Last week east ender Dana Jennings took photos of a small 1920 brick bungalow on Harrisburg near Caylor — next to a pipe yard, railroad tracks, a boarding house . . . and on its west side, the El Torito Lounge:
Some would say good riddance to El Torito. But I liked the painted sign out front with the flagrantly sexual old Bull leering and leaning on his pool cue. I’m going to miss him. He was a waymarker, a placeholder, a sign that oriented me in my travels. “Oh, there’s the bull on the purple bar….I’m on Harrisburg near the tracks, almost home.” That sort of thing. But the streetscape needs the light rail, so this loss is semi rather than bitter sweet.
Losing the bungalow to the backhoe’s claw is more painful.
I can only imagine who built it. A prosperous retailer, a lawyer, an oil man.?
What was life like along Harrisburg before its voids were filled with burglar bars?
What did a young man wear when he bounced up the steps to come calling on the daughter?
What flavor of pie did Mom serve Dad as he stretched out on the brick wall of the porch, trying to keep cool on a humid night?
Earlier, Jennings noted the El Torito’s architectural bona fides:
I like how the bar owner designed his El Torito sign to mimic the arched cast stone columns of the bungalow next door. . . .
If you’re going to put a bar next door to a bungalow with zero lot line and play pool and acordian music all night long, the least you can do is coordinate the architectural details.
- Now You See Them and El Torito Lounge [The Next San Miguel de Allende]
- Previously on Swamplot: Daily Demolition Report: El Torito, Southeast Side: A Tour of the Houston Heartland
Photos: Dana Jennings