Thursday, July 11, 2013

Wickes Lumber

A full-service hardware store!

This has always been a building I've seen since my youth, operating as a business I can't remember anymore (it had six letters and appeared to be there for a while, given how faded it was) but originally, it was Wickes Lumber, operating since at least 1975 (likely built soon after the completion of the "West Loop"). Given the ad below, it seemed to be a full hardware store, even going with its own functioning railroad spur to bring in lumber directly.

I don't know when Wickes Lumber went out of business...FundingUniverse seems to indicate late 1980s or early 1990s, which makes sense and then somehow later down the line, Wickes was bought and operates in the UK exclusively, but such a thing is out of the scope out of this article.

You aren't missing much in terms of building variety.

After the closure of Wickes in the late 1980s or early 1990s (as mentioned before), about two or three other businesses tried their hand at the building. There was that faded sign with six characters in the early to mid-1990s (as far as I know that was the first tenant after Wickes) and something else as well later (or two), until finally coming to Moore Supply Co. and their "Bath & Kitchen Showplace" (initially with a tiny sign) sometime in the early to mid 2000s. Sometime since this post was last updated (2017?) Bath & Kitchen Showplace renamed to "Facets".

The surrounding buildings that Wickes had were all sold off (they were owned by Wickes--during the right time of day, you can see a Wickes Lumber "labelscar" on the Boral Bricks building). Brazos Valley Turf occupies the building to the right of it (has been there for years), and Boral Bricks was in the back (probably originally something else after Wickes). The addresses are all different...Wickes Lumber had been 101 West Loop, but the current addresses include Moore Supply Co. as 1530 Harvey Mitchell, Brazos Valley Turf as 101 N. Dowling Road (which is strange since the same address is shared with Living Water Pottery), and Boral Bricks ("Boral Bricks Studio"?) is at 95 N. Dowling Road. Brazos CAD was no help in trying to get any information on the confusing addresses of these things, nor any old phone books. The only things that I gleaned from my resources was that Brazos Valley Turf opened in the late 1990s (which makes sense with what I remember), but even before BV Turf opened, the address of Country Grocery was 101 A N. Dowling Road, which suggests that even back in '96, there was a second address for that.

Finally, we have those pictures of railroad spur I mentioned before. It shut down around or before the untimely closure of Wickes Lumber, and a cell phone tower has been built on the site, but some of it remains today. These pictures were taken in June 2010 with my then-new cell phone camera, and I'm excited to show these, even if they are low quality. It had been around since at least 1975, so it was likely built soon after the completion of the "West Loop".

One more story—in the late 1990s or early 2000s, someone had the bright idea of parking their car in the wide right of way area between Harvey Mitchell Parkway and the parking lot, and putting a "For Sale" sign on it. This, in turn, was a success. The car was sold, and other people started to put up their cars in the space to be sold. At one time there was up to five cars, and no less than 3, until TxDOT got fed up with people parking their cars there, and put up a row of "No Parking" signs in the area that remained until construction of the overpass began.

UPDATE 03-20-2021: Added back section that was previously from "Photos of the West Loop". There's some sort of collision center coming to the former Boral Bricks area, but I need to get more information.

UPDATE 01-04-2024: A few corrections and updates.

I did want to make a few corrections. The warehouses behind the store were indeed part of Wickes Lumber, before the construction of Joe Hudson's Collision Center (today at 95 N. Dowling Road and opened around August 2022), you COULD see the faded Wickes Lumber scar on one of the buildings on Wellborn Road, given the right light conditions. Wickes Lumber also opened in 1974.

Some additional information I uncovered that there was a "JST CONCRETE CO INC" (operating from 1995 to 1996) at the address; however I can't confirm or deny it was the first tenant I remember seeing there, as well as Les Investments Inc. from 1990 to 1994 (probably not the actual name on the building) and "SHR ROOFING SUPPLY INC." from 1994 to 1997. Showman Electrical Supply Co. Inc. was here from 2001 to 2002 and used the 1530 Harvey Mitchell address (the first to do so, looks like).

Also, I believe 2017 was when B&K Showplace became Facets, with a repaint coming around that time.