12/17/14 5:05pm


With the U.S.-Cuba cold war finally melting away, it’s as good a time as ever to point out a few key sites from Fidel Castro’s trip to the area, and those associated with Houston’s Robert Ray McKeown, the machinist-turned-international businessman-turned-peripheral figure to the JFK assassination. McKeown was also Castro’s best buddy on Galveston Bay, and a man who claimed to have met Lee Oswald in San Leon and sipped beer with Jack Ruby at Jimmie Walker’s Edgewater Restaurant in Kemah.

The story begins in Houston in 1950. McKeown, then 39, was a machinist with his own shop in Pasadena. One day his ship came in: an inventor approached him with a plan for a machine that could clean coffee better than any other before it. McKeown built the machine, and apparently several more, and the two men went into business. McKeown trolled the coffee ports of Latin America for sales, which eventually lead to him moving to Santiago, Cuba during the administration of president Carlos Prío Socarrás, who would become a friend.


Cold War Picaresque
02/24/11 11:49pm

GALVESTON BAY OIL SPILL: JUST A LITTLE TOPPING-OFF ACCIDENT According to the Coast Guard, the three-quarter-mile-long oil slick that made a few residents of San Leon feel a bit queasy, then washed up on the rocks at April Fool Point a week ago came from a spill caused by a Liberian-flag oil tanker — almost a week and a half earlier. The Omega Emmanuel reported a 50-gallon spill on February 8th as it was docked off Bolivar and taking on fuel from a barge. But the Coast Guard only tied the fuel oil to the tanker after environmental testing was completed this past Wednesday. “The cleanup ‘is complicated because the oil is embedded in the rocks,’ [Coast Guard petty officer Prentice] Danner said. ‘It takes slushing (agitation) to get it out, so I can’t speculate on how long it will take.'” Is that the same goo off the coast of Bacliff too? [Ultimate Clear Lake; previously on Swamplot]

02/22/11 4:52pm

Update, 2/24: Oh, just 50 gallons, they’re saying now.

Coast Guard officials have yet to determine the cause of the “oily sheen” that appeared in Galveston Bay last week, but the cleanup has continued for several days and workers have still not identified the source. A three-quarter-mile-long sheen off the coast at Sixth St. in San Leon “was making some residents feel ill” when it appeared last Thursday, according to a report in the Galveston County Daily News. About 30 workers from Phoenix Pollution Control and Environmental Services were still cleaning up oily goo from a mile-long stretch of shoreline near April Fool Point at San Leon’s southern tip, a Coast Guard official told the Chronicle‘s Robert Stanton today. But the photo above, showing the slick on rocks at Bacliff — on the far northwestern side of the same peninsula — was sent to abc13 earlier today by a photographer who comments that workers didn’t want pictures taken. Another photo submitted by the same person appears to show boom deployed in the water off Grand Ave.:


09/05/07 10:26am

2293 E. Bayshore Dr. in San Leon

Does this look like the home of a rock star? Okay, how about a ’70s rock star with a long beard and hearing problems?

Yes, this is the custom-built San Leon enclave of ZZ Top bassist Dusty Hill: a 19,560-sf trio of homes on a three-and-a-half-acre lot facing the crystal-clear waters of Galveston Bay.

Features include recreational, media & entertaining areas. 2 story entry w/dbl staircase, gourmet kitchen, mahogany library. Coffered ceilings, travertine marble floors. Circular motor court w/fountain & Crestron lighting. Pool. Exterior lighting, rollac shutter & storm doors. Above ground gas tanks. Two 3-car garages. Designer appointments & much more!

Yours, for just under $7 million. Including the gas tanks. After the jump, the ZZzzzzzzzzzzz interiors!