Showing posts with label southside area. Show all posts
Showing posts with label southside area. Show all posts

Thursday, February 28, 2019

Southgate Village Apartments

Here's an Eagle ad from December 1971, subsidized even back then.

Originally part of the Luther Street and Wellborn Road article to undergo major changes as of this writing (accounting for the huge new apartment building replacing the entire block), the Southgate Village Apartments were built in 1970 and is a HUD subsidized apartment (even going into foreclosure in early 2012).

Street View image, 134 Luther Street

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Travel Kleen and Summit

from Loopnet

317-321 Redmond Drive

Put this in the "forgotten Texas Avenue" file (and the "recycled post" file). Originally reported as part of the Aggieland Inn article when, according to the development list has lots 317, 319, and 321 Redmond Drive abandon their public right of ways. These used to be the "Travel Kleen" car wash and the Summit station, which were both demolished circa 2007. I thought they were part of a redevelopment, but it's not--today both have been cleared for a small strip mall under construction.

I've stopped at the Summit at least once (it was quite run-down) but never at the Travel Kleen--I wasn't aware there was a car wash even there (probably why they closed). Unknown to when either were built.

EDIT 11-6-13: A strip mall is up, featuring the area's first "Sleep Number by Select Comfort" and Aspen Dental. A third space is vacant.

EDIT 6-18-14: In the mid-1990s, this Summit was originally a Shell with a Zip'N convenience store. While a number of the older Shells did not make the conversion in 2003-2004 and had to convert to Summit stores, namely the two rural Shell stations profiled elsewhere on this site, the Shell here converted earlier. I'm not sure when this conversion took place. The Shell was at 321 Redmond (the same as Summit), and it was a Zip'N in 1989 (store #102) though it had been removed by 1993. The Shell signage remained up until at least by 1995.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

The Buildings of Luther Street and Wellborn Road

At one time, the block where Berkeley House is featured a fine dining establishment in a converted house (from Center Magazine)

This is one of the posts I've had for years on the blog and despite tons of rewrites still may come off as disjointed, and needs a bit of a proper introduction.

Today, the entire block features a large apartment building, Berkeley House (opened fall 2018), a student-oriented complex. It is impossible to take a good photo of it, as it comes up to the street, and I can't take a photo from the other side, as Wellborn has a curb next to it. As a result, Google Street View will have to suffice, though it is currently not updated yet, only showing the old thrift store that was there.

When I was a kid growing up in the mid-1990s, this corner featured a small convenience store that sold Chinese food, perhaps some of the first (Americanized) Chinese food I've ever had (that or Confucius Chinese Cuisine). Later on it became a thrift store but my father had an old 1940s map of the campus and surrounding area that listed the building as "Hrdlicka Café". What was this café, and how did it become a thrift store?

Over the years, through research and other help, these answers and more were revealed.

In 1919, a house at what would be 801 Wellborn Road was built by Ed Hrdlicka ("1" on the map below). Eventually, the house passed on to Ed's daughter Marilyn, and her husband Jack Fugate. In the late 1970s, the house was converted into a restaurant—Fish Richards Half-Century House. Fish Richard's menu featured seafood, lamb, and prime rib along with a selection of wines.

Apparently the reason that Fish Richard's closed was due to a divorce by the couple that owned it (some ads in the final days of Fish Richard's discussed a new future location), but the building burned to the ground in 1988, and the 801 Wellborn address went unused for years, until the construction of Berkeley House.

#2 on the map was 803 Wellborn, and wrecked sometime in the late 1990s, likely around the time of the demise of Piknik Pantry (below). This was the home of Fugate's printing press and laundromat businesses and later home to Fish Richards Bakery, the bakery operation of Fish Richard's, which sold a variety of baked goods all day, every day (except Sunday afternoons). I read somewhere (but lost the source) that this was the original supplier for Subway when it came into town in the early 1980s. Ad can be found here.

#3 on the map was 805 Wellborn. This was the likely site of the eponymous Hrdlicka Café from 1920 to the mid-1940s, a student beer joint, dancing hall, and storefront grocery store. "Uncle Ed" leased the store shortly before his death in the early 1950s and by 1957 it was operated by Ed Krolczyk, who tried to make barbecue from "any kind of meat" and claimed to make a great barbecued raccoon.

By the 1960s it was replaced with a convenience store, the Piknik Pantry with Amoco gas (certainly by 1972), though 1980 phone book says "811 Old College Road", indicating not only a rename later (likely holding over from the days when Wellborn and Old College were one and the same, as Wellborn did not extend to Villa Maria but instead curved to Old College) but a renumbering (or just an error). Piknik Pantry & Chinese Food (it sold Chinese food later, and research even shows that an old Chinese restaurant at 3030 E. 29th, Sing Lee, had the same owner) mets its demise in the late 1990s and was quickly replaced with 2nd Chance Resale Shop, operated by Twin City Mission. Based on Chamber of Commerce newspaper clippings, this probably first opened in late 1997 with Piknik Pantry meeting its demise shortly prior. Sometime in the mid-2010s (2016 I believe) it moved to a new location and in 2017, it was torn down for Berkeley House. According to a comment I received in 2015, it featured an all-you-can-eat buffet on Sundays (back in the '80s) for just four or five dollars. The same comment references the gas pumps as well.

There were two more businesses in that block that I haven't labeled.

At 809 Old College (location unknown) there was Astraptes, an "adult disco" nightclub. There's rumors on forums (where it was misspelled as "Astropates", among others) that this was the closest thing to a gay bar College Station had, and according to Houston LGBT History (link sort-of NSFW), it was, mentioning after closure it reopened in 1983 (if briefly--and it's the only Google result that spells the name correctly).

This one is from the 1980 phone book published by GTE.

There was a fifth business, the Peanut Gallery, at 813 Old College, and that seems to be based on what was there on aerials, that it was the metal building directly next to Piknik Pantry. By the 21st century this was just storage for the resale shop. Today, of course, everything described in this post is long-gone. The thrift store and everything around was leveled in 2017 for the aforementioned Berkeley House apartments. Officially it uses 805 Wellborn but some references use 801 Wellborn, site of the Hrdlicka/Fugate homestead.

Extensive update done August 2019

Saturday, July 7, 2012

College Station Conference Center

From KBTX, which most definitely did not take it off from the city's Flickr account

1300 George Bush Drive

Yesterday (from when this post was made), College Station Conference Center was shut down...basically condemned due to concerns that the roof would collapse. And to me, that may be "well, it was old and needed to be torn down anyway for a more modern building", but to me it was kind of special.

For starters, it had the first permanent building off campus for the CSISD, holding first through 12th grade, built in ~1949. The high school would move out in the 1950s or 1960s and again in the 1970s (the latter building will be explored in a new post coming soon). It also had a green triangular overhang and a newer very 1980s wing built in front of it (which was there at the opening of the Conference Center in 1982), plus it was one of the few areas to use the "old" College Station logo, which has been excised practically everywhere else. It used to be on the water tanks, even in the pool at Southwood. Additionally, in the 1949 wing, it had wooden floors (carpeted) which was great: it gave the floor a nice spongy, comfortable feeling not found in newer buildings (the last major wood-floor building on campus, for instance, was Special Services Building). And more importantly, there I was volunteering at Project HOLD, which sadly eliminated its full time job position not too long after I worked here.

In 2010, I tried to get a volunteer job there, as I had done last year. Regrettably, they could not accept me, so I did the next thing: create my own archives. Do my own research. And publish what I found in an easy to view, easy to access format. This website that you're looking at, Brazos Buildings & Businesses, hosting on or possibly, is the result of that.

Here's another picture of the Conference Center (the newer wing), from the same Flickr page as the image on the top of the page came from. As you can see, it's solidly early 1980s. I do miss those hexagonal tiles, though.

When I originally published this post, I included a hand-drawn map of the building as I remembered it. Turns out the city had their own floorplan, which I saved since the original link is dead. I wasn't too far off the mark:

Anyway, in late 2012 or early 2013 it was announced that the building would not reopen, and instead it was demolished for College View Alternative School, hosting both Venture and Timber Academy.

Updated Nov/15 to merge updates and update something else.

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

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

H-E-B College Station

Author's picture of 1900 Texas Avenue South from June 2019

A bit of a history lesson: prior to the year 1990, H-E-B stores did not exist at all (maybe a few tiny stores in the suburbs, called H-E-B Pantry) in the Houston market, which by extension included the College Station market. Instead, there was AppleTree (Safeway until the company had to divest the division), Randall's (at the time, a respected upscale-leaning independent), and Kroger. Those were the big ones.

Around 1992, H-E-B decided to launch a plan that would put it in the competitive Houston market by operating small, low-end stores lacking expensive-to-operate-but-otherwise-standard departments like bakeries, delis, and pharmacies. H-E-B essentially carpet-bombed the Houston market with stores like this, beating Food Lion (a similar operation) to the punch by several months (and Food Lion caught a lot of flack in Dallas for lacking pharmacies). The march to conquer Houston included a few stores in Bryan-College Station; two in Bryan, and one in College Station where DSW is now.

I had been in a full-line H-E-B store before, specifically, at a now-defunct location in Waco, Texas at the corner of Dutton and Valley Mills, and when H-E-B opened their new store in College Station in April 2002 (pretty sure it was April, possibly March), and blew everything out of the water, not just the Waco store but also the Southwest Parkway Kroger and the Albertsons next to the Wal-Mart. The Pantry had a pretty good selection for what it was (about 10-12 aisles, produce, and a tiny bakery area), but the H-E-B had all that and more, including a bakery (with bolillos, which were a favorite when visiting the Waco store), a tortilleria, a pharmacy, a floral department, seafood, and a deli.

Up until 2015, the store's décor and layout remained largely the same, with some changes have gone on within H-E-B in the past decade. Originally, they had a video game section with a display in the middle that had TVs playing the Super Smash Bros. Melee trailer (hey, it was early 2002), and you could buy a portable PSOne there. This was gutted for more of the "general merchandise" selection they have today. Unfortunately, it was one of the earlier departments scrapped when it became clear what customer's buying habits were (Yelp likewise reports the brief time they carried Caribbean imported foods, though said reviewer is notoriously untrustworthy when it comes to restaurant reviews).

The sushi-making kiosk and "Showtime" were added later during later reconfigurations, and at some point in the early 2010s, H-E-B moved away from plates in the deli (though there wasn't much besides dried-out fried chicken and potato wedges) in favor of cold "grab-and-go" items (and later, "Meal Simple" kits). In the front, there were what appeared to be large sheds (they were later removed to accommodate more garden supplies), and there was also a Washington Mutual bank inside (which may or not have been the first bank there). Fortunately, H-E-B converted it to an IBC bank (removed circa 2012) before Washington Mutual collapsed completely.

The store really is big.

All in all, the store (which, by the way, boasts warehouse-style ceilings, unlike the old Pantry) is wildly successful today. Despite the college students which tends to have the store carry some more downscale items, it let the store have a 24 hour/7 days a week schedule year-round, which is fantastic because not even the suburban H-E-B stores in Houston do that.

The parking is usually full (even after the opening of other stores) and the store is popular, but due to the tight and hilly footprint the store sits on, it can't expand, which is a shame. It was curiously bumped to the bottom of remodeling lists, leaving it with all 2002 décor intact, and now already is starting to look small, dated, and downscale compared to other H-E-B stores I've seen (though again, it's hard to criticize your store when there are still dozens of stores floating around without even pharmacies). The presence of the store managed to clean up the entire block. The land value of the nearby homes on Park Place shot up (and even sparked a mild building boom). This was a part of a big Southgate revival, though in some cases, ended up demolishing decent homes that just needed a little love for dense, student-living oriented townhomes.

In 2015, the store began to remodel, tearing off the giant lettering on the sides of the colored walls (some glimpses can be caught of that), namely moving the florist to the other side of the store near the pharmacy, making the produce area less of a maze, and adding "Curbside" service to the store (using old bank space, but taking up even more parking).

Enjoy these few pictures I took at H-E-B in June 2010, taken with my old cellphone camera.





In the early days of this post, I used to have H-E-B directories from 2002 and 2005 available for download, but I figured it wasn't worth re-uploading from the Dropbox Public folder where it used to be.

There's more stories to tell. Originally, there was a water tower at the corner of Holleman and Texas, where the H-E-B gas station is now.
Bud Ward Volkswagen was here in 1980, and I'm told it was the first location of what is now Allen Honda prior to that, but later on it became a bar ("Charlie's Under the Water Tower", but again, I can't find other proof of that), and then El Chico, which appeared after 1989 (which may or may not have been a total rebuild). El Chico closed around 2006 and was torn down in 2007 for a Chase bank.

From John Ellisor comes this picture of Bud Ward Volkswagen. I think I see the Holiday Inn in the background.

Connected to the El Chico parking lot was a shabby-looking maroon building (with wooden shingles if I remember right), built in the mid-1980s, holding Aggieland Printing (1801 Holleman), and later Early Bird Cleaners. Both moved to a new building in the parking lot of the H-E-B after it was built. Aggieland Printing is still there, though Early Bird Cleaners moved on. A few years later, Smoothie King moved in from Parkway Square.

The configuration of the El Chico and 1801 Holleman is seen below.

Rewrites done in 2015 and June 2019