In This Issue
|Newsletter of the Houston Heights Association|
|Volume Thirty-Three, Number Ten, October 2007|
|Click here for the print-format PDF version.|
|Click here for back issues.|
Heights Bike & Skate Rally Sunday
The 2nd Annual Heights Bike & Skate Rally will take place this Sunday, October 7. Starting at 7:30 AM and lasting until 4:00 PM, cyclists and skaters will be departing and returning to the Heights Fire Station at 12th & Yale. They will travel a 16- or 24-mile route that will take them through the Heights, River Oaks, West End, Timbergrove, and Oak Forest.
Along the way, they will be looking for mystery sites that match clues on their scavenger hunt list. Cyclists and skaters who match the most clues will win prizes.
Awards will be made for best costume, best decorated bicycle, and oldest and youngest finisher. Every finisher will be eligible for prizes. Some child (12 & under) will win a new bicycle donated by Heights Presbyterian Church.
The “End of the Rally” party will start at 4:00 PM with live music. Food & beverages will be available, provided by Berryhill’s.
Pre-registration (before Oct. 4) is $7.50 for a child (age 12 & under), $15.00 for an adult. Pre-registered cyclists and skaters can pick up their rally packets at 7:30 AM at the Fire Station. On the day of the event, participants may register starting at 7:30 AM, but registration fees increase to $10.00 and $20.00. All proceeds benefit the HHA Boulevard Beautification Fund.
THIS IS NOT A RACE!
More information is available at. Rally Chairman Paul Carr can be reached at 713-869-0505.
Heights Trees Count! October 6
Have you ever seen a neighborhood devoid of a tree canopy? It is a sad sight. Did you know that the Heights has the most “Champion” and magnificent 100+-year-old trees in Houston? As we all know, trees provide natural pollution mitigation, are a natural source for flood control, and supply habitat for wild animals and birds.
By updating the City’s registry of trees on their right-of-way, we help to raise awareness and provide added protection for these important and vulnerable neighborhood assets, which belong to all of us.
Come out and play at the HHA Urban Forestry Committee’s third tree counting and registration event, in collaboration with the City of Houston’s Urban Forestry Division. This time around, we’ll be counting trees on the north side of 20th Street. It’s easy and fun, and a great way to spend a cool October morning. You will receive your four-block assignment and head out by foot, bike, skates, scooter, car… with your favorite person, four-legged companion, or group of friends and neighbors. It’s also a great way to impart community service and the importance of our trees and wildlife to the next generation of community leaders.
Sign up by contacting our leader, Angela DeWree, at, or “simply show up” ready to go. We’re meeting at 8:00 AM at the Heights Fire Station at 12th Street and Yale and will wind things up by noon, on Saturday, October 6.
Even if you can’t participate in the “count,” stop by to visit and to see our many wonderful displays, have some Starbucks coffee, refreshments, and Continental breakfast. Enjoy a special mini-market with fall jewelry and purses, and some wonderful and unique outdoor décor. There will be plenty of great giveaways, including some fall color and fabulous door prizes! You will also have a last opportunity to sign-up for the outrageous and fun Bike Rally, happening the next day on Sunday, October 7.
We hope to see you there!
The October 8 General Meeting will focus on education and HHA Director candidates. Members of the Education Committee will be on hand to discuss their activities in the community. HISD Superintendent Abelardo Saavedra, our HISD School Board Member Natasha Kamrani, and our Houston Community College Trustee Yolanda Navarro Flores are expected to give us updates on their organizations.
Candidates for HHA Director terms starting in 2008 (or their representatives) will have the opportunity to speak briefly on their qualifications. Please see the article below for a complete election schedule.
Spooky Stories In Marmion Park
Storytellers from the Houston Storytellers Guild will once again offer a free performance of spooky stories at Marmion Park (Heights Boulevard at 18th Street), Friday, October 26, from 7:30 to 9:00 PM. Bring lawn chairs or blankets, your favorite snacks, and a flashlight so you won’t be (too) scared going home. Rain or shine. Co-sponsored by HHA.
For more information about this or other Houston Storyteller’s Guild events, visit their website at 281-775-9318.or call their message line at
Holiday Tour Homes Announced
The 2007 Holiday Home Tour and Market will be held on the evening of Friday, November 30, and the afternoons of Saturday and Sunday, December 1 and 2. Please join us to see the following intriguing mix of new and old homes decorated in a variety of styles and holiday themes.
The Brenner-Dumas Home at 914 Nicholson Street is a beautiful, Charleston inspired, Neo-classical style home built in 2006. Here, the holidays are celebrated with an extensive collection of new and vintage Santas and a collection of over 2,500 ornaments and antique figural bulbs from the turn of the last century.
The Broman Cottage at 712 West 15th Street is an adorable cottage built in the 1920s and moved to this location in the 1980s. The rustic décor is echoed in the Christmas decorations, which feature old-fashioned popcorn garlands and nostalgic ornaments.
The Sackheim Home at 227 W. 18th Street is a craftsman-style bungalow built in 1915. Amid the delightful interior mix of eclectic contemporary and American Empire, all will be charmed with the owner’s traditional holiday themes.
The Sulser Home at 618 East 8th 1/2 Street, a colonial revival built in 2005 on the site of a neglected warehouse, is reminiscent of the New Orleans Garden District and reflects the homeowners’ Louisiana heritage. Inside, experience what Christmas looks like when Papa Noël visits. Here, the holidays are decadently celebrated with several themed Christmas trees and a lavish Christmas table.
The Lauden Home at 1425 Harvard is a 1903 Queen Ann cottage boasting many original features plus recent additions including a designer kitchen. One of the owners’ Christmas trees is adorned with Bethlehem stars, a reminder of their recent move from Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.
The sixth location on the shuttle bus route will be the Heights Fire Station on 12th at Yale, the location of the Holiday Market.
The Houston Heights Association is proud to have the following 2007 Platinum sponsors:
Historic Districts Reach The Heights
The first application for a Houston Heights City of Houston Historic District was filed with the City September 19 after over a year of work. Sharie Beale, co-chair (with David Beale) of the Houston Heights Historic District West effort, said she was “elated” to finally be able to file the Application for the Houston Heights Historic District West on behalf of over 52% of the property owners in the District. An application for the first phase of the much larger Houston Heights Historic District East will soon follow.
A hearing on the HHHD West application will be held by the Houston Archeological and Historical Commission Wednesday, October 24, 2007.
Phase one of the Houston Heights historic district effort has reached the top of the mountain, and it is all downhill from here. The Heights is set to join other historic areas of Houston by creating two City of Houston-recognized historic districts which together could be called the “Heart of the Heights Historic District.”
The history-making, all-volunteer effort has resulted in enough signatures to file applications for two Houston Heights historic districts. Additional information required by the city, including a photo inventory of all properties within the two districts and a written history of the Houston Heights, is being finalized for the east district.
Upon filing the application, each district will receive the limited protection for its historic character that is provided by the City of Houston historic preservation ordinance.
The ordinance requires the signatures of the owners of at least 51% of the tracts in the district, who must own 51% of the square footage of all the tracts in the district. This goal was achieved thanks to the unwavering commitment of the volunteers and, of course, the support of the property owners who signed the petition.
Janice Evans-Davis, co-chair (with Jonathan Smulian) of the east historic district effort stated, “Good, good news!” She said that as of September 11 “we have 51.4% of the property owners and 51.1% of the square footage” signed up. More signatures are being accepted while they finish the necessary documentation.
This first phase of the east district includes approximately 900 tracts and encompasses the area between Heights Blvd and the west side of Oxford and between E. 11th and E. 20th streets.
The west district reports that volunteers have obtained 52.45% of the property owners’ signatures owning 51.68% of the tracts in the west district. Super volunteer Cynthia Woronow has finished the data base of all properties in the district, and super volunteer Gabriella Nissen has finished updating the photo inventory of all properties in the district, including contact sheets for every property. The west district has 469 tracts and includes most of the area between Allston and Ashland and between W. 11th and W. 16th streets.
Once the applications are filed, there will be a public hearing before the Houston Archaeological and Historical Commission, then a hearing before the City’s Planning Commission, and finally the Mayor and City Council will decide whether the Heights districts will be City of Houston Historic Districts. This process could take six months.
The second phase of the east district will include the area bounded by Heights Blvd, the west side of Oxford, E 4th and E 11th Streets. Volunteers are needed to help with this ongoing effort. If you are interested, please email to.
Historic district designation will help stabilize the neighborhood and deter demolitions. It provides for property tax exemptions for renovation and restoration work that is done in keeping with the neighborhood’s architectural character. Contrary to common misunderstanding of the ordinance, it does not restrict paint color, normal maintenance, or work done to the interior of a house.
There were just two demolition permits issued for properties within Houston Heights proper between August 20 and September 17, 2007. However, there were several permits issued for Sunset Heights and properties on the fringe of Houston Heights.
A total of 270 properties have been demolished or moved out of the area since June of 2005. This is equal to about 2.4 demolitions each week. Establishment of historic districts is the only way to deter demolition and relocation of the neighborhood’s historic architecture. See the article at left. Below is the list of properties recently permitted for demolition.
251 W. 27th St
316 E 27th St
History for Sale
Below is a sampling of the historic houses currently for sale in the Houston Heights. The Houston Heights Association began listed properties for sale in its newsletter as part of the effort to deter demolition, encourage renovation and restoration, and raise public awareness of the marketability of our historic housing stock.
The Houston Heights Association is proud to have the following Fall 2007 Bronze Sponsors:
Director Election Schedule
Six of the fifteen positions on the HHA Board of Directors will be filled by election over the next few months. Five positions are opening due to normal expiration of terms; members elected to these five positions will have three-year terms. The sixth position is for the last two years of a term ended by resignation.
The five nominees receiving the highest numbers of votes will fill the three-year terms; the nominee receiving the sixth-highest vote count will fill the two-year vacancy. The schedule for the election of Directors to serve terms starting in 2008 will be as follows, in accordance with the By-Laws and Policies of the Association:
• October 8, nominees or their representatives may speak on their qualifications at the General Meeting for 3 minutes. They will also draw for ballot positions.
• On or before October 15, the Election Committee will mail a ballot with a control number to each member whose dues are current as of October 1.
• By November 10 at the close of the post office, ballots returned by mail must be received with control numbers intact.
• November 12, polls will be open for secret balloting in person from 6:00 PM to 7:00 PM before the General Meeting. The Election Committee will tabulate ballots and announce the results during the meeting. The results will be published in the December newsletter.
Lanna vonBaden: I live and work in the Heights. My husband and I are third generation owners of Grogan Building Supply on Yale. Sponsored and supported various HHA events. Proud recipient of the Marcella Perry award this year. My goal is to strengthen the bond between the business and residential community.
Mike Easley: Former HHA president, co-citizen of the year, two-term board member. Restored / owns multiple award winning Heights bungalows, Milroy Park. Forward-thinking, diverse communities integrate new construction alongside historic structures. “Inclusive Preservation =’s Intellectual Property”. Our “village’s” other important needs deserve HHA’s primary focus. CPA, great wife, nice doggies. That’s 50.
Paul Carr: Heights resident-60+ years, Member of HHA since 1976, HHA President 4 times, Founder of Heights Festival-Chairman 15 years, 1979 HHA Citizen of The Year, organized boulevard jogging trail construction, led planting of 319 Oaks that line Heights Blvd., 2006 HHA Bronze Sponsor, Founder of Heights Bike Rally.
Angela DeWree: The Heights is a dynamic and evolving historic neighborhood--due to neighbor volunteers; stewards of this marvelous place. I have had the great pleasure to participate in Tree Counts, Home Tours and a Fun-Run during my first term on the board--and a second term with your support.
Bill Baldwin: I believe in a Heights Association that is inclusive, not divisive. I believe in a Heights Association that promotes our historic traditions, while encouraging and embracing new ideas. Building a stronger, diversified, environmentally friendly, progressive, localized, community will be my goal during my term.
Chris Silkwood: A Heights resident and active member of the Houston Heights Association since 1981. Former Citizen of the Year, Home Tour Chair, Candlelight Dinner Chair, Sponsorship Chair and primary fund raiser for the Heights Boulevard Beautification Project. My goal is to build productive relationships throughout the community and support continuous improvement.
A seventh candidate was nominated at the September meeting but declined to run.
Holiday Market Needs A Caterer
The Holiday Home Tour And Market needs a food and beverage vendor at the Fire Station on the evening of Friday, November 30, and during the day on Saturday and Sunday, December 1 and 2. Attendees of both the tour and the market will be potential customers.
If you would like to be that vendor, if you know somebody who would, or if you would like further information, please emailand let her know. A catering license is required. December 1 is also the date for 1st Saturday’s Mistletoe Madness; please don’t apply if this would be a conflict for you.
Holiday Docents Needed
Want to attend the Heights Holiday Home Tour for free? Volunteer to be a home docent, trolley docent, or ticket seller and receive a free ticket.
Call Mark Williamson at 713-864-4230 to volunteer.
Our thanks to the following donors for their generous support of the programs of the Houston Heights Association.
Robert Bergeron - Flower Gardens
Stacey & Mark Courville - Parks, Boulevard, and Flower Gardens
Eileen Donaghy & Mary Stuart - Boulevard Maintenance
Anne & Ken Culotta - Parks, Boulevard, and Flower Gardens
Todd & Cindy Green - Parks Maintenance
Thomas & Virginia Norwood - Boulevard Maintenance
Jim & Barbara Potter - Parks Maintenance
Eric & Noelle Reed
Sue & Jack Schwaller - Parks, Boulevard, Flower Gardens
Please welcome the following new or returning members to the Houston Heights Association.
Nathan & Deborah Bowie
Cynthia & Dale Habenicht
Cheri & Carl Hanemann
Chris & Heather Hewitt
Eric & Noelle Reed
Derek & Kristin Tatum
At The Fire Station
Yolanda Navarro Flores
HCC Trustee, District 1
cordially invites you to attend a reception introducing and honoring
Dr. Mary S. Spangler
Wednesday, October 17
6:00 to 8:00 PM
Heights City Hall & Fire Station
107 W. 12th @ Yale
Business Member Directory
The print and PDF editions of this issue include a copy of the Business Member Directory for October 2007. This information is available elsewhere on our web site; click here or choose Area Businesses from the control stripe available on most pages.
Calendar of Events for October-November 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.
Through October 6, Opera in the Heights presents Carmen by Georges Bizet in Lambert Hall, 1703 Heights Blvd. For tickets or more information, visit or call 713-861-5303.
October 12 - 27, UpStage Theatre Evening Series presents The Pink Panther Strikes Again, a comedy by William Gleason based on the film. Friday and Saturday evenings, 8:00 PM, Lambert Hall, 1703 Heights Blvd. For more information or to buy tickets, visit www.upstagetheatre.org or call 713-838-7191.
October 13, 7:00 PM, Oak Forest Homeowners Association presents a free movie in Oak Forest Park.
October 19, 6:30 PM, Woodland Heights Civic Association presents their Centennial Gala at 205 Bayland. For more information, visit.
October 20, 10:00 AM to 2:00 PM, Friends of West 11th Street Park present Green Day in the Park.
October 20, 4:00 to 10:00 PM, Woodland Heights Civic Association presents Swinging in the Heights on Norhill Esplanade. For more information, visit.
November 3, Harvard Elementary parents present “Moonlight over Marrakech” silent auction and dinner at Bill Baldwin and Joe Gonzales’s beautiful home in Woodland Heights. Tickets can be purchased at the school or on the website at.
November 30 - December 2, Holiday Home Tour
February 24, 2008, Awards Dinner
April 4-6, Spring Home Tour
June 7, Fun Run
October 5, Bicycle/Skate Rally
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
Editor-to-be: Gerald Melancon
David Beale, Sharie Beale, Paul Carr, Angela DeWree, Janice Evans-Davis, Lauriel Hindman, Genie Mims, Jim Potter, Kelly Simmons, Marianne Sulser.