Spooked former residents looking for some sort of larger, more mystical explanation for the disastrous end of the Park Memorial Condos at 5292 Memorial Dr. now have confirmation of a first-class backstory to hang their storytelling hats on. A little late for Halloween, a medical examiner has determined that the human remains discovered this summer during the condos’ demolition — and the preparation of the site for its replacement, the Park Memorial Apartments — belong to bodies interred at a cemetery that once graced the site. That would be the Crooms Cemetery, Preservation Houston’s David Bush tells teevee reporter Deborah Wrigley. The African-American burial ground was named after Felix Crooms (who scored nearby Crooms St. as well), was in operation from approximately 1917 to 1937, and also served as the final resting place for members of St. Luke’s Missionary Baptist Church.
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By 1980, a whitewashed title — and an apparently incomplete buried-body-removal workflow — somehow allowed the property to become a portion of the site of the Park Memorial Condominiums in Rice Military. Now that the messy ownership battles, the lawsuits, and the crumbling vacant buildings have been cleared, former residents and neighbors may start to imagine that it was the ghosts of these twice-buried bodies that ultimately sent the park-like complex at the corner of Detering and Memorial to hell in a handbasket. A representative of JLB Partners, the developer currently building a less park-like 372-unit multi-story apartment building and 7-level parking garage on the cleared site, says the cemetery didn’t come up in the company’s archeological survey of the site.
- Skeleton mystery unearthed in west Houston may be solved [abc13]
- Park Memorial coverage [Swamplot]