The Impromptu Collapse of a Congress Ave. Strip’s Most Worn-Out Pioneer

The vacant, red-brick building on Congress Ave. shown above just west of Bastrop St. demolished itself this morning, leaving a gap between its turn-of-the-century contemporaries to the south and the metal-roofed warehouse north of it. During its earlier days, the building’s second floor was rented to boarders — a typical setup in this section of the Second Ward, which remained “almost entirely residential,” according to historian Stephen Fox, until Union Station opened in 1911, prompting warehouse and industrial redos nearby.

For about the last decade, it’s been roofless:


A few of the businesses that claimed the structure’s 2109 to 2111 address numbers for themselves at various points between 1905 and 1963, according to Damskey & Co. Saloon, Garner’s Meat Market, Fujino & Hashiguchi Tea Co., Peterson & Elder Billiards, Is It Is Moving Pictures, Workingmen’s Saloon, Hotel Lottie, Frisco Hotel, Salem Hotel (upper floor only), Houston Drcug Co. Warehouse, Coffland’s Domino Hall, W.T. Glass Tin Shop, Woods Coffee Co., Modern Hotel, and Port City Music Co.

Photos: Swamplox inbox (wreckage); Arch-ive (building)

Early Morning Breakdown

5 Comment

  • Yeah, if you look on the street view of the building prior to collapse. Nice big cracks in the masonry, which looks like a double or single wythe on the front and triple wythe in the sides. All of the bracing for the masonry appears to be missing too. (you can see the slots at the higher elevations for the roof joists, which would have acted as a diaphragm for the stucture. Kind of amazing it took this long to collapse. Guess last nights winds were enough to push it over the edge.

  • So there’s no requirement for a property owner to clear a dangerous building?
    And the owner just waited for gravity to help in the demo process.
    But now the pile of bricks will sit there for another couple decades?
    I enjoy a couple of the old business names:
    Is It Is Moving Pictures – dude yeah I think it is IS!
    Spiridulius Candy Maker – either treats made with spirulina or simply ridic good!

  • Kind of amazing to think how in the days of steam locomotives, a central rail station would instantly make a neighborhood undesirable, but now with electric rail, a nearby station raises property values.

  • Love the windows. Particularly those on the side. “Pass the salt, please”. “Right-o neighbor!”

  • @ TMR: Show me the sales comps on vacant lots, and I want a test and control of otherwise similar properties within the same submarket to keep it nice and scientific. One can’t simply operate on the assumption that light rail adds value. There must be evidence. …and when I’ve done this, the evidence always bears out a very different conclusion.