06/29/11 5:15pm

Why is the original scale model of AstroWorld listed for sale on Craigslist? Curator Bill Davenport spent a lot of time dusting the giant model before exhibiting it at his Norhill gallery last fall. He says he’s going to need to move the “irreplaceable (if awkwardly large) bit of Houston history” out of Optical Project on 11th St. soon — “and I really don’t want to dis-assemble it and put it back in Mr. Henderson’s garage, where it will get dirty again.” Ed Henderson built the model in 1967; it was returned to him when the park was dismantled 6 years ago — after long stints in Judge Hofheinz’s 9th-level suite at the Astrodome, and in a Foley’s display case downtown before that. For the Craigslist appearance, Davenport jacked up the asking price to $5,500, but says Henderson would accept $3,000 “from somebody who planned to keep the model in Houston, or donate it to the Houston Public Library’s Metropolitan Research Center.” Library representatives have told Davenport they’d like to put the model on display in the newly expanded Julia Ideson building downtown, but don’t have the money to pay for it.

Photos: Bill Davenport

02/15/11 1:57pm

WE’LL STILL HAVE THE NORHILL HISTORIC DISTRICT TO KICK AROUND The planning department has tallied all the surveys from property owners in the Norhill Historic District — the last of 7 historic districts subject to the one-time “reconsideration” provisions of the revised preservation ordinance city council passed last year. Department spokesperson Suzy Hartgrove says the number of surveys returned was below the 51 percent threshold that would have dissolved the district, but she hasn’t provided the actual percentage. Planning director Marlene Gafrick “has been meeting with council members whose districts are affected” by the reconsideration process, Hartgrove tells Swamplot. “We should have maps ready when this goes to council which may be as early as next week. The Planning Director is still working on her recommendations.” [Previously on Swamplot]

10/14/09 2:39pm

BRICK ON THE INSIDE Before his dog Teddy runs off with it, new Norhill resident John Whiteside finds a convenient doorstop solution: “None of the doors in my house close. Well, the closets do. But the actual doors into rooms – no. . . . It is a little more crooked than most Heights houses (which are always a little crooked, unless they’re new, in which case they will be crooked soon as the shitty modern constructions settles in). I would like it if the doors latched, but I’m not going to deal with that until I am sure there are no additional foundation repairs in the offing. This is normally fine because it doesn’t really bother me if I’m peeing and suddenly the door comes in and Teddy strolls in. ‘Hey, whatcha doin’?’ However, on Saturday I had people over for a little housewarming open house, and I realized on Saturday afternoon that guests might not enjoy Teddy visits during personal moments quite as much. What to do? Why, a doorstop seemed like the ideal answer. I looked around the house for a suitable heavy object. Then I had a great idea; there’s been a pile of red bricks sitting outside next to the air conditioning unit since I moved in. Solid, compact, easy to slide over in front of the door, and kind of rustic – the perfect doorstop!” [By the Bayou]

06/01/09 12:40pm

GROWING UP GRASS-FREE IN NORTH NORHILL Kids don’t need yards- not grassy ones anyway. For a 2 year old, concrete is complete perfection. He practices his tricycle riding. He pushes Tonka trucks at near warp speed. We inflate ‘the pool’ with no worries of it killing the grass underneath. Balls bounce and bubbles pop and sidewalk chalk art covers every inch of visible ground. We just had another baby- another boy. Like our 1st, the new one will lay on a blanket on the deck. He’ll be shaded by the car port and we’ll have no fear of accidentally laying him down in a bed of fire ants. We bought our older son a giant playhouse to help occupy him while we are attending to the demands of a newborn. It has a gas station on one side and his little scooter can easily glide down his ‘road.’ The basketball hoop on the other side benefits from a hard bouncing surface.” [The Heights Life]

05/27/09 4:10pm

What would Courtney Barton consider the oddest item in her old bungalow at the corner of Melwood and Julian?

Hands down, the horse leg! People are freaked by it. And when they find [out it’s] real, they really cringe. I couldn’t help but add fuel to the fire, so I hung a John Derian plate above the leg that has a picture of a horse’s head on it. That little area of the den makes me laugh.

Then there’s that guinea pig genetics poster. Those pieces and more are featured in the latest issue of online-ish magazine Refueled, an “alt-country style and design” journal. Photographer Cheryl Schulke shot the design blogger’s Norhill Historic District home back in February, not long before Barton and her husband held a notable garage sale, packed up just a few of their worldly possessions, and decamped to Kuala Lumpur.

A few more scenes from the Refueled shoot, including a few pics that didn’t make the mag:


05/06/09 12:28pm

Demo artist Dan Havel sends in positive and negative preview photos of Give & Take, a sculpture he and partner Dean Ruck carved and carefully extracted from a dilapidated bungalow on West Cottage St. in East Norhill. The 30-foot-long egg-shaped piece they removed will be on display as part of a group show at the Contemporary Arts Museum featuring Houston-related work by various Houston artists. The exhibit, called No Zoning, opens this Friday.

So what’s the take?


02/23/09 4:53pm

The Fiesta on the corner of Studewood and 14th St. in the Heights still has “a couple more years” left on its lease, but Weingarten Realty has put the property up for sale.

The 28,466-sq.-ft. grocery store sits on a 1.76 acre site. Also included: 2 neighboring lots off Algregg St. used for parking and a third with a bungalow-turned shop on it.


02/03/09 8:44am

There’s a lot of junk for sale in this tiny Norhill storefront: Thermoses from the 1970s, a bouffant-hairstyle catalog, a 1967 Delta Zeta sorority photo, hand-painted cans of Campbell’s Soup, and — writes Kelly Klaasmeyer in the Houston Press — “what is possibly the world’s largest extant collection of macramé owls.”

Who would want any of this stuff? Even the owner wants to be done with it:

[Bill] Davenport decided to get rid of stuff because of a move. “I had to move all my junk over from storage, and I thought, ‘Oh no, this can’t go on.’ I had to look at everything as I unpacked it.” As a result, he started thinking that maybe he didn’t need all of it.

Davenport and Francesca Fuchs, both artists, bought the 4,320-sq.-ft. 1930 commercial building at 1125 E. 11th St. (off Studewood) more than 2 years ago. After 16 months of renovations, they recently moved in upstairs with their kids. And Davenport opened Bill’s Junk in one of the retail spaces downstairs:


09/19/08 6:04pm

Plywood Yard Gingermen from Christmas Recycled as Hurricane Ike Shutters, Houston Heights

Touring the Heights after the hurricane, Katharine Shilcutt Gleave is surprised to discover the front porch of Fitzgerald’s still intact. And Mimi Swartz spots these recycled yard gingermen leftover from Christmas, pressed into window-protecting service.

A few more of their photo finds from the Heights, Woodland Heights, and Norhill: