In This Issue
|Newsletter of the Houston Heights Association|
|Volume Thirty-Seven, Number Two, February 2011|
|Click here for the print-format PDF version.|
|Click here for back issues.|
|Click here to return to main HHA site.|
Fire On Heights Boulevard
Houston Heights Loses Beloved Citizen and Beautiful Residence on Heights Boulevard
Houston Heights neighbors woke January 3 to the news of a tremendous tragedy in our tight-knit community with the loss of one of its beloved citizens, Mrs. Evelyn “Patti” Worthington, as well as that of her caretaker, Elizabeth “Lisa” Sanders.
Home Tour Chairs Marianne Sulser and Trudy Nelson and Home Selection Chair Honi Knowles remember that Mrs. Worthington didn’t hesitate when the Houston Heights Association asked her to open her magnificent home for one of the Association’s biggest fundraisers of the year. In no small part due to the home’s intrigue, the 2008 Holiday Home Tour enjoyed record numbers of visitors that year. On the Friday evening of the tour, in snow and freezing temperatures, visitors waited in a line from the front porch to the sidewalk, down Heights Boulevard, and around the corner at 12th Street. The following year, Mrs. Worthington volunteered her home for the HHA’s first-ever Holiday Home Tour Patron Party, which hosted over 100 guests and again raised important funds for the Association.
The home - a life-long dream for Mrs. Worthington - was a replica of a historic estate in Blacksburg, Virginia, which she loved from childhood memories. The beautiful home also received the HHA’s Community Improvement Award in 2008 for best new construction.
Most people who toured the home will remember Mrs. Worthington’s beloved and priceless collection of dolls ranging from the 15th century to current times, which were beautifully displayed in their own climate controlled glass cases in the home.
Our thoughts are with Mrs. Worthington’s family and friends.
Sweet Tea Talk and Tasting
Sip, savor & learn about the magical properties of tea. Angela Warren of Sweet Tea Cafe and Tea Bar will enlighten you about nature’s magical elixir. Enjoy varieties of teas at the tasting bar.
Everyone is invited! Doors open at 6:30 PM. HHA General Meeting & program commences at 7:00 PM.
Not yet a member of the Houston Heights Association? Well, this is your chance to meet and mingle with your neighbors, learn about our wonder-filled neighborhood, sign up to be a member, or join one of the volunteer committees that make our neighborhood dynamic and great.
That’s Monday, February 14 at the HHA Fire Station, 12th and Yale Streets.
The Houston Heights Association gratefully acknowledges the support of the following 2011 Platinum sponsors:
The next Houston Heights Association Restoration/Historical Committee meeting will be held at 448 Harvard Street on Thursday, February 10, from 7:30 to 9:30 PM.
Most everyone has an opinion about the new Preservation Ordinance. But when you are in the process of buying a home with contributing historic potential, but the seller asks that it be torn down after it is purchased, what do you do?
The answer, of course, is one preserves it. And that is essentially what a young couple with vast experience restoring a National Register home with amazing history at 1605 Heights Boulevard does. This month, we visit a home that is defined by a statement from the new owners that “houses deemed so often ‘too far gone’ may need a lot of work, but there is plenty that can be used without just tossing the house in a landfill and starting over. And there are so many resources right here in Houston to help with that process.” The trend to renovate a local building with historic potential follows a national trend to use older historic buildings to save the environment as well as incorporate historical preservation.
As experienced restoration aficionados, this couple bought this house, believed to be built in 1908, from seeing the handwritten cardboard “for sale” sign they passed daily. And they saw the interior two weeks after completing the purchase. Downsizing from their earlier home on “The Boulevard,” as it was known in the early 1900’s, they bought it. The price basically was just over the lot value, so they felt comfortable buying without seeing the interior as the seller required. Well, you can guess it was a shock for them to see it from the inside!
The house was in an awful state of disrepair. They could literally push on the wall of the master bedroom, and it would move and show the ground underneath from termite damage everywhere. It was 1600 square feet, not including the attic space that was built out with stairs and a plywood floor. So their restoration began.
Their philosophy from the beginning was to save every bit of the house that could be utilized and to use the existing square footage and attic space more efficiently to meet the family’s needs. Most of the original floor plan downstairs remained intact. It started as a two-bedroom; they kept one bedroom as the master and converted the space from the second bedroom into master bath, closet, laundry room, and powder room. The attic space was converted into two bedrooms and one bath. They also added on a new screened porch.
All the electrical, plumbing, HVAC, and roof were saved, as were all the original wood molding, wood floors, exterior wood siding, and windows. They even used a marvelous old sink found buried in the yard for a kitchen sink. Locally great resources in Houston were found to match the old house materials. Historic Houston had windows, siding, and flooring for patching and a claw-foot tub. The front door and antique glass doorknobs were bought at Atkins Antiques, and miscellaneous salvage pieces came from August Antiques on Heights Blvd. And, in turn, they found good homes for unused materials. Pine paneling went to Tim Womble for one of his projects; Historic Houston took the plumbing fixtures, gas fireplace, heaters, and other items.
They found the perfect architect, Spencer Howard, who works full time at Rice and does houses, too. He understood, and was enthusiastic about, the owners’ obsessive desire to save whatever could be saved of the house and their insistence on not adding more but making good efficient use of the existing space. He focused on improving energy efficiency and searched for unique pieces for the house like a find in Louisiana of three stained glass windows salvaged out of a house destroyed by Katrina for the den. The laundry room sink came from his parents’ backyard. Their contractor, Gabriel Home Builders here in Houston Heights, was good natured and patient as well with all the owners’ wishes, even though many of them required extra work. Overall, with careful planning and excellent resources, everything went extremely well for this must-see home.
This meeting will highlight what was thought to be another Houston Heights “tear down” house that has been transitioned into a charming family home using efficient recycling. Overall, the original exterior character of this property was kept intact. For those interested in how to do proper restoration and recycling, this meeting will be a must. Also, for those wanting to meet great neighbors and have an enjoyable evening, do attend.
The Houston Heights Restoration/Historical Committee meetings are open to the public quarterly to learn about history and restoration in keeping with the appreciation of the historic nature of Houston Heights. Please let Committee Chairman Dean Swanson know if you have a restoration project, historical structure under restoration, or historical information or photos pertaining to the Heights past to share at future meetings. Contact Dean at or 713-880-2832.
Historic District Reconsideration Update
Houston City Council passed amendments to the Historic Preservation Ordinance on October 13 by a 12-3 vote. At the same meeting, City Council also passed a separate ordinance providing for a transition process from the old ordinance to the new ordinance. The transition ordinance established a 30-day period during which property owners in an existing or pending historic district could request reconsideration of their district. That period ran from October 18 through November 17.
In seven historic districts, including Houston Heights East, West, and South, the owners of 10% or more of the tracts asked for their districts to be reconsidered. The City mailed to all property owners in those districts an announcement of a public meeting (held December 8 for the three Houston Heights districts) and forms to be mailed back by any owners wanting to repeal their districts.
Planning Director Marlene Gafrick reported to City Council on January 6 that the number of returned forms was insufficient to trigger a recommendation to abolish the Heights East, Heights West, Heights South, Boulevard Oaks, and Avondale West districts.
The meeting for Norhill was held January 8; forms were due back by January 24. The meeting for First Montrose Commons was held January 18; forms are due back by February 2. Results from those surveys were not available at press time.
Ultimately, City Council will use the information from the returned forms and recommendations from staff to decide whether to affirm, modify, or abolish each district.
Please see the City of Houston Planning and Development Department web page for final versions of the amended Historic Preservation Ordinance and the transition ordinance. We expect that further information on the reconsideration process will be posted there as it becomes available.
We have a total of 735 subscribers for the Heights Constable Patrol Program. A special thanks to our deputies for the outstanding work that they do keeping our neighborhood safe.
The Houston Heights Association gratefully acknowledges the support of the following Winter 2010-2011 Silver Sponsor:
HHA Education Committee Helps to Spread Holiday Cheer: Stories & Grants
The winners of the 2010 holiday writing contest read their stories to a large and enthusiastic audience at Waldo’s Coffee House on Saturday, December 18. Many thanks to Waldo’s for hosting this festive event! Shown in the picture at right are Andrea Arroyo, third-place winner for “Her Wish,” Mandy O’Leary representing Ismael Garza, first-place winner for “The Choir Tour,” and Jodi Bash, second-place winner for “Annie’s Christmas.”
Ushering in the New Year are many exciting projects in our Heights-area schools! The HHA Education Committee is pleased to announce that it has selected the following teachers as recipients for its 2010-2011 educational grant program:
Field Elementary School:
3rd Grade Team Ysobel Hayden & Rene Ibarra, $675.00 for “Science & Math”
Hamilton Middle School:
Librarian & Art Teacher Team Robert Bunch & Bridgette Phillips, $1,000.00 for “The Collage Project”
Helms Community Learning Center:
5th Grade Science Teacher Ida McCoy, $730.00 for “Science Literacy”
Physical Education Teacher Calvin Easterday, $1,000.00 for “Fun Movement with Music & Learning with Geo-phone Mats”
Technologist Julia Hernandez and Pre-K & Kindergarten teachers, $800.00 for “Visual Vocabulary”
Kindergarten Teacher Ana Lerma, $750.00 for “Discover and explore with engaging science/math workstations”
Love Elementary School:
Librarian Stephanie Eda, $750.00 for “Leaping Into Literature”
Kindergarten Teacher Pamela Esquivel, $750.00 for “iPad for Kindergarten”
Pre-kindergarten Teacher Carmen Vazquez and Kindergarten Teacher Brenda Munoz, $750.00 for “Amaryllis Flowers”
Reagan High School:
Band Director Stephen Becker, $750.00 for “Music/Band Instruments”
This year’s Spring Home Tour Candlelight Dinner Auction promises to be as spectacular as ever, in fact almost “Oz-like.” We have a lot of incredible art donations from notable artists. This also includes a collection of side tables (to be bid on individually) designed and artistically embellished by local artisans and artists. The auction will include hundreds of items, including gift certificates from local merchants and amazing dinners in equally as amazing Heights homes. Besides all of this, there will be a few fantastic getaway vacation packages and a few big surprises.
Call For Docents
Volunteers Needed for the Spring Home Tour. If you can help out with three hours of your time to work either April 2 or 3, please contact Jan Cottage at 713-880-1295 or or Sandy Steitz at 713-392-4133 or . In return, you will receive a free Home Tour ticket, value $25.
The Houston Heights Association gratefully acknowledges the support of the following Winter 2010-2011 Bronze Sponsors:
Please welcome the following new members to the Houston Heights Association.
Steve & Judy Beck
Curry Buckalew & Isabel Sigala
Tyann & Ian Casady, gift from Mireille Patman
James Chapman & Tony Pryor
Shirley & Daniel Dobrowski
Chris & Robyn Fellows
Tyler & Aimee Flood
Jim & Sara M. Garcia
Kevin & Susan King
Lyndsey & Daniel Knight
Yvonne & Gary Koehler
Seth & Katie McNew
Dennis & Ashley McQueen
Mike & Amy Moore
Suzy Morton & Dell Toelkes
Don & Judith Neptune
Milton & Suzanne Palmer
Ted & Jere Pfister
Joyce & Dave Savelle
Dan & Jan Schmieder
Alaina & Gregory Smith
Beverlee Steinberg & Chad Alexander
Sherri & Larry Stuart
Jack & Deanna Vernon
Woodland Cottage Etiquette, Shea Sandefer Hill
Our thanks to the following for their generous support of the projects of the Houston Heights Association.
Andrea L. Farr
Gary Gehbauer - Heights Playground, Flower Gardens, and Fire Station Endowment
Daniel Kornberg & Mary Scott Hagle
Sam & Mai Lindsey
E. Drew Mehlhaff - Fire Station Endowment
Linda Price & Matt Grove - Boulevard Maintenance
Joan Robins - Boulevard
Anne Rodgers - Boulevard (Maple)
Calendar of Events for February-March 2011
HHA headquarters: The Fire Station is on the corner of Yale and 12th Streets.
Every Wednesday to Saturday, 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM, Historic Houston’s salvage warehouse is open. See .
Every Monday, 7:30 to 10:00 PM, Houston International Folk Dancers introductory lessons at Oddfellows Hall, 115 E. 14th.
February 3-5, Opera in the Heights presents Verdi’s Don Carlo at Lambert Hall, 1703 Heights Blvd. For more information, visit .
March 5, 9:00 AM to 12:00 noon, The Lymphoma Research Foundation will host its second Houston Lymphomathon at Stude Park, 1031 Stude Street. For more information on volunteering, forming a team, signing up to walk, or becoming a sponsor, visit the Lymphomathon Website.
March 24-26 and March 31 through April 2, Opera in the Heights presents Bizet’s Pearl Fishers at Lambert Hall, 1703 Heights Blvd. For more information, visit .
April 1-3, Spring Home Tour
June 4, Heights Fun Run
October 2, Bicycle Rally
December 2-3, Holiday Home Tour
December 5-7, Holiday Basket Preparation and Delivery
February 26, 2012, Awards Dinner
At The Fire Station
The second Monday, 5:00 to 7:00 PM, and the last Monday of the month, 8:00 AM to noon, the City Council District H Satellite Office is open at the east (office) door.
Heavy Trash Notes
February is a “Junk Waste” month; March is a “Tree Waste Only” month. See the for dates in your area and more information.
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 © 2011, 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
Jan Cottage, Anne Culotta, Angela DeWree, Lauriel Hindman, Beth Martin, Kelly Simmons, Sandy Steitz, Dean Swanson, Maureen Weyel.