A Substandard Structure To Become Sterling House Bar in Midtown

This wobbly 108-year-old house in Midtown, remodeled in 1999, might be fixed up one more time and converted into a bar. Or it might be demolished to make room for something new, says the reader who sends this photo and word of a recently secured TABC license for the so-called Sterling House here at 3015 Bagby St., just 1 block north of Elgin. The 1905 2,850-sq.-ft. house, sitting on a 4,918-sq.-ft. lot at the corner of Bagby and Rosalie, changed hands back in 2009, but it appears to have been waiting around for something to happen since then.


Whether punched up or built from scratch, the new bar would be a very short walk away for those young professionals soon to be living in the under-construction 5-story Pearl Midtown apartment complex on the block bound by Rosalie, Elgin, Smith, and Louisiana.

Photo: Swamplot inbox

17 Comment

  • I got a splinter just looking at the picture.

  • This place has a lot of potential due to the location and look. But an owner operator would be better off tearing down and building from scratch then complete renovation and dealing with city permits. Would save a lot more $$$

  • This house was originally at 106 Westheimer and was moved to make way for the strip center that occupies that land now. For what it’s worth the house was originally built and owned by Ross Sterling, but it seems if anything is older than a few decades in Houston we have to raze it to the ground.


  • I know you used Wikipedia as your reference when you said this was the house used by Ross Sterling–I have heard some different information. I think this house was mainly used by Helen Sterling the daughter-in-law.

    Avondale Civic does an Historic Walking tour that uses information from longtime
    (40 years+)residents. The tour states Helen (think her maiden name Neuhouse?) grew up in 2306 Mason, she married into the Sterlings, raised her son in that house originally at corner of Bagby & Westheimer, where the strip shopping center is. 600 Avondale blvd is the home of Ross Sterling, who became governor of Texas.

  • Yes, even the home of a former governor and pioneering oil baron will be kindling soon enough–maybe some civic minded patron will move it again–maybe to Sam Houston Park–where it is currently holds no future for it I fear–no one is ever going to mistake Houston for New Orleans or San Antonio for preservation –even shallow Dallas rates higher –good luck Sterling House

  • Seriously @Derek…?
    You’re going to use the “Houston tears down everything that’s blah blah years old” card for this? Pick and choose your battles man.

  • Ummm…if that was “remodeled” in 1999, what happened to it in the meantime? Looks like it’s a lot farther gone than it should be if that’s the case.

  • COH requirements for setback, rain water runoff management, and parking are gonna make for a very small bar and lotsa street parking.

  • I don’t know why Houstonian’s on this site get so up in arms about tearing down stuff like this. When they tear down stuff that has been properly maintained and preserved then that is a shame but those cases have been fewer and far between. Cities on the east coast are littered with old traditional architecture because they didn’t wait 50 years before attempting to fix the massive flood damage, sagging porch and rotting paintless exterior. This building, among countless others on this site, looks like it’s ready to fall into itself. If it wasn’t worth spending money to properly maintain, then why is it so important now? Swamplot reader’s say “SAVE OUR GARBAGE”. I am very for preserving history, but I am not for maintaining a graveyard of rotting zombie houses on unkempt lots that seem to be the mainstay of many Houston neighborhoods.

  • There are a lot of Condo’s in this area – curious what kind of joint this will be. B/W Bagby & Brazos it’s a pretty busy stretch (Speed Ticket Trap) / not concerned about the traffic more so the patrons and parking on Avondale.

  • I hope I’m wrong, but if the Ross Sterling house survives 5 years, it’ll be more like it’s the Rod Serling house and we’ve entered another dimension.

  • The big problem here is that it is change of use, which means that the building needs to be brought up to current COMMERCIAL code. This includes structural (wind load requirements), electrical (all electrical in conduit or BX, etc. Major headaches… not to mention TAS requirements and parking (as mentioned above). Would love to see this building saved, but it will take time and money.

  • Man, I wish I had the money. I’d love to fix that house up. It looks like a real gem.

  • @Heights Hype, that is the conundrum with those houses, people who want them don’t have the money, people who have the money, don’t want them.

  • The owner has a complete history of the house, and is definitely considering keeping the structure. It was not the home of Ross Sterling, but was occupied by his sisters, father, and family members over the early years. Its first address was 103 Hathaway, which is now 106-108 Westheimer. It was moved from that site to the Bagby site.

  • Also, if the owner kept the building and designated as a historic landmark, they could get a historic site tax exemption for approved renovation work, half-price permits, and a reduction in parking requirements. Maybe that’s enough to save the building, maybe not. We will see.

  • Have you seen the house lately? They’ve spent a ton of money fixing it up, the house looks great. Glad they saved it and it’s for lease!!