Crews are ripping into the 3-story Mediterranean house on the corner of Hyde Park Blvd. and Whitney St., as well as the adjacent bungalow that Clark Gable lived in for 2 years during his time in Montrose in the late ’20s. Already, the shingled structure has been reduced to the pile of lumber pictured above (although its door’s remains intact).
It lost its face-off with the excavator pictured below just this morning:
Theater director Frederick Leon Webster built the bungalow at 411 Hyde Park as his personal studio in 1921 and soon expanded it to include an attached apartment at 413. Five years later, 25-year-old Gable arrived in town with plans to perform for a local theater company and took the house over. Webster finished the separate corner structure — which he dubbed L’Encore — the next year and relocated there.
It hasn’t been pushed over yet:
You can see some of its terracotta roofing peeking out above the casement windows with square panes, shown below:
Sometime after Gable skipped town and returned to Hollywood, Houston businessman Jack Blalock Jr. got his hands on the property, where he lived for roughly 40 years. He died in 2001, but murmurings of an impending sale didn’t get loud until early May, when Nancy Sarnoff reported that a group connected to Drake Custom Homes — a single-family and townhouse developer active in Midtown and Montrose — had the property under contract. Blalock’s estate sold it a few weeks later, and the new owner hung onto it for about a month before signing up to tear it down and build in its place. (During that time, a separate entity that recently snatched the property across the street filed plans to replace its former 1928 house with a set of 3 adjacent 3-stories.)
A look through the building’s backyard entryway on Whitney:
- Potential loss of Montrose compound saddens preservationists resigned to losses [Houston Chronicle]
- Houston 101: Frankly, My Dear, I Don’t Give a Damn [Houston Press]
Photos: Mark Johnson Photography, Inc.