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Sharpstown History?


Modernceo

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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.

I came across the same story while reading thru the Chron for '46 and took some notes on the story instead of just the headline. (it was not on p.1 in the Chron.)

The $32M was for 4 developments, 3 new and one old.

1. Oak Forest - 1147a, west of Garden Oaks, 4780 houses, 'homes for veterans in the $6700 price range,' construction was due to start in a couple of weeks.

2. Davy Crockett addition, west of Lamar Hi, south of River Oaks, 153 homes on 37a, $10,000 price range.

3. Royden Oaks - SW corner of River Oaks between Westheimer and San Felipe, 46a tract, construction to start in 1947. This is where Sharp wound up living in 1949.

4. 400 additional homes in the Industrial Addition; no other details.

Sharp was president of the Home Builders Association that year and often in news stories about the housing shortage for veterans and shortage of materials for home building.

A list of officers of the company did not include Louie Welch.

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I'm so glad that others had the same mall experience I had with Sharpstown in the early 80's. It was the mall of malls to be at as a teen back then and it was very racially and culturally diversified just like our city, which made it very cool. Galleria was too upscale. I would agree with the Valley Girl type reference in that it was a very hip teen place to hang out back then. Oh for it to be 1982 and a teen again - except with all the income and knowledge I have now. I guess that's never possible.

Unfortunately I see bulldozers in it's future just like AstroWorld R.I.P.

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I'm so glad that others had the same mall experience I had with Sharpstown in the early 80's. It was the mall of malls to be at as a teen back then and it was very racially and culturally diversified just like our city, which made it very cool. Galleria was too upscale. I would agree with the Valley Girl type reference in that it was a very hip teen place to hang out back then. Oh for it to be 1982 and a teen again - except with all the income and knowledge I have now. I guess that's never possible.

Unfortunately I see bulldozers in it's future just like AstroWorld R.I.P.

I remember in the 80's when they added the 2nd floor with the big remodel. It was the place to be mall-wise. The Foley's was huge. The bulldozers would be unfortunate.

Seems the in thing now is going back to the open air mall style a la Meyerland and Gulfgate.

What anchor stores remain at Sharpstown? Do you think the Harwin strip contributed to its downfall?

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I remember in the 80's when they added the 2nd floor with the big remodel. It was the place to be mall-wise. The Foley's was huge. The bulldozers would be unfortunate.

Seems the in thing now is going back to the open air mall style a la Meyerland and Gulfgate.

What anchor stores remain at Sharpstown? Do you think the Harwin strip contributed to its downfall?

I think Harwin strip had nothing to do with Sharpstown's downfall.

Sharpstown's downfall, had to do with its middle class neighborhoods that surrounded it deteriorating, and then the low rent, low class apartments that attracted the tens of thousands of ultra low income families, druggies, gangsters, etc.

When Sharpstown's potential customers who had disposable incomes left because of problems, the replacement low income families and thugs had much less money to spend. Therefore, Sharpstown's nice clothing stores, big name department stores pulled out, leaving it with many privately owned urban clothing stores, shoe stores, etc. The last few times I went into Sharpstown it seemed like everyone was just walking around, not shopping, just trying to meet women, waste time, etc. Granted, I see the same thing at Memorial City Mall and Galleria malls, but I see a lot more people carrying bags of clothing, etc.

Cliffs notes :

Sharpstown Mall deterioation caused by demographic change to lower income families, and thugs, causing a change in disposable income shopping at mall.

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Chalk me up as another Sharpstown Mall Rat of the 80's. Remember when the food court was called Goodtime Charlies? And the had a stage there? During the heights of video arcadom, the mall had two of them, the one by JC Pennys and the on in the food court. My friends worked at His Place, Chick-fil-a, Foleys and the Oak Tree. Loved going to Oshmans, and bought my first Apple Macintosh computer from Fingers Furniture when they wold electronics! My parents bought me some 80's modern furniture from the Store House by Foleys. Bought my first CD from Foleys! Back then, their electronics section was the bomb.

Saw some movies at the Gaylen (sp?) theater, man that place was big. Go my first Honda from Gillman Honda when they were in the small showroom in the corner. I also went to Strake Jesuit so I knew Bellaire before it became Chinatown West. We used to eat at the Del Taco that's a sandwich shop now. And loved going to God Father's Pizza in the same strip mall as Safeway. Man those were great times.

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Chalk me up as another Sharpstown Mall Rat of the 80's. Remember when the food court was called Goodtime Charlies? And the had a stage there? During the heights of video arcadom, the mall had two of them, the one by JC Pennys and the on in the food court. My friends worked at His Place, Chick-fil-a, Foleys and the Oak Tree. Loved going to Oshmans, and bought my first Apple Macintosh computer from Fingers Furniture when they wold electronics! My parents bought me some 80's modern furniture from the Store House by Foleys. Bought my first CD from Foleys! Back then, their electronics section was the bomb.

Saw some movies at the Gaylen (sp?) theater, man that place was big. Go my first Honda from Gillman Honda when they were in the small showroom in the corner. I also went to Strake Jesuit so I knew Bellaire before it became Chinatown West. We used to eat at the Del Taco that's a sandwich shop now. And loved going to God Father's Pizza in the same strip mall as Safeway. Man those were great times.

Jebbie. :P

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Chalk me up as another Sharpstown Mall Rat of the 80's. Remember when the food court was called Goodtime Charlies? And the had a stage there? During the heights of video arcadom, the mall had two of them, the one by JC Pennys and the on in the food court. My friends worked at His Place, Chick-fil-a, Foleys and the Oak Tree. Loved going to Oshmans, and bought my first Apple Macintosh computer from Fingers Furniture when they wold electronics! My parents bought me some 80's modern furniture from the Store House by Foleys. Bought my first CD from Foleys! Back then, their electronics section was the bomb.

Saw some movies at the Gaylen (sp?) theater, man that place was big. Go my first Honda from Gillman Honda when they were in the small showroom in the corner. I also went to Strake Jesuit so I knew Bellaire before it became Chinatown West. We used to eat at the Del Taco that's a sandwich shop now. And loved going to God Father's Pizza in the same strip mall as Safeway. Man those were great times.

I remember all that same stuff. All my brothers went to Strake...what year did you graduate?

I went to school at SFDS.

It was flight to the "safety" of the 'burbs that got Sharpstown...I am waiting for the redev. The area is too convenient to 59 to remain in decline forever. And, Strake and St. Agnes offer incredible educations.

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I, too, was a big Sharpstown customer on my arrival to Houston. But I arrived right on the brink of change. I quickly witnessed the mall change from a standard suburban retail destination to a struggling urban shopping center.

In addition to the other factors already mentioned that contributed to the "decline" of Sharpstown Mall, I would add the construction of First Colony Mall, expansion of the Galleria, etc. These shifts in the higher end retail environment have left Sharpstown, and similar centers, behind.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I have a little Sharpstown stuff.

I grew up mainly in Alief. (Elsik class of 85). I lived in the sharpstown area for a while when I was younger though. I definately remember the drive in. We could see it from our house at night. I remember watching a move called The Brother's O'Toole (with John Aston) in the family station wagon. I remember our neighbohood as being on the poor side of middle class. Dude across the street from us was huge--maybe 400 pounds- and only drove Mini Coopers. He was alway working on them in the driveway and about every 30 minutes you could hear him holler at his wife, "Etheeeeellllll! Get me a coke!"

Any way. I have very vivid memories of Sharpstown Mall. There was that big clock thing in the middle that was a time capsule. It was supposed to open "way in the future....like the year 2000." But it never got that far. Good Time Charlie's was the place to be. We would go to the mall and hang out all day and play video games. There was a model shop/hobby shop on the second floor (kind of in the corner) that was the coolest place for a teenage boy to hang out in. Anyone remember that?

Then Westwood Mall opened a little further down 59. That was kinda the beginning of the end for ST Mall. Remember Peppermint Park?

My older brother worked at the Winchel's Donut House across the street (Bellaire) from the Mall. My dad's friend, Mr. San Miguel was the owner or manager there. Man, Winchel's was the best!

On the east side of 59, there was a doctor's office on DeMoss. The exterior was like brown rocks. I used to go there every week for asthma treatment. I always made it a point to climb the side of the building when I got there.

In high school, I worked at the K-Mart at 8150 Southwest Freeway across from the Channel 2 station. I met my wife there. Her dad was a K-Mart manager.

I knew a lot of guys from Sharpstown High School that worked there as well. Sharpstown High was the coolest because it had a smoking area, or at least that was the rumor.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I grew up close by...it has always astounded me that an area this close to town has escaped redevelopment...it would seem that with all of the low rent apartments, etc. that much of the commercial properties and apartments could be bulldozed and redeveloped.

I live in a redeveloping area in the Heights and realize that areas have to reach a point sometimes where the area is so rundown that redevelopment is attractive. I would think that this area has reached this point as land values have to be attractive to land developers looking to make plays on its proximity to the galleria.

It can not be much longer before there are some massive bulldozes going on and redevelopment to start happening. With gas prices going as they are...living closer to the city is going to start to take on more and more of a premium. I am seeing lots of redevelopment in areas going on near downtown that I never thought would happen.

So here is my million dollar question...what is scaring off the developers...don't tell me the gangs, etc...because I remember Midtown before it was "Midtown" and it was probably worse.

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I grew up close by...it has always astounded me that an area this close to town has escaped redevelopment...it would seem that with all of the low rent apartments, etc. that much of the commercial properties and apartments could be bulldozed and redeveloped.

I live in a redeveloping area in the Heights and realize that areas have to reach a point sometimes where the area is so rundown that redevelopment is attractive. I would think that this area has reached this point as land values have to be attractive to land developers looking to make plays on its proximity to the galleria.

It can not be much longer before there are some massive bulldozes going on and redevelopment to start happening. With gas prices going as they are...living closer to the city is going to start to take on more and more of a premium. I am seeing lots of redevelopment in areas going on near downtown that I never thought would happen.

So here is my million dollar question...what is scaring off the developers...don't tell me the gangs, etc...because I remember Midtown before it was "Midtown" and it was probably worse.

I'm waiting, too. Come on tell me? I grew up there and stayed after the decline. My dad still lives in the area and there isn't anything really bad happening in his immediate area. Maybe that's it? Not dead enough?

Or, is the concentration in the neartown areas and the Heights (where I live) getting in the way? Is the Heights' success pumping up the northern suburbs first...we'll get to Sharpstown after we finish Oak Forest?

Or, maybe it is that the area between the Galleria and Sharpstown is a no man's land. There is no way for people to bleed over to the Sharpstown area when they start looking at homes in other places. I feel like Oak Forest, Garden Oaks and such get a large number of new buyers who shy away from Heights home pricing...

I could be completely wrong, but I'm just pondering out loud.

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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?

I think it was a Plitt Theater at one time. (You can imagine what we kids used to call it). :blush: Anyway, before that it was something else. Loewe's, maybe? Then it was a dollar cinema for a while. Guess it's closed now.

Reading this really brings back memories. I'm SHS class of 1990. Grew up right behind the high school. (Section 4?) Those were Pulte homes if I remember correctly.

I had no idea Sharpstown was such an important development to Houston. That stuff about the Conquistador opening the door to build hi-rise residential. I always remember looking out and seeing those twin buildings on Fondren and 59 with the flag on top. Don't know their names. This was in the 80's- way after Conquistador being the tallest building.

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It is true that sometimes transitional neighborhoods are like bad drunks, they have to hit rock bottom before they want to go into rehab!

Sharpstown's revival, whenever it comes, will be one by default, at least at first. By that I mean other areas will have to get too expensive, thus driving entry-level creative class buyers into Sharpstown to get the size, condition or style home they want. This isn't a slam on Sharpstown, a lot of great neighborhoods benefit from some level of default factor. I'm sure a lot of people in Oak Forest, for example, are there not because they were jumping up & down to live in Oak Forest, but b/c their first choice areas such as Garden Oaks & Heights didn't offer acceptable homes in their price ranges, or maybe they were out of their price range altogether. Much of Bellaire's early boom was from people priced out of West U. I'm sure that isn't everybody, but a good share.

For people in the $125,000 to $175,000 price bracket, there are other options that a lot of people will find more attractive than Sharpstown. People can still get into Oak Forest for that, albeit not in a similiar size/condition home, but in what would be considered a more desirable neighborhood by a lot of house-hunter's yard-stick. Lindale Park still offers an inner-loop location & quaint architecture in that range. Eastwood is leaning towards the higher end of the above mentioned price bracket so it may not provide competition for much longer. Idylwood is generally starting around $175,000 now so it won't be a competitor for buyers under that price point. Then you have Westbury. I still think Westbury is stealing Sharpstown's thunder by luring the entry level buyers that typically create a revival. It doesn't suffer from the stigma that Sharpstown has. Sharpstown may or may not deserve it, but it does have more of an image problem. I have shown buyers in that price range there (Sharpstown) before, along with Westbury & Glenbrook Valley. Despite both Glenbrook & Westbury having issues with crappy apartments nearby like Sharpstown as well as similiar era homes, most buyers I have feel like Westbury is more "connected" to the city and generally feels closer in, with a little better curb appeal in most areas. Glenbrook is closer to downtown, but on the "wrong side of town" for most people. But, since most of the homes were custom built there the housing stock just has a better quality fit & finish in the details than what they see in Sharpstown. So in most cases Sharpstown comes in 3rd or 4th behind these other neighborhoods, at least for now.

Sharpstown's day will come again, despite the apartments and anything else it has going against it. But it won't come until people are priced out of Oak Forest, Westbury, Lindale & the like.

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I agree with you. ^

I think if Sharpstown were to change the names of its still surviving neighborhoods to anything that didn't have the word Sharpstown in it, buyers would consider it. Westbury isn't any better, really, but it doesn't share the stigma of that name. We should call the area around St. Francis, the Oaks of Bellaire or something...

Case in point, the chron's this week section online titles the section that includes sharpstown as Alief and swhouston. Sharpstown is a bad word in many people's minds.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Ok guys....I am 42. I remember when the SW Freeway was not even built and Sharpstown mall was "THE PLACE" to be. My favorite store there was "Dream Merchant". I still have some things I bought there and I have a T-whirt that I purchased there about 1 hour before a DEVO concert in 1982 at Cullen Auditorium at UH....Still have the ticket stub. Sharpstown mall in the 80's was awesome.

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Sharpstown's Gaylynn Theatre had more square footage in area per patron than any motion picture theatre in the world. It was very elegant- Sharpstown's own Jones Hall. I was always impressed by the mica imbed into the top layer of the paving around the entrance that sparkled like a million glittering diamonds at night under the flood lights. I thought that was what it must be like in Hollywood. Attending a movie would be special again if there was a theatre like this to see it in. This was also known as the Gaylynn Terrace. The building is now used as a charter school.

Gaylynn Pictures and Information

Sharpstown's drive-in theatre was the Lowe's Sharpstown on Bellaire Blvd. at Hillcroft. It was also huge. Notice in the aerial photographs how far down Hillcroft it extended. The building on the corner was a bar-b-que restaurant and the Sharpstown Time Capsule was originally located there.

Sharpstown Drive-in Theatre

Sharpstown Time Capsule was opened March 11, 2000 at the country club

CuttingBox.jpg

Contents

CapsuleContents.jpg

Audience at the time capsule opening

Crowd.jpg

Edited by SpaceAge
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I have a little Sharpstown stuff.

I grew up mainly in Alief. (Elsik class of 85). I lived in the sharpstown area for a while when I was younger though. I definately remember the drive in. We could see it from our house at night. I remember watching a move called The Brother's O'Toole (with John Aston) in the family station wagon. I remember our neighbohood as being on the poor side of middle class. Dude across the street from us was huge--maybe 400 pounds- and only drove Mini Coopers. He was alway working on them in the driveway and about every 30 minutes you could hear him holler at his wife, "Etheeeeellllll! Get me a coke!"

Any way. I have very vivid memories of Sharpstown Mall. There was that big clock thing in the middle that was a time capsule. It was supposed to open "way in the future....like the year 2000." But it never got that far. Good Time Charlie's was the place to be. We would go to the mall and hang out all day and play video games. There was a model shop/hobby shop on the second floor (kind of in the corner) that was the coolest place for a teenage boy to hang out in. Anyone remember that?

Then Westwood Mall opened a little further down 59. That was kinda the beginning of the end for ST Mall. Remember Peppermint Park?

My older brother worked at the Winchel's Donut House across the street (Bellaire) from the Mall. My dad's friend, Mr. San Miguel was the owner or manager there. Man, Winchel's was the best!

On the east side of 59, there was a doctor's office on DeMoss. The exterior was like brown rocks. I used to go there every week for asthma treatment. I always made it a point to climb the side of the building when I got there.

In high school, I worked at the K-Mart at 8150 Southwest Freeway across from the Channel 2 station. I met my wife there. Her dad was a K-Mart manager.

I knew a lot of guys from Sharpstown High School that worked there as well. Sharpstown High was the coolest because it had a smoking area, or at least that was the rumor.

Yes, Sharpstown High School had 2 smoking areas. You had to have had a permission slip from your parents in order to smoke there (not that anyone checked). It was there at least during my time there from 79 to 81.

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  • 2 weeks later...

You guys have brought back so much memories for me while living in sharpstown back in the 80's- neff, sharpstown middle, sharpstown mall, the theater next door, astroworld, fame city and so much. This is awesome and I might know some of yall. Those were great days....

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  • 2 weeks later...

I am sorry I haven't been around much and ended up missing this thread!

Sharpstown is a great place. The neighborhoods are among some of the most beautiful in Houston (when you get off the main streets). The SFH around the golf course and across Bellaire as well as next to Braeburn are truly beautiful and property values are rising dramatically.

The city finally got started on work my uncle spear headed years ago by getting the TIRZ and PID implemented.

If anyone has any questions about Sharpstown, I'd be happy to answer them and I promise to visit the site more often to do so.

I've been so busy with my new job (project managing luxury home construction and loving it) that I haven't been able to visit much.

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I am sorry I haven't been around much and ended up missing this thread!

Sharpstown is a great place. The neighborhoods are among some of the most beautiful in Houston (when you get off the main streets). The SFH around the golf course and across Bellaire as well as next to Braeburn are truly beautiful and property values are rising dramatically.

The city finally got started on work my uncle spear headed years ago by getting the TIRZ and PID implemented.

If anyone has any questions about Sharpstown, I'd be happy to answer them and I promise to visit the site more often to do so.

I've been so busy with my new job (project managing luxury home construction and loving it) that I haven't been able to visit much.

Not sure what is driving the home values up in Sharpstown (near the Sharpstown country club), but I agree, many neighbors are good people and many are even native Texans to boot. The homes are of good quality and it has LOCATION....easy access to the rest of the world. I unfortunately had to sell our property after owning it when new in 1966.

What are: TIRZ and PID? Sorry I do not recognize those acronyms.

Lastly...for curiousity...what part of town are you building custom homes? Are these SPEC home or high end CUSTOM homes?

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In answer to your question, old_sharpstown, I don't know what PID is, but I remember reading about TIRZ an article that was in Chronicle a few months ago and partially quoted here:

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 in the downtown and Galleria areas.

A couple of months ago there was a house fire at Burning Tree and Sharpview. I heard from a woman at my church that the owners are going to tear down and rebuild a larger home. There is one Sharpstown realtor who has been saying for years, "Sharpstown is the next Bellaire." Maybe this home is the beginning of Sharpstown's rebirth! However - I don't wish for all the old Sharpstown homes to be torn down and replaced with McMansions - they are great, solidly built homes.

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In answer to your question, old_sharpstown, I don't know what PID is, but I remember reading about TIRZ an article that was in Chronicle a few months ago and partially quoted here:

PID= public improvement district

Cities occasionally need to make certain improvements to their infrastructures to help economic

growth within an area. New businesses may not locate in cities where the streets are inadequate,

the utility service is substandard, or the public facilities and services are inferior. It is also difficult

for existing businesses to prosper in areas that have poor public infrastructures. Texas law

provides a number of ways to finance needed public improvements including the use of special

assessments. A city may undertake such a project through the creation of a Public Improvement

District (PID).

The Public Improvement District Assessment Act allows any city to levy and collect special

assessments on property that is within the city or within the city's extraterritorial jurisdiction (ETJ).

The statute authorizing the creation of PIDs is found in Chapter 372 of the Local Government

Code.

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I'm glad you asked, Cory, because I'd be interested to know myself. I hear of how Sharpstown used to be a prominent middle-to-upper middle class area similar to such areas as Timbergrove and Meyerland back in the 60s and would be interested to hear of its history.

prominent middle to upper middle class? Timbergrove and Meyerland? Oh no. What you see of Sharpstown now is what it has always been. When Frank Sharp built Sharpstown in the mid and late 50s, it was a suburb out in the country. It was rice fields and ranch land when Sharp bought it and subdivided it, and it was built to do what suburbs have always done: give middle income people an affordable place to live. People bought in Sharpstown because they couldn't afford Meyerland or Timbergrove.

Edited by FilioScotia
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While there are a number of factors that contributed to what Sharpstown has become today, one biggest ones no one has mentioned was the oil bust. That was the event that reshaped (and lay the groundwork for) much of the city (not just Sharpstown) for many years to come.

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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.

When I lived there beginning in 1969, Sharpstown had 3 sections referred to as Sharpstown 1 (Bintliff east area, Sutton Elem., Jane Long Jr. High), Sharpstown2 (Sandpiper to SW Freeway), and Sharpstown 3(West side of SW Freeway, Mary Bates area, Pat Neff Elem., Sharptown Jr. High. Don't know how and why Sharptown High School was located all the way up on Bissonnet. Don't know what that section of Sharpstown was referred to.

great picture. thanks!

Worked there for a few years during the early 80's. Drove a '66 Ford Fairlane with an "ooooga" horn on it. Those were the days!

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

SHS Class of '83. If I remember correctly we had 635 graduates that year. Went to the Astro Arena for graduation. We were the class that gave Principle Jackson a quarter with each hand shake. He started putting the quarters in his suit pockets, but they were heavy and overflowing so he was taking handfulls and handfulls and handfulls of quarters out of his pocket and tossing them on a table. 635 quarters was a lot! He profitted and we laughed! We were making a definite memory!

I met a person attending SHS in year 2000. I told her what we had done to Mr. Jackson when we graduated. Her response was, "that was your class?" I have to admit that felt awesome that we were still talked about! Class of '83 ROCKS!

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When I lived there beginning in 1969, Sharpstown had 3 sections referred to as Sharpstown 1 (Bintliff east area, Sutton Elem., Jane Long Jr. High), Sharpstown2 (Sandpiper to SW Freeway), and Sharpstown 3(West side of SW Freeway, Mary Bates area, Pat Neff Elem., Sharptown Jr. High. Don't know how and why Sharptown High School was located all the way up on Bissonnet. Don't know what that section of Sharpstown was referred to.

Worked there for a few years during the early 80's. Drove a '66 Ford Fairlane with an "ooooga" horn on it. Those were the days!

Sharpstown Middle School (formerly Sharpstown Junior High) was originally a consolidated junior and senior high in the beginning around 1971 to 1974. Since I lived across from the school, I recall watching all the kids with beards, long hair, ...hippies I tell ya! I was just a little kid, but I remember seeing those "wierdos" at the school.

My assumption for Sharpstown High School being placed where it was is that it could not be further out West (it would be nearly in Alief) and besides, few homes were built past what is now Corporate Drive. It could not go north as Lee was already built and it covered the areas north of Bellaire Blvd. To the far east was Bellaire HS. I guess based on the then current home building trends, a HS like Sharpstown HS needed to be built and the location was central enough. Old "Sharp" himself may have even donated the land for this purphose ??

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When I lived there beginning in 1969, Sharpstown had 3 sections referred to as Sharpstown 1 (Bintliff east area, Sutton Elem., Jane Long Jr. High), Sharpstown2 (Sandpiper to SW Freeway), and Sharpstown 3(West side of SW Freeway, Mary Bates area, Pat Neff Elem., Sharptown Jr. High. Don't know how and why Sharptown High School was located all the way up on Bissonnet. Don't know what that section of Sharpstown was referred to.

If anyone's interested, this is what the Sharpstown Civic Association lists as the boundaries of Sharpstown. I drew it out on a big map of Houston once and it doesn't quite fit what I think of as Sharpstown, having lived here for more than ten years, but this is technically where Sharpstown is.

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prominent middle to upper middle class? Timbergrove and Meyerland? Oh no. What you see of Sharpstown now is what it has always been. When Frank Sharp built Sharpstown in the mid and late 50s, it was a suburb out in the country. It was rice fields and ranch land when Sharp bought it and subdivided it, and it was built to do what suburbs have always done: give middle income people an affordable place to live. People bought in Sharpstown because they couldn't afford Meyerland or Timbergrove.

Quite wrong. Sharpstown, being the countries first super-neighborhood, was designed to be a high-middle income area for those who wanted to escape city living. The median income of Sharpstown's SFH residents is still quite high compared to those of many other areas of town. You might also be surprised to find quite a few millionaires living in Sharpstown's neighborhoods.

There are four on my street alone.

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Greetings....

This thread tested my 50 yo memory and made me remember all the fun times of growing up in Sharpstown. My parents bought a Vista home on Tanager off Jorine in 1966. They still live there also. We were the 6th house on the street. If my memory serves me correctly they paid ~$18,500 for the 4 bedroom, 2 bath, 2 car garage house. When we moved there K-Mart at 59 and Beechnut was just a shell under construction. There nothing west of the K-Mart site until you got past Gessner. In 1966 Gessner did not go south of Beechnut. Beechnut did not go west of the drainage ditch which is about 2 miles west of Gessner. Gessner ran north to Bellaire only.

I went to school at Pat Neff for 1/2 of 4th grade, Mrs. Hughes was my teacher. 5th grade I went to Pat Neff also and Mrs. McNair was my teacher. Neff was housing a number of classes in temporary buildings because of the huge influx of kids into the area. Neff at that time served all students from the railroad tracks (where Westpark tollard is today) south to Bissonett east to 59 and west to that drainage ditch. Bonham Elementary served kids on the east side of 59.

FOr 6th grade I transferred to Ed White Elementary. Ed WHite was named for the Apollo 1 astronaut that was killed in the fire aboard Apollo 1 while it was on the launchpad. 2 other schools with identical architecture were built to honor the other 2 astronauts. These schools were also built in fast growing areas of the city. Mrs. Taylor was my teacher. We had 2-6th grade classes then. Ed White was brand new and still under construction. The unique thing about Ed White was the concept of an open classroom in the east side of the school. It never really was used while I was there because the school was still growing. I also remember this was the first school in Houston that intrgrated the PA system into the school and was used extensively.

In 7th grade I attended the brand new Sharpstown Jr./Sr. High School, now Sharpstown Middle School. The school was opened and was still under construction. The auditorium, lockerrooms, gym, athletic fields were still being built. None of the science labs were finished. None of the language labs were finished. The school was "air conditioned" although it never seemed to work right. When we had gym class we sat on folding chairs in the big area between the gym and auditorium. I think it was in the Spring when we finally had lockerrooms and the gym. One thing I remember about this school was that it was my first experience with integration. The boundaries of the school went north of Westpart and included the Jenetta area. There was a lot of tension in my 7th grade year about rumbles over at Lansdale Park. I don't ever remember these happening but it was just kids being kids. In 9th grade it because Sharpstown Jr. High because the High School opened that year.

As far as shopping and other buildings here is a brief history from someone who has live in the area all of his life.

Sharpstown Shopping Center as it was called was built as a 1 story airconditioned mall. The only anchors at that time were Montgomery Ward and FOleys. And Foley's was the second foleys opened, downtown was the first. The foley's was small 2 story + basement with furniture and appliances in the basement. The interesting thing about foley's was that you could access the basement from the parking lot on 2 sides. Yes they had built the parking lot sunken. They finally did away with this design when the basement kept flooding in our Houston storms. There were then 2 additions to the store. There were 2 minor anchors to the mall, FOod Giant and Battlestein's clothing. Food Giant was located where the JC Penney's used to be. Battlesteins was located where the theatres and food court portion are now. Across the street from the mall, where Circuit City is now, was Allstate's Headquarters (not sure if it was regional or national. They moved out of this building in the late 70's. The old Gaylynn theatres, now abandoned in the back of the mall, originally 1 theatre that had cinerama capability. Very upscale and very nice. Then they added a second theatre. There was a dennys right next to it that we hung out at when I was in HS. When I was growing up we used to ride bicycles from my house to the mall. Yes youngsters we actually did get a lot of exercise riding bikes and hanging out at the mall or going to the Walter Branch Library. One of the coolest moments in my life was when GiGi's model shop displayed one of my model rockets in their window for an extended period of time. I was a celebrity in my own right. For those of you wondering what GiGi's was...it was a hobby shop that had everything from model cars to trains to guided model plane to radio control planes and other stuff that supported all of these activities. In the mid-70's Sharpstown's management felt they needed to add a second floor. The original mall was not structurally built to hold a second floor so they had to do a lot of upgrades. At the same time JC Penney was added as an anchor. If you go on the second floor now you will notice in place where the flooring slants toward the inside cut outs. Poor construction plagued the addition. The downfall of Sharpstown was the oil bust of the late 80's. I have been 1 time since 1995 and refuse to go back. It is far too sad to see what has happened to what was Houston's jewel mall.

Southway Center (Beechnut and GEssner) started out with Handy Dan Hardware (what is now Academy). They had to run Gessner through to 59 to build things on that strip of land. When they built Southway it originally housed a Bowling Lane, big toy store similar to Toys R Us (the baskin robbins in the center was part of that toy store), a Weingartens Grocery (became Safeway and then Apple Tree, then closed to become Marshalls or something else), a Madings Drug Store (became Eckerds), and Southway 6. Southway 6 theatres were HORRIBLE. THe screens were like today's 60" plasma televisions. Teeny tiny. We never understoody people loved them so much. In the parking lot was an Enco then Exxon now Mobil gas station,American Savings then Bank United now Washington Mutual, a PIzza Inn now a taqueria, a Texaco Station at Beechnut/Gessner, a KFC and a Winchell's Donuts. Across the street was the Church but nothing else until Phillip 66 built a station and then CVS. Across Gessner was a Shell station, an auto repair place which is now U-Haul, Grandy's, Stower's Funiture which because Havertys then burned in a late nite huge fire then Best Buy.

Sam White Oldsmobile was built when I was in 10th grade I believe on beechnut. Now it's an empty shell. In the shopping center slightly west where there is a vet clinic was one of the original Purple Cow burger joints where you could buy purple ice cream.

Someone mentioned Globe Shopping City. There were 3 stores I can remember in Houston. The first was at Hillcroft and Bellaire Blvd. (what is now Fiesta). Globe was originally a membership store similar to Super Target. Membership was based on employer or credit union. They had everything you could want from groceries to toys to automotive to furniture. Out front where the pawn shop is now was a gas station tire center. The other 2 locations were Gulfgate where Mervyns was and Memorial City where Super Oshmans was. Globe went under in the early 1970's. Fed Mart took over the Bellaire store for a couple of years and then they went under. The store sat empty for a couple of years if I recall correctly then Fiesta took it over. So the physical structure has been there for about 45 years.

I went to Sharpstown Baptist Church and can remember watching the Target on 59 being built. When it opened it was HUGE. Where the Marshalls was was Target's grocery store. Yes in the late 1960's and early 1970's Target had a Grocery store so SuperTarget is nothing new. They also had tire sales and gas sales. When I bought my first car, a 1971 Gremlin (no one laugh), I remember my first tank of gas at Target I paid 39.9 per gallon. Those were the days. Sometime in the 1980's Target elected to get out of Grocery and leased the store to Weingartens but that didnt last long and it closed. Then Marshalls bought the space out. Same thing happened at the Target which was on Katy Freeway at Echo Lane which is now Marshalls etc. They also had a store like that on 610 at Long Drive which closed in the 1980's and then because Auchans for a short time then the FEMA Katrina center.

Memorial Hospital was built in the mid-1970's when they moved Memorial Baptist from downtown across Smith from the main library.

The shopping center at Fondren and 59 where the funky furniture store is was build for Woolco. The discount version of Woolworths. In that center was a Weingartens and other stores. There was a cool place to eat on the end that you ordered using telephones at the table. I don't recall the name.

ANyone remember watching the radar town at Channel 2 being built? When they moved out to that location 59 ended at Beechnut.

Lets see a couple of other items. Yes The Fiesta at Bellaire and Gessner was originally a Safeway. And yes Strake did have to sell the land because of Sharpstown State Bank failure.

Further west where Chinatown begins the shopping center right next to St Agnes was built to house a Lewis & Coker grocery, Furr's Cafeteria(in the corner), and a Sage Drug store (Walgreens took that over later). I used to work in the Sage Drug store in the camera department. The Sage Drug store was a spin off of Sage Discount Stores which was like Globe in that the big stores (Beechnut/610, now lowes location--Town & COuntry now demolished--45 and College now an HISD charter school) that required membership to shop there and you paid in individual departemtnst. Sage was where Arne of Arne's party etc store on Studewood got his start.

Sorry for the long post. I know I've let oout some stuff.....but I wanted to add my historical recollections. If you've got further questions respond here or e-mail me at fooddoc@earthlink.net

By the way my folks still live in the same house on Tanager and as far as I can tell the area they live in is still safe and sound. ALthough I hate the apartments along beechnut, they need to be demolished or something to get rid of the gang activities.

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Yes in the late 1960's and early 1970's Target had a Grocery store so SuperTarget is nothing new.

I seem to remember a conveyor belt in front of the grocery store that would take your groceries from the checkout to a loading area. It was gone by the mid-1970s, as best as I can remember. Can anyone confirm the existence of the conveyor?

By the way, that's a good recollection of the "way things were". I grew up on Pella street and patronized just about all the stores you mentioned, and I even rode my bicycle to Sharpstown Mall. Sharpstown was once upon a time a retail mecca, with both the highly successful mall and the big boxes of the era. Sharpstown's retail has been hollowed out and overrun with dollar stores. But maybe there is some hope: Circuit City relocated to a new facility on Bellaire rather than closing its Sharpstown location.

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Yes. Target Grocery when it was Target Grocery did have a conveyor system with gray totes. Globe, Sage, FedMart, and Gemco did also.

My dad would never allow us to use it ever. Don't know why.

The only hope for Sharpstown is to demolish apartments and the mall and bring in a mandatory home owners association. Only if you get rid of the rif raff can you ever regentrify an area. Sad but true. The other issue, and I know folks do not want to hear it, a number of the apartment complexes serving the area are full of Katrina people who have brought a lot of crime into the area. I refuse to drive through Gessner, between Westpark and West Bellfort after dark.

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I seem to remember a conveyor belt in front of the grocery store that would take your groceries from the checkout to a loading area. It was gone by the mid-1970s, as best as I can remember. Can anyone confirm the existence of the conveyor?

By the way, that's a good recollection of the "way things were". I grew up on Pella street and patronized just about all the stores you mentioned, and I even rode my bicycle to Sharpstown Mall. Sharpstown was once upon a time a retail mecca, with both the highly successful mall and the big boxes of the era. Sharpstown's retail has been hollowed out and overrun with dollar stores. But maybe there is some hope: Circuit City relocated to a new facility on Bellaire rather than closing its Sharpstown location.

The closest I remember to this was Service Merchandise's conveyor!

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I seem to remember a conveyor belt in front of the grocery store that would take your groceries from the checkout to a loading area.

At Food Giant in Sharpstown Center, they had another system to load your grocery purchases. Do any of you-all remember the sacker had a stack of little cardboard signs he had cut from the grocery boxes and a big juicy marker in a metal can with a screw off lid? When he finished sacking your mother

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My family moved to Sharpstown in 1970. I went to Bonham Elementary and my older sisters went to Sharpstown Jr. High then Sr. High. We moved to Dallas in 1978. I attened one year at the Sr. High (1977). I was in the band (Mr. Trevathan s.p.?). The jazz section of our band played at Good Time Charlies on the weekends. What a great time that was. I remember another mall that was built during that time called Westwood Mall??? We use to walk that mall on the weekends trying to meet boys (ha ha). Sharpstown was very "happening" in the 70's. I heard that the area we lived in has changed in the demographics but there are a few families that still live on our block. I heard about Astroworld and was crushed. We spent every moment we could over there (season passes). I even took my husband there once when we were down at Galveston. That park ROCKED. Do yall remember Gemco? That was really cool cause you had to have a membership to get in. We use to collect the shopping baskets and return them for something (can't remember what we got). I spent a lot of time in the Braeburn Valley bayou (lol). We use to play like crazy down in all that *crap*....uggg. Do you remember the restaurant called Across the Street? You ordered your food from your table using a telephone. How cool was that. I could ramble forever about how great things were growing up there. The only thing I can remember that I DONT miss is the COCKROACHES. OMGoodness. I still live in fear of those things.

Thanks for reading and hope all is well for everyone B)

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WOW...don't know where to start. DrFood...you have a VERY good memory. I recall nearly everything exactly as you stated and I lived a similiar life (although maybe 5 to 10 years younger than you). We went to the same church, etc.

The 2 things I was not ware of was that Globe was a membership store and that the Eckards in the Southway mall was originally not Eckards. As for the store that became Toys R Us...it originally opened as "Kids Kountry"....although it seemed to have the same giraffe mascot. Maybe it was the same chain that started as a different name? Does anyone else remember that the Grandy's (now a taquaria) across from Southway was originally a Steak and Shake? I use to practice little league on that property before that. In the Southway complex, the place that was Champs (??) coffee shop was originally a Jim's coffee shop. They did not make it in Houston (they are still in San Antonio and Austin).

I worked in Foley's during much of the early 80's. It was the place then. The mall's second floor expansion was viable and valuable for a time, but as you mentioned, the oil bust killed the economy and therfore the mall's too. I actually think that the final "fifties" style decor/remodel really killed the mall from being "cool" to "cheesy". It also aligned timewise when the "last" big group of teenagers were leaving the area. Sharpstown was starting the gray then.

Yes, all the apartments (and most of the duplexes) should be razed in Sharpstown. They bring no long term value to the community. I know of families that have raised their kids in those apartments years ago and it afforded them to live in a "nice community" even if they could not buy a house, but I feel those scenerios are no longer around and may even be overshadowed by all the "bad". A strong MANDATORY HOA is needed.

"Mansion" at Gessner and Beechnut? Yes, I wondered what kind of person would have invested in a building at that site at a busy intersection. Gypsy's? most likely. I had always heard the same. They likely had hoped to set-up a Palm Reader service and only realized that the HOA would stop them. I do not believe the house has been inhabited for years and I guess they paid cash so it is owned outright for now.

As someone else just stated, the place in the mall where Woolco was that had telephones to order your meals was called "Across The Street". Great charcoal burgers.

Lastly...does anyone else remember:

Handy Andy - grocery store at the corner of Gessner and Southwest Freeway (became the "Original Christmas Store" for many years afterwards). A Danver's and a Taco Bueno were across the street from there.

Also, does anyone remember the man who use to endlessly weed his lawn by hand at his house that was at the corner of Bellaire and Fondren that was across the intersection from the Gillman dealerships? The home was torn down and it became that Stop N Go eventually. That man may have been a groundskeeper at the old Sharpstown Country Club as his lawn was always the best. Too bad all those nice homes became the cheesy strip shopping center it is now.

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What a read!

I never lived in Sharpstown, but I did go to the mall a few times as a teen. My Aunt lives out near Hwy. 6 and Bellaire, so when I visited her I rode the bus a few times down to Sharpstown to people watch and visit the Cactus Records. From '85 - '90 most of my record/tape collection came from that store. It was a great store!

Anyway, I just wanted to add that Neff Elementary and Sharpstown High School were designed by the architect William Jenkins. I am the self-appointed "William Jenkins Fan Club President" so I have to point that kind of thing out.

After reading these posts I have changed my image of Sharpstown. My former recent image of Sharpstown is the area near Hillcroft and Bellaire where I always nearly hit someone running across the street. Don't you understand what crosswalks are for? That and the people that look for landscape/construction jobs seem to congrigate right in that area.

Is Tanglewilde a desired area? I don't know much about it, but I could see how Sharpstown would be the area where young people buying their first house who couldn't quite afford Tanglewilde would want to live. Like Westbury is to Meyerland?

Like RPS said, it may have to go down a little while before it can come back up again. I hope that they keep their archtiectural heritage though, because I really like the mods I've seen in Sharpstown.

Jason

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Wow, great memories. Wish I could've gotten in sooner. Probably know some of the previous posters or at least some of their family members.

We moved to S'town in'64, when I was 4 years old. My parents still live in the same house on Barberton Dr., and their back yard now has a 20' tall concrete wall between them and the SW Frwy. When we moved in, our back yard had no fence for the first few years, but that was ok because the freeway wasn't completed for a while.

I went to Neff from K'garten through 5th grade, St. Francis from 6th-8th and then on to Strake Jesuit. Class of '78.

My first job was in the BUDGET SHOE DEPT!!! @ Foleys. Wow, that was a trip. Here's some of the things I remember about Sharpstown and the surrounding area.

1) I also remember the flags in the middle of the mall. Thanks to whoever posted those pictures.

2) I remember every year on the Friday night after Thanksgiving, we would go to Sharpstown mall and play in the man made snow, waiting for Santa Claus to come and "land" on the roof in his sleigh. He'd walk to the edge of the roof and wave to the crowd, then go inside and start talking to kids.

3) My brother worked at Gaylyn Theater in the mid-70's. My Dad and I would go pick him up at 10:00 before he had his license. He then got a job at Foley's.

4) I remember playing on the football team at St. Francis in 72 & 73, and our home field was Jesuit Stadium. To this day, my favorite coach is my St. Francis Coach Jim Hyland. I consider him a friend, and I love to run into him at church when we go back home to visit my parents.

5) I remember playing on the basketball team at St. Francis during those same years, and we didin't have a gym. Every game was a road game. We practiced on the old goals in the parking lot, and we actually won a few games every year.

6) I played baseball in the Sharpstown Little League for 10 years. A huge treat was when we would get to go eat at the old "Monterrey House" that used to be across the street from Bayland Park, after one of our baseball games. The treat of all treats was going to Shakey's Pizza with the whole team after our last game.

7) I remember the old EATON Car Parts and repair place when it went up near the corner of Gessner and Beechnut. I thought, "wow, what a cool building". I think we all know the building. I think it's been 10 different businesses since then. Next door to it was "Steak and Shake", but only for a little while. Then it went away. We now have them up here in Dallas. It's just not the same.

8) I remember the bowling alley on Gessner between Beechnut and the freeway. Wow, we spent almost every friday night there.

9) I remember Alfie's Fish & Chips on Fondren between the Freeway and Bellaire. Man, that was some awesome stuff. Being Catholic, we ate there quite a bit during lent.

10) I remember when Sharpstown middle school was the junior AND senior high school campus.

11) I remember rdiding my bike to the 7-11 across the street from SHS and getting an ICEE. One summer, they had collector's cups with major league baseball players on them, and we usually went twice a day.

12) I remember walking across the street with my parents after church to check out the progress of the Landsdale pool when they were building it.

13) I remember when Westwood Mall opened up in the mid '70's. I was so amazed with the store Athlete's Foot. I had never seen a shoe store before that only sold sneakers.

14) I remember when the HBU Gym was open all the time. Nobody really knew about it, and we'd go over there every Sunday afternoon for hours and hours. It was our little secret.

15) I remember when they built the Music Theater at the corner of the freeway and Fondren. They built a huge perfect pile of dirt and poured a slab of concrete over it. That was the roof. I saw Peter Pan there when I was 8.

Sorry, hope I didn't bore anyone.

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My Grandfather, Frank W. Sharp, built sharpstown. I think he would be happy to know that it is still active, and a topic of conversation more than 50 years after his dream became a reality.

His plan all evolved around giving good folks a great place to call home.

It appears as if that has, and is still happening. Good dreams never die.

As we would walk around Sharpstown, he would describe what was to come, much the way an artist looks at a canvas and knows his inner vision will create something special, something one hopes will be a source of inspiration to others.

I hope that the memories inspire you to do something great in your lifetimes. It is from good dreams that great realities arise.

Keep the interest and discussion alive. :)

Frank

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My Grandfather, Frank W. Sharp, built sharpstown. I think he would be happy to know that it is still active, and a topic of conversation more than 50 years after his dream became a reality.

Frank

I went to school with his daughter, Frances. Would that be your mother? If not, then she must be your aunt. She was a beautiful girl. Still is, I bet.

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It was flight to the "safety" of the 'burbs that got Sharpstown...I am waiting for the redev. The area is too convenient to 59 to remain in decline forever. And, Strake and St. Agnes offer incredible educations.

Strake and Agnes won't accept everyone who applies, though. In order to attract more families, the community must improve Sharpstown High and its feeder schools.

One of my teachers has a son in Sharpstown High.

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  • 2 weeks later...
My Grandfather, Frank W. Sharp, built sharpstown. I think he would be happy to know that it is still active, and a topic of conversation more than 50 years after his dream became a reality.

His plan all evolved around giving good folks a great place to call home.

It appears as if that has, and is still happening. Good dreams never die.

As we would walk around Sharpstown, he would describe what was to come, much the way an artist looks at a canvas and knows his inner vision will create something special, something one hopes will be a source of inspiration to others.

I hope that the memories inspire you to do something great in your lifetimes. It is from good dreams that great realities arise.

Keep the interest and discussion alive. :)

Frank

When my family was vacationing in New Mexico, we went to a town called Magallion (pronouned locally as Muggy-own). My father was talking to your father there. He saw the Jane Long Jr. High School sticker on our station wagon and let us know that his father was Frank Sharp that built Sharpstown. Small world.

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