09/22/16 10:30am

LANIER MIDDLE SCHOOL CEREMONIALLY CHANGES NAME TO LANIER MIDDLE SCHOOL Bob Lanier crestThe Lanier-Lanier name change got the official seal of approval as of yesterday morning by way of a seal-updating and renaming ceremony at the middle school’s campus at Woodhead St. and Westheimer Rd. That previously threatened lawsuit over the HISD’s plan to flush out Confederate sympathizers from its campus name roster was in fact filed in late June by a group of parent-and-alumni-types; documents filed with the district clerk’s office show that a request by the plaintiffs for a temporary injunction to stop the renamings from moving forward was denied by the judge on August 22nd. Lanier’s campus is keeping all but its first name, swapping author Sydney for former Houston mayor Bob; the other 7 schools on the changeover list started the year with more dramatic shifts in nomenclature. [HISD Blog; previously on Swamplot] Image of new Bob Lanier Middle School seal: HISD    

03/18/16 1:45pm

Garden Oaks Deed Restrictions Signs, Garden Oaks, Houston, 77018

What’s the story behind the tiny question marks that recently appeared at the end of the low-dangling “DEED RESTRICTIONS ENFORCED” signs on at least a couple Garden Oaks welcome-to-the-neighborhood markers? More than just your usual neighborhood grumbling and graffiti-ing, it appears.


Punctuation Add-Ons
12/08/15 12:30pm

Billboard, 312 Main St., Downtown Houston

Were you kinda liking that new billboard installed on the second story of the building at 312 Main St. — the one that posed serious, possibly life-changing questions to passengers exiting the Preston St. light-rail station? Well, you’ve got less than 10 days to enjoy it, depending on long fast used-car-dealer Texas Direct Auto wants to take to comply with a city citation posted to the building yesterday — unless it can get those pesky inspectors to back off.

A notation on the red tag declares that the facade-smothering sign is in violation of the city’s sign code — namely that it was not erected in connection with a “business purpose”: “A business purpose shall not include any property, building, or structure erected or used for the primary purpose of securing a permit to erect a sign,” the note reads. (That echoes a portion of the definition in section 4602, in case you’re following along at home with regulations in hand.) Here’s a snapshot of the documents stuck to the building’s ground floor, as submitted to the Twitterverse by Houston Chronicle writer Evan Mintz, whose employer last week declared in an editorial that the sign should be illegal:


A Red Tag Downtown
12/02/15 1:00pm

Twin Mattress Firms, 1003 Westheimer Rd, Montrose, Houston, 77006

The strip mall at the corner of Westheimer and Montrose now sports two “Mattress Firm” storefronts right next door to one another, operating independently. The western Mattress Firm, on the right in the photo above, has been converted from a Mattress Pro through the subtle but definitive application of a small banner, filling the gap left by the removal of the word “Pro”. All Mattress Pro stores had until November 6th to convert signage, following a mid-September announcement that Mattress Firm would be discontinuing the subsidiary brand.

What exactly has changed? Not the Mattress Pro logo, which still bounces along in contrast to Mattress Firm’s aggressive yellow swipe. The relabeled store, now styled as a Mattress Firm: Final Markdown facility, will sell Mattress Firm products at a bargain-bin discount, while the regular Mattress Firm next door will continue to sell those products at full price.


Doubling Down
06/03/15 11:45am

Blue Tile Curb Street Signs, Houston

Downtowner Joey Sanchez has begun a project to photograph and document what he refers to as Houston’s first form of “street art”: the old school tile street signs that still stand guard by the curbs of a number of older city intersections. Already posted to the website he set up for the Blue Tile Project: an interactive map to confirmed locations — and links to Facebook and Instagram accounts, where photos of the signs, in various states of disrepair and dislocation, are posted. Sanchez reports he’s already found more than 160 of the signs, which he claims date from the 1920s.


The Blue Tile Project
06/01/15 3:30pm

Vinoteca Poscol, 608 Westheimer Rd., Lower Westheimer, Montrose, Houston

A new sign is up already on the building next door to Katz’s Deli, at 608 Westheimer Rd. But Vinoteca Poscol won’t be moving from its current strip-center spot at 1609 Westheimer to this new, and lower, Westheimer location until sometime after the Fourth of July, owner Marco Wiles tells Houstonia‘s Katharine Shilcutt.

The exterior of the former home of Azamian Rugs and (before that) AIDS Foundation Houston’s Stone Soup has already seen quite a few changes in its new Italian Restaurant redo, especially to the front of the house. Gone is the old single-story addition that pushed up to the sidewalk. Next to be completed: interior renovations, and perhaps an extra letter for the sign.

Photo: Swamplot inbox

On the House
03/27/15 3:30pm

Billboard Removal, View at Manor Park Townhomes, Chartres St. at Tuam St., Third Ward, Houston

Billboard Removal, View at Manor Park Townhomes, Chartres St. at Tuam St., Third Ward, HoustonDowntown and freeway views from and to the View at Manor Park townhomes along Chartres St. just south of Tuam in the Third Ward just got a little clearer. Beginning this morning, a reader reports, crews dismantled and removed the freeway-side billboard that stood at one end of a row of townhomes angled for Downtown views in the 8-year-old development:


Sign Down
12/09/14 3:30pm


“I know what they were going for but I think it’s the ‘We will come to you’ that I find upsetting,” writes Houston Chronicle culture critic Andrew Dansby on his Facebook page.

Dansby tells Swamplot that he spotted the sign in front of the business at 3414 S. Shepherd Dr. while out walking recently and believes it open to two interpretations, other than the no-doubt intended expression of eagerness to provide good service.

One, that they could be so eager, they are ready to pounce on you and cremate you against your will:


Funeral Blues
12/08/14 12:00pm

Sign on Huffmeister Rd. South of Fleur de Lis Blvd., Cypress, Houston

Signs at 1102 Shepherd Dr. at Center St., Washington Corridor, Houston“I found him!” declares reader Kristen W. The portrait she happened upon, captioned “Jesus, I trust in you” over draped ankles, had originally been noted by Swamplot readers 4 years ago in ready position adjacent to a redevelopment site on Shepherd Dr. at Center St., just north of Washington Ave. (See smaller photo above right; similar sightings were also reported at the time in Lindale Park and on Westpark between Fondren and Gessner.) Later, the icon’s purported property-restoring powers were noted in its nomination for the Washington Ave Award in that year’s Swampies.

Kristen W. reports the latest visitation: “He’s just hanging out on the east side of Huffmeister Rd. south of Fleur de Lis Blvd. among the cattle and horses. . . . I was making the long trek up north for a job interview [Friday] morning and had to turn around to snap a few photos because I couldn’t believe it.


A Sign
09/08/14 11:00am

Parking Signs on Union St. Near White St., Old Sixth Ward, Houston

A reader is curious about the source of the new call-if-you’re-gonna-park signs (pictured above) that went up last week on Union St., which breaks off from and parallels Washington Ave, between White and Henderson: “Is this city of Houston? I’ve never seen signs like this before. Or, if this is a private individual, is this legal?” There are no meters installed on the street, the reader says.

The signs are near Julep, which opened at 1919 Washington Ave. in early August after a long gestation period, and the would-be restaurant and bar at 2003 Union St. pictured below, which Swamplot reported on at the same time, more than a year ago:


Operators Are Standing By
09/05/14 2:45pm

CANOPY’S NEW WAY IN Improvised Entrance to Canopy Restaurant, 3939 Montrose Blvd., Montrose, HoustonA drive-in customer may have destroyed Canopy’s front door on Wednesday, but a bit of paint and re-engineering (a chair has been removed from the patio to make more room) now guides visitors to the side entrance. A special short-term exhibition of an improvised piece by artist Amy C. Evans now adorns the replacement plywood covering the spot where the car came in; it notes a few items on the restaurant’s menu and points customers both to the way in (through the patio door) and the neon OPEN sign. Well, used-to-be neon: The letters aren’t lighting up anymore after the accident, so more paint has been pressed into service (and applied directly to the window) to recreate their effect, below the still-lit neon tree. [Previously on SwamplotPhoto: Swamplot inbox

08/28/14 1:15pm

White Stripes on Parking Spaces at Shoppes at Memorial Heights Shopping Center, 920 Studemont St., Memorial Heights, Houston

White Stripes on Parking Spaces at Shoppes at Memorial Heights Shopping Center, 920 Studemont St., Memorial Heights, HoustonWas it something you said? A couple readers have informed Swamplot that the stenciled nametags that appeared recently apportioning every single parking space in the lot in front of the Shoppes at Memorial Heights shopping center to one of the resident businesses at 920 Studewood St. have just as suddenly been covered over. Stripes of white paint have now been painted on top of the stenciled signs throughout the parking lot. Which means that next time you’re visiting Hair Desire, Absolve Wine Bar, Urban Cleaners, or (more likely, apparently) Beer Market Co., you will no longer have to check underneath or behind your car to make sure that you’ve parked in a space appropriate to your shopping-center visit.


Here Come the White Stripes
05/07/14 1:15pm

Yard Signs in Near Northside, Houston

Yard Signs in Near Northside, HoustonA couple of weeks after a flyer was distributed to residents near a lower section of the Near Northside north of Hogan St. and west of Main suggesting they oppose an application for minimum-lot-size restrictions in the area, a bunch of properties there have begun sporting signs that announce their residents’ support for the initiative, a reader who goes by the name Triton informs Swamplot.

And Triton sends along this on-the-street report:


Vote Yes or No
02/24/14 3:30pm

Prince's Hamburgers Sign, North Shepherd Dr. at 15th St., Houston Heights

Prince's Hamburgers Sign, North Shepherd Dr. at 15th St., Houston HeightsSomeday, your Prince’s (hamburgers sign) will go. If you hail from the kingdom of the Heights, today appears to be that day. Swamplot reader Rachelle Varnon sends in the above photo, taken just a short while ago, of the old N. Shepherd Prince’s Hamburgers sign as it sits, mounted on a royal coach for a northern journey. “I saw a bucket truck by the old sign [pictured at left] at 15th and North Shepherd today on my way to lunch,” she writes. “By the time we returned, the sign was down.

Where’s it headed?


Neon Royalty