Showing posts with label TAMU. Show all posts
Showing posts with label TAMU. Show all posts

Friday, December 19, 2014

Scoates Hall

333 Spence


Who loves old buildings? I do! I took these pictures of the 1932-built Scoates Hall in June 2012 shortly after renovation plans were announced (I think Scoates was last renovated sometime in the 1950s or 1960s, I have a hard time believing that a lot of what I was seeing was 1930s vintage). Unfortunately, I didn't have good picture taking skills or a good frame of reference to where these were (the floor plan threw me a loop, you can't directly access the two halves of the building, and even the second floor connections require some manuevering), so the pictures aren't entirely adequate. I can however tell you that the water fountain in one shot is totally gone, the stairs were reinforced with new guardrails (the old rails used to terrify me--especially since they were below a taller person's center of gravity), and the new hallways look nice and shiny, though of course something is missing.

Check out the shots here, on Flickr.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Zachry Engineering Center: End of an Era

We'll be exploring this one soon enough.


This building has so much to cover about, it's not even on the site. It opened in 1972 and I promised a massive post on it, but that kept getting delayed as I rushed to wrap the site up before Kyle Field was imploded. Even afterward, some upload errors and a low priority prevented me from finishing this. Check out the progress here. (Updated: new link)

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Heep Center

Historic picture looking west. Until 2011, this is very similar to what it was. Then they made Olsen go through there. (Mapping Historic Aggieland)

More photos, mine, in glorious color. Taken 2/2014.
Facing east. This is my best picture
Approaching east.
The skywalks within.
Looking west from inside.
Hi there!

Besides its impressive five-story atrium, this building is also one of my favorites because it's incredibly solidly built. The walls are a foot or so of reinforced concrete, and the whole thing (sans skylights of course) would likely survive a nuclear strike. Heep Center was built in 1977 according to Historic Aggieland.

This post, as you might have guessed, is basically a stop-gap measure as we continue to update the site. The following posts were updated:

Putt-Putt Golf & Games - updated with new tenant and photo
Before Taste of China - new ad
Ramada Inn / University Tower / Plaza Hotel - new stuff, still not happy with the post overall
Fajita Rita's - more complete overview

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Reed McDonald Building


It's game over for Dulie Bell, but another generally unloved building has been getting some facade work recently. Reed-McDonald Building, the long-time home to the Battalion (it was there 15 years ago and years before that) and a current place to store grad students. Built in 1967, as of winter 2013, this has been getting a repaint, getting some blonde tan, covering up the battered and faded red paint (which is apparently was used/is being used as a primer) and slightly less battered dark tan color. As of this writing, it's mostly done.

Older Aggies that went here prior to 2006 may notice that something's missing: the Bus Stop Snack Bar, which sold things like sandwiches and chips. Regrettably, I don't have any pictures of the missing building, but you can discuss it here.

ALSO! We went added and added a newspaper article for the opening of Weingarten (College Station) location. You know, the one that lasted two months and never even became a Safeway?

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Dulie Bell on a Rainy Day

Another building bites the dust. Built in 1942 as the USDA Building, this building survived just over 70 years before meeting the wrecking ball. While it was definitely a landmark at its prime location at University and Wellborn, it wasn't loved but still operated as classrooms and offices into fall 2013.


While I did go in fall 2013, I didn't take any pictures (to my knowledge, and regret), but I enjoyed the "treats" I did find: the bathroom featured separate taps for hot and cold water.

I'm not entirely sure of why they demolished Dulie Bell. It was old, to be certain, but it had gotten a fresh coat of paint and relatively new carpets, so unless the university has something up their sleeve, there was some serious problem with the building itself that was unable to be fixed without major investment, like plumbing, electrical, or foundation (Special Services Building was razed for that reason, and never utilized again until over a decade later when a basketball court was put there).

Since the front of the building directly fronts the ramps to University and is difficult to get a picture of, I'll have to resort to other pictures. The top one is from the official map of TAMU, the bottom one is from Historic Aggieland.




Editor's Note: Be prepared to see new or updated content every Wednesday!

Friday, September 6, 2013

Rosenthal Meat Science Center

This building was erected in 1981 and opened to classes in January 1983. A unique feature of Texas A&M, the Rosenthal Meat Center is a full-service meat processing plant and learning facility, slaughtering (and offering for sale) lamb, beef, pork, and derived sausage products.

UPDATE 10-26-13: The loading dock is seen in the final picture (taken after the previous ones)

Thursday, July 4, 2013

George Bush Presidential Library & Museum

Presumably taken before September 11th, I don't think they'd allow trucks up there anymore (source)


Happy Independence Day!

I won't write a full post on George Bush Presidential Library, simply because it will read too much like a tourist guide or be politically charged (renaming Jersey Street to George Bush Drive before Clinton even finished his first term is a particular sore spot for many area non-conservatives).

Nor will I have any newspaper clippings or other material on it (there is literally enough material for a website in itself). All I have is some statements about the museum from 1997-2007 and a particular favorite exhibit of mine.

It was a pretty heady time to be living in Aggieland at the time (1997-2002). Although the Bonfire collapse and September 11th happened in this time frame, development was taking off in Rock Prairie Road, the University Drive and Harvey Road restaurant rows were building up, and many buildings--the new College Station Library, Reed Arena, and a few others all opened up.

At least the construction turned George Bush Drive West from a bumpy two lane road (similar to Luther St. West now, by all accounts) into a smooth, fast, four-lane avenue with a median.

1000 George Bush Drive West

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

G. Rollie White Coliseum and Read Building

A sight you'll never see again!

No pictures are enough to replace G. Rollie White Coliseum or the Read Building (built 1954 and 1985, respectively), but I do have some pictures (about three dozen) that I took with a friend at the end of last semester. It was an odd experience: some offices and rooms were stripped, giving a true "urban exploration" experience, but some weren't (people taking finals, for one).

G. Rollie White Coliseum was two levels (an arena and a smaller upper level), with Read Building being four (second level of Rollie is Read's third). Read is connected to the lower Kyle Field decks. These will all be demolished for the "new" Kyle Field, which is a shame but now is not the time to discuss what the TAMU brass want (you can explore it in the comments, I won't censor).

You can see the pictures I took on Flickr.

As a bonus, here's an article from October 1985 detailing renovations to G. Rollie, which was probably done in conjunction with the Read Building expansion.


You can see the pre-renovated arena here.

Read Building wasn't much to look at, as it was cleverly disguised as part of Kyle Field.


10/24/13: updated to account for their demise, changed photo -- the new one is from AggieMap.tamu.edu (as well as for Read), which have since been removed. The old picture from this post can still be seen on Flickr.

12/18/13: A different angle has the Read Building gutted to a shell in late September. At this point you could see the original paint on the walls.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Old TI Plant

No picture today, nor even an address. Something a bit different.

Now the University Services Building (not to be confused with the General Services Complex building at TAMU, nor the Special Services Building) is a thoroughly unimpressive warehouse located in a somewhat secluded area, which I know primarily as the place where you can find lots of animals preserved in glass jars (I went there for a field trip in eighth grade...), but at one time, it actually assembled computers for Texas Instruments (back when they made computers), though TI closed the plant after only about six years (1980-1986).


It's worth noting the Cypress plant wasn't closed in the 1980s after all--it survived until about a year and a half ago.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

The Original Mess Hall

Although not a simple outbound link in "The Week of Updates", this is not new content and will be renamed and sorted back into the index. This is to clear out space for "Aggie Food" becoming a "Special Collection".

I put this one on here because of a few reasons, one, it's the first building dedicated to feeding Aggies, two, it's a cool building, and had one of the shortest lifespans of any TAMU building, with just 13 years standing when it was built in 1898 and burning to the ground in 1911 (and then Old Main caught fire about a year later...yikes). It was located somewhere on modern-day Jones Street (dorms and the walkways between them are what replaced it) if my sources are correct. Two pictures are below, the first of them being from an architecture magazine from 1897, which shows the layout of the building and the only rendering of the building in color. Both are from TexAgs.com, with the rendering and the picture from iamtheglove and Harry Lime, respectively.




You may notice there's a small upper level in the building above the kitchen: that was where Bernard Sbisa actually lived, and his home and possessions were destroyed in that 1911 fire.

It was replaced by Sbisa a block away. That link is where you'll find out more on Sbisa Dining Center and the Underground Food Court.

Today, there's another hall in the spot...McFadden Hall. There's a plaque outside that commemorates it. It sure is a shame that it burned, as I think it's architecturally nicer than Sbisa, and with some additional improvements over the years (maintaining the fine appearance, though) it could be an iconic campus building and a great place to eat. Of course, that would still get the Northside crowd, the outsourced food (not that Sbisa food was particularly amazing prior), but no Underground. Or it's possible that the Mess Hall wouldn't get expanded (only remodeled) and there would be more places to eat overall.

Monday, May 27, 2013

303 Boyett: Forgettable Mexican Food But Good Beer


Back in the days prior to the 1950s, professors lived in houses on campus, from the place of the modern-day Memorial Student Center and parts south. Most of these buildings were not demolished, however--they were literally partially disassembled and placed in other parts of town. The house on Boyett and Church is one of them. Of course, a lot of them still have been demolished, but the one at Church and Boyett hasn't. I'm not sure of the house's history since being moved off-campus, but it has served as restaurants in recent years.

As mentioned by "AggiePhil" in the comments below and confirmed in other sources, in the early 2000s, it was "Satchel's BBQ & Steaks". According to Restaurant Row, it was "a casual family style restaurant with a rustic ambiance, a fireplace, cozy booths and knickknacks placed throughout. The cuisine is traditional American fare with beef, turkey, pork, chicken, steaks, and seafood entrées. The bar serves domestic and imported beers, wines and mixed drinks. They offer a kid's menu, take out and catering."


From LoopNet, back when it was Fredriko's

By 2007 Satchel's was gone and it had become a Mexican restaurant called Fredriko's, which I ate at once (it was forgettable, and is now gone). Apparently it used to be another restaurant, as well, but I don't know of it. By 2011 (roughly) the building was "DC, Inc.": the headquarters for Dixie Chicken and other related restaurants (Dry Bean Saloon, Dudd's, Chicken Oil Co.), but by 2013 it moved again (former location of Alfred T. Hornback's) and started to renovate as restaurant space again: the Blackwater Draw Brewing Company, a brewpub owned by the same owners as O'Bannon's. Given the generally positive response I've had to brewpubs in Michigan, I had high hopes but was tempered by the lousy reputation of Northgate (Chimy's was a disappointment: I don't want overpriced tacos that I have to fix in a bacteria-laden fixings bar). I have yet to go visit this new restaurant, so expect to see a new photo up there some time in the near future, perhaps. Reviews look great though, and upon trying it (in November 2013, if I recall) I found the food to be very good, a decent value (more expensive than a typical campus lunch option) with good beer. The menu was a bit limited as was the seating. I wish that as they expand (and they do a pretty good business) they could open a larger location, after all, The Chimes in Baton Rouge, a popular bar/restaurant, ended up opening a larger, two-story location called The Chimes East away from campus with a ton of parking (for a restaurant, that is). They are currently looking into building a location in downtown Bryan from what I've heard, which is still unfortunately generally parking-limited.

During the Dixie Chicken Inc. days, a banner outside said "Come And Drink It" in the form of "Come And Take It" of Texas Revolution lore.

revived 10/15 with replacement post
updated 7/12/13 with new name and information on next tenant, 7/14 added new location of Dixie Chicken Inc.
10/3: Apparently this was NOT the "Commandant's House". Removed first paragraph, referring to a post I cancelled. Updated with Satchel's info.
11/17/13: Blackwater Draw is now open.
12/8/13: Added more to focus on BW.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

The Commons

The Commons, before trees or bike racks, back in the '70s. From Cushing Memorial Library

676 Lubbock Street

Here was one of my favorite buildings on campus, which has since closed for renovations. I don't have a ton of information on the historic information of the Commons. I believe it has always had a post office area (or was it just mailboxes?), common lounge areas, ping-pong, and some eating places. What I'm NOT sure on is how the history of that building was. According to Historic Aggieland, it opened in 1972 along with Dunn Residence Hall and Krueger Residence Hall. The other two dorms were built in 1976. Though I heard the original dorms were built in 1973, with the Commons and the others being completed in '75. Regardless, the buildings are solidly from the mid-1970s.

According to A Pictorial History of Texas A&M University, 1876-1976, Mosher Hall and Kreuger Hall were built as women's dorms (with the other two being mens). The Commons dorms (at least as of this writing) still retain their "shared bathroom" layout. The rooms feature your typical two beds/two desks, but the bathroom is shared between two rooms, with one toilet, one shower, and two sinks. That's unfortunate—sharing a bathroom between another unrelated person is bad enough, and probably would've been a deterrent to actually living in the Commons (I'm sure I wanted to live in one of the Commons dorms at some point).

As seen in the Sbisa Dining Hall article, there were arcade and pinball games at the "Commons Snack Bar" in the late 1980s, which I'm guessing became the Common Denominator later on. (indeed, a 1970s yearbook confirms a "snack bar" was upstairs). This was one of the four "Snack Bar" locations in the 1980s and 1990s, which were the Pavilions Snack Bar, the Golf Course Snack Bar, the Bus Stop Snack Bar, and the Commons Snack Bar, which served primarily sandwiches and chips (note that all of these are gone, with the exception of the Pavilions Snack Bar, which morphed into The Grill at the Pavilion). By 2001, the Commons Snack Bar was now the Common Denominator Snack Bar and Lil' Bernie's Pizza Corner (a spin-off of the late Bernie's at Sbisa, back when Bernie's offered and was known for pepperoni rolls) was built as well.

According to Aggieland '74 (and alluded to the comment below, before I updated the post), there was originally no convenience store, but rather a branch of the "Texas A&M University Bookstore" (later renamed the MSC Bookstore after the branch locations closed). According to the comment below, that later became the convenience store "Common Market", the convenience store on campus. And of course, from the 1970s until the mid-2000s, the basement was the Commons Dining Center.

While not the best food on campus (though it was in the 1970s), you could cook your own food (until Sbisa introduced it as well), which sounds awesome but probably a health/liability problem.

You’ll get a larger variety of food at the downstairs eating facility in the Commons (a setoff dorms on campus). The food is very similar to the food at Duncan, but they usually have some more options. Also, you have the option of cooking your own food. Eggs, bacon, and pancake batter are provided in the mornings, and frozen hamburger patties are provided for lunch and dinner. This isn’t a bad deal if you want to take the time to cook your food. It usually tastes better than what they serve. The grilled cheese sandwiches are widely held as the best food served. This dining facility also has plenty of Blue Bell desserts.


(from an old Epinions review)

According to my cousin, who once worked in the Commons food services, said that not only were there things like egg, bacon, pancake batter, and hamburger patties, on Sunday afternoons, there was frozen steaks you could grill.

You read that right. Steaks. On the meal plan. Combine that with the aforementioned Whataburger (Sbisa page), and wow, it must have been great back then. Meanwhile, somewhere along the lines (early 2000s), Chick-fil-A Express was added to the upper level.



However, in 2004, the Commons Dining Center was closed permanently, partly from the fact that it people ate there less, and partly due to the fact that it was not up to code.

The eating areas on the upper level at the time included Chick-fil-A, Stone Willy's, and Common Demoninator Deli. A "temporary" food court was added at a cost of $50,000, which added Common Grounds, Commons Xpress (which served hot entrees, side dishes, salads, and cookies, not unlike the old Commons Dining Center), and Olla Roja. Apparently, there was "not enough room" for the food court to accommodate students, however.

This was fixed in 2005, when the Commons dining area was renovated, featuring Olla Roja, Zatarain's Louisiana Café, Sargino's, and Common Denominator Deli. Sargino's replaced Stone Willy's in 2005, and initially featured salads and pasta in addition to pizza. It's presumed that Zatarain's replaced the Commons Xpress line.

It says in the article that the new Commons had "lot of color and excitement", maybe from the tables. My jaw dropped the first time I read that as I couldn't believe that those tables had been any newer than 1998 (and that's pushing it). While I do love older things on campus, I prefer period pieces (the old MSC before it was butchered, Chemistry Building '72, Zachry, etc.) rather than things that look dated from day one. The expansion of the food court to modern standards when they converted the "TV rooms" into additional food court space, but they didn't even take the signage off.



The eateries had different sizes than before. Since the modern Sargino's (mentioned in the above linked article) lacked the pasta and salads, I'm guessing the 2005 remodel downsized it. Around this time, Common Grounds moved to the basement and the Tomato Bar, a pasta/sandwich/salad place opened in the basement as well. The Tomato Bar was opened in 2007, aimed at providing healthier alternatives to the usual gamut of pizza and hamburgers. This opened in spring 2007, and was a far cry from even Oodles of Noodles or Baby Greens based on reports. Like the successor food joints upstairs, you could pick your salad ingredients or pasta ingredients beforehand (instead of just asking for them cafeteria-style), and they even had things like artichoke hearts as a salad ingredient.

By 2008 more changes had taken place, Zatarain's, as you can see in the picture that I had from the Commons Main Level map has the same Zatarain's logo you see on boxes of Zatarain's stuff, except they had a whole restaurant, which I can't find anything else on any Zatarain's Louisiana Café. Maybe they got in trouble for use of the name? It and Olla Roja closed around that time (Olla Roja had two other places on campus at that point, so no tears were to be shed yet). It was in fall 2008 that the Tomato Bar closed, because of (you guessed it) health code violations, meaning not much had changed since they closed down the Commons Dining Center. To make up for the loss of the Tomato Bar, a new eatery was open in the Commons Food Court: The Tomato Bar Express, which offered two lines, salad and pasta. These replaced Olla Roja and Zatarain's, though Zatarain's didn't even make it until 2008.

The eatery below was around in the 2006-2007 era, and I have heard nothing about it online except for a few references from the dining website (archived). As tasty as fish is, I can see why Spearfish flopped in the Commons food court and was forgotten.


Meanwhile, where Commons Grounds relocated to, a lounge opened up in the basement with Common Grounds and "Jalapeños Burritos y Mas" on one side and Tomato Bar to the back, the latter of which closed when Choral Activities gutted the area for the MSC renovation. I'm not sure what will happen when it reopens. Somewhere during that time, Cabo opened for at least a semester (a test before they opened in the MSC), which unfortunately lasted less than a semester in the MSC before Compass completely ruined it.

And now to my time at A&M and a personal note: the Commons was my go-to eating place for my first semester at A&M. Having been in the post-MSC era and the post-Whataburger in the Underground era, the Commons has been there for me, where my diet consisted of every eating place available Sargino's pizza (greasy but delicious), Common Denominator (which was my least favorite), Oodles of Noodles (a lot of food, but my interested waned over time--this was the old pasta line of TBE), Jalapeño's (never disappointed), Common Grounds (coffee and ice cream, but never for lunch), Chick-fil-A (always a favorite), and Baby Greens (the salad line--I tried healthy eating, and that worked for a while, except one time I got food sickness from it and never went back). In August 2012, disastrous changes had affected The Commons thanks to outsourcing: Sargino's had changed their recipe and was now self-serve (blaargh), Oodles of Noodles and Baby Greens had gotten decor updates (along with Sargino's, as well) and renamed "Pasta Fork" and "Crisp", respectively. And due to the Compass changeover, prices went up all around. In the basement, going down the stairs and going straight back, you can see The Tomato Bar, gated off but with decor intact. Will it ever reopen? Probably not. Jalapeños became Saboroso, as well.

In winter 2012, the Commons bike racks were finally replaced.

The convenience store mentioned, which was originally a self-branded operation (Common Market, then Commons C-Store) until the late 2000s when Rattler's rebranded it, where it functioned much like a regular Rattler's, except with a lack of alcohol or cigarettes (and that was before smoking was heavily restricted on campus), though it does sell condoms. In August 2012, it "de-branded", becoming "Outtakes" (much like the Sbisa Rattler's), though restored its name within a few months. It is a Rattler's once more, where you can get some of the cheap coffee (relatively, of course) and other snacks.

Unfortunately, due to Sargino's being ruined and the whole fact that the Commons was often dirty and crowded, I didn't go to it at all in spring 2013. Maybe they reopened the other part of the basement. Regardless, I'd still like to go to the Commons again and take pictures.

UPDATE 9/29/13: A few things have changed. Sargino's looks edible again (but not the same, never the same), Cabo is back in the basement (fake Chartwells burritos Cabo, not the real Cabo--and now it's no longer MSC exclusive anyway), Common Grounds is closed (a few signs remain and the lights remain on, but it's gutted completely), the Tomato Bar area is still closed, the place where Choral Activities is still office space, and the tables and chairs were finally replaced with tasteful wooden furniture. The sad thing is, it's rumored that the Corps will be "taking over" the Southside dorms, and the Commons isn't even unique among dorms anymore, with new amenities at Hullabaloo Hall making the Commons seem ugly and dated (it only took them four decades).

UPDATE 10/7/13: In the process of talking about The Tomato Bar and another feature of The Commons that has since departed...small updates will be in the process here...

UPDATE 3/24/15: For more on the Tomato Bar and some other photos from 2015, check out The Commons Companion.

This post was a spin-off of the linked post as shown here.

Friday, January 4, 2013

[Side Stories] Easterwood Memories

Of my many regrets in documenting this town, I've long forgotten and lost many things: Manor East Mall, the stoplight at North Graham, the old pedestrian bridge over Wellborn, the old H-E-B Pantry, the old Kroger, and countless others. One of the things is the changes that the McKenzie Terminal building.

To date, I've only flown out from Easterwood Airport (the McKenzie Terminal, specifically) no more than 4 times (1998, 2008, 2010, and 2012), but I've been to the terminal building (built in the late 1980s or early 1990s). I can't remember the early days too much...the building had late 1980s décor, and had those black felt seats in the lobby area. There were always two airlines, Continental and American Airlines (I think they weren't connector lines then, but I could be wrong--and at one time, Delta operated, though don't know if they were operating at the same time). Given that my father went out on business trips, that always meant a trip to the airport. My mother would try to entertain us by having us count the white dots along the perimeter of the outside. We would rush up to the windows on the upper level (before they installed handlebars on it), and watch him take off, or arrive. Downstairs, the wood-paneled area near the baggage check had a little sign about the light that would go off. We'd take his suitcases, and drive off, every time, having parked in the upper level loop (short-term).

The entrance/exit was the downstairs front, with the departures on the right (metal detector and baggage X-ray)

Of course, about the time of September 11th, things started to change rapidly. With air traffic plummeting, in addition to new security measures, the airport made "improvements", starting with adding a wooden bar to the airport departure windows, updating the décor so it looked less from the 1980s, reopening the restaurant (it used to be entirely empty, except for something with an electronic sign display). Given that the last eatery closed in 1998 (what was the name?), it's no wonder why I never remember it being open. I definitely never ate there.

In 2003, as part of these "improvements", there was a new restaurant (Sully's Landing) and a gift shop on the opposite side (Reveille's News & Gifts). Unfortunately, Sully's never did too well (despite being one of the few places on campus that sold alcohol), so eventually the bar and food options were stripped out for "Easterwood Airport Howdy Café" that sells little more than coffee and pastries. Given that the flights after 9/11 plummeted and Easterwood was never a big airport anyway, it shouldn't have been a surprise.

One of my other memories is when American Airlines introduced jets on their commuter planes, before pulling out entirely a year later and relying on an airport brand that I forgot the name of. There was the time around 2009 when one of the auto rental places pulled out (forgot their name, too).

After a time where they closed off the bottom-right side of the stairs (expanding the security area), they decided to use tunnels. While this cleared out the lower level entirely (no more waiting in the small lower level "cove" or being restricted by grumpy TSA agents), it was somewhat devastating because not the fact that the gift shop was gutted, but almost the entire upper level (the viewing area upstairs) was closed.

So what that's what I remember about Easterwood. These changes are notoriously poorly-documented, but it's a start. Any memories you have of Easterwood or this terminal?

Monday, December 17, 2012

[Side Stories] Houston Street

This was the remnant of something called "Road Profiles", which...is explained below. Originally "Road Profiles: Houston Street". It is currently under construction once more.

Welcome to Roads Profiles! This is the result of a brainstorming session I had, this takes a look at the individual roads of the area, returning some of the focus back to the original site name. Links to other articles at this site are in bold. This is subject to be edited, too, as I get more information.

I plan to make (or to retrofit) more of these to showcase smaller things and link to other articles. Don't worry, "real" articles are most certainly not dead.


Houston Street

There have been proposals to route Welsh down to Houston, but ultimately has fallen through due to neighborhood opposition. This was finally more or less confirmed in the late 2000s when the narrow section of Welsh north of Holleman was torn up and replaced with a narrow concrete road.


Houston Street's rerouting has changed several times. I could look it up at "Historic Aggieland", but it was down during the holidays, so I'll have to get caught up later. The earliest known route is in 1919 where it follows pretty much the same route as today, though with the missing parts filled in, a bit straighter near where Lechner is, and terminating at the south end of modern-day Koldus. Later on, it went through a slightly different route, curving into Fairview, before finally terminating at the intersection of Jersey (later George Bush) as it does today. By the time this happened, however, the MSC had expanded and the road was no longer in one segment.

Anyway, I always knew it as being in three parts: the south, the central, and the north. The south section is a concrete two lane road with bike lanes, with a stoplight at George Bush installed in 1995.

The expansion of the Memorial Student Center and the building of Rudder Tower in the early 1970s sealed off the connection between the center portion and the southern part of Houston Street. On the other side of Houston (which Lamar Street curves into), it's northbound only, and the striping is completely screwed up. Here's what I mean: in places, like, say Jones Street, it was once a narrow two-way road, but was modified into one way with bike lanes heading each direction. But on Houston Street, that's not the case: it's much narrower heading the opposite direction (with the yellow stripe) and a bit wider on the bike lane, and a wide single lane. The result is that buses often stop on the right to pick up and drop off, which means certain risk if you happen to be biking that way. The sensible thing would be is that since there are sidewalks, eliminate biking on the streets altogether, and change the lane closest to the east (with the stops) as a double-white-line buses-only lane and the other for vehicular traffic.

The YMCA Building I have yet to write anything on, but you can at least see some pictures here. Other buildings include the Richard Coke Building and the Beutel Health Center.

At All Faiths Chapel, the road curves into Jones and continues back south, but circa 2005, however, the connection to north campus finally reopened between the center and north portion after years of being for pedestrian use, but it was buses only (even on nights and weekends).

Near this bus connection, is Lechner Hall, one of the last on-campus dorms before the Northside Residence Hall was built (way back in 1986--no new dorms on campus were built for well over two decades--and no, the University Apartments don't count)

The entrance to the Underground and Einstein Bros. are off of Houston, too. Lot 32 is also here, it used to connect to the Special Services Building, and itself used to have the original "Aggieland Inn" from 1925 to 1966. Unrelated to the former Ramada, it was essentially a hotel for others to stay on campus without actually living there. It was doomed by the MSC (a much nicer on-campus hotel) and later the first Ramada Inn. It was torn down shortly after the Ramada opened off-campus. Recently, though, I noticed that Lot 32 has been torn up, probably for conversion into a concrete road (and/or access to the new dorm).

Originally, Houston split into two concrete shady separate lanes (but without bike lanes) and up to the stoplight at College Main and University, but in mid-2012, as part of a rehabbing of University Drive, the northbound lane past Sbisa was cut off and the southbound lane of Houston could only be accessed from University. The remainder was turned into bikes only.

YMCA Building - Renovated many, many times in the last century.
Sbisa Dining Hall - Sbisa's address is actually Houston, even though it faces Ross. The entrance to Einstein Bros. Bagels and the Underground face Houston.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Sbisa Dining Hall

Sbisa, in modern times but prior to the renovation of the plaza (Aggiemap.tamu.edu)


233 Houston Street

This post was one of the last posts to receive a big update (October 2014) so a lot of this information is current and I didn't need to do much when I did some minor updates in May 2015. Note that as I'm no longer a student, this information will go out of date, so I'll need your help (comments) to update this.

This post is on Sbisa Dining Hall (and if we go by the pronunciation of Sbisa's name, it's "spee-za", not "sa-beeza" as is commonly used.

After the fire at the Mess Hall, at some point long before any current attending Aggie or faculty was born, a decision was made to not rebuild on the site and build an entirely new dining hall a block away.

Sbisa in years past. The Corps crowd is replaced by the Northside dorm crowd, which is completely different.


Sbisa Dining Hall is located at the corner of Ross and Houston, where the current building has been there for nearly a century. Named after Austrian-born chef Bernard Sbisa (the head chef of A&M), it was built in the classic European style that dominated campus in those days (regrettably most of those have been demolished). I don't have pictures of the old Sbisa Hall (though its incarnation in the 1940s can be seen in the film We've Never Been Licked), and I did manage to snap this picture in Military Walk, showing a much smaller Sbisa and a railroad spur from the Ross end, roughly where the "back entrance" (near the C-store) of the Underground is. It should be noted that Sbisa wasn't named Sbisa originally until well after Sbisa's death: he died in 1928 (shortly after the dining hall completed a physical expansion in 1925, which was known as Sbisa Annex for a long time) but it was still called the Mess Hall for a few decades afterward (or do I have my references wrong?).


Because there are so many facets of Sbisa I want to focus on, this post is broken up into multiple parts.

The Main Dining Hall (Sbisa Dining Center)

In 1954, Sbisa was renovated (and not for the last time), adding new lighting, new décor, and air conditioning for the first time. It was likely at this time that the plumbing and electrical work was overhauled (also not for the last time). At the time, meals at Sbisa were still served family-style.

A further detail is elaborated in Aggieland '74 in which it stated that the dining rooms had different purposes, for breakfast, one served a full breakfast, the other was a continental breakfast (which included doughnuts, though I'm guessing they were cake donuts). Similarly, the lunch line featured a hot lunch while the other offered soup and sandwiches. Sure, it all sounds pretty reasonable, but Sbisa and Duncan were still the "main places" to eat meals (the four "Snack Bars" and Rumours were coming in at this time). It's also possible that the "third dining room" was in the lower level, which would eventually be the Underground.

In 1975, Sbisa went through another renovation, which would be for the next two and a half decade.

The new 1975 Sbisa (completed in 1976) introduced a few innovations to Sbisa that would still carry over to modern times, including a wheelchair ramp and a conveyor belt system to send trays back in for washing. The renovation removed walls from the dining rooms, with two dining areas (one reference said three, however), one of which served fast food (pizza, soups/sandwiches, hamburgers). The ceiling level was dropped as well.

The article I derived this from (courtesy John Ellisor) has one of the first mentions of the "Peniston Cafeteria", which would be the Underground many years later. Unfortunately, mention of that is rare since punching that in on TexAgs would censor it (the Scunthorpe problem in action). Jay Peniston was the TAMU dining supervisor in the 1940s and 1950s, and oversaw the 1950s renovation of Sbisa and Duncan.

By the late 1990s, the HVAC system (some of which hadn't been changed since the 1950s system under Peniston), sewer system, and décor were out of date, and Sbisa closed in December 1999 to perform major renovations on sewer and HVAC work.

During closure, there was an option to get food, a temporary area that's gone by both "Fish Pond Outbound" and "Sbisa Hut".

When it reopened in fall 2000, it featured two "areas" to get food with seating between them. There was the "Market", which offers a few salad bars, an omelet place, and a few cafeteria style lines (usually with freshly carved meats). The other side of "new" Sbisa featured several mini-lines clustered around the seating area (which was the reincarnation of the "fast foods" portion and the creation of a new main dining room), the first known "Sargino's" on campus (did you know it's a pun on "Sergeant"?), which was later renamed "Pizza & Pasta Station", probably because the P&PS pizza was the worst pizza on campus (maybe not so much with the service provider change--everything might taste the same now. While this negatively affected the pizzerias in the Commons and Ag Cafe, Sbisa's may have benefitted). "Dessert Center" (formerly "Sweet Traditions") had things like both fruit and Blue Bell ice cream. "Fish Fountain" was the drink center but renamed later for obvious reasons. The only things that still carried their original names up before Compass performed a cheap redecoration: "Ag's Diner" (hot dogs, hamburgers) and "World Cuisine" (Mexican or Oriental). There was also a soup station, and at one time a cook-your-own station...although there was still a waffle maker, I think the CYO had long been replaced with gluten free options. Some parts were served buffet style, some parts were cafeteria style.

I've pulled up a few pictures (via Google search) that show Sbisa after renovation, but none before. Also note the tables: they're not like that anymore, by early 2012 it was mostly cafeteria-style tables, which flip-flopped in later years (the cafeteria tables disappeared again after Chartwells took over).




In September 2012, I returned to Sbisa to find it oddly changed. All signage was gone: the neon "Market" sign, all the graphics and lettering gone, the price board, even the "no taking food out" signage. The food quality was altered due to Compass (no more "TruMoo" chocolate milk, though the nickname "Sa-grease-a" was less of an issue) as well. Also removed were the long, cafeteria tables, returning to individual tables. This disappointed the dorm groups, who would sit at those tables. A few months later, the signage was back, but only generic red Helvetica lettering (as slightly different food lines). What the heck was Compass thinking?

This was a time of much anger, as the food/price quality was worst and due to a maligned meal plan, people were forced to stand in long lines at peak hours, routinely stretching outside. One planned change of having an entrance at Houston Avenue never happened.

In summer, Sbisa was totally gutted again, losing the circa 2000 layout and the joke of a redecoration put there a year or so prior.

The new layout would alter the lines. Rather than the two "areas", there was one common food dining area with several kiosks to get food. Part of the reconfiguration involved some new eateries accessible from Houston Street. These included Lime Fresh Mexican Grill, which is actually not a concept from Compass (as I was previously told, or at least led to believe), and actually has locations mostly in Florida (and a few in Chile, even) and Smashburger. Smashburger is an actual chain. More on these are described later in the post.

Through the doors of Sbisa. Note the long lines.

Taken near the entrance of Lime. The dining hall originally went well past this mark, but this is an emergency exit now. Patrons of Lime/Smashburger and Sbisa can see each other, but you can't actually go through this door.


One of the new features of Sbisa (which I actually got to eat in ultimately, and the food was decent, but sadly Compass lacked the great dessert options the original Sbisa had) was a second level accessed via a slightly curving staircase. Since the renovation only took place over the course of the summer, I'm sure they re-used a lot of the 2000 infrastructure which was still up to code, but I'm still not sure on the added second level loft. Is the century-old building really that sturdy, or did the extensive 2000 renovation make that theoretically possible?



Houston Street Side


As seen above, we have the current tenants, Einstein Brothers, Smashburger, Lime, and the underground. As mentioned before, Lime and Smashburger were created in the 2014 renovation.

Up until its closure in January 2013 (a previous version of this page reported 2012, that's wrong, I apologize, it was a typo), Bernie's Place opened at sometime in the 1990s (or even the late 1980s, or whenever the new metal roof was added). It featured pizza and pizza rolls (really good pizza rolls, apparently) in the early 2000s, but by the end of the decade, it primarily offered sandwiches and wraps, changing names over time, becoming "Bernie's Café Espress-O" after the Sbisa renovations circa '99-'00, and then eventually Bernie's Café.

One day, it was spotted on the Restaurant Report Card that Einstein Bros. Bagels was listed in Sbisa's address, which, although it would be preferable if we got a real one (i.e.: off-campus), turned out to be not going in the Underground where bbqs was, but where Bernie's was, marking the death of the former pizza emporium. Einstein Brothers opened in February 2013. Before mention of Bernie's disappeared from A&M's dining website, I grabbed a copy of the Bernie's menu.

As for Smashburger and Lime, they are accessed through a new interior corridor with a restroom and a window into Sbisa (it's emergency exit only). I was looking forward to Smashburger because the menu actually included beer, but apparently so did Lime (why can't I have a cerveza with my tacos?), and obviously neither did Smashburger. I'm not sure why it's gone, especially since as stated in the MSC article, beer was supposedly considered but removed because of the MSC's memorial status, and it's very very close to Northgate, which does have beer.

Lime Fresh Mexican Grill is good, and I was the very first customer there (got my picture taken, but it's not posted). It's not cheap but it is very good, enough for me to get my "I want Taco Bell style tacos but not actually Taco Bell" tacos.

Smashburger is alright as far as burgers go. It's got soft egg buns like Harvey Washbanger's (at least I think they're egg buns), fries are lackluster, and it will do in a "I've got a feeling for burgers" pinch.

The Underground

The Underground was opened sometime in the 1970s as a straight cafeteria that served "the same stuff as Sbisa" (that would be Peniston Cafeteria, of course--now you can see why that's not found on TexAgs), but it wasn't called the Underground at that point, however, by the late 1980s, even though it didn't have Chick-fil-A or anything at that point, it was called the "Sbisa Underground Deli", although in 1988 it was known as (get this) "Underground Railroad". Whether you think is offensive, silly, or maybe a bit of both, it was scrapped after not too long. I found this ad in a 1988 Football Program.

Betcha you didn't hear that on TexAgs, either.

The Underground opened in its current form circa 1993 or 1994 in its current phase: there were actually surveys done (back when surveys were done through students and not email spam) about what students would like to see in the Underground. It was quite an opportunity to get fast food on the meal plan, which was a huge deal at first to many students (Chick-fil-a and Whataburger on the meal plan was nothing to laugh at). One of the original tenants was a Taco Bueno (a limited-menu walk-up one--and not a Taco Bell, which some accounts have), which sadly closed in 1999, the roster since 2001 has had Whataburger, Chick-fil-A, Se Wrappé (A&M concept), Alonti Deli (apparently a chain?), and Colombo yogurt. One source as to when the "new" Underground opened is the official CFA website, which claims it first opened February 20, 1995. Another sign of when it opened was the fact that Whataburger closed after the fall 2004 semester after its lease lapsed and they didn't want to renew it.

I also captured this article from Google's cache. It was from January 2001, and recently taken offline. This may be the only chance to see it:



Texas A&M board plans expand

Published on AllBusiness.com

The number of students on meal plans this year at Texas A&M Univ. in College Station has jumped 5%-6%, says dir. Ron Beard, who expects it to rise more when a new dining center opens in the spring.

"Most of the increase is due to the huge flexibility offered through our Outbound program," he says. The program began in Jan. 1998 to offer take-out meals from board-operations. In fall 1999, it was expanded to two cash-operations "and was a smashing success overnight."

Fully rolled-out: When Sbisa, the campus' largest dining hall, closed a year ago, the program was further developed to all cash operations in order to continue providing students with a wide variety of food.

Outbound offerings vary from location to location, but in each, six to eight choices are available. These range from pasta with sauce, salad, garlic bread, medium fountain drink and a dessert such as cookies or fruit, to a breakfast croissant or sandwich with fresh fruit and a drink such as juice, milk or Starbucks coffee.

The latest renovation being undertaken at the 43,000-enrollment university is at Sbisa Dining Hall, which was built in 1911-12. "This will be the Taj Mahal of f/s in the U.S.," says Beard (see Oct. 15, 2000, FSD, p. 42).

Basement brands: Sbisa's basement foodcourt will remain virtually unchanged, although a local franchised brand will be switched to a new in-house concept: Se Wrappe, featuring wraps and "Mexican burritos as big as your arm." Also featured are Chick-fil-A, Whataburger and alonte deli. [sic]

The lower level also houses a smoothie bar and a remodeled c-store. "We cut it in half to add 50 more seats for the foodcourt," says Beard, who says he feeds 2,500 students in daily in this unit alone. "We'll offer the same variety, but will just stack foods higher and restock more often. The c-store is still pretty big (approx. 1,200 sq. ft.) so I don't expect this to hurt us at all."



(The same article mentions that A&M was eyeing a "third Chick-fil-A" during this time, which probably was the Ag Café)

I'm not sure what they mean by Outbound options: is it another name for the late Maroon Plate Special, or was it a way to export food out of Sbisa? (Either way, there are still illegitimate "exports" from Sbisa) [SEE COMMENTS ON BOTTOM - Ed.]

One of the big changes of the Underground and Einstein's above it was done in the renovations. I was surprised to find that after the Underground was built and before the renovations, the Underground had zero handicap access whatsoever (I suppose that it's possible to get around through back entrances and what have you, but that's not exactly accessible). It was after the renovation, then, that the maze of handicap ramps were added to the side of the building, one leading up to Bernie's (later Einstein's, and until the 2014 renovations, the only thing up there). The 2000 renovations would add a shelter and a patio area near Bernie's. You can read what the original roster of the Underground was, and there were six spots: Chick-fil-a, Whataburger, Taco Bueno, Colombo Yogurt (I think that's what it says), Alonti Deli, and something else (I'd like to say that it's the convenience store, but I don't think so--I think it's a coffee brand). If you can identify this mystery, please leave a comment! [UPDATE 5/28/15: It is indeed a coffee brand, see comments below]



Over time, the yogurt place added smoothies (renaming to "Ultimate Fruit Sensations") and by the end of the decade, coffee (renaming to "Degrees"), at some point Alonti Deli became Pickles Deli, and Se Wrappé was stripped out for a barbecue place (01 Old Armydillo's like the old MSC place, renamed to bbqs sometime after 2008). Sadly, the Whataburger in the Underground would depart by the end of 2004, with the eatery "temporarily" replaced by The Other Burger. Over seven years later, The Other Burger was "temporarily" still there. There's also a convenience store in the basement. Despite what the article says, it seems cramped, small, and dirty and was last branded as a Rattler's, but in August 2012, it became "Outtakes", a house brand owned by Compass. However, Rattler's soon "re-took" the convenience store, including a short but awkward time when the convenience stores didn't accept Dining Dollars. Other changes in the Underground about that time was that Degrees closed and was replaced by a Smoothie King. I never liked Smoothie King, having used a coupon at Parkway Square years ago. Still, I appreciate it in spirit, as it as another branded option. Pickles Deli was now Mondo Subs (having now turned into a plain, generic sub sandwich place), The Other Burger was now The 3rd Degree (with a substantially reduced menu and quality, not that TOB was top-notch), and Chick-fil-A is still there. bbqs was gone, however--sad, but almost makes sense: it was designed to replace 01 Old Armydillo's, but since barbecue has returned to the MSC (as "Smokin'"), it rendered bbqs obsolete. After some hectic times where none of the places (save for Smoothie King) were open after lunch hours to my dismay, in fall 2013 a few new changes shook up the Underground.

I do have some pictures of the Underground I took a few years back soon after the Compass takeover. Note that 3rd Degree still pays homage to its predecessor eatery.





One of the reasons I despised Compass was because I despised Mondo Subs. While at the Pickles Deli locations, a chicken caesar wrap was pretty good, Mondo Subs managed to screw it up in every single way. The chicken was flavorless, the lettuce was white, the tortilla was old, the caesar dressing tasted awful, and the parmesan cheese had the look and feel of toenail clippings. I should never have to describe food with the phrase "toenail clippings". For a while, the bbqs vacancy was rumored to be a Denny's Fresh Express but that never happened. The bbqs vacancy was filled with 3rd Degree while the old Whataburger location became Papa John's, which I was excited about, but instead of having boxes of pizza, they're offering 8" personal pizzas (three flavors and not even Supreme), and didn't even taste really like Papa John's, they just ran them through a conveyer-belt style cooking thing and I think the pizzas were undercooked (there was a narrow window when they were cool enough to eat but just within an hour it became inedible). The lines also became really long during the Compass mandatory meal plans days, which is why I ended up stopped going to the Underground altogether.

In fall 2014, as part of the Sbisa renovations, the Underground was renovated again. The new renovation opened it up a lot more and gave the brands larger and more attractive storefronts. There was still Smoothie King, of course, but while it did change it to pay-at-the-counter (like a traditional mall food court), which eliminated the walls, but reduced the food court's store count.

The old Chick-fil-a front became a large wall with a Chick-fil-A Express logo (and I was told that the CFA would become full line), the Papa John's now faced toward the entrance, previously, that used to be the pick-up line for the burgers (which was walled up when The Other Burger closed), a new place called "Houston St. Subs", which was a Compass/Chartwells brand.

I never ate at Houston Street Subs because I had little reason to believe it isn't a repackaged "Mondo Subs", the aforementioned "toenail clippings wrap" place mentioned before. It also lacks a fifth option, which eliminates burgers (Smashburger is above), but it lacks a fifth option, which could've been that Denny's Fresh Express discussed but never realized.

The bathrooms pre-renovation were terrible, there was a urinal, toilet with door, and sink, but this was cramped and likely not ADA compliant, so that was altered to get rid of the walls and just make it single-use.

Going around to the back, the convenience store is still the same (untouched, really, including the same old floor tiles), but it also lost the Rattler's again (though having lost and re-gained it, I wouldn't put it past Rattler's to re-take the convenience store, though as of early 2015 this has yet to happen. The Rattler's at Hullabaloo Hall and the Commons were also genericized.

Sbisa mostly serves the Northside dorms, with the once-common "'Bisa Ball" fights (mostly constructed of the napkins) among the Northside dorms, which have fierce rivalries (subcultures, gotta love 'em). I never really liked Sbisa's main dining hall anyway: mostly because of aforementioned buffet food, and I felt like what I was eating was both bad and bad for me. That and the folding chairs near the dessert area/pizza area were awful. Coupled with the rising prices and the general creepiness of the place (that's Northside for you) caused me to avoid the main Sbisa Dining Hall.

Of course, with the numerous changes to Sbisa, Old Army hates it, but that's to be expected, right?

Here's a photo from c. 2001 (official marketing shot) of the once-generic "Underground Market".


More recently (spring 2014), however, I managed to get a picture of when something on the awning changed, revealing the original brand. It did briefly go back to Rattler's again, then "The Aggie Express" or something when it lost the branding again. I hope that Rattler's can get it back, or some other convenience store brand.


Other Places

Not all of Sbisa is used for eating. There's an entrance on the southeast side (to the right of the main entrance) but I'm not so clear on the history of it (as of 2014, it's the "Global Supply Chain Laboratory", but in Spring 2012 was offices for something nuclear-related, if I recall correctly).

For more places to eat on campus, both current and former, check out Aggie Food, or see specific pages, like the MSC article or what we have on The Commons.

updated May 2015

Saturday, November 3, 2012

University Apartments

Nobody's home.

During my time at A&M, I was thankful that I had enough sense to photograph many buildings on their way out in terms of demolition or extensive renovation. I didn't get enough pictures of the old Scoates Hall, and no inside shots of Dulie Bell, but did get pictures of The Commons, Zachry Engineering Center, Read Building, G. Rollie White, and of course, these.

Today, these are largely gated off as new parking garages and structures take the underutilized space, but this is about the space that was there, University Apartments. In here, I may mention Southside, which in previous versions of this post was presumed to be at the northeast corner of College Avenue and University, may not have been the case. I explore this in a section at the bottom of this post, and will talk about it at the end of this post. All the other mentions of Southside will be as my research has shown, thanks to research at the Cushing Memorial Library.

Originally rows and rows of two-level Army-style barracks filling up the diagonal-row roads in the early 1950s, with two complexes, College View and Southside, a federal grant in 1957 (to the tune of 2.5 million dollars, which would be about 20 million today) allowed more to be built.

In 1960, the Hensel Apartments (later Hensel Terrace Apartments) were built, and originally not air-conditioned (until likely the 1970s). The new College View Apartments, built in 1969, were built facing FM 60 and according to The Battalion were "cool, comfortable, and complete", being climate controlled at 70 degrees. The old College View apartments were later disassembled. Interestingly, because the new College View apartments were much denser, a good portion of the land was NEVER utilized again.

In 1989, Texas A&M acquired some 1950s duplexes in the Oak Terrace neighborhood, north of the University Square shopping center, with the buildings being on Dogwood, Cross Street, Milam Avenue, and Culpepper Drive. These were the "Tortilla Flats" duplexes (likely named after the run-down district in Tortilla Flat), a dilipidated collection of duplexes which were going at half the rate of the rest of the housing in the area (rent was $200/month) and in terrible condition: sub-standard plumbing, leaky roofs, rotting floors, and one can only guess how bad the wiring was. In 1991, Texas A&M evicted all 110 residents and demolished the homes soon after. They also said that the 13-acre tract would be put to use soon, and if not, sold. That didn't happen. It would be eventually leased to developers to build U Centre at Northgate, which would open in fall 2014...nearly two and a half decades later!

As time went on, the Married Student Housing became known as the "University Apartments", as it started to become known for international students as well. The maintenance of the apartments declined and the apartments started to deteriorate, but there wasn't any major trouble. Piecemeal improvements were made to the complex, including the addition of the Becky Gates Children's Center, a 1997 addition on Hensel that would have childcare for students married with children. Later on a community center and playground were built as well. However, it was an incident in 2004 that did change the University Apartments forever.

One day in July 2004, residents complained about a smell of natural gas in the Hensel Terrace Apartments. The maintenance worker responded but decided to not repair the leak until the next week (in fact, they told residents to close their windows, thus making the smell inside worse). Saquib Ejaz, a resident of those apartments, lived with his wife and daughter at Hensel Apartments. His parents were visiting from Bangladesh. While his parents, wife (who was pregnant with another child), and daughter were home, the gas somehow ignited and fire consumed the apartment's interior, severely burning all four. His wife and father survived, but his daughter and mother did not. Other apartments were damaged, as well, however; the structure itself survived.

Lawsuits were filed, and by 2005, a number of new improvements were announced, including new stoves, new detectors, and much better maintenance. This still wasn't "enough" maintenance, as the apartment complex was still falling apart, with the College Avenue Apartments on Ball Street having unleveled floors.

However, by fall 2006, a plan was approved to add the Gardens at University, which, instead of building it on the Tortilla Flats land, or the area closest to Meadowland, replaced Hensel Terrace. When I first wrote this article in 2012, two-thirds of the Hensel Terrace Apartments (including the rebuilt apartments where Ejaz's apartment was), had been torn down and replaced with the Gardens. Nothing else had been altered since then. One of the last pre-Campus Pointe demos came in 2011, when the College Avenue Apartments started to come down (finally "leveled", it seems--yes, bad pun).

In early 2013 Campus Pointe was trotted out again and approved. College View Apartments, Hensel Terrace Apartments, and Avenue A Apartments were marked for destruction--all residents had to move out. There were even stories of the mattresses being moved out first, so many had to make do with sleeping on the floor. Despite (presumably) assistance, the apartments all near campus had much higher rent, and both Northgate and Southgate had undergone some degree of gentrification.

The demolition for redevelopment seemed to take a long time, for months, the abandoned apartments (speckled with graffiti) stood, then for many more months with just vacant land. Sometime during all of this, Campus Pointe was renamed to Century Square.

A friend and I took these in May 2013, soon before eviction in summer 2013 (the picture at the title is also from that):
Avenue A Apartments, which has eight units per building, four of which are seen here.

There is so much open space here, great for large group games or tossing a Frisbee around. Too bad this will go away...


College View Apartments. These face University Drive.

Hensel Terrace Apartments. Most of these are already gone, including the unit that exploded in 2004. It's worth noting that the building wasn't actually destroyed. The apartments have concrete foundations and despite being old and run-down, are better built then similar apartment complexes of the same era.


The Gardens at University Apartments. These will stick around.

Interesting vents on the University Apartments Maintenance Building.

Special Thanks to the Cushing Memorial Library for archived news articles
NOTE 12/3/12: A footnote in Project HOLD ("Brazos Valley Chronology") mentions the last of the old Army surplus barracks were removed in '82...these were almost certainly the Southside Apartments.

NOTE 2 5/2/13: Minor updates

EDIT 3: 2015 Updates included Southside information, new intro paragraph, rewritten to past tense

Southside?

There's been some confusion about where "Southside" is/was. I've flip-flopped on this issue sometimes, but I believe that "Southside" probably really was at University Apartments (my original opinion), with the reasoning being this.

There were originally houses at the corner of modern-day Wellborn Road and George Bush Drive, but they were far older than the post-World War II grants. They were the "project houses" built in the late 1930s for poorer students, allowing them to raise livestock (pigs, chickens) to pay their way through college (there was an article on this on one of the TAMU-affiliated publications, but I just can't find it!). According to the chronology linked, they were torn down in the late 1980s, which is why there exists a color picture of demolition in front of pre-2015 Kyle Field (R.I.P.). If the last of the army barracks were removed in 1982, then that means that those couldn't have been from Wellborn and George Bush. The reality is, I just don't know, and would appreciate if anyone could give definitive information one way or another.