In This Issue
|Newsletter of the Houston Heights Association|
|Volume Thirty-Seven, Number Three, March 2011|
|Click here for the print-format PDF version.|
|Click here for back issues.|
|Click here to return to main HHA site.|
There’s No Place Like Home…
Houston Heights Home & Garden Tour
The Home & Garden Tour will be held on Saturday and Sunday, April 2 and 3, 2011, from noon to 6:00 PM each day and consists of six spectacular homes and gardens - four historic and two recent construction - each reflecting the unique character and architecture of our neighborhood. Also on the tour this year will be an opportunity to see the “before” version of Immanuel Lutheran Church - an historic structure which will soon be transformed into a community center for art exhibits, receptions, and community and youth programs.
Luxury bus shuttles to all of the homes, included in the price of your ticket, will be standing by at the Heights Fire Station at Yale & 12th Streets, where parking is available.
Advance tickets are $20 through April1 by cash or check at Another Place in Time, Buchanan’s Native Plants, Davis Hardware, Eclectic Home, Lovejoy’s Antiques, Waldo’s Coffee House, and Write Now! You may purchase tickets by credit card through noon on April 1 at . Advance bundles of ten are also available for the discounted price of $175 through April 1. Tickets purchased online will be waiting for you at “Will Call” at the Heights Fire Station during the hours of the tour.
Tickets on the days of the tour will be $25 each, $20 for bicycle riders, and $5 for a single home. You may purchase your tickets during tour hours at each of the homes, by check or cash only, and at the Heights Fire Station, where credit cards will be acepted.
While you are at the Fire Station, you will want to see the artistic gifts of our area children at the Houston Heights Association Education Committee’s Sixth Annual Youth Art Show. Visitors will also want to explore the charming Houston Heights area, rich in antique shops, art galleries, clothing and jewelry boutiques, home furnishings and décor, outdoor cafes, and world-class restaurants who will be pulling out all the stops for Heights First Saturday.
Executive Chairs: Denise Martin, Chris Silkwood, and Kelly Simmons
Executive Chairs-Elect: Hilary Parr Cobb, Gilbert Perez, and Lina Fairchild
Home Tour Chairs: Jan Cottage and Sandy Steitz
To volunteer or for more information, you may call 713-861-4002, extension 3, or e-mail .
More Home Tour-related articles below:
March General Meeting to Feature Local Art
All About Art - in the Heights
An interesting mix of artists will be on hand at the March 14 General Meeting, displaying their artwork and discussing their inspirations. Listening to artists talk about their work and inspiration is one of the best ways to understand and appreciate the processes they go through.
Meet Catherine Anspon, Social/Fine Arts Editor of PaperCity Magazine, our guest speaker for the March meeting, “All About Art.” Her new book, Texas Art Today, features many artists who reside in the Heights area and/or are represented by Heights-area galleries! Catherine has been traveling to major museums across the state with Texas Artists, and the Houston Heights Association is pleased to have her speak. Her book will be available for purchase, and benefits four nonprofits, including Lawndale Art Center.
Everyone is invited to meet, mix, and mingle with the artists.
Thanks to Keith Crane and Byron Pettit for organizing this event, and thanks to Boulevard Realty for providing the refreshments.
Fun Run, June 4!
Looking for an exciting way to support the Houston Heights Association? Volunteer to help with the Fun Run! It’s a fast and fun race along our famous boulevard, and there are lots of different ways you can be a part of it. If you’d like to help out, please e-mail . We’d love to have you!
The Houston Heights Association gratefully acknowledges the support of the following 2011 Platinum sponsor:
Candlelight Dinner & Auction
There’s No Place Like Home… We’re not in Kansas anymore.
Patrick Palmer, Home & Garden Tour’s Cover Artist
Patrick Palmer, who was recently named Studio School Chairman of The Glassell School of Art (the teaching wing of The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston), has created a custom work to be used in marketing material throughout the home & garden tour event. Mr. Palmer states, “As both a visual artist and a teacher, I think it is important that we remember what ART is, whether it is a painting, a ballet, or a novel. We artists are storytellers, and to me art is storytelling.”
The Cover Art
“Faith, Hope & Charity: Guardians of the Dove” centers on recurring ancient imagery of “the three women” - symbolic of those who uphold all that is good in us. Other metaphors the artist uses in this work are the dove, representing peace, written words from “Cinderella,” the rising sun, giving us hope for another day, the oak tree and the bungalow, representing the Heights and home, and the sleeping dog, reminding us to “let sleeping dogs lie.” Mr. Palmer’s goal is for each of us to anchor on certain parts of his story and weave together a tale that is right for us.
This beautiful work on canvas will go to the highest bidder at the Candlelight Dinner’s Live Auction on April 1. You can buy your tickets now at Patrick Palmer’s website.. You may also want to visit
Unique Tables to be Featured at Candlelight Dinner
We’ve featured terrific specialty items at several of the annual Houston Heights Association Candlelight Dinners. Who owns a candlestick, birdhouse, mailbox, decorative box, or doghouse that was purchased during one of the events? Don’t you feel special to have one of these unique pieces?
This year, attendees of the Candlelight Dinner have the opportunity to purchase side/occasional tables that have been created, decorated, or built by a local artisan or craftsman. The list of contributors, as of January 31, includes Keith Crane, Richard Fluhr, Navid Ghedami, Greg Hartley, Joe Holton, Steve Ista, James Myers, Nicola Parente, Bill Peck, Gilbert Perez, Julie Pettit, Kay Sarver, Chris Silkwood, and Liz Spencer.
The tables are sure to be unique and a topic for conversation, regardless of the materials used, so find that place in your home for a one-of-a-kind table and attend the Candlelight Dinner to bid on one of these special pieces.
Children’s Art Show
The 6th Annual Children’s Art Show takes place this year during the Houston Heights Association Spring Home & Garden Tour, April 1-3. The Art Show is open to all children and students of the Houston Heights. Any student wanting to submit art to the show must have his/her name, grade, and school attached to the back of the art. All entries must be submitted to the Fire Station between the hours of 10:00 AM and 4:00 PM on Thursday, March 31. There will be a panel of judges to judge and award prizes.
The Children’s Art Show is a project of the HHA Education Committee. Please direct any questions regarding the Art Show to .
The Houston Heights Association gratefully acknowledges the support of the following Spring 2011 Silver Sponsors:
Historic District Reconsideration Update
On October 13, Houston City Council passed amendments to the Historic Preservation Ordinance and a transition process to the new ordinance. From October 18 through November 17, property owners in an existing or pending historic district could request reconsideration of their district.
In seven historic districts, 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 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.
Preliminary results from Planning and Development show that Norhill and First Montrose Commons districts also failed to reach the 51% threshold. No district is likely to be dissolved.
Planning and Development expected to present all the reports to City Council at their February 23 meeting or shortly thereafter. Council will use the information from the returned forms and recommendations from staff to decide whether to affirm, modify, or abolish each district.
Late Breaking News:
At the February 23 City Council meeting, the Director of Planning & Development formally presented reports with survey results and recommendations on the six existing historic districts that underwent reconsideration, including Houston Heights East and West. Her reports indicated that no district had reached the threshold for dissolution and that surveys requesting repeal of district designation were dispersed throughout each district. Her recommendation was that Council take no action with regard to the designation of five of the six districts (that is, leave them intact) and that Council amend the boundaries of First Montrose Commons to exclude one tract at a corner of the district, which had been included unintentionally.
At that meeting, the following schedule was announced: Reports on the three pending districts (Houston Heights South, Woodland Heights, and Glenbrook Valley) would be presented to City Council on March 2. Any action on the six existing districts would be deferred until March 9.
Copies of the formal reports on the six existing districts (with maps of survey results and the Director’s recommendations for City Council action) are now available on the City Planning Department site along with the amended Historic Preservation Ordinance and the transition ordinance. We hope that further information on the reconsideration process will be posted there as it becomes available.
The next Houston Heights Association Restoration/Historical Committee meeting will be held at the historic George Henry Burnett House at 219 W. 11th St. on Thursday, March 17, 7:30-9:30 PM.
Whether you are new to the neighborhood or have lived here for years, you may have heard stories about the Sears Craftsman House, designed in the Queen Anne style in March of 1904. As was the custom then, the house was pre-cut in Illinois, shipped by rail, and transported to this site by wagon. A local carpenter who lived next door assembled the house. The home is listed in the National Register of Historic Places. This unusual construction is one of just a few left in the Heights constructed in this fashion. But the really interesting thing about it is the story behind the man who had it built.
Mr. Burnett moved to the Heights soon after losing his family in the 1900 “Great Storm,” the worst natural disaster in the United States. In his book about the storm, Isaac’s Storm, author Erik Larson recounts how George and brother Gary Burnett sought refuge from the storm in a neighbor’s home in Galveston but lost their wives and children when the house collapsed in the dark waters from the hurricane’s storm surge.
From being a tragic hurricane survivor, to building one of the most historic homes in the Heights, to becoming an artist, inventor, cabinet-maker, and controversial Vaudeville accordionist, his background was not exposed until after his death. His associations with famous people like Al Capone and a “mysterious” film and TV star just make his story more interesting. His business skills extended to a commercial roller-skating rink, the first milk pasteurization plant in Houston, and co-founding one of the city’s largest commercial dry cleaning establishments.
Of special interest to restoration enthusiasts will be the home itself. Original gas and electric lighting, beautiful personal touches from his carpentry skills, original photos, and memorabilia are to be viewed. A recent addition to the home has added more living space while keeping the historic style of the historic home.
The Houston Heights Restoration/Historical Committee meetings are open to the public bimonthly to learn about history and restoration in keeping with an appreciation of the historic nature of the Houston Heights. Membership in the Houston Heights Association is encouraged, but not mandatory to attend these events.
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 to share at future meetings. Dean also conducts historical tours of the Houston Heights for groups and can be contacted at 713-880-2832 or by e-mail to .
Please welcome the following new members to the Houston Heights Association.
Constable Statistics for January
The three separate patrol areas have been combined this year, as previously noted. The statistics reported here are totals for all three officers.
Our thanks to the following donors for their generous support of the programs of the Houston Heights Association.
Sara Summer Bonario - Parks, Boulevard, & Flower Gardens
Melvalene E. Cohen - Beautification
Phil Eaton & Thomas Gribble - Fire Station Endowment Fund
GDF Suez Energy North America, Inc., matching gift of Keith Crane & Kelly Simmons
Harmony Electric, Dennis & Laura Virgadamo - Parks
Bill Lehnert & Walter Stowell - Fire Station Endowment in memory of Doug Grissom
Sam & Mai Lindsey
Dan Riley - Donovan Park Playground
The Houston Heights Association gratefully acknowledges the support of the following Spring 2011 Bronze Sponsors:
The 2011 Featured Homes & Gardens
Cohen Home, 726 E. 8th St.
Completed in 2009, this three-story modern structure, designed by Natalye Appel and Associates and built by Eimar Virkus, references the Craftsman style of the Houston Heights. Large windows and balconies on each level provide light and views in all directions. Handmade artisan furnishings create a unique backdrop for the amazing international collections of pottery, ceramics, glass and baskets. A large stainless steel water feature framed by grasses, bamboo, and gingers highlights the low-maintenance contemporary xeriscape. These homeowners can be found most evenings relaxing by their cozy outdoor fireplace or on one of their view-inspired balconies.
Bohnn/Green Home, 945 Columbia Street
A sense of community and “real” yards drew the homeowners to the Houston Heights. In this 1920 classically-renovated Craftsman-style home, Bill Baldwin Restoration incorporated custom updates and expansions to fit the homeowners’ modern lifestyle. Furnishings, fixtures, and art throughout generous living spaces are a comfortable mix of contemporary, traditional, and antique - including the home’s original claw foot tub. The awe-inspiring landscape features several distinct, wildlife-friendly sitting areas, including a tranquil pond, butterfly and migratory bird gardens with vintage concrete benches, and a roomy back porch overlooking their New Orleans courtyard-style pool.
Willis Home, 711 E. 19th Street
This 2010 LEED green building certified house was realized from the homeowners’ dream of a comfortable, sustainable, and efficient home. The large front porch welcomes visitors into the grand hallway banked by a set of pocket doors that were reclaimed from a sunken 1906 yacht once owned by Mussolini. The home is filled with one-of-a-kind furnishings and Russian artwork collected in their travels. The architectural design, by Newberry Campa Architects and builder Kerry Galvin Homes, reflects the couple’s desire for clean lines and functional open spaces perfect for entertaining. The equally comfortable outdoor space functions as a roomy extension and features a fabulous outdoor kitchen pavilion.
Vaughn Home, 1802 Cortlandt
When the homeowners purchased this 1920s American Foursquare in 2008, they immediately began interior and exterior renovations. Believing that the outdoors is as important a living space as the indoors, they paid careful attention to both. The result is a spacious and open indoor living space and beautiful outdoor dining area; both are perfect for entertaining and reflect the homeowners’ comfortable and welcoming style. The spectacular landscape design, including raised vegetable gardens, was inspired by the Wildflower Center in Austin, where the Vaughns were married.
Sitton Home, 247 W. 21st Street
Previously named “Toad Hall” after the former owner’s love of A.A. Milne’s play “Toad of Toad Hall,” Gary and Annie renamed it “The Bunny Bungalow” as soon as the mass collection of toads moved out. The 1920 Arts and Crafts bungalow has recently undergone an extensive renovation, including the kitchen and baths. Reflecting the homeowners’ creative style and years of collecting, the cozy home is filled with art from local galleries and artists, mid-century and Stickley furnishings, and of course, antique and vintage bunnies of every imaginable stripe. Beautifully designed by Rogers + Labarthe Architects, the new detached garage studio apartment is an architectural jewel box, filled with art, collectibles, and his and hers bookshelves.
Perez/Eronko Home, 1401 Herkimer Street
This 1914 Pomona Style Bungalow was saved from demolition by Historic Houston and moved to its current location by Bungalow Revival. Though still in its original footprint, this home has been meticulously restored using reclaimed materials and antique period-style lighting fixtures. Minor floor plan modifications seamlessly complement the home’s many boastful and original architectural elements and features. The homeowners’ attention to period architectural detail, thoughtfully handpicked furnishings and textiles, and an eclectic art collection creates a unique yet timeless living space echoing the comfort and informality that inspired the original American Bungalow movement.
Immanuel Lutheran Church, 15th & Cortlandt
In a terrible state of repair, this historic Gothic Revival Sanctuary was scheduled for demolition in 2010 until a neighborhood group formed to save the magnificent structure. Stop in and see the “before” version of this important historical building, which was designed by German architects in the early 1930s, as well as the soon-to-be “after” version, depicted in drawings and 3-D renditions by Ziegler Cooper Architects and to be executed by Fretz Construction. A new roof has recently been installed on the building, and the committee is currently raising the necessary capital to restore the building, which will function as a community center, including art exhibits, theatre performances, receptions, and youth services.
New Sandbox at Donovan Park
The new sandbox at Donovan Park is a big hit with the toddlers. It was installed on Wednesday, January 26, and it has stayed busy. The box was formed using remnants from the recent construction. The 1 and 3/4 tons of white sand was donated by San Jacinto Stone Co.
Calendar of Events for March–April 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.
March 4 and 5, 8:00 PM, UpStage Theatre presents Rehearsal for Murder at Lambert Hall, 1703 Heights Blvd. For more information or tickets, call 713-838-7191 or 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, please visit
March 5, 110:00 AM to 4:00 PM, Greater Heights Area Chamber of Commerce presents its Annual Crawfish Festival in the Sterling Bank parking lot, 414 W. 19th at Ashland. Call the Chamber at 713-861-6735 for full details.
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 .
March 25-27, 10:00 AM to 6:00 PM, the Art Colony Association presents the 40th Annual Bayou City Art Festival Memorial Park. For more information, please visit .
April 2, 7:30 PM, Health Care for All Texas presents Jim Post in his one-man show “Mark Twain and the Laughing River” at Live Oak Friends Meeting Hall, 1318 W. 26th St. For information or to buy tickets, please visit .
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
April 5-7, Spring Home Tour
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
March is a “Tree Waste Only” month; April is a “Junk Waste” month. See 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
Stephanie Babb, Paul Carr, Angela DeWree, Linda Eyles, Lauriel Hindman, Beth Martin, Julie Pettit, Kelly Simmons, Dean Swanson, Lanna vonBaden.