Sunday, November 1, 2015

The Current State of this Blog and the 2015 Posts

Welcome to Brazos Buildings & Businesses, which I ran from roughly 2010 to the end of 2014 as a history blog on the Bryan-College Station area. It features information on historic buildings and others.

I have now turned my intentions to Carbon-izer, and I am currently looking to either receive some guest posts, or to trade the site off to new hands altogether. Please write a comment or send an email if interested. A "bonus" to anyone who decides to re-start it gets access to cancelled posts (a large post on Evans Library, the Cushing Memorial Library, the Annex, and more were planned--wanna know why Evans has that "dip" in the second floor?) and additional photos unpublished.

Do you want to help revive the site? Speak up. The email's still active, and so is the Facebook page.

However, because circumstances have prevented me from actually leaving the area, I wanted to make one more stab at the site. Not because I wanted to truly revive it to its "glory days", so to speak (at least the closest it came to its glory days) but mostly to re-do a few things for consistency, breaking up a few of the longer pages (some attempt was made at the Texas Avenue page), and adding a few pages that I might have wanted to do before. I've been getting a ton (ton being a relative word, of course) of visitors via Facebook and I kind of want to satisfy that group. I still get at least 2000 visitors a month, whereas in the summer months when updates were plentiful, I would get over 3000.

There's some "post updates" going on, and I'm also doing a system of "quasi-new" posts that are based after breaking up (or in rare cases, merging) posts. Basically, as it stands, there will no more totally brand new posts. However, the spirit of the blog will live on in the "companion"/"sequel" site, Introducing The Roads of Bryan-College Station.

What this means in actuality is that for most posts, new photos will be added for many of the existing posts, and a series of "encore" posts will be created using largely re-published material. Most of the work will be dedicated to making minor updates to the old posts (merging updates, deleting the "Here's What's New" posts, etc.) and removing very out of date posts.

Things I wouldn't do included breaking into my stash of University Drive East photos, restarting any cancelled posts, new enormous projects (beyond this one), etc.

Any and all of these is depending on how much I want to do things here (some of them could end up happening without *new* content). It could make a more attractive site to hand it off to someone else, which of course hasn't happened yet.

The ideal course of action is that I pick a successor to the site, finish my duties here, give them access to photos and posts, and slowly reduce my presence to a mod as the site continues. In the meantime, keep an eye out on the Facebook page for updates.

But seeing as how a "site successor" hasn't been chosen yet, I'm going to do the next best thing: make a sequel of sorts. That's right, there will be a "sequel" to this site!

Introducing The Roads of Bryan-College Station! Right now, it's very limited, but I intend to add more information as it continues.

New posts of sorts are below this one...

The Loupot's Building

Loupot's in 1995. (PH)

Prior to when College Main was closed off (June 19th 2012, a day that will live in infamy), it was the only block which was resembled a dense city in College Station. And sitting on the corner of this block was Loupot's, which closed the same year (in March). One of the oldest establishments on Northgate and once the "official" bookstore on campus, Loupot's had been around for years, though from what I've read, it wasn't always in the building, and when it was, it wasn't in both levels.

From what I've found, it wasn't bought by Loupot until 1979, and in the past, Loupot's was named "Loupot's Trading Post" and "Loupot's Books & Britches". The upper level was added in the 1980s not too long after the building was bought, as that had been the previous home of an X-rated bookstore (The Adult Library, though I read an ad that mentioned it being the home of "Sun Theater", same business, different name). Some ads I had found (but sadly don't have a copy right now) mentioned that they had shows for a quarter (and escorted ladies were free), which was around in the 1970s and 1980s. This had an address of 333 University.The adult theater was upstairs at 333 University, with Loupot's downstairs. At some point, they eventually closed and Loupot's ultimately would expand upstairs.

Anyway, Loupot's managed to expand to a few different locations, namely a location in Southgate (now home to TexAgs) and in a location at Holleman and Texas Avenue (now Salata). These closed shortly after the Northgate location. A fourth location was planned (according to a sign) to the grassy area just north of Blinn College on Villa Maria (where Blinn later added more parking). Loupot's continued to maintain its large store on Northgate, which later upgraded to electronic signage and made Internet history with its "reverse-boarded up windows" in 2005 (around the time of Hurricane Rita). However, in 2010, the family sold to Nebraska Book Company (Neebo), which already owned the Traditions bookstores (formerly Rother's), and then they started closing stores. The Loupot's-branded stores went away in 2012, but eventually, their other stores (Southgate, University Square, and one closer to Blinn at Briarcrest and Villa Maria) closed as well.

One of their last messages on the message board was "HOLY CRAP!!! TEXTBOOK RENTAL SALE!!!", which always felt a bit tasteless due to the mild swearing but that distracted from the fact that if they're selling rental textbooks, they're probably going under.

The former Loupot's in 2013.

It would be great to see the Loupot's on Northgate resurrected as The Loupot's Building and maybe get something decent or two in there, and not a bar: maybe dividing it into restaurants and shops, except the landlord is too stingy to do so. It was to become a place called Z Bar & Bistro, which made me hope it was something better than The Corner across the street (sticky chairs and tables, smells like old beer constantly, poor service), though it eventually fell through.

As of late 2015, when I'm rewriting this post, the space remains vacant.

Sunday, October 25, 2015

413 Texas Avenue, A Distinctly Former Pizza Inn

Picture taken late October 2015, shortly before rainclouds rolled in and drenched the town.

Mad Taco, Sunday, October 25, 2015, 11:22 AM
"I have lived here a depressingly long time," I said today to a small group of my friends. "I remember being inside stores that closed over 20 years ago. And that's why I need to get out." Because of this non-getting-out-of-town-ness, I'm still making updates to this site because I can.

On my way out, I spotted the former Pizza Inn, now serving as an insurance office. That could've served as an alternate option as to where we were eating lunch, had it not closed down many years ago as well (more like 30 at this point, at least), which reminded me that I could make, perhaps, another "encore" post out of mostly previously created material.

1970s phone book. It still looks remarkably similar.

The rather ragged-looking "Rodney D. Young Insurance" at 413 Texas Avenue, which looks like a candidate for demolition should something better come along (the Exxon at the corner is constantly being ragged on as being an eyesore in a prime location). It was a Pizza Inn in the late 1960s (Brazos CAD says it was built in 1966) to sometime in the mid-1980s (and I'm not sure when Rodney D. Young came in, since I don't have city directories, only a few phone books).

In the meantime, there have been several posts that have received updates. Check the Index, it's always changing.

Friday, September 25, 2015

108 College Main

Courtesy Project HOLD. Sadly, those funky oversized handlebars don't exist anymore.

Dusting off something from a longer post all in favor of integrating into that new "directory" project discussed previously, the space that is "Foundation Lounge" today (which was "Foundation Room" until maybe 2012 or 2013) was a long series of shops and restaurants that I have yet to fully document.

The earliest record I could find for this building was a store called White Auto Store at this spot in 1972.

In the early 1980s, this was a store called The Drafting Board, an engineer's supply shop (reminder: there were less computers than today), which lasted from 1980 to at least 1984 (formerly "News Office Supply", according to a 1980 phone book).

Later on it was called A&M Steak House by c. 1989 (hamburgers, apparently). After that was shortly another store, Condom Station (at the zenith of Northgate's decline). Condom Station may have actually lasted a few years before closing.

"We've Got You Covered" is what the small text says.

This was Dead Lazlo's Coffee Pub in 1995, which lasted a few years too. A newspaper article I read (I don't have it with me but if it turns up, I'll cite it) mentioned that Dead Lazlo's was owned by Sweet Eugene's House of Java which is still alive today. Given how crowded Sweet Eugene's gets, if they still owned a coffeeshop here on Northgate under any name, it would do spectacularly well.

Copacetic (or Copasetic, I've seen it both ways) Café in 1998, and Foundation Room later (which has even more recently changed to "Foundation Lounge"), but not before briefly becoming a bar called The Groove in the mid to late 2000s, which had live music. The Groove was around as early as 2004 (citing The Eagle archives) and as late as 2007 (Google Street view and a restaurant report card). The Foundation's current ƒ logo used to be a Comic Sans-esque "G". Not counting the name changes of Drafting Board or Foundation Room, that's been 8 tenants over the years, but there's probably more...