11/23/11 11:25am

A reader who happened upon an outing of Blink stations at Memorial Park sends in this photo evidence that the commercial electric-vehicle chargers are multiplying. Two Blink stations at the nearby Houston Arboretum had been installed by the September 8th rollout of a city-wide drive-electric program. A total of 200 Blink-brand stations are being installed in the Houston area.

Photo: Swamplot inbox

10/31/11 12:05pm

The original greenhouse in Memorial Park — birthplace of thousands of plants sent regularly to city properties around town — lasted from 1946 until 3 years ago, though it was in bad shape even before Hurricane Ike blew away the makeshift plastic put in place of some missing windows. The new greenhouse — designed by local landscape architecture firm Clark Condon Associates, opened officially late last week, and paid for in part with federal hurricane-recovery funds — measures 8,600 sq. ft. and includes a cistern and automated watering and shading systems. A separate headhouse was also renovated as part of the project, and a brand-new prefab restroom set up nearby.

Photo: KUHF News

09/01/11 1:29pm

HOUSTON TREE MASSACRE BODY COUNT For full effect, Trees for Houston executive director Barry Ward counts the number of local trees expected to die and be removed over the next 2 years because of the recent drought: 66 million. (Okay, but how many of them will we get to carve up for mermaid and doggie sculptures?) That’s 10 percent of the greater Houston area’s branch-bearing population right there. At Memorial Park, 400 of approximately 1,000 close-to-dead trees have already been removed. More fun urban deforesting facts: Already, more trees have been destroyed by the drought than by Hurricane Ike. [Culturemap; watering hints] Photo: Houston Tomorrow

03/22/10 1:19pm

HAZARDS OF THE WEST LOOP Except for a memorable afternoon of standstill traffic — and the maybe 1,500 gallons of gasoline that made their way through storm sewers to Galveston Bay — no major disaster resulted from that tanker spill 2 Fridays ago on Bellaire Blvd. below the West Loop. That’s better than the last time: “[L]ongtime residents of the area remember an incident in May 1976 when a truck carrying anhydrous ammonia slammed into a bridge railing on the connector from the West Loop to the southbound Southwest Freeway and fell onto the freeway below. Of those within 1,000 feet of the spill, six people died, 78 suffered serious injuries and 100 more were treated for their exposure. That tragedy played out only about a mile from the site of Friday’s accident. Thirty-four years after that terrible day, nothing has changed. The poorly engineered West Loop, as it approaches the 59, is one of the worst sites for accidents in the U.S. — yet it is also designated pathway for some of the most hazardous cargo in the world. More is transported on the vulnerable tracks that run through southwest Houston, divide West University and Bellaire, skirt along Afton Oaks, River Oaks and Memorial Park.” [West University Examiner]

08/12/09 6:18pm

And now, a view of the scene at the former Westcott Bar by the entrance to Memorial Park, where Swamplot’s Rice Military correspondent is ready at the camera. The address: 6603 Westcott, at the corner of Durford.

That banner at the front is announcing a new location for the Onion Creek Coffee House.

Two more views:


06/25/08 10:07am

Some residents of Glen Cove St. have been encroaching on the Hogg Bird Sanctuary with their lawnmowers and destroying the birds’ habitat, complains an area resident. The sanctuary is nominally a part of Memorial Park, but is adjacent to Bayou Bend, the former Ima Hogg estate.

Abc13’s Miya Shay comments:

there are about a dozen homes whose own lawn shares a border line with the sanctuary. One of the women who actually lives there is complaining her some of her neighbors are mowing the grass, and putting up a hammock in what is technically city property. Instead of respecting land deeded by the Hogg Foundation, the neighbors are using the land as their own property.. for free.. forget the birds. As you can imagine, some folks are not so happy about it.. and demanding that the Parks department do a little more than just send angry letters and putting up “do not mow” signs….

Shay reports that City Council wants to get to the bottom of it . . . and maybe store some construction equipment in the sanctuary too!

03/19/08 4:14pm

3740 Willowick Dr. in River Oaks by Architect John Staub

This time, the folks selling the home at 3740 Willowick in River Oaks are really going all out.

Maybe last November they hoped that the release of Stephen Fox’s The Country Houses of John F. Staub would unleash a new era of interest in the Houston architect — and result in a recordbreaking price for the 1955 Staub-designed ranch-like mansion backing up to Buffalo Bayou, across from Memorial Park.

The book did fine, but Staubmania never really took off. Now, almost five months later, the sellers can’t harbor any illusions.

This time, the John Staub marketing machine kicks into full gear:


12/13/07 10:10am

3840 Willowick Rd., River Oaks, Houston

Here’s the problem with these sleek houses on full-acre lots in River Oaks: They’re selling for too damn cheap! The gorgeous land at the southern boundary of Memorial Park fronting Buffalo Bayou at 3840 Willowick — hogged by this eighties-modern home designed by New York architects Stonehill and Taylor — got swept up for between $45 and $57 a square foot at the end of August.

At that price, wouldn’t your head be spinning with the themed-towering-mansion possibilities? Bring on the demo and stucco crews!

Well, the stucco and foam cornice pieces will probably take a while, but the big machines with the giant claws are on their way, according to this morning’s demolition report.

Photos, plans, and details of the house-that-got-in-the-way — including some fine examples of how to distract from a River Oaks land sale — after the jump:


04/18/07 10:24am

If, for some reason, buyers are still interested in new inner-loop townhomes perched on former industrial sites a few years from now, Mir Azizi will be well situated. The townhome and Herrin Lofts developer is the proud new owner of a now apparently doomed 279,400-square-foot warehouse in the industrial area north of Memorial Park, just west of the occasionally lapping waters of White Oak Bayou.

“He’s thinking perhaps it will be a future town home development, but isn’t deciding right now,” the listing broker told GlobeSt.com.