Work is underway to turn the 2-story brick house Kaye Marvins Photography occupied for 70 years into a new location of Memorial Tailors, currently a 2-spot chain with shops in Cypress and the Village Plaza at Bunker Hill shopping center. The photo at top shows all the doors and windows torn out of the 1920s-era former photo building as part of the renovations that the builder Ecological Living is overseeing. Also vanished: the long green awning that once extended out from the front door to the curb on the east side of Montrose Blvd.
Here it is from across the street:
The founding couple behind the studio, Kaye and Sonia Marvins, cut their teeth working at a different shop on South Main at Isabella St. called Bachrach’s Photography when they first moved to Houston in 1935, according to a farewell piece Joe Holley wrote for the Chronicle shortly before Kaye Marvins shuttered. After some time spent in Houston’s shipyards during the war, Kaye moved his family into the upstairs of 4401 Montrose Blvd. and, along with Sonia, opened up a studio on the ground floor.
Tucked back on the fifth-of-an-acre lot was a garage apartment too that’s still there:
The studio’s history piled up in negatives, 250,000 of which had accumulated by the time its second-gen owners Mike and Buz decided to retire in 2016, wrote Holley. Those pictured included all sorts of Houston’s 20th-century stars in business, social life, and other local spheres.
Transwestern got to work marketing the building for lease shortly after the Marvins-es left.
- Houston family closing photo studio after 70 years of chronicling city [Houston Chronicle ($)]