In This Issue
|Newsletter of the Houston Heights Association|
|Volume Thirty-Three, Number One, January 2007|
|Click here for the print-format PDF version.|
|Click here for back issues.|
Words From The Incoming President
I consider the opportunity to serve as President of the Houston Heights Association an honor and look forward to working with the members of the Association and community next year. I know we can accomplish our goals; all it takes is a commitment on the part of each of us to work toward the common good of the Heights community in general.
There are many specific areas for involvement from which we can choose. The choices can be based upon area of expertise, interest, or a desire to simply have fun. It doesn’t matter as long as the passion for doing things right is present.
The goals for next year include the following:
1. Increase membership in the Association. We had a good start for this at the September membership drive meeting.
2. Increase member participation in committees and fund-raising events. If we encourage others to help, we can spread the load and make all our activities more rewarding with less individual effort.
3. Encourage dialogue and input from residents and businesses for new, creative, and innovative ways to improve HHA’s effectiveness. As times change, we must evolve.
4. Create an environment that nurtures pride in our community and promotes a teamwork approach to problem solving. It is contagious!
5. Create a legacy of continuity and permanence while having fun with our neighbors and friends.
I will be calling on people individually to get involved with our programs. This includes those who have never participated and those who have been involved in the past. Everyone has something to contribute. We need everything from committee and event chairs to water cup fillers at the Fun Run.
Visit our website to see what we have to offer, and communicate what you would like to volunteer for. There is something for everyone: Historic District designation, Heights Boulevard beautification, historic preservation, Heights area education, the Arts, Heights area business development, land use and deed restrictions, crime/security/graffiti issues, park maintenance and improvement, governmental relations, and many other initiatives.
Happy New Year!
And The Outgoing
Thank you all for allowing me to serve as your President this year. This article is to thank each and every volunteer who helped make 2006 a spectacular year for the Houston Heights Association!
Your Land Use Committee made great strides in the Heights by meeting with developers for sympathetic collaboration. Together, we are saving historical bungalows by working on prevailing and historical ordinances.
Going online with our newsletter was a big leap for the Heights Association. I would like to thank our newsletter editor, Mark Williamson, for all his hard work.
Our Spring Home Tour, Dinner, and Auction were great fun for the entire community and helped our Education Committee continue to work toward teacher endowments. The Holiday Home Tour’s new Market concept was a success, and the tour was a record breaker.
Thanks to our volunteers, all of our committees (including Paul Carr’s new Bike and Skate Rally event) are growing with the promise of bigger events next year. This year’s formation of the Crime & Security Committee brought neighbors together and helped fight graffiti in the Heights. The Boulevard Beautification Committee volunteers continue to keep Heights Boulevard our crown jewel and a welcoming landmark for Houston Heights.
Many thanks to our Business Manager, Lauriel Hindman, for her guidance and advice; I could not have done it without her. Finally, I would like to thank my sister, Honi Knowles, for her volunteerism and constant support.
If YOU haven’t had a chance to volunteer for the Houston Heights Association, now is the time to enlist so you can meet your neighbors and join in the fun.
Happy New Year!
[And thank you, too, for all your hard work over the past year, Robin. -Ed.]
Education Committee Announces Awards
The Education Committee of the Houston Heights Association is proud to announce the winners of the 2006 Classroom Grant Program.
The band program at Reagan High School will be improved by the addition and repair of instruments. This will increase the number of students who can participate and add strength to the program. Stephen Becker and Alejandro Cruz have promised a band performance for us in the coming year.
The entire second grade at Helms Community Learning Center will visit the National Marine Fisheries Service Sea Turtle Facility in Galveston. The facility is the only one of its kind in the United States. This is the culminating activity in a science unit promoting environmental awareness and the protection of natural resources and animal species. The team winners are Blanca Cuestas, Luzmarie Alvarez, Cheryl Wolfe, and Sandra Springer.
At Harvard Elementary, kindergarten teacher Shari Burke and 5th grade teacher Christina Shank are teaming in an Earth Sciences project using magiscopes, indestructible microscopes for children. Each 5th grade student will have a kindergarten buddy; together they will explore objects searched for on the school grounds, in the classroom, and brought from the home garden. Botanical and biological slides will be introduced. Activities will include comparing and contrasting, writing and illustrating, and general scientific investigation.
Barry Matherne’s 6th grade math students will enhance and improve their analytical and evaluative skills with the use of an Elmo Visual Presenter. Students will be able to differentiate, organize, and manipulate geometric shapes and objects with clear visual conception. The students will be able to deal with abstract concepts and algebraic reasoning.
Ida McCoy, 5th grade science teacher at Helms Community Learning Center, will strengthen her program with added reading materials for those students who need the extra boost in content area instruction.
At Harvard Elementary, librarian Roman Mengistu will work with the Buddy Program of 5th grade and kindergarten in an activity to expand students’ knowledge of the library and how it works. Using a science or math theme, 5th grade students will prepare study packets for their kindergarten buddies. The preparation will require the 5th grader to choose a topic, find a book, prepare a lesson with instructions, and leave it in the library. The kindergartener will pick up the packet, follow the directions, complete the assignment, and leave the packet for the 5th grader. Sharing together will culminate the activity.
All the 1st grade students at Helms Community Learning Center will be involved in a Butterfly Life Cycle Project designed by teachers Blanca Rivera, Juan Cuestas, Jennifer Martinez, and Ellen Stupak Shaw. Butterfly plants will be planted; personal caterpillars and habitats will be given to each student to watch the life cycle. Parents will build one large habitat for the butterflies to live in once they have emerged. The culminating activity will be a trip to the Museum of Natural History’s Cockrell Butterfly Center.
Helms Community Learning Center received an award to support its dual language program.
The Education Committee is proud to support these innovative and valuable learning activities for the children in our community.
Anti-Graffiti Paint Drive
There will be a paint drive to continue the all-volunteer graffiti abatement program and keep our beautiful neighborhood looking like itself. You can donate all of your leftover latex house paint and cans of spray paint. If you have trouble sorting it out or can’t remember, don’t worry, as I can handle whatever you bring, from a single quart to a 5-gallon bucket. The paints are blended together to create appropriate Heights colors instead of relying on the dull gray the city provides.
The paint drive will be Saturday, January 13, from 9:00 AM until Noon outside of the Heights Branch Library. Look for the Heights Anti-Graffiti Squad truck and trailer, which will be very easy to locate. Signs will be posted to assist.
If you don’t have any latex paint but still want to contribute, you can also donate clean 5-gallon buckets, spray paints, Home Depot gift cards, and cash. Checks written to the Houston Heights Association with a notation for graffiti will be tax deductible.
Can You Help Us Throw A Party?
We’re looking for volunteers to organize the Volunteer Appreciation and Awards Dinner, which is scheduled for the last Sunday in February. This is the event at which the Houston Heights Association recognizes the many volunteers who make the Association work for all of us and presents several special awards. If you can help, please contact President Jim Potter, leave a message at 713-861-4002 option 8, or send email to.
Community Improvement Nominations - Last Call
The deadline for submitting nominations for the 2006 Community Improvement Awards is fast approaching. They must be received by January 15! The nomination form and rule sheet are on the HHA web site..
The Houston Heights Association is proud to have the following 2006 Platinum sponsors:
Holiday Tour And Market Wrap-Up
A special thanks to everyone who worked so hard on the 2006 Houston Heights Historic Home Tour and Holiday Market and made it a really fun, successful, and record-breaking event!
Thanks to our generous Homeowners and their Head Docents: Laura and Dennis Virgadamo, head docent Ginger Gates, Community Garden head docent Leslie Scates; Rick and Julie Dowell, head docent Gilbert Perez; Martha and Ivan Pieratt, head docents Janet and Tom Buchheit and Viki and John Hennessy; Jay and Kerry Harpole, head docent Kathleen Williamson; and Greenwood King Properties, head docents Elaine Ellender and Travis Bohmann.
Thanks to the members of my committee:
Angela DeWree of Design and Inspire, Collateral Designer, who always selflessly gives huge amounts of time to all of our advertising for this event and many others of the Houston Heights Association.
Mark Williamson, Volunteer Coordinator. Thanks yet again for a very organized home tour!
Laura Virgadamo, Market Co-Chair. Without Laura’s help the Market would not have happened.
Barbara and Jim Potter, Trolley Co-Chairs. This is what makes the tour seem like kid glove treatment! Again, very smooth!
Dave Vandiver, Porch Entertainment Chair. Wow - you spent soooo many hours working with countless people, setting up schedules, and making the home tour full of the magic of music of the season!
Stacy Bakri of UpStage Theatre at Lambert Hall, Street Performer Chair. The “Dickens in the Heights” theme would not have been realized if Stacy had not stepped in and made it happen for us - and did you see Queen Victoria and Father Christmas!
Stephanie Mitchell of Houston School of Dance & Musical Theatre. The children’s dance troupe was so wonderful and really made this a family event!
Donna Bennett, Chair of the Houston Heights Booth at the Holiday Market. Our very own, and very capable, Shopkeeper for the Houston Heights Booth! Working with Donna were Susan Marsh - the “Ornament Lady” - lots of great organization, Kelly Simmons - the “Calendar Girl” - that was also lots of great organization, and Viki Hennessy - the “Decorator” - thanks for the beautiful booth!!
Bonnie Sheeren, Chair of Library Events. Lots of children’s activities - Victorian ornaments, visits from Santa Claus.
Anne Sloan, Storytelling. Thanks for sharing your holiday story!
Honi Knowles and Robin Franklin, Chairs of Floral and Poster-Pass-Out. Another great job this year getting the posters out and the florals in!
Mason Neville, Chair of Holiday Market “Muscle.” Our vendors sooo appreciated the help from our “porters” - it really put us up a notch!!
Addie Spicer, Chair of the Volunteer Party on Sunday. Everyone was so tired!
Many thanks to Sister Deborah and Brother Robert at All Saints Church for joining our Home Tour this year and providing many hours of enjoyment for the community.
And of course, many thanks to Business Manager Lauriel Hindman and Fire Station Chair Bob Pearson (who has also written some very great articles for The Leader about Houston Heights this past year)!
Special thanks to all of our artists and crafters who always respond to our request to “decorate something” for our holiday fund-raiser!
Not enough thanks can go out to the army of volunteers who acted as docents for the Historic Home Tour - a lot of time on your feet and often several shifts during the event!! And a special thanks to the ticket takers who were sitting in the cold and who are usually the first friendly face a person sees as they approach a home on tour - thank you so much for that!!
Thanks to a “new” army of volunteers, and that goes to the Porch Musicians, Street Performers in Dickens costumes and in “character,” children in The Houston School of Dance. All of these folks were out in the cold entertaining people, and Don and Debbie Broman generously provided a Hospitality Room at their studio so performers could warm up and sit for a spell!
Thanks to Olmstead-Kirk Paper Company for donating all the paper for every bit of printing we did, which included our posters, tickets, and postcards. Again, thanks to Angela DeWree for making that connection for us! And, of course, our many sponsors that support the Houston Heights Association.
Thanks for the many floral donations from Bungalow Revival, Darlene’s Flower & Gift Shop, Joseph’s Nursery, and Killion’s Milam Florist.
Thanks to all of our vendors at the Holiday Market for taking a chance on our first year - and wanting to come back next year!! Thanks to Beau and MiMi Potter for their little “doggie” boutique at the HHA booth - we want you back next year!
I beg your forgiveness if I have left out your name! My brain is still not working quite right!
Merry Christmas to everyone and see you in the new year!
[And the biggest thanks of all to you, Sharie! Great event! -Ed.]
Work Begins on 2007 Spring Home and Garden Tour
The 2007 Spring Home and Garden Tour steering committee, led by chair Kristi Synek, has selected the homes for the upcoming tour and is also working on added attractions for this year’s event. The theme is “The Colors of our Lives.”
Read upcoming newsletters as details unfold. For now, mark your calendar for the festivities:
• Friday night dinner, tour, and silent auction at Winter Street Studios - Friday, April 13
• Home and garden tour - Saturday and Sunday, April 14 & 15
To volunteer for the 2007 Spring Home and Garden Tour, email Denise Martin ator leave a message on the HHA answering service, 713-861-4002, option 3, suboption 1.
Spring Home Tour Call For Volunteers
Have fun, meet your neighbors, and help your community by volunteering for the 2007 Spring Home and Garden Tour. Volunteers are needed for the following home tour positions:
Home Tour Docents
Silent Auction Set-Up and Take-Down
Silent Auction Monitors
Auction Check-Out Monitors
Art Show Check-Out
If you are interested, please call 713-861-4002, option 3, suboption 1, and leave a message. You may also e-mail the home tour committee at.
2007 Candlelight Dinner Auction
Start saving your dollars for the most incredible Candlelight Dinner Auction yet. The committee is hard at work collecting fabulous items from art to garden items, home décor to fashion, jewelry to goodies for your pets, health and fitness items to gorgeous antiques.
If you own a business, know a wonderful crafter, or would just like to donate a special item to this year’s auction, please leave a message at 713-861-4002, option 3, then option 2. You may also e-mail the auction committee at.
On The Boulevard
Volunteers were busy in 2006 planting donated trees on the Heights Boulevard esplanade. The most recent planting was four evergreen pears donated by Jason and Renee McCain in memory of Jason’s grandfather, Wayne H. Higgins. A total of 10 trees were donated by individuals in memory of loved ones in 2006. 12 trees donated by Newton’s Wholesale Nursery were also added to the esplanade.
If you would like to donate a tree for the Boulevard, contact Jim Bennett ator 713-868-6979. We are controlled by City of Houston rules that limit the tree species and locations and do not allow markers or signs.
The Houston Heights Association is proud to have the following Winter 2006-2007 Silver Sponsors:
Somebody You Know Needs A Calendar
The elegant 2007 Historic Houston Heights desk calendar is a “must have” for all of us for only $15 each! All proceeds benefit the Houston Heights Association.
For each month, there is a beautiful photograph of a historic Houston Heights house and a historic description of the house. The calendar is 5”x7” and sits in a lovely lucite frame. (Cards are inserted in the back of frame for each month.) This Historic Houston Heights 2007 calendar is something we all will want, and it is also a perfect New Year’s gift for a Heights resident (next door neighbor, neighbor who watches your house when you are out of town, pet sitter, etc.) or anyone interested in historic houses.
The project, selection of photos, text, and lovely presentation were undertaken by Houston Heights resident Kelly Simmons and Houston Heights graphic artist Angela DeWree (who created the fabulous poster, tickets, and all artwork for the Historic Home Tour and Holiday Market).
Please send your check for $15 (tax included) for each calendar you want (or $120 for ten calendars) made payable to the Houston Heights Association to: Sharie Beale, 316 W. 15th St., Houston, TX 77008, or call 713-426-3240 and we can work out delivery!
These calendars were very popular at the Holiday Market. Donna Bennett and her HHA booth group sold a lot of them, but we still have a lot left and need to sell them quickly - so please act promptly. Remember, it is a fund raiser!!
Restoration/Historical Committee Meeting
The next Houston Heights Restoration/Historical Committee meeting will be held at 916 Courtlandt Street on Thursday, January 18, from 7:30 to 9:30 PM. This home is a work in progress, a 2-bedroom 2-bath bungalow home which was built as a “$3,000 kit home” in 1920 and is now being restored by Jerry Frazier.
The former owner, who is now 70 years old and still works for an energy company, grew up in the home and has many very interesting stories to tell about the neighborhood, which he will relate to all attending. Famous names like singers “Elvis” and “Tommy Sands” and even “Rosie the Riveter” will likely come up during the evening meeting. The evening will include a tour and a discussion of some of the renovation details for those considering renovation, restoration, or new construction in the Heights.
Please contact Chairman Dean Swanson at 713-880-2832 orif you have a restoration project, a historical structure, or historical information pertaining to the Houston Heights that can be shared at future meetings.
November Board Summary
President Robin Franklin called the meeting to order at 6:35 PM. Newly elected Board Members Sharie Beale, Chris Synek, Kathy Russell, and Mark Williamson were present.
The minutes of the October meeting were approved. The agenda was changed to allow Chris Silkwood to talk about the Sponsorship Committee and the progress being made. Chris gave her recommendations to the Board as to how sponsorships should be handled. The Board will take those recommendations into consideration.
Jim Potter reported on the Finance Committee’s meeting to review the 2007 budget requests from the Houston Heights Association Committees. The Board discussed the budget, made changes to it, and approved the 2007 budget as revised.
David Beale reported on the progress being made to designate some of the Heights area as a Historic District. Sharie Beale talked about the Holiday Market, the Holiday Home Tour, and all of the entertainment and activities that will be a part of the Holiday Home Tour weekend. Robin Franklin brings up for discussion the 2007 Community Improvement Awards and Volunteer Dinner.
Jim Potter agrees to serve as the 2007 Houston Heights Association President. His nomination as President-Elect passes unanimously.
Jim Bennett reports on the I-10 Feeder Road Project recommendations that he will make in a letter to TxDOT. Gus Kopriva agrees to meet with Metro to discuss the placement in the Heights of the winning design of a bus shelter designed by students at the University of Houston.
The meeting adjourned at 8:35 PM.
Term expiration year appears in parentheses.
Robin Franklin, Gus Kopriva, and Tony Riedel are leaving the Houston Heights Association Board of Directors after completing full three-year terms. In addition, Jim Bennett and Richard Hinds are leaving the Board after filling vacancies that arose during the year. Janice Evans-Davis also filled a vacancy; she now starts a full term of her own. Our thanks to all of them and the other Directors who served in 2006 for their service to the Association.
The Houston Heights Association is proud to have the following Winter 2006-2007 Bronze Sponsors:
Demolitions of properties in Houston Heights continues at a rate of about 2.4 per week. A check of permits issued by the City of Houston Code Enforcement Division shows a total of 15 demolition or relocation permits being issued between November 6 and December 5. An equal number of permits were issued in the previous four-week period. Four of the permits from November were for properties within the boundaries of the proposed historic districts.
Houston Heights has lost a total of 194 properties in the last year and a half. Historic District designation is the only legal option for deterring demolition and relocation of our historic structures. If you live within the boundaries of the two proposed historic districts and have not yet done so, please sign and mail in the blue petition page. The petition, maps of the proposed districts and additional information are available at www.houstonheights.org.
Below is a list of the latest demolitions or relocations.
History For Sale
If you are in the market for a new home or rental property, please review the list below. This is part of HHA’s effort to raise awareness of the marketability of our historic Craftsman, Victorian, and Queen Anne architecture. The goal is to deter demolition and relocation and instead encourage renovation and expansion of our existing housing stock.
The houses on this list can be purchased for less than $500,000 and many are available for far less. If you know of someone else who is shopping for a home, please pass this list on to them.
Please welcome these new or returning members to the Houston Heights Association.
John & Margaret Anderson
Clarence & Jane Holland
JAJ Landscape Architectural Services
Kumon of Houston Heights
Merri & Jimmy Littleton
Our thanks to the following for their generous support of the programs of the Houston Heights Association.
Renee Remillard McCain & Jason McCain - Boulevard Reforestation
Ann & Larry McGinty - Boulevard/Flower Gardens
Mel Reyna - Beautification
John & Nicole Ridgway - Parks Maintenance
Heights Woman’s Club, Evening Edition
The Heights Woman’s Club, founded by ladies of the Heights in 1900, is expanding to accommodate women who are unable to attend meetings on weekday mornings. We invite all women who are interested in the Heights, including those living outside our area who may have attended our home tours or served as docents, to attend the next meeting on Wednesday, January 17, at 7:00 PM at the club house at 1846 Harvard Street. Please spread the word to your friends who may not see this newsletter article and urge them to attend this meeting.
Organizational matters will be discussed at the meeting. Plans are being made for three general meeting per year, with each one featuring a speaker or a live musical performance. Special interest groups will hold their own meetings at times to be determined.
Another issue to be addressed at this meeting will be raising funds to pay the property taxes on the club house, which are due on January 31. The club house was constructed in 1912 with funds raised by club members and is built on land which was a birthday gift from Houston Heights founder D. D. Cooley to his wife, Helen, in 1911. The building is on the National Register of Historic Places and has been designated a City of Houston Protected Landmark.
Dues for the Club are $100 annually for active members and $175 for those who want to support the Club but are unable to be active participants. If you are unable to attend the January meeting, you can join by sending a check made payable to Heights Woman’s Club, along with your name, address, phone number, and email address to Anne Sloan, 1433 Harvard Street, Houston, Texas 77008. If you have any questions or can make suggestions for programs or interest groups, Anne can be reached by telephone at 713-869-8281.
We look forward to seeing many friends and neighbors at the January 17 meeting.
Calendar of Events for January-February 2007
HHA headquarters: The Fire Station is on the corner of Yale and 12th Streets.
Every Wednesday and Saturday, 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM, Historic Houston’s salvage warehouse is open. Call 713-522-0542 or visit their web sitefor more information.
January 13, 9:00 AM to 12:00 Noon, Anti-Graffiti Paint Drive at the Heights Branch Library, 1302 Heights Blvd. See article above for more information.
January 13, 10:00 AM, MLK Youth Day Parade, downtown.
January 13, 6:00 PM, 6th Annual Battle of the Bands at the Reliant Astrodome.
January 15, 13th Annual MLK Grande Parade in The Honor and Memory of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., downtown. Televised on Channel 11.
January 25-27 and February 1-3, Opera in the Heights presents L’Elisir d’amore by Donizetti at Lambert Hall, 1703 Heights Blvd. For more information or tickets, visitor call 713-861-5303.
January 28, 2:00 to 5:00 PM, open house for families of prospective students preschool 3 through grade 8 at Our Savior Lutheran School, 5000 W. Tidwell (between T.C. Jester & Antoine). For more information, visitor call 713-290-8277.
March 22-24 and 29-31, Opera in the Heights presents Mozart’s Don Giovanni at Lambert Hall, 1703 Heights Blvd. For more information, visitor call 713-861-5303.
February 25, Awards Dinner
April 13-15, Spring Home Tour
June 3, Fun Run
October 21, Bicycle/Skate Rally
November 30 - December 1, Holiday Home Tour
Copyright and Submissions
The Heights is published monthly by the Houston Heights Association. Its purpose is to acknowledge achievements and to inform HHA members of events.
Copyright 2007, the Houston Heights Association and/or the authors unless otherwise noted.
Newsletter inquiries, suggestions, or submissions should be directed to:
Editor, The Heights, P.O. Box 70735, Houston, TX 77270-0735;
email ; or leave a message on 713-861-4002.
Staff and Contributors
Editor: Mark R. Williamson
Assistant Editor: Kathleen S. Williamson
Sharie Beale, Jim Bennett, Janet Buchheit, Janice Evans-Davis, Robin Franklin, Lauriel Hindman, Paul Luccia, Jim Potter, Kathy Russell, Dean Swanson, Sheila Tybor.