Houston Historic Districts: Houston Heights South Historic District

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It’s been awhile since I’ve posted. I’ve been traveling and working, celebrating holidays. I’ve even started writing some fiction in my free time. All of the usual excuses of those who fall behind on their blogging.

Continuing on into the Heights South Historic District. Whereas the West Heights is my idea of the prototypical Heights neighborhood, the South Heights has a surprising number of larger Victorian houses.


Enjoy the photos!


Houston Historic Districts: Houston Heights West Historic District

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I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving. I was visiting family in Ohio, where it was most certainly not 70 degrees. Now that I’m home again, it’s back to reality. But you know what that means for you? More blogs!

We’re moving our tour of Houston historic districts to the Heights now. Unlike the Boulevard Oaks area districts I’ve written about the past few weeks  (here, here, here, and here), the Heights isn’t known for large mansions.

Developed in 1891 as a suburb, the Heights got its name for its elevation 23 feet higher than that of the city. One of America’s oldest planned communities, the Heights didn’t become part of Houston until 1918. Many of the neighborhood’s signature bungalow homes remain to this day, and it’s common to see homeowners in the Heights either renovate their houses in the original style or build new in the style. You’ll also notice Victorian-style homes, as well as many historic churches, commercial buildings, firehouses, and other structures. The Heights, quirky and village-like, is the poster child for Houston gentrification.

Next week I’ll continue touring the Heights, moving into the area’s five other designated historic districts.


Houston Historic Districts: Shadow Lawn

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Shadow Lawn is one of the smallest historic districts in the Houston area. It is, in fact, one street, a circle comprising only fourteen houses, adjacent to Bissonnet. Built in the early 1920s by some of Houston’s best architects, Shadow Lawn is home to an array of architectural styles.

Situated just north of Rice University and only steps from the Museum District, Shadow Lawn is right in the heart of Houston’s cultural scene. It’s also just blocks from Montrose, one of 2009’s “10 Greatest Places in America” .

This is one of those neighborhoods that’s worth a quick drive around if you’re passing through the Museum District. It won’t take more than a minute, but you’ll see some wonderful houses on your way.

Houston Historic Districts: Broadacres

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Today we continue our journey into Houston’s historic neighborhoods right down the block from where we began. (See part 1: Boulevard Oaks.)

Broadacres is an extension of the Boulevards Oaks District, centering again on North and South Boulevards. The neighborhood is small, with only 26 houses.

The biggest difference is that the homes are set farther back from the road than in Boulevard Oaks, often behind gates. Each boulevard is divided by a median shaded by oak bowers. It’s a pleasant avenue to stroll the brick walkways while admiring the lovely homes. Hollywood agrees. It’s been used in movies such as Terms of Endearment and Rushmore.

Next up: Shadow Lawn.

Houston Historic Districts: Boulevard Oaks

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I’m inaugurating a new feature here on the Three R’s. Houston has 19 designated historic districts, and since I’m both a Realtor and a history PhD, I thought it would be fun to document the city’s historic neighborhoods. This is a little bit strange since Houston is a relatively young city that didn’t blossom into a major metropolis until the 20th Century, particularly after the 1900 hurricane devastated nearby Galveston. Nevertheless, these districts are all on the National Register of Historic Places.

So I set out with my camera and started taking photos of the buildings that make up these districts.

First up, the Boulevard Oaks Historic District. Located between the Southwest Freeway and Rice University, this district consists mostly of North and South Boulevards. Lined by stately oak trees, these streets are home to a mix of beautiful 1920s and 30s era houses and out-of-place modern styles. The older homes were built by Houston’s finest architects in the revival styles popular at the time, including Tudor Revival and Colonial Revival, as well as French Manorial, Neoclassical, and English Picturesque.*

The homes are well kept, and when I visited one afternoon, the streets were full of contractors ensuring that the beautiful homes continue looking beautiful for many decades to come.

Does this look like somewhere you’d like to live?

*H/T: Houston Association of Realtors: Boulevard Oaks Historic Districts

Don’t be a Big Brother

Big Brother 13 (U.S.)

Big Brother 13 (U.S.) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I love Big Brother. It’s the best terrible show on television. And it was truly love at first sight. First sight, that is, if one defines it as “utterly ignoring something for seven years.” It wasn’t until the summer of 2007, when there must have been nothing else on TV, that I first tuned into BB8. I vaguely knew the show existed, being a huge fan of its sister show, Survivor. But Big Brother always struck me as the slimy underbelly of reality TV. Twelve to sixteen Americans, locked in a house for three months, their every shower tracked by dozens of cameras streaming to a live Internet feed. Continue reading