10+ Houses That You Won’t Believe Got Bulldozed

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This house is in the Houston Heights. It is gone, just like many, many others of its magnitude. Source

I’m a nerd and a half and I know it. I don’t know WHY I care so much about houses that get knocked down. I don’t know why I obsess over audio tours like I do. The fact that I want to be a docent when I grow up? NO CLUE. This weekend as I looked through a book of mine called Houston’s Forgotten Heritage, I actually got sad. Sad! I mean, get a life, right?? It’s not a normal kind of sadness, but it’s still a sort of sadness.

I know it costs a lot of money to restore things. I would love to buy a house that was a 100+ years old, but we don’t have the money or time to fix something like that up. Also, those houses are all closer to town and the property value is really expensive. If the house is ancient and the property value isn’t expensive, then chances are it’s not in an area of town that you would choose to live.

Still.

It makes me sad.

Aren’t there enough rich people in the world to keep all of the old houses going? I know, I know. Money to keep old houses in shape would take away money from other important causes.

I just feel like we lose something when we knock everything down.

For the fun of it, I thought I would show you some of the gorgeous houses that once stood in Houston and then show you what is there now. There are many, many more than these, but you don’t have all day. Just know that at one time, Houston’s architecture was breathtaking. The homes and the scenery were just beautiful and that’s all there is to it.

#1 The Charles Shearn House house
(Main at Jefferson)

Then:
Charles House was president of the Houston Street and Railway Company when this house was built, which is ironic since the light rail track runs right in front of where it used to be. This home became the first home of the Houston Art League, which eventually became the Museum of Fine Arts. It was built in 1882 and was demolished in 1920.
Now:
 
 
 
 
 
#2 The Jedidiah Porter Waldo House and Garden
(Rusk and Caroline)
 
 
Then:
This house is actually still around! I can’t believe it! I just found that out. It’s just not around where it started out, as you can see from the picture below. So, I’ll simmer down on this one. I still think it is interesting to see what used to be on that plot of land. This house was built in 1884-1885 and is now in the Westmoreland District. I got excited earlier, because I Googled “historic Houston houses”, or something along those lines, and a picture of mine popped up. It was from a post I wrote about living in a cemetery and it featured another house that is in the Westmoreland District.

 
Now:
 
#3 Rows of Houses at 1200 Main Street

Then:
This is actually a post card from the 1800s. At one time, “Main Street” was an elite Houston address. The white house is the Van Alstyne-Dickson house and garden. It was famous for its gardens. It had tall oak trees surrounding it and banana trees in the front yard.

 
Now:

Here are some other houses and their coordinates that have been demolished below. These pictures were found on the Design + Construction Management website. I think these make me almost the saddest. They were bulldozed to make space for grocery stores and parking lots in all likelihood.

#4 Main & Bell
 
Then:

Now:


 
 
 
 

 
#5 Main & Dallas
 
THEN:
 
Now:

I said 10+ houses in the title, so I will let you keep on counting with these beauties below. They got the bulldozer right to the belly. It seems like a lot of houses were getting shoveled out the door in the 1920s, but the flattening trend continued on through the decades.

Something else that I also found interesting was how people migrated through time. These elaborate houses built primarily along Main Street were built “in the country” during that time period. Most people lived near the muddy bayou. These folks wanted to get away from all of that, so they built in present-day downtown Houston. From the Design + Construction Management website, I learned that “Houston’s outward migration only continued, as it does to this day, where each
generation simply abandons the place where they grew up and moves a little
farther out.”

So, according to them, the migration movement (primarily of people with the big cash) goes:

1. Buffalo Bayou
2. Main Street, 1890s
3. Courtlandt Place & Westmoreland in the Montrose area, 1910s
4. River Oaks, 1920s
5. Tanglewood & Memorial, 1950s
 6. Sugar Land, Katy, The Woodlands, etc., Present Day

I know houses are just houses, but I think many of them carry stories within their walls that can help ground us today. That is probably being too poetic, but, hey, it’s late and I want a bowl of cereal.

Are you an old house hugger or a bulldozer lover?
 
 
 
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