Showing posts with label highway 6. Show all posts
Showing posts with label highway 6. Show all posts

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Veronica's Country Corner


This is so obscure only the blurry 2005 Google Earth image shows it.

I lived in Houston for a little while and because I still had connections in College Station, I drove back and forth from College Station to Houston, and that included a lot of Highway 6 South between Navasota and College Station. That little section of highway used to be notoriously dangerous, as it was a four lane highway with no medians (just a double yellow stripe), and enough hills and little driveways to make it a significant hazard. But for me it was before I was driving and thus nostalgia. Usually the only time we drove on that section was to go to Baton Rouge (ultimately) though Houston too.

I do not lament the passing of the original roadway, though I still can "see" in the minds eye where the exit to FM 159 was, and that was back in 2005 (this is a reference to another one of my old blog posts, though I'm not linking to it). Now, with every thing that goes away, some fond things go away with it. I know that the post up there says "Veronica's", and I promise I'll get to that, but first, an ode to a defunct roadside park.

Despite there being a similar roadside park between Hempstead and Navasota, I do remember vaguely the roadside park in Brazos County. I don't remember much of it, it was literally a little driveway loop off of the southbound side of the road, just south of FM 159. Most of the pavement is actually still there.

Anyway, last week I went to the State Fair and I noticed south of Waxahachie a relatively recent closure of one such roadside park (new barricades, and a construction vehicle parked ominously near the southbound rest area), fresh enough that even Google Earth still had it open. The thing is, as much as there is nostalgia for these things, and I can definitely say that while they were an iconic part of traveling down highways when I was younger just like roadside hotels and restaurants, they are functionally obsolete and to an extent dangerous.

One such park closure in recent years was in Sealy, Texas, with a large road side park in the inner median of Interstate 10 (though the two "halves" did not serve as turnaround lanes). It's not just the fact that people would prefer modern travel centers, restaurants, and gas stations, it's the fact that usually they just breed trouble, with illicit activities and illegal dumping. As for the dangerous part (besides the chance of being in the wrong place at the wrong time) the short ramps make acceleration and deceleration a pain, you would not want to pull out of a parking space for someone to be barreling down the strip at 45 mph or higher. That would suck.

The other thing that disappeared during construction was the only gas station between the Exxon at William D. Fitch (still the furthest south gas station on the freeway) and the gas stations at Washington Avenue. I'm not sure when it was built (after 1995) but if it was before the opening of the Exxon/McDonald's, then the "last gas in Brazos County" would be what was a Texaco at Barron and Highway 6.

Veronica's Country Corner, as health inspection records state (at 26000 State Highway 6 South), was demolished around early 2006, and I remember it being extant at least as of 2001 (I would appreciate more information...) and I want to say that the gas canopy was fairly large (the aerials make it a bit hard to tell). Sadly, because I lack photos, ads, or a lot of meaningful memories of it (I never even stopped there), I can't say much about it, and only want to bring it up to make sure it isn't forgotten. If this topic seems vaguely familiar to you, I did "sort of" cover it on the blog a long time ago, in a now-removed post that covered Millican and the southern end of Wellborn Road.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Wolfe Nursery (Before, During, After)

Until I can get a real picture here, I'm just going to move the advertisement here up to the top. I don't have the original handy so I'm not sure what paper it comes from.


Today, you know this place as Cavender's Boot City, as it has been since September 2004 as per what I could find in the Eagle's archives. During my formative years, however, there was a plant nursery there that spent a longer time vacant than it did actually open, and because of my good but imperfect memory, I had actually (wrongly) remembered it as "Wolf Pen" Nursery (no wonder I had so few Google hits). To start off with, this was originally the site of a go-kart track. A few people remember it, and it was granted a permit in the late 1980s as per scans that are on this website. From my own material (phone books), this was "Post Oak Go-Carts Amusement", 609 Holleman Dr. East. It didn't last long, however, as in 1993, construction began on Wolfe Nursery, located at 6900 East Bypass. Wolfe Nursery was based out of Houston (part of a subsidiary of a larger company) and dated back to the late 1920s. I don't know if it was named after anybody or the fictional character of Nero Wolfe, a detective who had a particular obsession with cultivating orchids.

The font in the front was greenish, and a more bold variant of Helvetica that was common in the 1980s. The building was tan and had green trim as well.

It closed in spring 1998 when the chain went bankrupt (after a fast expansion in the early to mid 1990s), and I remember being inside of it once. It had skylights but had a fairly empty feel (it also had different sections of the store that felt like different rooms). Bankruptcy information from the Houston Chronicle.

In addition to Houston-area locations, I remember seeing a "Wolfe Nursery" was going out of business in Austin a few years later (and the Austin stores survived at least into 1999 per articles online). That at least solves the mystery when I thought it was "Wolf Pen", and that there were Austin locations.

In 2004, work began on the long-vacant building, which was gutted and expanded, and according to the county records of Cavender's having a build date of 1993, it WAS the same building! The new Cavender's Boot City opened in September 2004 (as previously mentioned), replacing an old, almost hidden store off of Harvey Road from 1986.




Above, the two pictures, snagged from Google Earth, shows how much the building was reconstructed. These were in 2004 and 2008, respectively. Below is the design I drew up in early 2011 when I first posted this (I later replaced the image with the right name later).

Artist's conception

The font in the front was greenish, and a more bold variant of Helvetica that was common in the 1980s. The building was tan and had green trim as well.

It closed in spring 1998 when the chain went bankrupt (after a fast expansion in the early to mid 1990s), and I remember being inside of it once. It had skylights but had a fairly empty feel (it also had different sections of the store that felt like rooms, maybe). Bankruptcy information from the Houston Chronicle.

In addition to Houston-area locations, I remember seeing a "Wolfe Nursery" was going out of business...in Austin. That at least solves the mystery when I thought it was "Wolf Pen".

In terms of the Houston locations, here's a former one according to the old addresses, serving as a "distribution center" of sorts for Houston Garden Centers at least what I could tell from 2014 records. It looks familiar, doesn't it? The College Station location didn't have a lit sign, but still--not bad on the facade memory, huh? Too bad I couldn't get the name right.


The Cavender's had an address of 2300 Earl Rudder Freeway South and was supposed to be part of a bigger development, Wolf Pen Village. I remember seeing renderings of different buildings along Holleman Drive East all the way down to Dartmouth, but it was put on hold during the recession, and due to the failure of the retail/restaurant component of Lofts at Wolf Pen Creek, was never filled out anyway. Too bad...not that I really want there to be restaurants along that part (it's fine as it is!) but that we missed out on the awesome Cavender's neon signs, which is seen in some older locations but also some newer ones, ones that have opened after this one. It's also worth noting that Cavender's expanded in 2015, adding about 5,500 square feet to its existing footprint.

Rewrite 6/12/2018 with some new information but mostly reorganizing what was there