Ready To Be Hauled Away: Under the Freeway, in the Back of the Parking Lot

Why isn’t there an address given in the auction listing for the “1872 Bungalow Cottage” near the former police headquarters at 61 Riesner the city is trying to get rid of? Because the streets it used to be on have all faded away. The home is tucked almost under the Gulf Freeway at the eastern edge of the surrounding city parking lot. Museum of Houston director (and GHPA staffer) Jim Parsons tells Swamplot the home is all that’s left of an old residential area at what used to be the eastern tip of the Sixth Ward. According to Parsons, the original address was 34 South, and later 22 Artesian Place. Now it isn’t visible from any street.

The final deadline for bids is 8 pm tonight.


A Swamplot reader found the listing in an auction of city-owned property, but so far there have been no takers. Bidding — if it ever begins, will start at $1,000. It’s the former home of a carpenter and contractor named Gottlieb Eisele, and it does look like it has some history to it, including various additions, a now-enclosed porch with a still-slanted floor, and a bungalow-style remodel — from back when that new bungalow look was all the rage. And more recently, service to the HPD.

The city wants even more changes: The winning bidder will be required to move the house, and either put it in a historic district or designate it as a protected landmark.

Oh, and there’s a little work that’ll be needed:

There is a concrete block and mortar addition with a concrete slab foundation conjoined to the main house and the roof reconstructed to appear as one building. As advised by a reputable building mover, the buildings will need to be separated and the addition will need to be demolished. It can not be successfully transported as part of the house. The front porch attached to the main house can be left in tact [sic] and relocated with building. What was a back porch originally was at some point converted to an enclosed addition to the house and remains part of the main structure. However, as a porch, it slopes down from the level of the main house and may require additional support during transfer. As shown in the photos, there is a large area in the kitchen where the floor has rotted through. That will need some level of repair prior to moving the building. The relocation specialist suggested that it would be best to schedule that work to be done at the time of the actual move when the house is jacked up enough to get under it. There are also several trees that will need to be taken down that rest against the building.

Here’s a 1907 Sanborn insurance map of the area, showing the house at what used to be 22 Artesian Place:

And an ad for Eisele’s business, from the 1890 city directory:

Late Update: Going, going, . . . nope. Still there. Auction is over with no bids.

Photos: City of Houston. Map and Ad: Jim Parsons, GHPA

12 Comment

  • Total trap. The second this gets sold, the house will be surrounded by 50 little white Prius cars, each with city agents, fully and heavily armed with red stickers.
    I almost bought some dumpy places near the 3000 Main st. city licensing/permit office but decided against it for fear the city wouldn’t ever allow me to get them rehabbed (they’d red tag me to death the second I started to fix them up). Shame too, as that’s a nice area bordering midtown/montrose. I have a felling those places will be knocked down due to other investors having a similar fear.
    If the city “preservationist” really want to accomplish their goals, then they need to better work with investors who want to make some of these properties better, rather than jumping all over them before the ink is dry on the closing docs.
    ‘No good deed goes unpunished’ — sometimes the city has good intentions but causes the wrong result.

  • Yea you really have to go thru all the city permits to get started. I have seen people do work on homes after hours or on the weekends though. I wouldn’t encourage it though.

  • “…work to be done at the time of the actual move when the house is jacked up enough to get under it.”

    Brilliant idea! Wasn’t it the Heights that had a jacked-up house fall on a worker a few years ago?

  • It’ll be interesting to see how this plays out. With all the stipulations attached, it’ll take a true preservationist with deep pockets to buy it. It won’t be going to the deer camp that’s for sure.

  • The city wants even more changes: The winning bidder will be required to move the house, and either put it in a historic district or designate it as a protected landmark.


    I hope this doesn’t become the standard for the new “historic” districts.

    “What a dump…” Which is where this “historic” home belongs.

  • The original doors, hardware, mouldings, trim and most windows are gone, and the floors are rotten…the best use of that house would be for it to sacrifice its remaining original siding for a renovation project in the Sixth Ward, and then haul the remainder off to the dump.

  • Check out the auction link above. No bids, no surprise.

  • I love how city supplied .pdfs are so often just scans of printed pages. Look at the bottom of the link (how to move a house). Why can’t the city (and many companies btw) send pdfs that are electronic documents and not simply pictures of text?
    I don’t know why, but that bugs me more than just about anything else :)

  • no one in their right mind would buy this. lead windows, asbestos (looks like tile floor), not to mention all the other issues that have already been noted. what a disaster.

  • It’s depressing to see that little house in the Bing aerial view, ready to be swallowed by a sea of parking lots, overpasses and beat-up Crown Victorias. All its neighbors are gone, the once residential area turned into a decaying urban Houston at its worst. I guess I’m nostalgic for a past I never lived in and wasn’t really all that great without today’s comforts, but oh well. Why didn’t the city ever just tear it down to build a more cohesive tarmac? When/who was the last inhabitant?

  • Rodrigo:

    From what I understand, the city acquired it with the agreement that the house be spared from demolition. I guess it can be moved and demolished though.

  • JR: Interesting, but what would be the consequences if they just put it out of its misery? Would someone bring a lawsuit?