We Have a Winner! 1872 Parking Lot Freeway House To Be Moved and Restored

The future looked a bit dire last week for the strange, dilapidated bungalow hiding in the back of a parking lot of the old HPD HQ building, just across the Gulf Freeway from the Downtown Aquarium. A 10-day online auction for the city-owned building ended with no bids. And the requirements of the bidder looked a little steep: partial demolition, repairs, a move, and restoration.

But a second one-day-only last-chance auction produced — surprise! — an actual bidder at the initial $1,000 asking price. Lucky winner Kirby Mears says he’s representing an “out-of-town client” who plans to restore the 1872 home to its original condition. “She’s very excited,” he tells Swamplot. But he says the former residence of Sixth Ward carpenter and contractor Gottlieb Eisele — last used as an office for the HPD’s old Explorer program — is in bad shape: “It will be a major restoration, and in the end have a new roof which will match the original in design, slope, and eave details.” It’ll also have a new home:


Plans are to move the house to an available lot on the bricked portion of Sabine St., just north of Lubbock in the Old Sixth Ward historic district. Visitor parking will likely be a little less convenient in the new location, but at least the home won’t have to travel too far. Mears says his firm, Murphy Mears Architects, will work on the project. He says his client had found out about the house months ago, and that he had initially hoped the city would help pay moving costs — “because the Police Department needed the land, and the City routinely pays to move houses.” But the house was sold as surplus property, and his client will have to meet the requirements stated in the public auction.

Photos: City of Houston

10 Comment

  • Original condition? My money is on the roof line having the original “design, slope, and eave details” but juuuust a little bit higher than the original in case (just in case!) they go ahead an put in central air.

  • Yay! Nice to an older building get a new lease on life. I know it’s not always a profitable endeavor, but there is at least a small aesthetic value to revitalizing an old home – gives me warm fuzzies inside.

  • The house was originally built in the Gothic Revival style, with a side gabled roof. Old Sixth Ward Neighborhood Association has an early picture of the house showing its original roof. The 1943 Surprise Hurricane did irreparable damage to the roof and Mr Eisele’s son, who inherited the house, could not afford to rebuild the roof in its original style so his neighbors pitched in and built a new roof in the modern bungalow style using donated lumber.
    It is great news that the house will remain in the Old Sixth Ward (the property that HPD sits on was originally part of the Sixth Ward).

  • Excited! The house is moving next door to my office, should be interesting!

  • @KaneSt, is this early photo of the house posted online somewhere? Would love to see it.

  • I’ve got some warm fuzzies as well. I look forward to seeing the progress.

  • The picture isn’t posted on the OSW website. It is actually a very bad photograph – something that looks like it was xeroxed from another xerox. I’ll see how I can post it on this page.

  • http://blogs.chron.com/bayoucityhistory/2010/01/the_little_hpd_house_1.html

    J.R. had a blog about this house back in Jan 2010. Check it out.

  • Just an update on this-the house was moved last night or this morning (half of it, anyway). Saw it when I drove into the parking lot this morning :-)