10/19/16 1:15pm

42-acre Avera site, Independency Pkwy. near Lynchburg Ferry,  Baytown, TX 77520

Some of the 42 acres of land just purchased for development by Avera Companies are shown here from above, east across the Ship Channel from the San Jacinto Battleground (that’s the bottom half of the star-topped obelisk visible toward the top left).  The property is on a peninsula of land about 2 miles downstream from the I-10 bridge and the San Jacinto Waste Pits. The eastern terminal of the Lynchburg Ferry can be seen here at the end of Independence Highway, with the Lynchburg reservoir lying  to the north.

The company says Kirby Inland Marine is set to be the first tenant for the property, and will use a section of the property to let up to 76 barges tie up and hang out as necessary. Kirby just agreed last month to a $4.9-million settlement with the Department of Justice over its role in that March 2014 barge-meets-carrier oil spill that shut down the Port for a few days and spread oil along roughly 160 miles of Texas coast between Galveston Bay and Padre Island National Seashore. (Kirby Offshore Marine, another of the corporation’s subdivisions, is currently dealing with fallout from last week’s tugboat-meets-shore fuel spill off the coast of British Columbia.)

Here’s a view of the rest of the property, showing a bit of Burnet Bay on the left and the San Jacinto River upstream toward I-10 on the right:


Floating Around Near Baytown
10/10/16 1:00pm

DEEP: SeaspaceDEEP: Seaspace

To cap off a series of Houston-landmark-linked performances carried out over the past few years, Karen Stoke’s dance company will put on bayou-and-space-themed DEEP: Seaspace at Hobby Center the weekend after next (that’s October 20th through 22nd). Stokes, whose previous work includes that well-timed dance about flooding in Discovery Green right after Memorial Day last year, tells Swamplot she has been mulling over appropriately grand Ship Channel choreographies since at least 2003, when she cut a related section from her piece Hometown with plans to tackle the topic later in greater depth.

On the list of historical places given a nod in the choreography (or in the short film to be shown during the live performance): Ship-Channel-side spots like the site of Santa Anna’s capture near the San Jacinto battlegrounds (the historical marker for which is located along Federal Rd. where the Washburn Tunnel crosses under the waterway); Allen’s Landing in Downtown; and the area around the former Willow St. Pump Station (just north of where White Oak Bayou meets Buffalo, by the Harris County Jail) — that spot is shown below, with dancers placed for atmosphere:


Industrial Art
10/07/16 11:30am

Sugar Land Memorial Park and Brazos River Corridor, 15300 University Blvd, Sugar Land, TX 77479

A fresh shot shows the veteran’s memorial at Sugar Land Memorial Park last weekend, which has been relatively high and dry since its brief closure following all that June flooding along the Brazos. The park is right alongside the river channel (southeast of the 59 crossing, where University and Commonwealth boulevards meet), and is designed to protect and serve the surrounding neighborhoods by storing excess floodwater in a pinch. The memorial is also designed to showcase tilt-up concrete construction methods (and was the focus of the Tilt Up Concrete Association’s annual tilt-up-related do-gooding project in 2013). Here’s an aerial view from early June from the Sugar Land Parks & Recreation folks, showing exactly why this year’s Memorial Day event at the park was cancelled (and why the neighboring Pawm Springs Dog Park, in the foreground, was closed):


On Duty on the Brazos
09/14/16 8:30am


Photo of The Woodlands: Marc Longoria via Swamplot Flickr Pool

08/17/16 5:15pm

3303 Shadowncrest Ln., Spring, TX 77380

3303 Shadowncrest Ln., Spring, TX 77380 Now for sale just across the Spring-Creek-hugging southern edge of Harris County: this 1970s ranch, carefully dressed by the seller in slate panels. The 3-bedroom 2-bathroom property was given a new outer skin (as seen in the top photo) to tie into features of the extensive interior redo, carried out by the seller’s own stone-and-tile-centric remodeling business. New features in the home include stone paneling, a few reshaped windows, and some throwback color schemes (including a black-and-white checkered garage floor), as well as a new pump system for the drought-tolerant backyard landscape (complete with koi pond.)  Asking price is $400,000 — check out more before-and-after shots below:


Slated for a Redo
08/10/16 5:15pm

Former Mr. Peeples, 1911 Bagby St., Midtown, Houston, 7700
If you duck southwest under the Pierce Elevated from near the maybe-not-vacant-much-longer downtown Days Inn highrise (and maybe dodge a few exit ramps), you’ll find the logo of sparkle-happy steak and seafood house Mr. Peeples still peering coyly out from behind the greenery at 1911 Bagby St. — accompanied more recently by a less shy sign advertising the freed-up space’s availability, notes a reader. Landmark said in a press release when the spot closed in March that it would “emerge as an exciting new venue in the near future”; the informational signage from WLC Interests implies that that emergence may occur elsewhere, and that other folks may have a chance at the spot for less culinarily focused uses.

Here’s a shot of the place pre-glitzification (circa 2007) when it was a more conservatively decorated Boy Scouts office:


Prepping for the Next Costume Change
07/28/16 8:30am


Photo of the Menil: Russell Hancock via Swamplot Flickr Pool

07/27/16 8:30am


Photo: Russell Hancock via Swamplot Flickr Pool

07/07/16 10:30am

2330 N. Braeswood Blvd, Old Braeswood, Houston, 77030

2330 N. Braeswood Blvd, Old Braeswood, Houston, 77030

Per historian Steven Fox’s telling, the 1933 home at what’s now 2330 N. Braeswood Blvd. is the work of architect Joseph Finger (a few years after the Lancaster Hotel was built, and a few years before Finger went on to design City Hall). The 4-bedroom house sits on 1.13 acres and was the first one built along Braeswood Ct. (which loops off of N. Braeswood just west of S. Main St.). The exterior railings shown above are copper, and the enthusiastically tropical painted tile mural on the chimney reportedly dates back to the 1930s as well.

The Old Braeswood Property Owners Association traces the house’s Houston-history-heavy ownership record in a 2013 newsletter; the article follows the trail from a mysterious associate of Spindletop oilman T.P. Lee, to friends of future Texas governor Ross Sterling, to the son of Meyerland namesake Frank Meyer and beyond.

Want to add your name to the list? The current asking price is $2.6 million. Look around below: