Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Dueling Gas Stations at Rock Prairie Road and Wellborn

Shell station. It turns out that we don't have a great shot of the Exxon yet.

This post was originally title "The Development of Rock Prairie Road" and includes, in the comments, the text dump of an old post on Southwood Athletic Park. On July 31, 2014, an overhaul of the post was done when it was re-opened as a commentary on gas stations. On February 24, 2019, the text (but not the picture) was scrubbed in preparation for an eventual rewrite of the article.

12725 & 12727 FM 2154

Monday, August 29, 2011

[Side Stories] Comm. Building Permits College Station in the Late 1980s

We rarely get stuff this neat: this is a list of commercial buildings for the late 1980s (taken from a city-produced master plan guide from circa 1990). This either has Bryan permits in mixed in, or a Lowe's they got a permit for in 1987 was cancelled. There wasn't any Lowe's in College Station until 2010. It's possible that Lowe's got the permit for their current location and sat on it for over two decades, which is plausible but unlikely.

No idea where the other 1985 permits except for Scott & White, and that's probably the older building on University, and the Hampton Inn...which is probably the one next to Applebee's. It's likely the Theatre is the Brazos Fellowship building (it was a three-screen theater off of Southwest Parkway), but I can't know for sure. I do know where Aggieland Printing was, up until about 2001, it was located in a little maroon building right about where the water tower driveway is.

The 1986 permits include 7-11 (which replaced a gas station-turned-bar), but it's not a 7-11 anymore, which is a shame: I do enjoy Slurpees, and ICEEs (found at a few gas stations in town, and Target) aren't the same, as they mix syrup and ice, while Slurpees is frozen syrup continually blended (it's true).

Kentucky Fried Chicken is probably the one at Southwest Parkway and Texas, renovated a few years ago.

Whataburger is almost certainly the one on Dominik, which places it as being relatively new before a fire gutted it in the early 1990s (it has since been repaired).

Mazzio's I have unpleasant memories of, it's where Harvey Washbanger's is. The change-over happened in the late 1990s.

Post Oak Square is I think the one to the west of the TJMaxx/Toys R Us center (that one's Post Oak Plaza, I think). Post Oak Square had Catherine's, and a tasty Korean take-out place I'm not sure is still there.

1987 brought Putt-Putt Golf (which closed about five years ago or so, dying as "Brazos Valley Golf and Games"), an "Exxon Shop", which I'm guessing is modern-day Franky's (or the Valero on Holleman, or even the Highway 30 ones), and Wal-Mart, which secured its permit that year and was up and running by 1988. I don't know about the go cart track, wasn't Pooh's Park, which was on its way out by that time.

1988 brought Loupot's (probably the Southgate location), Taco Cabana (near Barnes & Noble), Circle K (which is where Texaco is, near Walmart, a funny story on that one, we'll discuss it later), CC Creations (moved), Shamrock (Diamond Shamrock?).

1989 brought "Nancy's Cookies", "Jud's", and "Western Auto". Western Auto is probably the current Advance Auto Parts on Harvey, which is what all Western Autos are now.

If you have locations for any of these, please please please...


(Some of you may have been concerned at the lateness of this post. Don't worry: posts are still daily, they'll just be in the evening instead of the morning)

EDIT July 2, 2012: Fixed and updated stuff, especially Hampton Inn.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Southgate Chevron

I snapped this picture from the bus, taken sometime around 2013. The Reveille's sign can't be seen.

The defunct Southgate Chevron has been operating since the 1960s as the Southside Gulf Service, and converted to a convenience store (Reveille's) sometime around the late 1980s (that's what Brazos CAD suggests) with the Chevron name being bestowed in the early 1990s due to a merger. In 2011, I got the below picture that shows the Gulf station and the surrounding area (due to the city reorganizing the Project HOLD server from which I got it from, I can't find the original link and who that is) circa 1985.

Click for larger size/higher resolution.

It's great seeing the George Bush (er, Jersey) stoplight as it was...the "old style" of College Station stoplights (before they were all replaced or upgraded), complete with the old railroad crossing (a cantilever railroad crossing...but where's the crossing gate?), and all those trees, too: this must have been before Olsen Field, and a time when you could probably still see the I-GN right of way on both sides.

I found this picture as well, which appears to be the station in question, from an even earlier time.

Later on, it updated once to the newer 2005 design (didn't roll out fully until the late 2000s), and has always been Reveille's (convenience store) at least since the mid-1990s (if not further back).

In early 2017, it was de-branded as "K.D. Timmons Co. Inc." (a local fuel supplier, though it kept the Chevron colors), and by July 2018 permanently closed, presumably as part of the George Bush underpass project.

UPDATE 2-25-19: Rewrite incorporating 2018 update, new title

300 George Bush Drive

Thursday, August 25, 2011

CSISD Middle Schools Since the 1990s

Until June 13, 2012, this was known as "Middle School misery history!". I changed it to be a bit more specific

Circa 1998-1999, there were only a handful of schools in the CSISD. There was the relatively new Pebble Creek Elementary School and Rock Prairie Elementary School (actually 10 years old by that time), the freshly-renovated South Knoll Elementary School, Southwood Valley Elementary School, and College Hills Elementary School. There was also Oakwood Middle School and Willow Branch Intermediate School, and College Station Junior High to the south. But there were problems with that layout. Despite a recent expansion of Rock Prairie to Wellborn (meaning you no longer had to drive down to North Graham Road or go through Welsh if you weren't coming via highway), the the junior high was crowded, and the school pathway (all 5th graders going to Oakwood, all 6th graders going to Willow Branch).

So during that time (around 1999), the schools received a major shakeup. The elementary schools remained, but the grades 5-8 were changed dramatically. Willow Branch was renamed A&M Consolidated Middle School, got a minor renovation (including the demolition of the dome-like auditorium, a holdover from the days when Willow Branch was a high school) and held half of the city's 7th and 8th graders. College Station Junior High was renamed College Station Middle School (just a quick signage change, really). Oakwood Middle School lost its "Middle" namesake: that was for junior high schoolers, and held 5th and 6th graders. A new campus was built, Cypress Grove Intermediate School for 5th and 6th graders. But there were budget problems during construction, so Cypress Grove was left incomplete, with stubby wings and a few cut plans (like showers in the locker rooms). And because of the never-ceasing flow of kids, it meant it had to compensate with portables.

I say this because I did go to Cypress Grove and CSMS in the past. It was a different time back then: the "outdoor classroom" and garden surrounded by the track has been replaced by an expanded parking loop, the great trees and wilderness to the south, of which only you could see the tip of Christ United Methodist and the water tower was replaced by Creek View Elementary School, and the east, of which we could reach through the fence and grab dewberries, was eventually torn down for more subdivisions. Indeed, what was once the fringe had quickly turned into rapidly multiplying suburbia.

CSMS and AMCMS...I went to both, had very different layouts. The CSMS layout was confusing, as there were essentially five corridors (7th, 8th, Science, Elective, Gym/Cafeteria) that was wrapped around the library. This was in theory a good plan but the problem was the library was more impeding, forcing the central corridors to be very packed (and this was after the split). One neat thing about CSMS was it had three lines, the Cub Canteen, the Cub Café, and something else with C. It served pretty good food at the time: you could order a tall glass of sweet iced tea (they had sugar packets, too), but I doubt that's the same today with draconian food nutrition laws. A funny thing about CSMS was that in spring 1991 when it was built, the school's mascots was still the Kittens (as opposed to the Cubs), but unfortunately, I have no real references (yearbooks, articles, etc.) that actually confirm that fact, so take it with a grain of salt.

AMCMS was better in that the layout was basically an "X" with a central corridor and a second building that was a big loop. The "big loop" building was neat in the fact it had multiple gyms, ramps, and about three or four brick types on the outside. I don't know how much of that was from the original high school there, and what was Willow Branch construction.

I never went to Oakwood, but there was a mural on the south side that had cats on it (probably student-painted) that disappeared sometime in early 2006, and as a kid I always thought the Oakwood library was really cool and unusual (I wonder if it's still that way? Oakwood is one of the oldest, and thus, most architecturally interesting, of the CSISD schools, as far as I know).

Got any memories of CSISD schools, grades 5 through 8? Post 'em here!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Campus Theater

A much, much, better version of this 1989 shot is found here. This version is from TexasEscapes.

217 University Drive

The Campus Theater opened in Northgate in 1940, on the corner of Boyett and University. It was the first theater in College Station, and ended up lasting a very long time. Done in an art deco style and with a single screen (it had a balcony and cry room, too!), it survived sometime into the mid to late 1980s as competition forced it out of business (or maybe the Schulmans, which owned and built it, closed it in '85, along with their theaters in downtown Bryan. Makes sense in the timeline). (Here is an awesome shot of the cinema not too long after opening, but I don't have permission to post it).

After the theater began to deteriorate, around 1995 it finally reopened as Shadow Canyon, which soon after gave it a dreadful makeover by covering over much of the building in wood to give it a country-western theme, and that's been the type of tenant of it's been ever since. Shadow Canyon did well initially, but within a decade, they were out, after they started charging a cover and used gimmicks like wet t-shirt contests to gain attendance. Next up was Midnight Rodeo, which still has locations in San Antonio and Amarillo (an Austin location has closed since 2013). But the College Station location did not last nearly as long as Shadow Canyon, as it opened in early 2006 and closed by summer 2007. (There was another location in Katy Mills in Katy that closed about the same time, and was replaced with Circuit City, bet that went well for them). In 2008 (at least I think it was 2008), it became Daisy Dukes, owned by the Dallis brothers, which was a country-western dance hall. As you can see from a Panaramio picture below, it's obviously the same building, but horrible things have been done to it (sorry I lack a better picture).

Panoramio user rahulatiitd

So the building was clearly mauled, but it got worse. In spring 2013, Daisy Dukes took advantage of the upper level the original building had and opened rooftop seating right above the marquee, with seating and televisions. This was not only ugly but also raised the question if the circa 1940 roof clearly not designed to support tons of people would collapse one day (then again, these sorts of things were done with all sorts of redundancies). By November, it was renamed to Duke's, and by summer 2014 changed hands to The Tap's owners. Prior to this time, there was a lot of drama with the Dallis family including squatting in the Café Eccell building, DUI arrests, and the fact that a former manager of DD's (and an estranged brother, at least publicly) was arrested for something more major, and while initially The Tap talked about the space becoming "No Name Saloon" (which was just a temporary name and never actually on the marquee, the closest to that being when they were changing signs).

Their Twitter page actually "borrowed" the same Campus Theater page I had linked to (and I am absolutely sure they saw this page), but not only did they not restore the facade (not that I expected them to do so at all but the opportunity was there) it just remained a trashy dance hall, this time named Boulevard 217.

As a "parting shot", here's a from-the-back-seat picture I took of it on the night of October 30, 2014.

Horrible picture, I know, but it gets the point across

Editor's Note: This post was rewritten in 2015, but at the end of 2015, Boulevard 217 closed, and was replaced with Shiner Park, which opened for the fall 2016 semester.

* This was cited from a link from The Eagle (now dead), but the URL indicated it was the June 8 2007 issue, if that helps.