07/08/15 2:15pm

Demolition of Strip Center at 4122 Willowbend Blvd., Willowbend, Houston

The 1959 strip center that once hid the top-secret bar known as Carolyn’s — as well as the Fruit of the Spirit Community Church — is all gone now. Demolition crews tore down the 18,600-sq.-ft. center at 4122 Willowbend Blvd. 3 blocks west of S. Main St. last week and the week before (see in-action shots below, sent to Swamplot by an area resident). And in late May, the planning commission approved a couple of variances to allow the all-in-a-line seeding of 29 3-story townhomes on the lot, in 2 rows facing Willowbend, like so:


Summer Crop
04/11/14 12:15pm

Vacant Strip Center, 4122 Willowbend Blvd. at Craighead Dr., Westwood, Houston

Former Carolyn's Bar at Vacant Strip Center, 4122 Willowbend Blvd. at Craighead Dr., Westwood, HoustonCarolyn’s, the dive bar at the corner of Craighead and Willowbend Blvd. across the train tracks from the Willowbend subdivision closed sometime around the end of last month, a reader notes. Back in 2008, the bar at 10711 Craighead Dr. won the Houston Press award for Best Hidden Bar. For years, Carolyn’s (pictured at right, behind the “canopy”) was the sole remaining tenant in the dilapidated but once-stylin’ classic 1959 strip center with vintage details stretched along that corner. Now, reports the reader, it appears the 18,600-sq.-ft. center is entirely empty — despite the remaining sign facing Willowbend for the Fruit of the Spirit Community Church (“Developing Fruitful Lives,” above).


Everybody Out of the Strip Center
11/27/13 2:30pm



10509-willowgrove-02Pansies in the planter and fresh paint inside and out help perk up a 1955 Willowbend Ranch-with-carport that’s been overhauled since its purchase in June 2013 for $205,000. The refreshed version — with new kitchen, tilework, landscaping, and pigment-coated brick — sprouted on the market earlier this month, asking $379,900. Is the redo worthy of a $174,900 lift?


Will it Flip?
11/06/13 10:00am

That vague line of pink barely visible low in the forested area just beyond the backyard of this house on Warm Springs Dr. in Post Oak Manor marks a few of the hundreds of trees the Harris County Flood Control District plans to knock down as part of a second phase of work on the easternmost portion of the Willow Waterhole Stormwater Detention Basin complex. Most of the trees slated for removal are in a 5-acre zone to the southeast of Post Oak Manor (outlined at the bottom right of the aerial map below), just north of South Main St. and directly to the southwest of Beren Academy. But the pink line is part of a separate 2-acre strip that’s slated for thinning just south of Post Oak Manor. And that’s got some residents there — and in adjacent ‘W’ neighborhoods Willowbend, Willow Meadows, Willowbrook, and Westbury — upset.


04/23/12 11:31am

The brand-new home of the Menninger Clinic — tucked behind the Fiesta on South Main south of the Loop, just east of South Post Oak Rd. — has only 15 more beds than the facility it’s been leasing from Metro National at the corner of Gessner and Kempwood in West Houston for the last 9 years. Plans from 5 years ago to build a significantly larger facility closer to the Texas Medical Center with enough space for 24 additional psychiatric patients were scaled back — and the project delayed — because of fundraising difficulties. But among other improvements, the new place should feel a whole lot more open. At 50 acres, the new $65 million campus is 36 acres larger than the current one, and features 650 trees. The buildings, designed by Kirksey Architecture and just completed by Tellepsen Builders, mimic a Frank Lloyd Wright-flavored Prairie style, but apparently without any of those annoying low ceilings.


11/10/11 3:59pm

After a fall cleaning and October vacation, this 3-bedroom, 2-bath home in Willowbend jumped back into the market over the weekend. The price is still $259,900, but that’s down $15K (in 2 jumps) from its original ask back in May. It’s a roughly L-shaped 1955 mod wrapped around a pool and fitted onto a cul-de-sac extension by William Jenkins, namesake of UH’s Art and Architecture Library, near several other homes he designed. Busy South Post Oak Blvd. is just beyond the back fence, but inside all is cool and quiet:


06/04/10 12:45pm

Got a question about something going on in your neighborhood you’d like Swamplot to answer? Sorry, we can’t help you. But if you ask real nice and include a photo or 2 with your request, maybe the Swamplot Street Sleuths can! Who are they? Other readers, just like you, ready to demonstrate their mad skillz in hunting down stuff like this:

Some answers to your questions!

  • Riverside Terrace: Homeowner and eternal contractor Charlie Fondow told the Houston Press back in 2001 that his continually expanding house on Wichita St. just east of 288, where he’s lived since 1980, “is the love of my life. I don’t know how to live in a house that’s finished.” Clair de Lune comments on his towering and turreted Queen Anne show:

    I wonder how Charlie is doing these days, and (since the story doesnt mention a family) what will happen to the house after he’s gone. I also wonder if the interior is as interesting as the exterior? It might be time for a follow-up.

    Hey, all you local journalist types who use Swamplot as a tip sheet: How about it?

  • Willowbend: Commenter Sihaya explains that the horses gently grazing under the high-voltage power lines in the easement west of Stella Link below the South Loop are the animal benefactors of agricultural-use leases set up by Houston’s power company in order to lower its property taxes:


06/01/10 9:27am

Got an answer to either of these reader questions? Or just want to be a sleuth for Swamplot? Here’s your chance! Add your report in a comment, or send a note to our tipline.

  • Willowbend: Reader Robert Kimberly has been trying to find out what the story is behind the horses grazing under the power lines west of Stella Link below the South Loop:

    This vast green area is home to a collection of horses, as well as stables and maybe a riding paddock. But the fences on the north end (W. Bellfort) and south end (Willowbend) are unlabeled and no amount of Google-Fu gets me any closer to the answer.

  • Riverside Terrace: A number of readers have been asking about this well-watched house on Wichita St. between 288 and Dowling — usually in phrases like:

    What’s going on here???

Looks like a little of this:


10/15/09 11:44pm

Where was this place? And did anyone win the prizes from Houston. It’s Worth It?

Good questions! And this week we had a lot of very good guesses. Seven each for southwest Houston and Westbury. Six each for Meyerland and Sharpstown. Three for Willowbend; plus 2 each for Pasadena, Spring Branch, Willow Meadows, LaPorte, and Riverside Terrace. The rest? Westwood, Spring Valley, Robindell, “somewhere off Braeswood,” “on Beechnut out west of Hillcroft,” “somewhere in the oldest part of the Windsor Village-Simsbrook-Brentwood nexus, within a 2-mile radius of Hiram Clarke and West Orem,” Meadow Creek, “the Almeda Mall/Fuqua area,” Baytown, Spring, Aldine, East Houston, Lockwood, “near North Houston,” Glenbrook Valley, Morgans Point, Deer Park, Briarmeadow, “north of Westheimer around Voss/Woodway,” Gulfton, “the older part of Sharpstown by Fondren and the Southwest Freeway,” Sharpstown Country Club Estates, Sharpstown Country Club Terrace, Larkwood, “near Hobby Airport,” “Bellaire West out past Beltway 8,” Clear Lake, League City, “somewhere east of the Gulf Freeway,” Candlelight Trails, “within a block of Bissonnet, between Edloe and S. Gessner,” Bellaire, “610 and Stella Link,” Eastwood, Third Ward, Alief, “around the North Airline area,” “Airline around 45 North,” Maplewood, Braeburn Valley, Braeburn Terrace, and Stancliff Park.

Of the 3 Willowbend guesses, the entries from matt came with the best explanation (plus some bonus entertainment value):

. . . The decor is obviously 60s, the house itself probably 50s, and because of the apparent layout I would suspect one of the “better” neighborhoods in the Spring Branch or Sharpstown or Willow Meadows/Willowbend areas. Something about the kitchen screams the Willow Meadows/Willowbend area.

No comment on the round bed. Remember them well. Fun to play in. Not so fun to sleep in. Inevitably when you tossed and turned you tumbled and ended up on the floor.

and later:

The ceiling/front windows have that Maplewood/Braeburn Valley look. But the one photo of a “den” which appears to be a second den indicates it was once the garage and I believe that’s a no-no in Maplewood and Braeburn Valley as well. So that leaves Westbury and Willow Meadows/Willowbend or Robindell, the bathroom has that Robindell look, or even the Braeburn Terrace area to the northwest of Robindell. Another possibility is the Stancliff Park area off Bissonnet and Wilcrest. Could be anywhere but it just has the Southwest Houston look. Definitely “upper middle class” house or at least it was back in the 1960s.

Congratulations, matt! You’ve won 3 fab prizes from Houston. It’s Worth It: The original HIWI book; the new HIWI: Ike book, plus an official HIWI “Hunkered Down” stencil kit! Our very close runners-up are David W and Cathy.

Also deserving recognition this week are fake-out guesses from readers who knew the listing. Here’s James:

Whoa! This elderly gent knows how to romance the ladies. And he runs a darn good bingo tournament on the weekends!!
Obviously the owner has done absolutely nothing in terms of updating or staging so this has to be in prime location. The owner is about to cash in and he knows it. This bachelor pad is north of Westheimer, around Voss/Woodway.

. . . and PaxMcKatz:

This fixer upper was owned by a bonafied ASTRONAUT-alternate in Clear Lake. In the 70’s, 80’s he lured the ladies back to his abode for an “Out-of-this-World” night. He chose the fridge cause, “Hell it looks like the moon-lander.” After the mission was scrubbed and a moonshot was no longer gonna happen, this confirmed bachelor dated a series of artsy-craftsy women; one of which painted the kitchen pink and was promptly dumped. He settled down with a cute divorcee; with all the mixens of a small shabby-sheik cottage to merge with his mod. She brought her stuff to the house and now these 2 lovebirds are looking forward to taking an around-the-world cruise, playing bridge with their friends before they move into the condo on the lake. He loves that she still calls him “Captain” and humors him by serving freeze-dried food on date night. They are a cute couple.

PaxMcKatz’s entry attracted fans in the comments. Great work!

Now about that house . . .


11/13/08 10:42am

4629 Kingfisher Dr., Willowbrook, Houston

“There were just a lot of things that made me look at the pictures for a long time,” explains the househunting Houstonian who brought this 3-bedroom, 2-bath house in Willowbrook subdivision (near Willowbend) to our attention. “I just felt I had to share with someone.”

Readers, that’s why Swamplot is here.

Do not be fooled by this home’s quiet and unassuming exterior. A multitude of delights awaits you inside.

And there is plenty to share: