Daily Demolition Report: Forest Fired

2017 Cortlandt St., Houston Heights

The more things change, the less the old stuff gets to hang around and watch it.



Photo of 2017 Cortlandt St.: HAR

31 Comment

  • Cortland – Ugh

  • Ouch.

  • If you’re wondering why anyone would tear down the bungalow pictured, as it appears to be in good shape… the developer is pre-selling the 1.3mil home they are planning to fill the lot with already:


  • (coffee mug gets thrown across the room, shattering into dozens of pieces)


    2017 Cortlandt will be replaced by this:

    Builder paid $577,500 for a 6600 sq ft lot. Original home was in mint condition. Without the historic districts, all of the Heights would end up like this eventually. For all of its flaws, I am very thankful that we have the historic ordinance. This is just completely insane.

  • 2017 Cortlandt.. another beautiful bungalow eats shit to make way for a 1mm+ lot filler. Bleh.

  • you could rebuild that 2017 cortlandt house for a fraction of the $577k selling price in Katy though. sucks to lose one, but i’m also happy to see a $1MM home being built in Houston and not in the woodlands/exurbs.

  • In case anyone wants to see just how pristine the Courtlandt property was: http://houstonarea.har.com/2017-cortlandt-st/sold_36512383

  • Well that’s disheartening.

  • Very disappointing about the home on Cortland. A shame that someone who could appreciate the beauty of that small home wasn’t able to buy it. And for such a hideous, oversized house to boot! Why do people need so much space inside houses these days? As someone who was lucky to scrape up $100K to buy a home a couple of decades ago, I can’t figure out how most folks can even afford these new $1 million+ houses (which are usually really ugly and jammed onto a too-small lot). Is Houston really so full of (aspiring) millionaires?

  • I live nearby the Cortlandt Bungalow. It was not demoed- it was moved. I actually watched it being hauled away on a truck and spoke to the new owner, who is now in the process of getting it ready to live in at the new lot.

    This section of Cortlandt is getting a huge influx of new construction because it is not in the historic district, but is still close to the main attractions of the Heights. There have been 6 new builds on my block in the past year and a half.

  • This house is an antiquated shithole that’s a slap in the face to the modern city that Houston has become. I’d much rather have more beautiful townhouses than have to drive by this relic every day. Old School, Ian, and others are stuck in the past, and are probably the same people who think we should keep all the post offices open. Not me, though. I am pro-progress, and I support this demolition.

  • I concur that Cortlandt was moved – saw the listing on Craigslist a few months back and would’ve taken it too if my vacant lot was ready. The seller has an incentive to have someone move the house to save on demo costs and make a little money on the side too. It’s nice to see that some people care about saving these old homes!

  • @Jeff, I’m hoping you’re being sarcastic. There’s no such thing as a beautiful townhome in this city, especially most new construction. I guarantee that “antiquated shithole” is built a lot better than anything they’re slapping up these days.

  • Dahak,

    Just curious, what was the Craigslist price on the bungalow?

  • Thank you to the folks who confirmed the house was moved! Why does it still show up on a city permit list of demos? Did they leave an outbuilding or garage?

  • PS — just clicked through link on the house and it sold in December 2012, so I’m curious if it was a rental for a while. I’m doubly impressed the new owners waited so long for it to be moved/didn’t immediately demo.

  • which begs the question, is a historic home still historic if not located on its original historical ground?

  • Jeff = NotCommonsense 2.0?

  • Austin and the Heights have been fubarred, thanks to Jeff.

  • Everything is bigger in Texas. If it’s not, tear it down or move it out of the way damn it so I can mark my territory. Don’t worry neighbors, I am not into complete domination. I’ll soon tire of this place and move in 3 years so that the cretins I have spawned can be safe and with their own kind.

  • Probably makes more sense for Jeff to live in this city than most others here….

  • Why does everyone think old houses were better built? They weren’t. They were built with primitive tools with less structural material. The wood might have been better, but not always. The biggest issue with newer houses is sloppier finishes and modern paint that isn’t as effective as the old lead based paint, which causes the modern paint to wear faster. The new structures are stronger, are fastened together better, and use larger lumber on smaller spacing. Add in the hurricane strapping, and a modern house is likely to last as long, or longer, then the old ones.

    All of that is ignoring the other benefits of a newer house, like better electrical, better insulation, more insulation due to larger studs, bigger and more closets, and spaces for laundry rooms and home offices.

    The reality is that a 1500 sq ft 2 bed 2 bath house doesn’t suit the vast majority of modern lifestyles, hence the desire for new houses in close in neighborhoods.

  • Ross, that’s not at all what its about though. It’s about preserving the character of existing neighborhoods for those that were rich enough to buy in a long time ago. It’s about aesthetics, not standards of livings for the community as a whole.

  • Older homes’ shiplap beats chipboard any day in my book.

  • Re: New construction vs. existing homes: Primitive tools – what like Bronze Age axes? and I can’t help but think of the townhome that got bumped during contruction and had to be redone (recently on Swamplot) to counter the statement that “The new structures are stronger, are fastened together better, and use larger lumber on smaller spacing.” or the ones under construction that partially collapsed in the Heights a while ago during a storm and/or high winds? Square footage, room size / configuration and granite countertops are all just a matter of taste – not quality. I toured a new “luxury” home in my neighborhood and had to suppress a gasp about the bathroom with the crookedly-laid marble tile floor (and someone else noticed a not quite level surface in same bathroom)–that one detail would drive me to go elsewhere if I was buying new because if you cannot get something visible like that right, what is wrong with what is not able to be seen?

  • @Ross

    That’s really overstating things when you are talking Heights bungalows built in the 1920s, 1930s, and 1940s. The tool differences between then and now are primarily time saving. They may have used manual saws instead of power saws, and had to hammer everything by hand, but that would have no impact on the quality of construction. As for plumbing an electrical, the beauty of these pier and beam houses is that it is relatively easy to replace both. My Craftsman bungalow has fully updated wiring and modern plumbing. As for longevity, if they are standing today, they’ve already stood for 75+ years and lasted through every storm during that time.

    My main beef with the new construction is that it overpowers the lot and results in lost privacy for those living nearby. My next-door neighbor built a 4000+ sq ft house on a 5500sq ft lot. That means they can see into my backyard. This was not the case for the bungalow that was there before it. The other next-door neighbor expanded and renovated an existing bungalow into a much more sensible 2,000sq ft house. I far prefer the latter.

  • Even mid centuries were built better than newer construction AND by skilled/trained craftsmen. I have lived in new stucco era, mid century and old. Never had issues with the pre-stucco era homes. Post stucco era homes had issues due to builder cutting corners with cheap shit material or a foreman not paying attention to the muppets doing the work. Bottom line the new shit sux in so many ways!

  • Considering a well maintained bungalow can sell for up to $500k with half the square footage of a townhome, comparing it to a cheaply built $400k townhome with twice the footage isn’t really an economic comparison actual buyers can afford to perform. While they may exist, I have yet to see a $700k+ townhome that isn’t soundly built and very well detailed/finished on the inside.
    Wasn’t the heights pretty upper class for it’s time? It’s not really fair to compare economically constrained tract townhouses with early century craft homes. It’s just that most buyers can only afford to prioritize square footage over craftsmanship these days.

  • I am the homeowner that purchased this home and moved it. As others have commented, it is a pristine home that was worthy to be saved. This was my contractors first time helping move a home, he usually builds them from the ground up, and he confirmed the quality of the home over most modern builds. The electrical and plumbing will be brought up to code. It’s a shame what Squarestone is building on that lot, but Cortlandt’s loss is my gain! Cheers to those that appreciate the preservation of Heights Bungalows!

  • @matx, all of the structures that failed in storms or by impact while under construction did not have the sheathing installed. Any of the vaunted Heights houses would fail in a similar manner under similar circumstances. The framing, without shiplap, or OSB, or plywood attached has very little shear strength. Diagonal braces, which I’ve seen in a number of places, have a tenth of the resistance to shear as plywood sheathing.

  • I agree with Ross. I live in a 90 year old bungalow and so it goes without saying that I’ve had to get under, on and in every part. I love bungalows but newer construction codes and foundation designs win out. The problem I see is water penetration due to poor exterior materials in a lot of the crap being built. The finishes are junk as well.