From Show House to Wet House to No House: Saying Goodbye the MacGregor Way

The 2-story 1939 brick home at 1504 N. MacGregor Way, on the banks of Brays Bayou in Idylwood, has completed the Swamplot trifecta. In July of last year the home made its first appearance, as the subject of a Neighborhood Guessing Game (answer revealed here). In September, after the pre-Hurricane Ike storm surge brought about 2 feet of water in for an extensive tour of the first floor, the home was featured again: an after-Ike-cleanup poster house, still on the market for $359,000.

And then, this morning, a third and likely final showing on Swamplot: in our Daily Demolition Report.

A quick look back at the home’s better (and not-so-much better) days:


That wacky apartment above the garage:

And then, after Ike:

The banks of Brays Bayou won’t be going anywhere:

Photos: HAR (listing) and Swamplot inbox (flood marks)

11 Comment

  • If the existing home was on piers, it could be raised (however many feet needed) to a level where it would be protected from floods. There companies that specialized in doing this.

    It can possibly be elevated (through a complicated process) even though it’s on a slab and saved.

    It would be nice if a replacement structure could pay homage to the original house.

  • What a shame, this is a beautiful home.

  • If the existing home was on piers, it could be raised (however many feet needed) to a level where it would be protected from floods. There companies that specialized in doing this.


    Maybe FEMA could save some money by just “elevating” everything in the flood plains? Of course at some point you’ll need an elevator in some areas to get to your front door. This new “technology” does seem to present a problem for the disabled. Some homes are no longer “disabled friendly” unless you have someone to carry them up the front steps.

    Idylwood is almost as beautiful a section of Brays Bayou as parts of Riverside Terrace. Fortunately there doesn’t appear to have been much subsidence in the area. Yet. Just wait until the developers move in. They will have to put in levees.

  • Well,

    Levees won’t ever happen because Harris County and Harris County Flood Control doesn’t allow them and the Army Corps of Engineering won’t have a valid reason for the expense.

    As much as some people think developers drive these kinds of things, they can’t pull levees off in Harris County.

    Raising homes and buildings (even 10-15ft high) can be made handicapped accessible. Public libraries, police stations, city halls are all built like this on the barrier island Grand Isle in Louisiana and in many places in along the Gulf Coast. Innovative ramp designs and elevators make this possible. Technically, only public buildings have to be handicapped accessible. Homes don’t have to consider accessibility.

  • Why not just put everything on some sort of motorized stilts? Raise the house when the water rises. Lower the house when guests or the pizza arrives.

    Another Allison will come along. Maybe that will put things in better perspective. And maybe not. Until then, well, I wouldn’t buy anything near a bayou. Particularly Brays Bayou. The city won’t get the message until most of Inner Loop has been condemned by FEMA. The bright side of that is we may end up with the largest park anyone ever imagined.

    Houston really needs to finally become a little developer un-friendly.

  • We walked past this house the other evening, and saw the notices from the city on it (weeds, fallen tree limbs, broken windows), and wondered what would become of it.

    The lady even commented about finding out if we could get a deal on it – I said I thought even free might cost too much.

    At least we now know what will become of it.

  • Hydraulic lifts are a great idea, Matt. Didn’t Dick Tracy’s car have mechanical legs for breezing over the top of traffic jams? That was cool. As soon as you figure them out, be sure to help The Spindletop restaurant with its motorized structure issues! :-)
    Here’s another residential flood strategy: A sort of huge plastic bag, folded down into a moat around the house: It is pulled up and secured to the house in advance of high water.
    But really! Lifting every flood-threatened home one story would solve so many problems – where to park the cars, where to store the trash can, where to house the nanny, where to store the wine (doesn’t everybody have these problems?) Just like old-time Louisiana homes. (Anyone been to Laura Plantation?)
    A while back there was discussion on Swamplot concerning a prototypical or traditional Houston architecture type. I think it should be dog-trot style, with roof-top garden, and raised on gulf-coast-style columns.

  • Hopefully the owners got a good buyout from the new owners…Harris County Flood Control District.

  • HCFCD is doing this as part of their Project Brays. See the link below.

    This means that the property will NEVER have another building on it again if federal funds were used. If there is a series of homes and other properties purchased in this manner near each other, there is a good chance that a county park may develop in the future.

  • It’s completely gone now, and it looks like the orders will be coming through soon for the surrounding houses. Walked by last night, and the one right next to it is missing large pieces of exterior wall.

    The only thing left on the lot was half a fence, a trashcan, a back-hoe, and some junk.

  • It’s too bad that such a pretty house has come to such a sad ending. That said, building a non-elevated home near a Houston bayou is NOT a good idea.