06/02/17 12:45pm

The partially ruined former Jefferson Davis Hospital nurses quarters at 1225 Elder St. — until very recently in the running for a spot on the National Register of Historic Places — was recommended for demolition at last week’s Harris County Commissioner’s Court meeting following a public hearing the day before. The building, tucked west of the elevated freeway tangle where I-45 splits from I-10 near Downtown, would have joined the nextdoor former Jefferson Davis Hospital itself on the historic registry — instead, it looks like the structure will finally meet meet the ‘dozers after its long slow decline, accelerated by damage from a fire in 2013 that lead to last year’s semi-collapse.

Next door, the 4-story hospital structure (built in 1924, and replaced by 1938 with another Jefferson Davis Hospital where the Federal Reserve building now stands on Allen Pkwy.) cycled through various modes of use and disuse until its early 2000’s restoration into the Elder Street Artist Lofts, which serve as low-rent apartments and studios for artsy types. That redevelopment, of course, involved carefully digging around the dozens of unmarked graves turned up on the surrounding land, which beginning in 1840 had served as the second city cemetery (and as the final resting place for a hodgepodge likely including  Confederate soldiers, former slaves, victims of the 1860s yellow fever epidemics, people who died in duels, Masons, and a variety of others). The hospital’s name is still carved above the lofts’ entrance:


First Ward Fire Damage by HFD
05/19/16 10:30am

Mecom Fountain de-restoration, Main at Montrose, Museum District, Houston, 77006

The blue all over the Mecom Fountain on Monday signaled the start of the now-fully-funded work to undo the damage to the 1960s monument caused by the quickly-backtracked application of limestone panels to its exterior earlier this spring. Also on the docket, as the panel damage gets fully repaired: another restoration, this one using architect Eugene Werlin’s original plans (which the fundraising group Friends of the Fountain says it found in a Houston parks department office).

The group says workers are using historically appropriate materials, including Cocoon brand liquid polymer coating (to be layered over the blue primer on the exterior) and Moon Dust plaster (to line the insides of the basins). Here’s a look at parts of the 1964 architectural drawings, which call for Cocoon in the notes:


Drained on Main
12/15/15 10:00am

Deluxe Theater, 3303 Lyons Ave, Fifth Ward, 77020

No fewer than 11 pairs of scissors reached to cut the ribbon in front of Fifth Ward’s DeLuxe Theater at 3303 Lyons Ave. as it formally reopened yesterday. The 1941 movie-theater-briefly-turned-art-gallery, which has sat empty since 1973, will now host plays, classes, and other community and art events put on by Texas Southern University; TSU jazz students performed at the ribbon-cutting ceremony.

The original facade and marquee have been restored and updated:


Now Playing Off 59
03/04/09 3:35pm

COMMENT OF THE DAY: WHAT HAPPENED TO CARTER’S GROVE? “I still go back to Carter’s Grove Apartments as an example of restoration vs. teardown. They were the shame of Garden Oaks and a proven hazard to residents with over 240 municipal court violations resulting in a $100K fine for the owner. Take a drive around North Shepherd at 34th and see what restoration hath wrought with minimal disruption to the area and improvements on utility infrastructure as well as property values. If those ratholes can have a future life as pricey condos, anything is possible.” [Hellsing, commenting on Wilshire Village Fire Hazard Sale: Everyone and Everything Must Go!]

01/29/08 11:15am

Family Room of 403 Westminster Dr., Houston

A reader reports that the Frame House, a fifties-Modern classic tucked off Memorial Dr., is up for sale for a cool $3 million. Designed by Houston architect Harwood Taylor in 1960, this is about as close to a Case Study House as Houston ever got — and it perches just about as close to Buffalo Bayou as you’d ever want a home to get. Its recent restoration from a mid-eighties whitewashing earned the current owner, his architects, and builder a local preservation award.

If you’re a fan of this kind of Modness, the best news of all is that you don’t have to pay to play: An open house is scheduled for the afternoon of Sunday, February 17th. If you’re not a fan, you can visit and imagine how it would all look with crown moulding and a nice, traditional pitched roof.

After the jump, a few more details about the home, plus a demonstration of the real value real estate agents can bring to a fine listing like this.


10/18/07 10:00am

Sunken Play Area at the Frame-Harper House, Houston

Texas Architect magazine features a home that shows what the famous postwar Case Study program of modern steel houses might have looked like if it had landed on bayou banks in Houston instead of L.A. hillsides.

Of course, what was cool in the fifties wasn’t especially appreciated in the eighties. The home’s second owners

removed the terraced landscaping and painted the entire house white, including its darkstained walnut paneling and load-bearing walls of pink Mexican brick. They filled sunken terrazzo soaking bathtubs in children’s and parents’ bathrooms with concrete. They removed the lacy, cast-plaster screens separating the living and dining rooms designed by Gloria Frame’s father, Joseph Klein, and the unusual turquoise St. Charles steel kitchen cabinets with their little shiny stainless steel legs. In the main living areas they covered over a series of recessed light coves in the ceiling depicted in superb photographs by Ezra Stoller, which were published in House & Garden in September 1961. They also replaced the original copper roof flashing with galvanized steel flashing that had rusted to the point of failure by 2004 when the house’s third owner, Dana Harper, persuaded them to sell it.

After the jump, more swank pics from Harper’s expensive restoration of this cool modern home off Memorial Dr.