COMMENT OF THE DAY: WHAT HAPPENS WHEN HOUSTON KEEPS ITS HISTORICAL RELATIONSHIPS STRICTLY PROFESSIONAL “Houston is a city of practical and economical people. Emotion does not drive the focus of our communities like San Francisco or New Orleans. If it is economical to refurbish an old establishment for modern luxury, Houston will do it. If neighborhoods neglect their historic landmarks for 20 to 30 years and have the institutions fall into disrepair, they will cost the tax payers in a time where our budget is upside down.” [Mr.Clean19, commenting on Until We Forget the Alamo Wasn’t Always Just a Tex-Mex Chain] Photo of melted Witch’s Hat, since restored: Claude B. Anello
It is amazing the mental gymnastics that are necessary to form arguments against preserving a few scraps of lovely historic buildings in a city that has piles of empty land ready for redevelopment. “Neighborhoods neglect their historic landmarks”? So, now it is my fault that a building down the street from me falls into disrepair? Last I checked, Houston has not succumbed to the communists. If I went down the street with a hammer and nails and a bucket of paint to try to do my civic duty, I could be arrested for trespassing.
And the idea that Houstonians are “economical” in the redevelopment (i.e. demolition) of historic properties is also laughable. In just about every single instance, the cost to resort an existing historic property to have all the modern luxuries is about half the cost of knocking it down and filling the lot with gratuitous square footage. Houstonians are not flushing history down the drain because they are shrewd adherents to miserly Dave Ramsey-esque budgeting. Houstonians are knocking down historic buildings because they are addicted to excess and want to show off their money (or money they hope to have) with giant status symbol houses.
@ Old School : Touche !
No, @OldSchool, it’s not a desire to show off wealth or live life to excess that drives people to build larger houses. It’s the fact that it is really difficult for a family of 4 to live in a 2 or 3 bedroom, one bathroom, 1400 square foot house with minimal closets and a small kitchen.
Those original Heights houses you love so much suck for modern life if you need a place to put the computer, have more than one kid, want room to have visitors stay with you, have more than 5 days of clothes, want to play a musical instrument, want to have your laundry appliances in a convenient location inside the house, etc.
I don’t live in the Heights, but we do live in an early 50’s 1400 sq ft house nearby. If we had more than kid, we would have to add on or move. Our closets are not as small as in an original Heights house, but are still small. Our washer and dryer are on the back porch, since there’s no room for them in the house. We never have guests that stay, because we have no room for them. We choose to live with the limitations because we are frugal, but would never want to force that choice on others.
And that’s ignoring the fact that since you don’t own your neighbor’s property, you shouldn’t have any say at all about what their house looks like in a neighborhood that does not have deed restrictions. The folks who pushed for the historic districts couldn’t stand the fact that their neighbors did not want deed restrictions, so went crying to the City to “save” them. And the outcome is the horrifically ugly hump houses, instead of great designs that integrate the additions into the older styles in an aesthetically pleasing manner.