A Montrose Mary’s Memorial, Maybe

At a Neartown meeting two days ago, Kirk Baxter presented these two drawings for a Mary’s memorial, according to a HAIF poster, celebrating the 30-year heyday of the Westheimer bar for Montrose’s gay community. Some 300 memorial services were held here over the years. Mary’s was closed in 2009; the building where it sat since the early ’70s opened this weekend as the coffee shop Blacksmith.

The drawings show a kind of replica Mary’s installed near Waugh and Hyde Park; two of Mary’s original doors — donated to the project by Blacksmith owner Bobby Heugel — would sit underneath tiles reclaimed from the original roof.

Nothing about the memorial has been approved or decided yet, says the HAIF poster. During the meeting several other potential locations were brought up: a spot behind the original building the regulars called the Out Back, and across the street, facing the building, in front of Half Price Books.

Photos: HAIF user trymahjong

23 Comment

  • um, how about, no….

  • What a great idea! I propose it include a memorial for Blanco’s as well. After all, rednecks have been hooking up there for 30 years too.

  • Let’s have memorials put up for every house that gets demolished.

  • Um, how about YES! Something thoughtful, to remind people of Montrose’s colorful and textured history – much of which has already met the wrecking ball.

  • I’m gay, and even I think a memorial for a gay bar is a bit over-the-top……….and I used to go there………..occasionally.

  • after living in the trose for 7 years i don’t even know what Blanco’s is or where it’s at. Mary’s was an instution though, even for those of us who never stepped foot in there. besides, it’s obviously not just about inhabiting an area, it’s what you contribute to it.

    waugh/hyde park looks like the best location, but they gotta work on the design before they put up that montrosity.

  • Memorials and belly rubs for everyone ON THE HOUSE!!!!!!

  • What a good idea, a little reminder for the character of the area years past.

    Hope those doors are built to last!

  • I see it looks like there are names there in the rendering-is this actually meant to be a memorial with the names of people who were buried there and more for those people than the place itself? Just wondering, based on the comments about those burials here yesterday.

  • You moved the cemetery, but you left the bodies, you only moved the headstones!

  • The memorial wouldn’t be for the bar itself, but for the hundreds of people who died from AIDS in the 80s/90s who’s ashes were scattered in the garden of the patio area. I think it’s a wonderful idea.

  • it’s pretty simple. If you don’t believe in this memorial, don’t frequent it or the business itself. You won’t be missed.

  • Thanks Januari that’s what I thought, but that isn’t clear in the article above. Makes a difference.

  • Yes, this really needs to happen. I lived through the epidemic and know how it decimated Montrose. It was an end of an era, regardless of what you think of Mary’s. And why shouldn’t there be a memorial to remind people of a tragic time in history, as well as a place that provide comfort to people who’s families had discarded them due to their sexuality and disease. Only people who didn’t live through this would question the need.

  • Yeah, complaining that this is a bad idea just shows how ignorant people are of the AIDS epidemic era in Houston and really just proves a need for the memorial since people obviously don’t remember. Maybe if Blanco’s regulars had to watch each other die month after month, turning the bar into, essentially an endless Irish funeral, then I’d see the equivalence. There were a lot of ashes scattered in the back. Well, maybe Blanco’s also hid some human remains, but I don’t think it was open long enough to rack up that large of a body count.

  • I think this is a great idea!!!!

  • Certainly seems like there should be a Historical marker, with details, in front on city property.

  • Mary’s was gross, but also a kind of sacred space. I’m glad the current owner kept a few pieces to make a memorial. Too much of Houston’s history is just destroyed. Even in these comments, there is no respect for an entire era when AIDS swept through Montrose, and those ashes ended up at Mary’s.

  • Have to say I was not for it until I read the comments. Memorial for the bar? No. Memorial for the dead who are interred at the former bar site? Yes.

  • I agree with the comments regarding the memorial. It is a testiment to the hayday of the Houston gay community and a tribute for those that have gone before us that have had their ashes spread in the “out back”! I used to live in Houston and spent many weekend evenings partying at Mary’s.

  • Yeah, I think a memorial would be good… though I worry about folks breaking the doors. Mary’s was a Montrose institution and those mocking its significance only highlights the need for something like this.

  • What caused marys to close in the first place?

  • “What caused marys to close in the first place?”

    HIV/AIDS started it, combined with the Houston downturn in the 80s happening at the same time. Times changed more with the internet, the gay community moving out of Montrose for the most part, and bars in general no longer being the center of gay culture. Mary’s was also isolated from the remaining bars after Westhiemer became more of a hetro 20 something locale. I think the Houston Gay Archives has a piece of the top of the bar that had patron’s pictures from the 70s attached. TxRailFan, Mary’s wasn’t just a bar to the people who frequented it, it was the center of a community. During that period, the bars were the ONLY semi-safe place for gay people to meet. That may not be significant to you, but to the individuals in the community, it was home.