03/03/14 4:30pm



Just add performer (or pastor) and this former church building with studio-friendly sound and light system will be ready to roll. Or rock. The 1985 property on a residential street is set within Depenbrook Allen, a Near Northside neighborhood located off Quitman St. near I-45. Re-listed last week, the former home of Ministerio Zoe Vida now has a new asking price of $169,900. Previous price points ranged from $245,000 (at its initial listing in May 2013) to the $175K it had reached by December, when it went on a quick winter break.


Take a Seat
05/20/13 11:00am

This rendering shows one of 4 charitable duplexes planned to go up in Meyerland that will be set aside for single-mother families. Construction began late last week on property that’s owned St. John’s Presbyterian Church at 5020 W. Bellfort Ave., between Willowbend and S. Post Oak Blvd., just outside the Loop. One of the 8 units will also be home to an on-site caseworker.


03/19/13 4:30pm

UNMARKED GRAVES UNCOVERED IN DICKINSON AFRICAN-AMERICAN CEMETERY Over the weekend, volunteers clearing brush and whacking weeds at the Magnolia Cemetery, the African-American cemetery between League City and Dickinson near FM 646 and Highway 3, found hundreds of unmarked graves that date back before the Emancipation Proclamation. Now, reports abc13’s Erik Barajas, the Galveston County Historical Commission is working to identify the graves as the cemetery seeks state designation and protection as a historic site: Pastor William H. King III of Greater New Hope Missionary Baptist Church, behind which sits Magnolia Cemetery, tells Barajas: “‘There are slaves buried here. There are people from World War I, World War II, school teachers, people who worked in the community. . . . We want to make sure.'” [abc13] Photo: USGenWeb

08/23/12 2:02pm

Friday is the official groundbreaking ceremony for the Fourth Ward’s new Bethel Church Park — though an eagle-eyed Swamplot reader noted workers from contractor JE Dunn getting a jump on things at the site of the former Bethel Missionary Baptist Church at Andrews St. and Crosby earlier this month. The Freedman’s Town church in the shadows of Downtown, portions of which date from 1923, was largely destroyed by fire in January 2005 after several years of sitting vacant. Its shored-up walls have stood mostly undisturbed since then.


03/19/12 11:26pm

COMMENT OF THE DAY: AT THE EDGE OF EXEMPTION “Churches and private education getting a pass on property taxes is just wrong wrong wrong. it opens up too many loopholes. things become clouded, like when 2nd baptist buys the adjacent shopping center. they own it, they operate a portion of it for church activities, does that take the entire property off the tax roles? That’s easily a $20MM property now not part of COH taxes, and yet using an unusually high pro-rata portion of traffic control, road maintenance since the remaining businesses there are high traffic. another example — i want to buy a piece of real estate. i start a ‘church’ and then buy it. i now have a free hold on a piece of dirt forever, don’t I? . . . private schools and universities are no different. st agnes now has taken a 4 corners hard corner off the tax roll @ bellaire/fondren so they can have athletic fields, and theoretically could continue to take in the same manner forever. who is to say a board member there wouldn’t buy/BTS a building for them, then pass on the effective tax savings through a long-term cheap rent deal??? HBU – same thing. the list goes on and on.” [HTX REZ, commenting on There Was a Church, and There Went the Steeple]

12/08/11 9:19pm

COMMENT OF THE DAY: APPLE’S CRYSTAL CATHEDRAL “Also, does anyone else think that the design looks more than a little like a protestant church, with the vaulted roof, minimal design, and the identical tables setup in rows looking like pews?” [JL, commenting on Comment of the Day: Apple Store Symbolism]

11/11/11 5:13pm

Montrose preschool Kipling Street Academy has purchased a 1-acre lot at the corner of Shepherd Dr. and Blossom, where it plans to open a “sister school” to its main (and recently expanded) tiny-tot campus at the corner of Kipling and Mulberry. The 600 Shepherd Dr. address in Magnolia Grove belongs to the former Shepherd Drive Methodist Church; the 1955 church building on the site is currently home to Center Street Ministries. An email sent to parents of Kipling kids indicates that construction on its new facility across the street from the Kicks indoor-soccer complex will begin early next year, and that the new school is scheduled to open next fall — but doesn’t specify whether or how much of the existing buildings on the lot will be retained.

Photos: Swamplot inbox

09/26/11 11:05am

And now another Swamplot reader sends in this curious photo from this morning, showing the collapsed box formerly known as the Central Presbyterian Church on Richmond Ave. between Cummins and Timmons — and demonstrating to those of you who might have worried that the collapse of the 1962 building’s modern steeple could pose some threat to Richmond Ave. traffic that there was never anything to worry about. Everyone is safe. The congregation has decamped for the St. Philip Presbyterian Church just outside the Loop on San Felipe; the land is being cleared for apartments; the giant cross is at rest.

Photo: Eric Nordstrom

09/23/11 6:19pm

Reader Brian Thorp sends in a couple of photos documenting the final hours of what he’s now labeled the “holiest” church in Houston — it was, at least for a time today. The Central Presbyterian Church at 3788 Richmond Ave. was designed in 1962 by Astrodome architects Wilson, Crain, Morris and Anderson; it sits on the site where the Morgan Group is ready to build a new apartment complex. By 9 am this morning (above), the church had developed a few punctures in its side. By noon, much of the dust, and a good portion of the church’s walls, had cleared:


09/06/11 9:39am

Construction fencing has already gone up around the Central Presbyterian Church at 3788 Richmond near Greenway Plaza, a reader reports. The Modern church campus was designed in 1962 by Wilson, Morris, Crain and Anderson — just a few years before the same local architecture firm set to work on a small project called the Astrodome. Two years ago the congregation moved a couple miles northwest to merge with the St. Philip Presbyterian Church, just outside the Loop on San Felipe. Houston Mod fans have been trying to save the vacant church from demolition ever since.

But the church buildings won’t be sticking around for long.


08/19/11 5:33pm

Inspired, perhaps, by Andrea Grover’s transformation of a former church just down the street into the Aurora Picture Show microcinema (it’s now called 14 Pews), the sellers of the 1960 vintage Community Gospel Church at 608 Aurora St. have now taken to the residential real estate market to unload their 8,190-sq.-ft. building on a 17,880-sq.-ft. Sunset Heights corner lot. Yes, says the listing, this unique property could be converted to a “1-of-a-kind magnificent show home,” or several single-story condos, or — and we quote — “just use land if you have no imagination.” (Bravo!) Among the itemized suggestions for the 80-ft.-by-42-ft. sanctuary, which seats 275 devout worshippers: “fabulous” media or game room; quarters or (very large) mother-in-law apartment; “party room,” or — yes — personal bowling alley. Here it is:


02/04/10 11:13am

Private security guards were stationed outside the premises of the St. Agnes Missionary Baptist Church south of the Loop yesterday, and an attorney for the bank that owns the property confirms to Fox 26 reporter Isiah Carey that the church has closed. The guards were originally under orders from Herring Bank not to allow anyone to enter or remove any furniture or equipment from the church building off Scott St. near Sims Bayou. However, bank attorney Dwight Jefferson told Carey late last night that

church workers have been given approval by the bank to remove certain personal items and belongings from the building. Just to make sure that’s all they take security guards outside the building are also video taping all activities.

What’s all the fuss?