Showing posts with label wolf pen creek district. Show all posts
Showing posts with label wolf pen creek district. Show all posts

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