank Sharp was not all that concerned with his development by this point, having already made the most of the rest of his vast development. He was safe and sound in his River Oaks Blvd mansion, until his bank collapsed. The Sharpstown Country Club was closed and abandoned before becoming a city park a few years later.

The Conquistador, at 7575 Bellaire Blvd, was the first condominium building in the state of Texas. The architect and developer of the Conquistador was instrumental in seeing that the laws allowing condominium development and ownership in Texas were passed. I have always thought that building was very attractive. When I was little, I would stand on my bed and look out my window at that building. At that time it was the tallest building in the area so it was required to have red flashing lights on top. The east and west brick walls were originally a handsome charcoal gray color.

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Gessner, north of Bellaire Blvd, was one of the last streets to be built and be developed in this area. Until the early 1970s, the road existed from Buffalo Bayou (no bridge) and extended north thru Spring Branch to West Little York. There was a small portion of Gessner along the western edge of Tanglewilde from Westheimer to Richmond Avenue. Then a two lane portion started again at Sands Point and extended to almost Bissonnet, down the edge of Braeburn Glen.

Since Gessner was not a thru road, it did not have enough traffic to make commercial development worth-while. When the Westchase development was started in the mid 1970's, Richmond Avenue was extended past Gessner and Gessner was completed from Richmond south to Sands Point. The bridge over Buffalo Bayou was built a bit earlier and Gessner was connected thru Woodlake to Westheimer. After all was connected, the commercial strips began to fill in. Westchase had strict land use regulations so all the low end commercial developers were attracted to the Gessner strip just outside the Westchase boundry thinking it would still be close enough to the nicer area to be profitable but without the costly demands. The result is just what you see today- poorly conceived strip commercial. It was never attractive and much of it never got leased for years. It's really a-shame since that is so near the newest section of Country Club Estates. I imagine Frank Sharp was not all that concerned with his development by this point, having already made the most of the rest of his vast development. He was safe and sound in his River Oaks Blvd mansion, until his bank collapsed. The Sharpstown Country Club was closed and abandoned before becoming a city park a few years later.

The Conquistador, at 7575 Bellaire Blvd, was the first condominium building in the state of Texas. The architect and developer of the Conquistador was instrumental in seeing that the laws allowing condominium development and ownership in Texas were passed. I have always thought that building was very attractive. When I was little, I would stand on my bed and look out my window at that building. At that time it was the tallest building in the area so it was required to have red flashing lights on top. The east and west brick walls were originally a handsome charcoal gray color.

Wow, you and Maxconcrete have a tremendous amount of knowledge of this area.

You two are the only ones who have been able to tell me much of the real history of this area and I thank you both, and others who have contributed in this thread.

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  • 4 weeks later...

Before Frank Sharp developed Sharpstown, he developed Oak Forest, which is where I live. OF was known as the 2nd largest neighborhood (second to Sharpstown). I'm not sure if it still holds that title.

I have been told that the house I own was originally Frank Sharps personal home. And the former Mayor Welch lived in a very similar house across the street. Another buddy of these guys (an attorney) had the house right behind me (same floor plan as mine) and there is still a gate in the back fence so they had easy access.

I realize this is off subject, but I find it interesting of course.

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that is very interesting...i wonder how you find out for sure about your house...

and happy birthday!

Thanks for the Birthday wish.

I was active in the Homeowners Assoc many years ago and the President at the time was my next door neighbor. He was told me the rumors I had heard were true, (he was big into the history of OF), but I have never been able to find anything concrete confirming.

Anyone know how to look up old tax records? It would have been in the early 50's.

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Anyone know how to look up old tax records? It would have been in the early 50's.

i think you have go in person to the county offices to get tax records that old.

You could find out who lived in your house in the 50's by using the City Directories in the Ideson library downtown.

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okay, so in 1955 it said that frank sharp lived at 2307 river oaks blvd...but there is a street cross reference if you PM me the street name and number... :unsure:

A river oaks address sounds more logical. however....according to hcad this house was built in 1955 too.

So maybe he built this house after he made his money from developing oak forest. And maybe he lived in Oak Forest at first until he cashed his checks and his mansion was ready. :)

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How would you describe the Sharpstown area today? And how about Sharpstown Mall?

When I moved to Houston in 1990 I was living near the Galleria but did a lot of shopping at Sharpstown. However during my years there I saw the area gradually (perhaps rapidly) decline as newer areas became "hot" and nicer.

When I make it back to Houston these days I rarely make it down to Sharpstown, so I am wondering how this area is doing. My suspicion is that it has become a very diverse working class community, but would appreciate any updates.

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well, the "public" perception is pretty...bad...

and the last time i went to the mall (quite a while ago) it was mostly shoes and baby clothes stores ^_^

i think the guy that sells "grillz" (sp?) to all the rappers is in sharpstown mall

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This is my first post to this message board- I must say I am quite impressed with the knowledge you all have about Sharpstown. I moved into the Sharpstown area 2 years ago but in the last 2 months they have closed the Randalls on Fondren and Bissonett?? and now they have closed the target on 59 opposite the Mall. Does anyone have any idea on where I can find development plans on the area, or what they plan to do with the old target? or if there are plans for a new supermarket in the area?

Thanks All

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A river oaks address sounds more logical. however....according to hcad this house was built in 1955 too.

So maybe he built this house after he made his money from developing oak forest. And maybe he lived in Oak Forest at first until he cashed his checks and his mansion was ready. :)

In the 1949 City Directory, Frank W. Sharp is shown residing on Meadow Lake Lane, just off San Felipe and Weslayan. In other words, not far from his later River Oaks digs. His Oak Forest Construction Co. is listed on Rosslyn.

Louis Welch, with wife Ida, is shown as residing in Garden Oaks, no street address given; he is President of Pettigrew Welch.

In my research a couple of months ago I came across a story of the launch of a $32M development to be called Oak Forest (Press 5/21/46, p.1). I didn't make any other notes but vaguely remember a pic of Sharp with a very young Welch looking over his shoulder.

I guess if Sharp lived in OF it wasn't for very long before 'moving on up' to the West side.

Edited by brucesw
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My parents moved into their house in Sharpstown in the mid 1960s. I grew up there and my dad still lives there. Rice (the grocery store) used to occupy the space on Bellaire between Fondren and Gessner that is now a restaurant supply, I think. I remember shopping there with my mother when she drove her new Carmen Gia.

My dad's hardware store, Texas Hardware Center, occupied the space in the mid 1980s.

The pool and golf course were a country club. The city took them over years later after the whole Sharp fiasco.

I hope this area makes a come back. It is an important place in the history of Houston and it is close to 59...

The neighborhood has a bad rep, but I think that's a little undeserved for some of the areas. I mean, the apartments behind the mall are pretty bad, but some of the enclaves of homes are still peaceful.

Although popular wisdom would indicate that my dad should have been plagued by crime, his house was burgaled only once and that was a couple of years ago...we never really had any problems. My garage in the Heights was burgled after living there for three years. He's been there for forty...go figure.

I'm sure that there are others who can give you the scoop on what used to be. I'd be happy to answer those questions too...from memory.

Edited by lilyheights
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Louis Welch, with wife Ida, is shown as residing in Garden Oaks, no street address given; he is President of Pettigrew Welch.

In my research a couple of months ago I came across a story of the launch of a $32M development to be called Oak Forest (Press 5/21/46, p.1). I didn't make any other notes but vaguely remember a pic of Sharp with a very young Welch looking over his shoulder.

I guess if Sharp lived in OF it wasn't for very long before 'moving on up' to the West side.

I know for a fact the Mayor Louis Welch lives on Happy Hollow Street (just a block north of Oak Forest-Not Garden Oaks) in the 60's 70's and 80's. I went to school with his daughter and son.

Does anyone have a 1946 directory? I recall seeing a brochure for Oak Forest not long ago and the sales office was located on Golf @ Fisher Street which is in Garden Oaks.

Edited by MarthaG
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I know for a fact the Mayor Louis Welch lives on Happy Hollow Street (just a block north of Oak Forest-Not Garden Oaks) in the 60's 70's and 80's. I went to school with his daughter and son.

This may have been the Louie Welch house I have read about but have been unable to locate. Louie Welch was one of Houston's most popular mayors (until the odd-wad comment regarding Whitmire supporters) and had a house designed by the renowend Roger Rasbach. Rasbach was an architectural activist who developed contemporary buildings that were far more responsive to their enviroment than the glass boxes which came before them. He designed and built these livable mods throughout Texas and around the world. He was also very involved with energy conservation thru good architecture. Other notable clients/designs included industrialist Henry J. Kaiser, Jane Blaffer Owen, and Vargo's. His supporters included President Ronald Reagan, President Jimmy Carter, and Miss Ima Hogg. He also developed a secluded neighborhood in about 1995 situated on the Buffalo Bayou in west Houston with several houses he designed.

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This may have been the Louie Welch house I have read about but have been unable to locate. Louie Welch was one of Houston's most popular mayors (until the odd-wad comment regarding Whitmire supporters) and had a house designed by the renowend Roger Rasbach. Rasbach was an architectural activist who developed contemporary buildings that were far more responsive to their enviroment than the glass boxes which came before them. He designed and built these livable mods throughout Texas and around the world. He was also very involved with energy conservation thru good architecture. Other notable clients/designs included industrialist Henry J. Kaiser, Jane Blaffer Owen, and Vargo's. His supporters included President Ronald Reagan, President Jimmy Carter, and Miss Ima Hogg. He also developed a secluded neighborhood in about 1995 situated on the Buffalo Bayou in west Houston with several houses he designed.

I have a copy of Rasbach's Provident Planner. Some interesting stuff in there.

He also built several homes in/around San Antonio. And was a heavy promoter of using SIPS (Structural Insulated Panels) in home construction. I think he died last year or the year before.

Recently, a group is/was to build a home based on his principals - to use as a model for of saving energy and working with the environment.

It is supposed to be at 205 Payne (in the Grota Home subdiv - a topical name today: see another thread today on Grota http://www.houstonarchitecture.info/haif/i...=5082&pid=70492).

They had a press release a couple of years ago but still no activity - at least a few months ago when I drove by the lot.

Anyone know the status of the project?

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Wasnt the movie theater that was at Beechnut & S. Gessner the Southway 6? Also, on the same side of Beechnut but on the other side of Gessner was Dunkin? Donuts.

I think Southway 6 was on W.Bellfort and Fondren. Welsh Middle School was behind it, and I think a Dunkin Donuts and Fiesta was across the street. All of W. Bellfort's retail from the Beltway to Post Oak needs a major upscale revitalization. Had so much promise at one point. Now, it's a cradle of FUNK N CIVILIZATION. :wacko:

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I think Southway 6 was on W.Bellfort and Fondren. Welsh Middle School was behind it, and I think a Dunkin Donuts and Fiesta was across the street. All of W. Bellfort's retail from the Beltway to Post Oak needs a major upscale revitalization. Had so much promise at one point. Now, it's a cradle of FUNK N CIVILIZATION. :wacko:

I found this listing for Southway 6 on cinematour.com:

Southway 6, 8006 S. Gessner Dr., Closed

Unfortunately they didn't have any photos or other information. Don't know which theater was at W. Bellfort & Fondren. Maybe a similarly named one?

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Anyone remember the BBQ Barn? This was at the corner of Fondren and Westpark. I have an advertisement and menu from 1970 as soon as I figure out how to insert photos.... wouldn't let me insert "dynamic photos" (from my photo album) just now.

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I'v lived in Alief, Sharpstown, Westchase, Westbury and The Meadows in my many years in Houston. Even when not residing in Sharpstown, it's been, of course, a big part of my personal history.

Yeah, I remember the corner of Bellaire and Gessner, the Safeway as the area was Asianizing. I went to Florida for a couple of years and went back to Sharpstown in 1993 and it was AppleTree, then very shortly after, Fiesta.

Sharpstown Mall. It was the Summer of '82...when I finished middle school in Clearwater, Florida and went to join the rest of my family in Houston. I was reluctant to leave at first but once I was in H-town, I started to see it was a pretty cool and varied big city already.

It was THE mall in Houston to be. While the demographic shopping/loitering base was what you might say a bit upper white, middle-class...Sharpstown Mall still had the diversity of Asians, Latinos, blacks, Desi and etc., reflecting that hip young and energetic city that was transforming post-Gilley's culture. It was certainly far more vibrant and exciting than malls like Sunshine, Clearwater or Countryside that I had in FLA (though I have warm memories of those places too).

For those of you 1980s folks...if you remember the movie Fast Times at Ridgemont High that made Sherman Oaks Galleria famous in Los Angeles...Sharpstown was the Houston version. The New Wave, preppie and heavy metal fashions of the time...all cotemporaneous if not harmonious. I remember the Dream Merchant. Many of my Elsik High classmates worked at the Chick-Fil-A when it was still there. I saw lots of classmates hanging out there. Young folk' of my generation just shopped and gawked at each other back in the day of big sprayed hair, Vans shoes, polo shirts, Van Halen, Sony cassette Walkmans, Gloria Vanderbilt, parachute pants (geez), acid-washed jeans and the like.

Kids from so many other schools just hung out there. Sharpstown, Sharpstown. Even "the Hill" which was located somewhere off Mary Bates in between Beechnut and Bellaire...that Friday and Saturday night hangout was popular and notorious to even us Alief ISD teens.

In terms of the pop-culture and peer to peer socializing, my Teen-Young Adult Era was essentially 1982-87 there.

Then by 1989, I think it started its transformation. Gang-shootings started, I believe. Though when I still think of 1988, I remember the movie theater that was just across the parking lot; a buddy (my lead singer in a band, actually) used to work there and got us and our dates in for free. Ah, back in the day.

JC Penney left. The bookstores and Anglo-oriented music stores started to follow suit. By the early 1990s, the demographic was mostly African-American and Latino but it was and still is a diverse mall with Asians, whites and etc.

Indeed, the stately mini-mansions and elaborate ranch homes just across the mall on Fondren are still a reminder of another time but just goes to show that Houston is the place of checkerboard demographic diversity. My dad still lives in one of those homes and I lived there briefly for eight months in 2004 to take a break from San Diego.

We went walking a few nights a week, through the back to Gessner, left on Bellaire and then left again to Fondren. I always found the experience to be very urban, if auto-centric. There are quite a few pedestrians on Gessner, especially in the strip centers there...and the neon vibe of the High Times store really anchors it...and passing by the Vietnamese strip centers just near Strake/Agnes always got me excited for some reason, like I wanted to get some pho soup or something later on.

Sharpstown was a mall that I still went to. In 2004, I still found it to be vibrant. Of course, the shops reflect a very hip, African-American vibe, with that rap recording studio there (long defunct) and its remains. But in largely colonial and country-club San Diego, you won't find a pop-cultural environment like that!

Of course, the big money chains will leave a noticeable measure of vacancy in Sharpstown...but I still find Sharpstown to be vibrant with a different pop culture. It's not my pop-culture but I observe it to be fascinating in the Houston context. I still watched buck-fifty movies there and enjoyed the experience, ate at Sun Moon in the food court. Many people have a problem with Sharpstown having a significant African-American clientele but hell, it's also many Latinos, Asians, South/Central Asians and whites there mingling about as well. I guess we get threatened when it's no longer a white majority in any given shopping mecca.

Most uptight people would use the term "downhill." But I'm not an uptight person. To me, I make no ethnocentric judgement of the place per se; it simply changed and surely some changes do require more caution but they will not diminish my overall enjoyment of Sharpstown Mall whenever I return to Houston.

I do remember a time past with Sharpstown but neither do I see its ('80s) ghosts.

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Oh, there was also the castle looking hotel at 59S and Clairewood - The Old English Inn. Before that it was the Royal Coach Inn (or Motor Inn) and had two lion statues at the front entrance.

A little ways up the freeway near 59 and Hillcroft was the Travel Lodge.

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If you are talking about the Fiesta on Bellaire and Hillcroft, it used to be a store called Globe in the 70's. It was alone, yet close enough to the Sharpstown Drive-In Theater.

Ive always been curious about the developments on Bellaire blvd, and as much as I can see what they are now, im curious what kind of business's were there before.

Specifically, the gessner and bellaire area, gessner area north of bellaire, etc.

What kind of grocery store was in the Fiesta mart lot before Fiesta ? It looks like an old Krogers store from the 80's inside. When did Fiesta take over that space ?

North of Bellaire, but south of Harwin, what kind of business's were in the strip shopping centers on the east and west sides ? Does anyone have any pictures of these areas in the 70's, 80's, etc ?

Id love to hear others input, or stories, or photos about this area of Sharpstown, Bellaire.

Cory

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If you are talking about the Fiesta on Bellaire and Hillcroft, it used to be a store called Globe in the 70's. It was alone, yet close enough to the Sharpstown Drive-In Theater.

I don't remember the Sharpstown Drive-In and I used to live just a few blocks from there! Have to drive by there sometime soon and see if it jogs my memory.

You said you saw Jaws there... I saw Star Wars at the Southway 6 on Beechnut and S Gessner! Sat in the isle because all the seats were full...

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I don't remember the Sharpstown Drive-In and I used to live just a few blocks from there! Have to drive by there sometime soon and see if it jogs my memory.

You said you saw Jaws there... I saw Star Wars at the Southway 6 on Beechnut and S Gessner! Sat in the isle because all the seats were full...

Sharpstown Drive-In Theater was demolished either in the late 70's or early 80's. They built apartments on that tract. There also used to be a chinese restaraunt across from Globe. I ate my first fortune cookie there, but it's long gone too.

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  • 3 weeks later...
Anyone remember the BBQ Barn? This was at the corner of Fondren and Westpark. I have an advertisement and menu from 1970 as soon as I figure out how to insert photos.... wouldn't let me insert "dynamic photos" (from my photo album) just now.

Hey roym -

Thanks for pointing me back to this site! I just got your email that you sent back in January. That BBQ Barn is still there. Just drove past it the other day. And yes, the theater on Gessner and Beechnut was the Southway 6. By the way - in your email you indicated you thought I lived in Sharpstown Section 1 (Neff - Larkwood - Cannock). But we moved to Rowan St near the intersection of Waldo in 1965. (I think that is called "Sharpstown Country Club Terrace") I really had a flashback when you mentioned the "Beatles" etched in the concrete at Pat Neff. Was it on the sidewalk near the temporary buildings on the Waldo side?

Does anybody remember a grocery store near Fondren and Bissonett called Sacco Bros.? I'm not sure I spelled it correctly. When I was a LITTLE kid I'd go there with my Mom and "Mr. Sam" would always give me a piece of bubblegum.

I really cringe when I hear people talking about how "bad" the Sharpstown area is. My Dad still lives there and our little pocket doesn't seem to have changed much at all. Every weekend I drive past Pat Neff Elem. on Carvel and turn left onto Waldo to Rowan Lane and I feel like it might was well be 1971 and I am walking home from 1st grade. (only the trees are bigger and there wasn't a fence around Landsdale Park) :)

Sharpstown Drive-In Theater was demolished either in the late 70's or early 80's. They built apartments on that tract. There also used to be a chinese restaraunt across from Globe. I ate my first fortune cookie there, but it's long gone too.

I remember wathcing movies from the back of our station wagon in my p.j.'s. Don't remember what movies we saw there - I probably just fell asleep.

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Hey roym -

Thanks for pointing me back to this site! I just got your email that you sent back in January. That BBQ Barn is still there. Just drove past it the other day. And yes, the theater on Gessner and Beechnut was the Southway 6. By the way - in your email you indicated you thought I lived in Sharpstown Section 1 (Neff - Larkwood - Cannock). But we moved to Rowan St near the intersection of Waldo in 1965. (I think that is called "Sharpstown Country Club Terrace") I really had a flashback when you mentioned the "Beatles" etched in the concrete at Pat Neff. Was it on the sidewalk near the temporary buildings on the Waldo side?

Does anybody remember a grocery store near Fondren and Bissonett called Sacco Bros.? I'm not sure I spelled it correctly. When I was a LITTLE kid I'd go there with my Mom and "Mr. Sam" would always give me a piece of bubblegum.

I really cringe when I hear people talking about how "bad" the Sharpstown area is. My Dad still lives there and our little pocket doesn't seem to have changed much at all. Every weekend I drive past Pat Neff Elem. on Carvel and turn left onto Waldo to Rowan Lane and I feel like it might was well be 1971 and I am walking home from 1st grade. (only the trees are bigger and there wasn't a fence around Landsdale Park) :)

I remember wathcing movies from the back of our station wagon in my p.j.'s. Don't remember what movies we saw there - I probably just fell asleep.

Yes, the "Beatles" etching was on the Waldo side of the school. I don't remember which sidewalk it was on. Are those "temporary" buildings still there? At least one of those was used for PE when I went there. The little baseball field was right behind them.

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Yes, the "Beatles" etching was on the Waldo side of the school. I don't remember which sidewalk it was on. Are those "temporary" buildings still there? At least one of those was used for PE when I went there. The little baseball field was right behind them.

The temporaries are still there - but now there are a lot more of them. They totally gutted Neff over the summer and took out all the windows and are replacing them. They didn't complete the project before school started so I guess that's why they had to move in all the extra temporaries. The new windows look almost like the old (that 60's geometric style) but they look thicker and are able to be opened. I remember PE in that old school room with Mrs. Robinette. I went to Neff's 40th birthday party and saw some of the old teachers and Mr. Martin...and the first principal who was probably gone before you got there...Mrs. Moore. I told her she really frightened me as a child and she said, "How else do you think I kept all those kids in line?" She's still a little scary. :o

Edited by apollopride
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The temporaries are still there - but now there are a lot more of them. They totally gutted Neff over the summer and took out all the windows and are replacing them. They didn't complete the project before school started so I guess that's why they had to move in all the extra temporaries. The new windows look almost like the old (that 60's geometric style) but they look thicker and are able to be opened. I remember PE in that old school room with Mrs. Robinette. I went to Neff's 40th birthday party and saw some of the old teachers and Mr. Martin...and the first principal who was probably gone before you got there...Mrs. Moore. I told her she really frightened me as a child and she said, "How else do you think I kept all those kids in line?" She's still a little scary. :o

Wow, when was the party? Glad to hear Mr. Martin is still around. Yep, don't remember Mrs Moore. I *think* there were only two temporary buildings way back then.

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I have a few memories of the Sharpstown mall from the mid 80s when I was like 8 years old. We went there all of the time just to kill time cause my family was pretty new to Houston and did not know too many people in town. I can recall that the floors in the mall were done in these small red circular tiles with the railings and metal stairs painted brown. We went to the JC penny all of the time. I also recall that "Time Out" arcade was very popular for the "big kids". I used to think that elevator right in front of the arcade was the most awesome thing in the world. haha Does anyone remember that radio control/model train/hobby shop that used to be on the 1st floor close to the Ward's? I used to drool over the R/C cars they had for $120 (a lot of money in 1985 & and fortune for a kid).

I went to the mall under 5 times since those days and been sort of let down each time because it's just not the same. If they had demolished the whole parcel of land and built 1950s era type single family homes it would have been better than just have the area decline so much and attract stuff like gang activity and such.

My hope for the future of Sharpstown is that it does not get infiltrated by developers that try to alter the 1950s type of home layout there in the residential areas. Once you turn off of the major roads and get 2 blocks away the homes and streets are just lovely in many cases. I live in Westbury and have seen some homes pop up near here that are part of this disturbing trend to ruin the vintage look. The period correct homes were mostly single story and anywhere from 1600-2200 sq ft. We have a few structures over 3000 sq ft. going up in this area. One house is on the north side of W. Belfort between Willowbend and Chimney Rock. There is a huge house that is way out of place on Willowbend just west of the railroad tracks about 1/2 a mile west of Stella Link. I think some townhomes are being built now on the other side of the street from that house on the south side of Willowbend.

Anyone know the history of the land that is across the street from Sharpstown mall where the Gillman Mitsubishi/Honda used to be before it moved out?

I shopped there for parts around early 2003 when they were in their final days there. It was like going back in time 15 years when you walked in the parts dept. building. Faux wood over the walls, old glass cases to showcase things, and a 1987 calander of a woman in a bikini holding a fish.

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Did anybody see this article in the Chronicle last month? I really hope it brings some life back to good ole Sharpstown!

The light has turned green for improvements aimed at increasing the Bellaire-Fondren intersection's safety, mobility, aesthetics and reducing flooding along Fondren.

The Southwest Houston Redevelopment Authority announced Tuesday that a contractor will be selected from two bidders - Jerdon Construction of Stafford and Reytec Construction Resources Inc. of Houston - to complete intersection improvements at Bellaire Boulevard at Fondren Road.

The project's engineer, HNTB Architects Engineers Planners, estimated the outlined improvements would cost between $2.5-$3 million.

Those costs will be financed through the (Sharpstown) Tax Increment Reinvestment Zone No. 20, created by the city of Houston in 1999 and governed by the Authority.

Bill Calderon, executive director of the Authority and TIRZ No. 20, said the pilot project will set the tone for roadway improvements to rival those those in the downtown and Galleria areas.

Steve Pittman, communications director for the Authority and the Sharpstown Economic Development Authority, said construction should begin in March. It will be managed by Matthew Lopez, an engineer with Cobb Fendley & Associates.

The bid calls for the installation of four new left turn lanes; custom transit shelters, streetlights and traffic signals; landscaping in the medians and at the intersection's corners; and storm water drainage improvements.

Presently, no left turn is allowed from any of intersection's two adjoining streets. (Bellaire runs east-west; Fondren, north-south). Motorists must proceed through the intersection and make a left or U-turn at the next break in the median, causing a backup in traffic flow.

Signs posted before the intersection indicate this.

According to Houston Police Department data, the intersection was listed among the city's Top 50 Accident Locations from Jan. 1-March 31, 2005.

Nick Patel, owner/manager of Collision Plus Inc. at 7628 Bellaire Blvd., located roughly 500 feet from the intersection, said since his family opened the business in 1992, they've seen a good number of accidents, rollovers and illegal turns.

"Just yesterday (Feb. 2), there were two major accidents, one at noon and the other at 2 p.m.," said Patel's father, Sam.

Patel said the intersection's safety aspects are compounded by Metro bus riders, who must cross Fondren or Bellaire on foot to change bus routes.

Pittman said the intersection's new street lights, traffic signals, bus transit shelters and pavers will not be standard city structures, but custom items similar to those found in downtown and Uptown Cotswold projects.

To alleviate flooding along Fondren, Pittman said 36-inch and 42-inch drainage lines under Bellaire Boulevard will be replaced with 60-inch pipes, which will run west to a drainage ditch that runs parallel to Fondren. This new pipe will be about 1,800 feet in length.

Additional bid specs include roadway pavement removal and replacement, the installation of a new water line, wheelchair ramps, signing and striping.

The intersection improvements are the first piece in a $33 million renovation of Bellaire Boulevard from U.S. 59 to Beltway 8 and Fondren from U.S. 59 to Westpark.

Fred Schiller, general partner of Arena Place, which encompasses two, 20-story office towers, the Arena Theatre and a nine-story parking garage at 7322, 7324 and 7326 Southwest Freeway, said the improvements will have a major impact.

"They will improve access to the whole area, and set the tone for the area as a gateway," Schiller said.

Pittman said the next three projects will improve Bellaire Boulevard between Mary Bates Drive and U.S. 59, and the Bellaire and Fondren Gateways at U.S. 59.

The seven-member TIRZ No. 20 board will meet this month to reconsider those specific improvements.

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