Hunting for Humbler Houston Homes for the Apollo Astronauts, More Than 50 Years Later

Schirra Family in Front of Home on Pine Shadows Dr., Timber Cove, HoustonThe homes depicted in the teevee version of The Astronaut Wives Club may turn out to be a bit more landlocked than the actual Space Age family spreads they’re modeled after. Location scouts for the upcoming ABC mini-series, which will be based on the book by Lily Koppel, appear to be steering clear of the actual Clear Lake-area neighborhoods the original 7 astronaut families lived in — and pushing west instead. Real estate agent Robert Searcy tells Swamplot the location scouts who contacted him were looking for a neighborhood with original-looking mid-fifties-era houses. So he passed info around to owners he knew about, letting them decide if they wanted to open up their homes to teevee crews: “They also contacted Houston Mod,” Searcy says:

“Apparently [the site scouts] are most interested in what they loosely described as ‘mid-range’ homes of the era, not updated. I got them in a few houses in Glenbrook Valley and a couple in Meadowcreek Village, including the Mackie & Kamrath one over there, but I think some of the mods were a bit too grand for what they are looking for. They seem to be most focused on Willowbend right now. So if you live in Willowbend in a non-updated house, don’t be shocked if you get a note on your door!”


Most of the original 7 astronauts, of course, lived in the Timber Cove subdivision fronting Taylor Lake, a mere 4 miles northeast of the NASA installation then known as the Manned Spacecraft Center. Freedom 7 and Apollo 14 astronaut Alan Shepard, however, moved into a “large suite in a high-rise apartment building” near Hermann Park and Rice University — when he and his family first moved to Houston in 1962.

Filming for the 10-episode series is expected to begin in April, for airing this summer.

Photo of Josephine Schirra and children in front of their home on Pine Shadows Dr. in Timber Cove: NASA, via Apollo Mission Photos

From Timber Cove to Willowbend

9 Comment

  • My neighborhood, Woodside, is still mostly full of non-upgraded mid-range mid 50’s houses…..

  • Meyerland, Maplewood, and Braeburn Valley in Southwest Houston are all good candidates.

  • I’m sure Sharpstown that would do the trick. Didn’t Sharp offer the astronauts houses in the development as gifts?

  • Plenty in 3rd Ward / Riverside Terrace also! I live in a mostly unrestored 50s ranch.

  • Last time I was in Timber Cove there were still a lot of un-updated Mid-Century modern homes.

  • I know someone who lives in an original condition mid-mod in willowbend, she even has the original antique stove, countertops, floors and bathrooms. I wonder how she could be contacted….

  • I grew up in Bay Colony in La Porte TX and one astronaut lived there and a lot of the houses are still in good shape there. My Dad was in the space program in the 60s and 70s when we lived there too.

  • I have lived in Timbercove for 32 years. Most of the astronaut houses have not changed. I have been in several of them. Jim Lovell, Pete Conrad, Wally Schirra, Gus Grissom have not changed their homes. We live close to Scott Carpenter’s house and John Glenn’s. They are working on Carpenter’s house. The new three story homes are mostly on the waterfront. I think you should film the movie here. This is where it happened and we are a proud and a close neighborhood.

  • A lot of development has taken place around Timber Cove. It used to be set back from the main road, now that whole area is filled with new houses. If you didn’t know where Timber Cove is, you’d never find it. It’s still a nice place, the lots the houses sit on are generous sized, the homes are actually quite affordable when they come up for sale.
    While not McMansions, they are also very generously sized and are built with a good quality not found today.