The End for the Historic Heights Schauer Filling Station?

Despite its spot on National Register of Historic Places, the 1929 Schauer Filling Station doesn’t seem to be much longer for this world — nor the equally old, if not equally historic homes on the property at the corner of Oxford and 14th St. in the Heights. At least that’s what a few readers have been hearing: “All of the folks that were living in these houses,” writes one, “have been moved out (I think they were relatives of the previous owners) and the neighborhood chatter is that the new owners will be leveling everything on the property.”

Besides the filling station, that would include the 676-sq.-ft. house at 1408 Oxford that dates to 1899, and the 1,104-sq.-ft. blue bungalow, also dating to 1929, visible in the photo above that was taken earlier this June. County records do show that the properties at 1404 and 1408 Oxford had been owned recently by one Hazel C. Schauer.


Another reader sends these photos of the station this week being salvaged (though not by those children, presumably).

And what might be replacing all this history? One reader suspects that the new owners will be building a home for themselves.

Photos: Swamplot inbox

36 Comment

  • The new owners will be hated by some, envied by others. Too bad those older structures couldn’t stay, but let’s pray that what’s going to be thrown up on their graves will be reasonable and equally long-lived.

  • people forget everything with time. heights doesn’t need random, puzzling commercial buildings in the middle of the neighborhood AT ALL. some day, the people that own the chicken factor on 12th/rutland will go away, and someone will care. and i will laugh.

  • oh man! That’s just down the street from me.. I was wanting to open an outdoor coffee/ice cream shop there but last I looked (when it was publicly advertised) those 3 houses were for sale together for some crazy stupid amount of money. Nothing a coffee/ice cream shop could pay for. Plus that place had no bathroom facilities and surely would need a complete overhaul of utilities to make it regulation compliant.. Anyway.. I’m sure a mcMansion “heights” style will be great there.. *shrug*

  • Ah Houston’s version of preservation—we preserve the right of the developer to tear down anything they please–priceless

  • You barely got this post up in time — drove by on my way home 45 minutes ago, and the station had already been demoed.

  • It is a shame that the old fllling station was demolished. Disagree 100% with HTS REZ on this. The odd, old commercial buildings help to differentiate neighborhoods like the Heights from the otherwise undifferentiated subdivisions of suburbia. Would have loved to see an ice cream shop there.
    Fortunately, these properties are deed restricted, which should help to minimize the potential for even greater damage.

  • Mies, are you saying that someone should have risked a bunch of their money, just in case there’s demand for an ice cream shop in the middle of a neighborhood? Given the value of land there, that’s not going to happen.

    Shannon, why do you think it’s OK to minimize the property owners return on investment to maximize your pleasure?

  • Actually Shannon, it’s more like: In Houston owners of property actually get to do with them as THEY please, rather than having a bunch of busy body neighbors and crooked politicians decide what is best for THEIR property.

    Property Rights. What a concept.

  • Everything isn’t about the almighty dollar Ross, some of us care about other things more –like preservation of the past for future generations–an antiquated idea in this age of greed I realize, Ross, but there it is

  • It’s a shame and there are many such properties being razed for development. Here in Bethesda MD, almost all gas stations have been shut to be redeveloped into highrises.

  • Rise, Ashby, Rise!

  • @Shannon, the problem is that you want to do that preservation on the backs of property owners by insisting they should accept far less for their investment than the true value. You are, effectively, willing to steal from them to satisfy your aesthetic views.

    I am not against preservation, and support those who want to preserve their own property. I do not support using the police power of the City to force property owners to minimize the value of their property against their will

  • Everything isn’t about the almighty dollar Ross, some of us care about other things more

    But apparently you didn’t care enough about this property to spend your money saving it. Maybe you do care about money when it’s yours, you just don’t care about other people’s money.

  • I’m curious. has this gas station already been torn down? If not why couldn’t the City of Houston move the building to Sam Houston Park. I don’t think they have any structures like that down there and since it does fit in with Houston oil history it might be a nice addition. Then everyone would be happy.

  • Yes,yes Ross. Everyone gets to do WHATEVER they want with their stuff, right? Anything. After all, it is THEIRS!!!

  • I hated to see this one go. Figure someone would save it for it was part of the Heights history. Neighbor was talking about house being moved, well it was mind on Algregg and sad to say it was to a developer. But I still live in the Heights where I was brought up. Times are changing all around the Heights but how the developers getting away tearing down all these old buildings. Heights Association needs to get as many as possible listed on the National Registry or pretty soon, we will be look like West University.

  • @Mike, do you have a problem with that? You have no interest at all in what I do with my property. None. It’s not yours, you put nothing in to it’s construction and maintenance. As long as I follow any applicable deed restrictions that I voluntarily agreed to, why would you even care what I do with my property, as long as my activities stay on my property?

    If you want me to agree to restrictions after I buy the property, come talk to me. I might be amenable. But I am totally opposed to the concept of getting 50% +1 of the affected owners in an area to agree to something I oppose, then force me to comply. That’s why the historic districts are completely stupid and oppressive. I would not be opposed to them as strongly if there was a grandfather clause for current owners.

  • I love the pure faith in the notion of property rights. With a few small, quirky exceptions, I have never felt that I owned anything except at the sufferance of others. Maybe this is related to the almost-forgotten ambiguity of living under a government that “permits protest” but has an arsenal of hydrogen bombs.
    It is not hard to think of people who have lost everything, in living memory, in varied parts of the world. Where were their magic property rights, I wonder?

  • The greedy developers currently ruining the neighborhood are literally banking on the fact that most of us will keep the neighborhood nice and quaint for them. Yuck.

  • Yes, it was a sad day. I’ll have a hard time driving down 14th street from no on. I shed a few tears seeing in knocked down. To the lady who suggested it be moved to the park – it was offered but no takers.

    Grandpa’s dad owned the property and grandpa Fred Schauer began running the station when he was a kid (before he was 16 I think). I remember when he got his 50 years Gulf pin. He ran the station from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. six days a week. But then Gulf stopped delivering to independents who couldn’t support giant tankers and giant loads of gas. That was the beginning of the end. My uncle ran it with some generic gas for a few years after that but the gas market had irrevocably changed.

    That station has been closed for many years now and despite the quaint ideas how it might be used (I’ve had a few myself), the business realities today are different. (Just ask the Mam’s ladies what renovations are required for a permanent location for a snowcone shop and you’ll soon understand.)

    Both Fred and Hazel have been gone for many years now and the property passed on. This isn’t about greedy real estate developers just realities. Property values soar, taxes soar, maintenance soars, and land use changes. People don’t buy an expensive piece of land to live in a 1100 sf house. The two small adjoining houses will be demolished as well and I’m sure I’ll morbidly drive over to see.

    I’m sure the new owners will build a lovely home, and I sincerely hope they’re happy there.

  • @Twyla – Very well said. I wish you and your family the very best.

  • It wasn’t Pennsylvania Station, but it had a lovely massing, and it stood out so much because of it’s off grid orientation. I’m sorry it’s gone. There was a simple stark beauty in that little building, and I hope whatever replaces it can also bring beauty to the neighborhood.

  • It is pretty entertaining to sit here and read some of y’alls high minded drivel regarding property rights, real estate finance, highest and best use, yada yada yada… maybe you don’t realize that the real estate “business” is just about the biggest scam in the history of humankind.

    Sure, you own it. (Makes me wonder what other crap your mind thinks up…)

  • Houston’s parking ordinance made any commercial redevelopment of this property impossible. It could have been the cutest ice cream shop or coffee house in all of Houston. Thus all the crowing about “big gubment gonna take ya propity” against historic preservation is really moot. Until the City makes real and meaningful changes to the parking lot ordinance, the idea of a cute little corner neighborhood ice cream shop is nothing more than a dream for a time that is gone in Houston.

  • More charming replace by mediocre or downright ugly. That’s what Houston has become.

  • It’s a good thing the city could do something about the old Reagan High School right across the street, or some of these cynics might have just torn the thing down and called it a day. It probably made the tiniest amount of sense to save it, restore it, and expand it, but the pennypinchers would probably have dismissed any notion of restoring the auditorium to its former glory, among other nice touches. It’s a good example of the kind of preservation that is possible, and why government is empowered to do things the private investor maybe is not.

    I just got back from a little trip to Chicago. Amazing. I’m gonna be bummed driving around and looking at Houston for the next few weeks.

  • Wouldn’t it be nice if the comments on posts like this were a little less predictable.

  • #24: That is unfortunate if true, though I prefer a gas station with an icee machine to a sundae shoppe any day, and I’m sorry to hear that the gas supplier wouldn’t or couldn’t deliver to such a small place anymore. I guess that’s why my favorite little mission-style gas stations are usually abandoned.
    But re the parking ordinance: yes, if only to shrink the parking lots of larger developments. I know of a “Garden Ridge Pottery” where you could land a 727. It radiates heat like the Anvil of the Sun, when there are a total of five people inside buying artificial Christmas trees in July.

  • Exactly what good is it to be on the National Record of Historic Places? I thought that designation afforded another layer of protection over local designation.

  • I believe this already expensive lot also required soil remediation to open an Ice Cream Parlor there. (I believe this is the lot a friend or mine was trying to buy for that very purpose but discovered the old tanks are still buried there) I could be wrong, but I’m pretty sure this is the site.

  • @Anse it’s all well and good about Reagan, but what about the other schools that were just bonded to be torn down and replaced? Austin HS as one of them, which is just as old as Reagan, and just as nice to look at.

  • @toasty, I’ve heard that the biggest reason the district poured so much money into Reagan is all the complaints they got from Heights residents about the school falling into disrepair. The Heights was already a quickly gentrifying neighborhood when that restoration was begun. Perhaps what we have is a case of upper class white people getting the ear of the powers that be while our immigrant communities are ignored. Or, maybe Austin High was too far gone, I don’t know.

  • It’s YOUR property….until you die, then it’s everyone else’s problem.

  • Funny, I thought Houston’s upper class white people lived in River Oaks.

    I’m old enough to remember when the heights area was middle class.

    Then it became lower class.

    Now, it might be upper, but it’s upper middle.

    Lots of nice folks live there. I have some friends that live there, on Cortlandt. But they would never call themselves upper class.

  • If it is your own property, then it is your right to do what you want yo do with it within homeowner’s association requirements. Seems to me that historical neighborhoods should try to create some kind of neighborhood restrictions, similar to property owner’s restrictions, that protect historic properties. I live in a neighborhood that restricts our subdividing our large lots into smaller ones. We have almost an acre in west Memorial which could easily be divided into two lots/houses if if were not for our restrictions. Cannot the Historic Heights band together to protect their neighborhood from demolition of historic buildings? Otherwise any property that is sold can be demolished at the discretion of the new owner.

  • Too bad!! I love all the old houses in the Heights–grew up mainly in the Heights. We lived at 13th & Arlington for yrs–across the street from Reagan. I remember this building. I hope if the new owners are going to tear it down they at least use any salvageable wood in the new structure.