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  • 3 months later...

Ben - I saw a photo of my house on your list of homes designed by Wylie W. Vale. How do you know that Wylie Vale was the architect?  My home is in River Oaks on Inverness and was built in 1948-49 by J. Leon Osborn. I have the architectural drawings. But there is no logo or signature on them. Just curious because I have an application pending to list the home in the National Register.

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  • 5 months later...


I found HAIF and this thread from a Google search earlier in the week. By accident when cleaning a closet in our home we found a blueprint of our home and noted that the architect was Wylie W. Vale. We purchased from the estate of the original owner and have thoroughly enjoyed living in this mid century modern.  Some of the folks listed here may not be around any longer and I wasn't able to load any of the pictures. I'm interested in any mention of magazine articles since the family who sold it mentioned the house had been in an article in one of the magazines of the time. Home was built in 1958. Thanks!

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  • 4 weeks later...

Since Photobucket decided to literally break the internet, and consequently, all of the links to all of my photos on HAIF, I guess we're going to have to start over. But it's a good time for a clean slate too, so I can remove some of the houses that are not Wylie's and add a few new discoveries. 

Albert Plummer House - 3630 Willowick - Demolished. Was at one time the most expensive house in River Oaks. Later sold to a family named the Whittingtons. 



Herbert Townsend House - 3723 Knollwood. (Altered). Featured in Fortune Magazine at some point. I have the article but am not sure where it is. 





Vale House - 11302 Memorial Drive - Restored. Wylie and Aileen's own house. If you hear the term "Contemporary Country" this is what that means. Photos by Kim or Greg Kolanowski. 



B. Ray Woods House - 610 Woods Lane, Katy,TX. This house is on the National Register of Historic Places. 



J.D. Woods House - 612 Woods Lane. Brother of B. Ray Woods; these photos were taken before the house was sold and show the original interiors. Currently (November 1st 2017) for sale for lot value. 



Arthur Miller House - 1002 East Ave., Katy,TX



Paris Schindler House - 17 West Lane Place - Demolished. 



River Oaks Houses - Wylie's address list only included the actual addresses for these, with no client names. 







Willard K. Wood House - 3730 Willowick. 



Jesse Finch House - 38 Crestwood. (Demolished). Drawings exist and were donated to Rice University. 



Max Lents House - 315 W. Friar Tuck. Demolished shortly after Hurricane Ike. Wylie also appears to have built a house for Lents on Galveston Island, but I have no leads on where that one is/was. 



Chas Block House - 603 Timber Terrace. Still extant and owned by the family. 



Merrill V. Gregory House - 5327 Bordley. 



Russell McFarland House - 5657 Bordley. Demolished. 



Chester Jordan House - 2119 Woods Rd. One of Wylie's earliest houses. Drawings exist and were donated to Rice University. 



Short House - 6th St. & Gresham, Brookshire,TX. Probably had a different original owner name. 



W.H. Harrison House - Corner of County Rd. 135 and the I-10 Frontage Rd., Alleyton,TX. Wylie built one house in Alleyton, and this is the only one that looks anything remotely like something he would do, so if I'm wrong, I apologize. 



Lester J. Schobel House - 1328 Montezuma, Columbus,TX. Wylie built at least five houses in Columbus. One of the notable ones is the H.P. Meyer house at 301 Bonham St. 



I forget the address on this one, but it has been demolished. 



Keith R. Beeman House - 822 Kuhlman Rd. Demolished. The Beemans owned multiple lots on Kuhlman Rd. Wylie built at least four houses on that street. 



F.E. Carleton House - 7 Turkey Trail. Demolished. This house was originally built in the 1950's in what would have been the boonies, out past Dairy Ashford on what would become Memorial Drive. The last owner, Ben Crocker, hired Wylie to renovate this home in 2003 and bring it up to date while retaining his style. Crocker was transferred and had to sell the house quickly. This small, hidden neighborhood was the bought and demolished to make way for a development. 



R.T. Hurta House - 950 S. Holland St., Bellville,TX. 



? House - 711 W. Norris., El Campo,TX. Original Client unknown. Wylie did at least three houses in El Campo. 



James W. Green House - 46 E. Rivercrest, Houston. (Jimmy Green Chevrolet). 



Leonard Kayem House - 12502 Taylorcrest. 



Frankel House - 11406 Memorial Drive. Large, flat roofed house. 






Edited by BenH
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  • 3 months later...
On 11/1/2017 at 0:38 PM, BenH said:

B. Ray Woods House - 610 Woods Lane, Katy,TX. This house is on the National Register of Historic Places. 




I just ran across this Chronicle piece from December - unfortunately, 610 Woods Lane was badly damaged by flooding during Harvey and will be leveled. Given that it was on the National Register of Historic Places and the owners were active in historic preservation, the damage must have been quite severe for them to opt for a teardown and rebuild. 


Hurricane Harvey flooding claims historic Katy home

Edited by mkultra25
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  • 1 year later...

Three for sale. 

674 Shady Hollow. Almost certainly going to be demolished. 



603 Timber Terrace - Chas Block House



1328 Montezuma St. - Schobel House - Columbus,TX. Has unfortunately been flipped. 


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  • 7 months later...
  • 8 months later...
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  • 4 months later...
On 4/29/2007 at 9:56 AM, Willowisp said:

I echo the thank yous. This is great! I'd like to at least have the "Vale House" on the "Mods still with us" section on Houston Mod, if not more of them.

My wife, Vanessa, and I went to San Antonio for her birthday 3 weeks ago and took a jaunt up to Austin to visit Wylie Vale. He was an incredible person. I apologize for not getting through the notes I took and getting them on the forum. I guess it will be on my top priority list now that this is here on the forum. I'm sure this is exactly the kind of thing the founders of Houston Mod hoped for when they asked for this forum on the HAIF message board. It's beautiful and thought provoking.

Mr. Vale gave me maps with little numbers where his houses were and basically said, "go find these houses", but he didn't have addresses for me. So Ben and I spent the next day driving around Memorial trying to put 2 and 2 together. That was very interesting, as was seeing other houses that Ben pointed out to me.

So Ben, that day we went driving, did we find/take pics any of the ones we were looking for?


Hello I find this so very interesting to read. I am pretty certain I am living in a Vale home. It was built in 1952, and was told I am in 1 of 4 or 5 that he built here in Columbus, Tx. I would love any info you guys who knew him would have. Thank you! I wish all your photos were still viewable. 

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On 4/15/2013 at 4:10 PM, Happy Historian said:

Eagle Lake High School would now be part of the Rice Consolidated School District and they have no high school in Eagle Lake. I would probably guess that the building has been repurposed to another school type if it still exists. Their present high school is in Altair.

Not a very dynamic area anymore as they are just waiting to be absorbed into the Houston Metro Blob that's eating it's way across the west. Rice production is way down since many of the established farming families aged to indifference after 40 years of the youth's exodus to the big city. Besides in Alvin, Katy, and Sugar Land they long ago decided it was easier to plant suburban sprawl over the most fertile farm lands in the state than actually farm. Other than some oil & gas production the major industry has been in the many gravel pits. For three generations my family was part of the Parker Brothers group that developed that resource. The overwhelming majority of aggregate that went into the concrete that built Houston/Galveston and southeast Texas since the 1930s came from that area. And there are still massive deposits there to continue with.

I know lots of farmers that still live in the area 

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On 6/12/2007 at 12:07 AM, Willowisp said:

This will go out in the Houston Mod Newsletter very soon, but I'll post it here tonight while I'm thinking of it.


The sometimes overlooked Houston based architect, Wylie W. Vale, came up in conversation on the Houston Architecture Information Internet Forum recently. Interest in a Vale designed home recently for sale led people to wonder what other houses he built. Little has been written on the many buildings Vale designed. Some internet digging led me to the world renown molecular biologist named Wylie Vale. I was correct in assuming that this was the architect's son, and in an email Wylie Vale Jr. confirmed to me that that his father is still alive and well in Austin, TX and would love to meet an architecture enthusiast such as myself. Time for a road trip! My wife, Vanessa, and I drove to Austin equipped with questions provided by Rice University Architecture Professor, Stephen Fox. Over homemade cookies and lemonade Mr. Vale graciously answered our questions.

Q: When and where were you born?

A: I was born in Marceline, Missouri in 1913. Walt Disney was also from Marceline.

Q: Who were your parents and what did they do?

A: My father, George W. Vale, was head of the Interstate Congress Committee of Accounts in St. Louis.

Q: Where did you grow up and what was your education?

A: After living in Marceline as a child, we moved to Houston when I was in high school.

Q: What made you want to become an architect?

A: Looking at the all the cornices in the Central Presbyterian Church inspired me to learn more about architecture.

Q: Where and when did you study architecture?

A: I studied at Rice with Staton Nunn and Willie Ward Watkin in the 1930s.

Q: What influences were you exposed to during your architectural education?

A: My Third Grade teacher taught me the foundation of every subject so that it was a joy to learn. I don't know what I would have been without her. Staton Nunn at Rice was a big influence on me. Another big influence came when I was in the Navy during WW II, and while my ship was being repaired, I would walk around San Francisco and look at architecture. The wide eaves on the houses there stayed in my head.

Q: Who did you work for once you got out of school?

A: My first job after graduating in 1939 was with Moore and Lloyd in Houston. I began as a draftsman with them. After Pearl Harbor I enlisted in the Navy.

Q: When did you begin your own architectural firm? How long were you in practice?

A: After WW II. I was a practicing architect until just a few years ago, over 50 years.

Q: What were some of your early buildings?

A: One of my early residences was for a friend in Brookshire, TX. That led to other houses there and in Katy. These side jobs gave me the impetuous to go out on my own.

Q: Were you especially identified with any particular architectural trends and styles, any part of the city, and any particular building types (such as houses, institutional buildings--schools, churches, hospitals--retail, office buildings)?

A: My style was called Contemporary Country. My wife was an interior designer and we developed the style together. I would design the house and she would help the clients design the interiors. It was homey, practical, and comfortable. I liked to use wide open windows before air-conditioning became widely available. I used oak plank flooring, natural stone, and linear stone.

Q: What do you regard as your most important buildings?

A: My most important building was the Matagorda County Court House in Bay City, TX. I designed Spring Branch High School, the first public school with air-conditioning in Houston. I obtained many contracts for schools because I was able to keep costs down. I designed St. Luke's Children's Heart Center with my partners, George Rustay and Foy Martin. I also received a lot of press for the Michael Halbouty House and Offices on Westheimer (energy company located where the Galleria now stands).

Q: What buildings did you design outside of Houston?

A: The Christ for the Nations Campus in Dallas and the Court House in Bay City along with the early residences.

Q: How did your architectural practice change over time?

A: In 1960 I came to know the Lord and my life changed. I continued to design residences, churches, and schools, but I also volunteered helping ministries such as designing the Christ for the Nations campus in Dallas.

Q: Did you have any partners? Who were some of your employees?

A: George Rustay and Foy Martin were my partners. I chose to work with them because they were Christian. I had other offers to work with more famous architects, but felt more comfortable having Christian partners. I felt like I could really depend on them.

Q: Who did you regard as the most interesting architects practicing in Houston during the period you were professionally active?

A: I was friends with Karl Kamrath and worked with him on the River Oaks Country Club. I was grateful to Moore and Lloyd. Mace Tungate was an architect who was the best man at my wedding. John Staub and Cy Morris were other architects I had a lot of respect for. But between school boards, church, and work, I didn't have time for AIA, so I never got to know that many architects.

Q: When did you retire from practice?

A: I retired 2 years after moving to Austin in 2001.

Q: What have you done since you retired?

A: I have been volunteering for Pricilla and Aquilla Ministries for poor widows and children since 1960 and that has been very satisfying.

With these questions answered, the incredibly humble and sharp minded 94 year old gentleman showed us around the house he lives in now with his wife and daughter and their family. He told us about his son being awarded an outstanding alumnus award from Rice University and showed us some family portraits including a very memorable one of himself in the 1950's posing with a pipe. He also gave me a series of maps with general locations of houses he designed (the maps had no addresses, but he said they would be contemporary houses). On our way back to Houston, Vanessa and I talked about how inspiring it was to talk to one of the men who made Houston what it is. Though many of his houses have been demolished, many more remain. Favorites of mine include The Townsend House on Knollwood St. and The Raymond Schindler House on Westlane Place, both in River Oaks.

Since this interview, quite a lot more research and photography has been done by Ben Hill, a University of Houston student and budding architectural photographer. Ben and I also spent a day in the Memorial area trying to locate as many of the houses on the maps as we could, with mixed results. Please visit the HAIF message boards for more information and photographs of Vale's work.

You guys should have stopped in columbus on the way back to Houston. There are 4-5 houses here including mine as far as I understand. 

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1 hour ago, Shellz said:

Hello I find this so very interesting to read. I am pretty certain I am living in a Vale home. It was built in 1952, and was told I am in 1 of 4 or 5 that he built here in Columbus, Tx. I would love any info you guys who knew him would have. Thank you! I wish all your photos were still viewable. 



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  • 1 month later...

Wylie's house for Leonard Frankel is on the market at 11406 Memorial Drive. This is probably the last "modern" house of his that's out there. 


On 7/17/2022 at 4:06 PM, Shellz said:



What's the address, if you feel comfortable giving it out? I can check my list. 

Edited by zoomanderson
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  • The title was changed to Wylie W. Vale
  • The title was changed to Wylie W. Vale

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