Best Teardown: The Official Nominees

Note: Voting for the Swampies has ended. See the bottom of this post (above the comments) for a link to the results!

What was the Best Teardown of 2008? That’s the third category in the Swamplot Awards for Houston Real Estate. The official nominees are in the (soon-to-be-demolished) house!

The official voting rules are posted here, but they’re not that complicated: Add your vote in the comments, or more privately in an email to Swamplot. You can even start a campaign in support of your favorite candidate, if you like. All winners will be announced after December 28th, when the polls close for all categories.

The nominees for Best Teardown of 2008 are . . .


1. 647 Arlington St., Houston Heights. “Recently renovated two-story 1910 Victorian with double front porch is torn down to make way for new three-story Victorian with double front porch and popup dormers. It’s the story of the Heights in a nutshell.

2. The Carousel House, Meyerland. Spectacular and visionary, it fell victim to an unscrupulous tenant and no doubt became an embarrassment to its mega-millionaire owner. Sat vacant and vandalized for months, finally sold to a builder. Structure and slab were so solid they resisted normal teardown efforts. Now the builder is trying to sell the empty lot.

3. 1 Waverly Ct., Museum District. Dramatic mid-90s Glassman Shoemake Maldonado addition and remodel to an existing modern house. A Bissonnet landmark with its ‘wildly expressionist zinc-faced stair tower;’ pictured in the late-90s edition of Houston Architecture Guide. Now a vacant lot; has been for about a year.” And that lot’s for sale!

4. 2205 Bartlett St., Greenbriar. Preemptive demolition saves a home from the certain ravages of Hurricane Ike. Or, alternate reading: Lonely oak, saddened by the recent loss of its beloved home companion, throws itself at the mercy of hurricane-force winds — and perishes. Either way, it’s a beautiful story.

5. 2472 Bolsover St., Rice Village. “The demolition of a city block on Bolsover, including an architecturally significant structure, to make way for the now cancelled Sonoma project.” The demo actually took place last year, but the lot and closed street may stay vacant for some time.

6. Park Memorial Condos. “It hasn’t been knocked down yet, but doesn’t this place qualify as a teardown? And how many Houston teardowns do you know that had residents fighting — going to court, even — to be able to stay inside?

Which one of these fine candidates for destruction deserves to end up the winner? Let us know with your vote!

Update: The winners have been announced!

Photos: HAR (new home at 647 Arlington St.); Ben Hill (Carousel House); Glassman Shoemake Maldonado Architects (1 Waverly Ct.); Jackson Myers (Bolsover demo); HAR (Park Memorial)

49 Comment

  • Park Memorial Condos – With all the controversy surrounding the condemnation, I think clearing it off the face of the earth is a good place to start.

  • Park Memorial.. probably will not win, but I lost my a** on a unit there and have a ‘teeny’ bit of anger at what went down. Hey, it was only money, right?

  • Carousel House. Living in a 125-year old house whose rock-hard wood and asbestos shingles resist any sort of demo makes me appreciate broken equipment and makeshift destruction methods!

  • Carousel House. That builder was so egotistical — and now he can’t sell it. Karma.

  • 647 Arlington St is the clear winner for me. Let’s tear down a REAL historical building, with its solid construction that easily withstood nearly 100 years of use and updates. Then lets put up a fake version that apes the historical style employed in the original but with a few more architectural flourishes and a wet bar. We’ll see how long house #2 lasts.

  • my vote is for 2472 BOLSOVER ST., RICE VILLAGE. All the destruction for nothing.

  • I vote for Park Memorial.

  • Easy. Carousel House.

  • 647 Arlington – Ditto the prior vote. But let’s be sure not to blame Heights new construction buyers. That new house was probably already there when they came looking for their faux slice of the historic/funky Heights. Just like those mink were already dead when I bought this coat.

  • 647 Arlington St. As a resident of the Heights it is like a punch in the gut everytime one of those grand old homes are razed.

  • Arlington St. My favorite part? They tore down the cool old house and kept the cheesy pre-fab ranch house detached garage – just slapped some paint on and a new garage door and called it “good enough”. Classy.

  • Carousel House. If you saw the film on youtube of the equipment breaking while trying to demolish it, well, you gotta give it points for fighting back.

  • 647 Arlington. At least when old houses get torn down in Montrose they don’t insult the locals by trying to pass off the new townhouses and condos as similar to what they’re replacing.

  • Maybe, just maybe as the sands of time recede, we’ll rediscover the Carousel House in back of the Carousel Motor Inn. Save your quarters for the vibrating beds!

  • Since I have a soft spot for old houses, my vote is overwhelmingly for Arlington St. I must give the Park Memorial, Carousel and Bolsover nominees a shout-out, however, for each being depressing and/or ironic in their own special way.

  • Park Memorial. Because apparently it had electricity during and after Ike.

  • Carousel House wins hands down.

  • I vote for the Carousel House, but what is happening in the Heights is also a tragedy and deserves an honorable mention.

  • arlington. just another example of the absurdity of what happens in the heights. i live on this block and have had to be witness to the monstrosity built next door to me that has essentially blocked out my view of the sky.

  • 647 Arlington. Nothing like destroying history to add a few windows.

  • 647 ARLINGTON ST. A house with a porch like that has a soul. In the book Fahrenheit 451 Clarisse says, “My uncle says the architects got rid of the front porches because . . . they didn’t want people sitting like that doing nothing, rocking, talking; that was the wrong kind of social life.”

  • Walgreens in Rice Village.

    Maybe people in the Heights and Meyerland should put their money with their mouth is next time.

  • @scrapps: Just to be clear, the nominee isn’t the Walgreens, it’s the long green-and-white building that used to sit across the street from it. The Walgreens is still there, at least for a month or two longer.
    Did you mean to vote for nominee #5? Or did I just miss your joke?

  • Sorry about that Gus- Yes count me in for nominee number 5. I just hope they leave my Walgreens alone!

  • Scrapps,
    The Walgreens is going even if Sonoma never gets build. Walgreens has not renewed it’s lease and the property owner is selling it to Lamesa.

    If you like the pharmacist there, you may want to find out where he/she is going…

  • Can I vote twice? No? Awwww… I _nominated_ Carousel, but I can’t resist the Arlington heartbreaker, which was twice its age.

  • My vote is for 647 Arlington. It was a prime example of a wonderful historic Heights house that should not have been scraped off its piers. Which of this year’s home tour houses will be gone next year?

  • 647 Arlington St – I’ve lost 5 on my block in the past two years, just a few blocks from this one.

  • Arlington. sad sad sad

  • 647 Arlington St is it for the Tear Down category. Tearing down that house is weak.

  • For the sheer pointlessness of the teardown, I’m going with 647 Arlington too.

  • Carousel house by far. Others are pretty weak.

  • 647 Arlington St. Wow, just wow.

  • Arlington gets my sympathy, and my vote.

  • Tearing down the house on 647 Arlington St. was sad. Definitely gets my vote.

  • 647 Arlington St., Houston Heights…ARE YOU SERIOUS…why would anyone tear that down? People with no appreciation…the old house had so much more character. The Heights needs to get it together and stop tearing down beautiful houses…take a hint from The Old Sixth Ward!

  • Bolsover – how to blight one of Houston’s most unique neighborhoods.

  • Carousel House.

  • Carousel House has got my vote,SAD SAD SAD


  • All great (well actually not) choices. I almost hate voting in this catagory. While I hate watching the Heights eat itself, I got to vote for Carousel. Mostly because it fought back.

  • My vote will be for the Carousel house. Mainly because i live a few minutes from there.

  • Carousel House for not going without a fight.

  • Carousel house was nothing great to look at, but I realize it will not be replaced by anything on par with it.Thats my vote!!

  • Carousel House, unique and irreplaceable.

  • Carousel House

  • Arlington although I am tempted to write in the Shamrock Hotel just for shits and giggles.

  • I alone it seems votes for #1 waverly-not only the modern futuristic facade as daring architercture but the incredible garden which was torn out by its roots-the interiors were sublime-it would have become iconic if it had a chance-

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