Home Sweet Funeral Home: Washington Terrace Mortuary Seeks Residents

A househunter sends in a Washington Terrace find:

I’d hate for anyone to miss out on this former funeral home that could be used for “private living.” It comes complete with your very own chapel and it looks like it has plenty of garage space. Plus, it’s “near everything that’s good in Houston.” I bet there’s plenty of stainless steel in the kitchen and a giant walk in refrigerator!

It’s the former Jackson Mortuary building, at the corner of Wheeler and Live Oak. And there’s still plenty of light inside:


There’s a total of 5,490 sq. ft. in the building. It’s been listed since late January. A $35K cut in April has left the asking price at $249,900.

23 Comment

  • ok that is just a little weird. who would want to live there??

  • Actually, these stained glass windows are kind of neat, and at $250k for 5000 sq ft, that’s practically a steal. But it looks like it needs some fixing up.

  • If those windows faced north instead of west that building would make a very cool art gallery.

  • Dicey neighborhood/dicey Chi…

  • Yeah, and in the 80s and 90s, many folks I met questioned my living in a dicey neighborhood like the Heights. I still get asked about crime quite often. Midtown was thought dangerous until not that long ago. So how dicey is it really and when will it become artsy and then trendy?

  • “So how dicey is it really and when will it become artsy and then trendy?”

    And in this case, anyone who would convert and live in a former mortuary instead of a conventional home is probably an “urban pioneer” type anyway–i.e., the type of person who moves into a “dicey” neighborhood just before it starts to gentrify.

  • Our Winlow Place neighborhood is pretty well gentrified by now, and it is still what you might call “dicey”. We have more than our share of armed robberies, assaults, and car/home burglaries. Even the occasional home invasion.

    Seems like the crooks know that the newly arrived gentry as well as the patrons of all the coffee shops/bars/restaurants in the neighborhood make pretty easy targets. I know a couple of my neighbors have been robbed while walking their dogs. Street wisdom is something most of our well heeled newcomers to the neighborhood know nothing about.

    Before I would drop $750,000+ on an inner city McMansion, I think I would spend a night or two in the neighborhood to see what I was getting into.

  • finness-

    Midtown was, and is, one of the diciest areas in town. Not sure why you think that has changed. Check crime stats. It is in a nasty part of town, and will continue to be so long as it hosts the bus station (TDC releasee-filled) and innumerable missions, thrift shops and the like.

    Midtown has been one of downtown’s “underbellies” for 50-75 years and throwing up apartments, townhouses, etc. won’t change that. Midtown will remain “transitional” for decades to come.

    Of course, some may enjoy constantly dealing with (hopefully, just) panhandlers.

  • “So how dicey is it really and when will it become artsy and then trendy?”

    Question of the day! As Montrose ex-pats now living on Dowling St. I can tell you that we have experienced NO crime in the year we have been here. As for artsy, you can walk to Rick Lowe’s Row House installation and the relocated Flower Man house, among several other art spaces, from our new home.
    Artsy, yes. Trendy,very thankfully no.

  • All I was saying was — those who braved dicey neighborhoods and stuck around are crying all the way to the bank. I have seen approx. 15% appreciation per year in my dicey neighborhood and I sure cannot say that about any other investment. If you have the time, nothing beats real estate.

  • Did a quick check on crime stats and the midtown apartments area looks a lot like the Heights – tons of burglary of a vehicle, a few assaults, some drug busts. Checked Kingwood for comparison – very few cars got burgled, but there were more drug busts and more building burglaries. Since I don’t have crimes per capita, I dont know about crime rate.
    Conclusion- don’t park on the street!

  • finness:

    Perhaps I can refine my comment for clarity.

    I responded to your post narrowly – the implication that Midtown had turned some corner in re its “dangerousness”. I think is no better at all; generally, most new residential seems fortress-like for good reason. It was a hellhole in 1985 and remains one today.

    If you needs stats, please ensure they’re
    comprehensive for Midtown proper because
    I refer to Midtown, not just the area around selected newer apartments with security and locked garages. That’s apt to be misleading.

    My crime info source was a shaded map from a pay site, and Midtown was among the worst inside the loop along with Third Ward (adjacent). Crime stats are one indicator, but subjective impressions are also relevant.

    I wouldn’t even compare the Heights – an historic residential neighborhood, meanacing only at the periphery, with the rigid grid of Midtown-barely residential, thousands of
    day workers, vast stretches of treeless concrete, etc. Most (not all) of Midtown is extremely uninviting after dark on foot.
    It feels dangerous.

    As to your comments in re: prop values I couldn’t agree more – your Heights investment is a smart move. I’m a bit of a serial mover. I’ve bought, lived in and sold
    5 different close-in homes (Camp Logan, Montrose-blocks from Midtown, Bellaire x2, and Willowbend), moving every 4-5 years.
    The results have been comparable to having a second (very good) job – without working.
    I’ll sell in 2-3 years and do it again.
    My kind of labor.

  • If you needs stats, please ensure they’re
    comprehensive for Midtown proper because
    I refer to Midtown, not just the area around selected newer apartments with security and locked garages. That’s apt to be misleading.
    of course, why would anyone want to look at the statistics for the part of the area people actually live in! :)

  • Yes, no cherry-picking stats. I’d always referred to all of Midtown. What does it say about residential desirability when you need to ignore the adjacent areas that also constitute the neighborhood? Also, M’town is dotted w/residential of various kinds, not just the gated-garage apt. compounds, so it’s most telling to evaluate Midtown, not just the walled-off high-density part(s).

  • I’ve gone to a lot of funerals and wakes there including Aunts, Uncles, and Mother. I don’t think I could live there. I don’t remember those stained glass windows being that large.
    But as far as the neighborhood, it’s a quiet residential area no more “dicey” as some suburbs in the northwest.

  • I went to check this out on Tuesday… It’s huge as you could guess… someone broke in and took all the electrical… There is nice tile work in the area which could make for a “kitchen” even though I am pretty sure this is where the body work went on, complete with floor drains… 3 huge “bedrooms” upstairs and two smaller ones, there are a few broke out windows upstairs, one section was really bad and glass covers the entire 10×10 room maybe… ah and the wasps have taken over upstairs in quite a few places… there is room galore downstairs and room to store atleast 5 cars… would make for a good daycare etc… parts of the outside were done poorly for water drainage and has caused alot of rot… contractor said it needed a good 65k!! in work to finish out and repair… lots of possibilities though!!

  • Wouldn’t it make sense for this to have originally been a house that was converted to a funeral home?

  • This funeral home / church is in the center of a predominately black neighborhood. Very few of the “artsy/trendy” crowd that you guys have referenced to. As far as being “dicey”, most “non-blacks” would immediately get that impression because it’s not a little “white” neighborhood. But for those that grew up in the area, it’s no more “dicey” than how you are describing Midtown.

    It’s the Third Ward and if you were to drive around at night, you’d see a lot of drug dealing deep within the neighborhoods, as well as prostitution. Not sure what the crime stats are for that area, but we lived in a loft on the other side of 45 for a year or so and would ride our bikes through that area during the day and night with no problems.

    If you don’t care about the majority race in a neighborhood, then this funeral home could be the perfect place for you. I know for many, this would be a factor. Regardless, this is one sweet deal, and anyone wanting to check it out, let me know and we can schedule something.

  • Neighborhoods are always in flux. I’m sure Inwood was swanky at one time. Now you can 3,700 sq.ft mini-manse for 169k. Meanwhile, artists have fled into the near north/east side because the west side priced them out.
    Change is inevitable. What sensible preservationists are saying is simply this – let the current residents have some say on the speed of change.

  • According to Houston Crime Maps, the zip code (77004) where this former funeral home is located had the following crimes in March (the most recent month they have data for)

    20 aggravated assaults
    24 auto thefts
    30 burglaries
    111 drug busts
    31 burglaries of cars
    8 DWI
    0 murders
    0 negligent manslaughters
    2 rapes
    22 robberies

    Midtown is right next door (so to speak)but is in 3 zip codes (including the northwestern corner of 77004). But Houston Crime Maps lets you look at crime by neighborhood. They define Midtown as being bound by 59 to the south and southeast, 45 to the northeast, Spur 527 to the west and then a kind of amorphous area in the northwest corner bounded by (among others) Genesee, Webster, and Bailey. So it encompasses the “cool” parts of Midtown and the less cool parts. Here are its crime stats for March:

    7 aggravated assaults
    12 auto thefts
    7 burglaries
    27 drug busts
    16 burglaries of cars
    15 DWI
    0 murders
    0 negligent manslaughters
    1 rape
    15 robberies

    So by every measure except DWI, Midtown has substantially less crime than 77004. (At least in March 2009.)

    I’m sure Midtown has a lot of crime compared to, say, Memorial (77024). But “hellhole” seems a bit extreme.

  • We are planning on buying a old motuary that was built in the early 1900’s

    Although I walk the old path & do a little dabbling in the Craft, even this is starting to creep me out

    We are planning on speaning our firt night there around the 8th. of August

    I WOULD LOVE TO HEAR FROM ANYONE THAT HAS LIVED IN A MORTUARY / furnral home / Hauted house…what should I exspect ?????

  • My great uncle used to give my grandmother the furniture from the family-owned funeral home when they would redecorate. This was back in the 1970s/early 1980s. My teenage cousins would squabble over who got the hearse when they would upgrade the vehicles as well. I would love to live in a former/funeral home/church as I only have fond memories of the ones I know.

  • For more info on Washington Terrace, please visit washingtonterrace.org