Flying High Over the Baytown Subdivision That Sunk

Here’s some raw footage from a camera-wielding drone flight landscape artist and researcher Steve Rowell piloted earlier this year over portions of the Baytown Nature Center, the Crystal, Scott, and Burnet Bay peninsula that not too long ago was the home of the tony Brownwood subdivision — before it got all sinky and decided to subside 10 or so feet into the water. In some portions of the video, you can still spot the occasional home or garage slab from a fifties- or sixties-era rancher or 2, not to mention concrete broken up from other foundations and driveways and recycled on-site into surge barriers that now control the more recent, court-ordered wetlands environment.

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Baytown Nature Center, Former Brownwood Subdivision, Baytown, Texas

Tourists visiting the area these days mostly focus on the birds, and try to ignore the pipelines running through the place; Rowell’s drone gets a little shaky at times, but manages to steer clear of any aerial interference.

Footage and stills from his Brownwood reconnaissance, as well as images and recordings grabbed from other curious sites in the local landscape, will appear in a 5-day “visual and acoustic installation” in the Bermac Arts Building in Midtown opening tomorrow that Rowell put together for the Counter Current festival, run by UH’s Cynthia Woods Mitchell Center for the Arts. Rowell’s work also appeared in the big exhibit on Texas Oil that the Center for Land Use Interpretation set up at UH in 2008.

Here’s a bonus shot from another Rowell drone flight, of a more familiar monument just across the bay and Ship Channel:

San Jacinto Monument, Houston

Video and photos: Steve Rowell

Touring Brownwood by Drone

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