In This Issue
|Newsletter of the Houston Heights Association|
|Volume Thirty-Five, Number One, January 2009|
|Click here for the print-format PDF version.|
|Click here for back issues.|
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Message From The New President
Dear HHA Members,
On the first of January, I will assume the position of President for the Houston Heights Association. We have a truly fantastic Board of Directors, a knowledgeable group of Vice Presidents and high energy Committee Chairs, all dedicated to the spirit of volunteerism and maintaining the tremendous dynamics of our great community. I am proud to serve and look forward to an exciting year filled with successful events and countless opportunities for each of you to get involved.
I truly believe that quality of life comes about from being in the service of others. I look to each of you to find a way to serve and to understand that all the exciting and great things that occur in our neighborhood are a result of hard work and volunteer participation. We have over thirty committees, so there is something for everyone.
It is the goal of the 2009 board to represent your hopes and concerns objectively, with compassion and understanding and a spirit of generous listening. There will be disagreement from time to time even amongst our board members. We promise however to conduct ourselves professionally and respectfully. We will work hard to find solutions and generate new possibilities.
We do not wish to dedicate all of our energy to singular topics but to remember that within our over thirty committees we represent the neighborhood on everything from education to beautification, historic preservation to compatible new construction, the encouragement of new businesses and the hosting of highly successful fund raising events.
Like you, many of the board members work full time, run their own businesses, raise children and maintain very busy households. We cannot be all things, to all people, all of the time but with your help and participation, there is much that can be accomplished.
Our goals are lofty but so are our spirits. We hope to double our HHA membership by the end of 2009 and you can help. Simply take on the challenge to visit with neighbors and bring in two to three new members over the next couple of months. It is our plan to provide more funding to our education committee to benefit area teachers and school programs. We now have a professional grant writer to assist in these efforts. We want to help in the continued promotion of our great area businesses and encourage the growth of new business. You can help, by buying local. We have excellent retail, fantastic restaurants, well-stocked nurseries, highly respected realtors and banking institutions, and professional services of every kind. We plan to work hard to preserve the historic nature of our neighborhood while still supporting appropriate new construction.
In addition, we have an immense challenge before us to rebuild Donovan Park for all area children. Our hike and bike trail is well on its way and we hope to raise necessary funds to put in a rest stop with benches and a water fountain at the 7th Street crossing on Heights Boulevard. The esplanade itself, along Heights Boulevard needs reforesting as a result of damages from hurricane Ike. Become a volunteer to Jim Bennett’s group to assist in mulching, re-surfacing the jogging trail and an ongoing list of maintenance requirements. We hope to purchase the fire station at 12th and Yale which serves to support local events, meetings, private parties, and receptions. Again, you can help by renting the fire station for your events.
As you can see, our goals are significant but we are also a community that is known for getting the job done. We need funding through personal donations and sponsor commitments. We need you to volunteer and be a participant in our four principal fund raising events. The spring Home & Garden Tour, the summer Fun Run, the fall Bicycle Rally and the winter’s Holiday Home Tour. Nothing happens by magic. Or, should I say, the magic happens as a result of you and your desire to live and/or work in a community that is both dynamic and diverse. My wish as the 2009 President of the HHA is for every Heights citizen to be able to stand up this year and for years to come and proudly say, “I helped make that happen.” We look forward to hearing from you.
Monday Night, January 12, 7pm
Heights Fire Station at 12th & Yale.
Energy Savings: Solutions Great & Small. Learn about the Latest Technologies & Greatest Tips for Energy Efficency for your Home. Whether your house is a year old, or 100 years old- -- this information packed program is for you!
Centerpoint Energy: energy savings tips & tricks
Light Bulb Depot: LED's & Compact Fluorescents
Warren Air Conditioning & Heating: The New R's of Efficiency
Payless Insulation: Insulation & Tax Credits
Grogan Building Supply: will have a table featuring Jeld-wen energy saving sash replacement kits.
Grogan’s is a fourth generation family owned business serving Houston and the Heights since 1886.
President Greg von Baden and Window & Sales Representatives Laura Pineda and Anthony Vance will be present to answer questions about Jeld-wen (an Energy Star © partner since 1998). Energy star qualified windows and doors conserve energy and help lower heating and cooling costs. Sash replacement kits are an option available for Heights remodeling projects and allow new energy efficient sashes to be installed into existing window frames, thereby maintaining all original interior and exterior trim, screens and window coverings.
C&D Hardware: will be set up with information too!
Everyone is Invited! Refreshments will be served.
January Restoration Meeting
The next Houston Heights Association Restoration/Historical Committee meeting will be held at 219 W 11th St. on Thursday, January 22nd from 7:30 to 9:30 PM.
After the holidays, do you want to visit one of the most historically interesting National Register of Historic Places properties with a story in the Houston Heights? The house and the story is very exciting with much detail. George Henry Burnett purchased this Sears Craftsman House, designed in the Queen Anne Style, in March 1904. Pre-cut parts were shipped from Illinois and assembled by a local carpenter. Mr. Burnett lost his family in the 1900 “Great Storm”. Further details of how this happened and was included in a famous book will be told at this meeting.
Features of this historic property include imported leaded glass windows and gas and electric lighting. Early photos of the Burnett family still hang on the walls and the story as to how George met his brother Gary after many years is most remarkable since each thought the other perished in the 1900 Galveston hurricane. George went into a long list of occupations including vaudeville accordionist, painter, inventor and cabinet-maker. His meeting with a most famous underworld character will definitely be another highlight in his long storied career. Plus another very famous vaudevillian and TV star who was a “close” acquaintence will be discussed.
For those interested in great stories about a Heights recluse with a great storied past, this meeting will be a must. Also, for those wanting to talk with the people that recycled the interior of a National Register property into a commercial use, do attend. This meeting has something for everyone..!
The Houston Heights Restoration/Historical Committee meetings are open to the public quarterly to learn about history and restoration in keeping with the appreciation of the historic nature of the Houston Heights. Please let Committee Chairman, Dean Swanson, know if you have a restoration project, historical structure under restoration or historical information or photos pertaining to the Heights to share at future meetings.
Contact Dean at or telephone him at (713) 880-2832 for this or other future meetings.
IMAGES OF AMERICA:
The Houston Heights Association gratefully acknowledges the support of the following 2008-2009 Platinum sponsors:
2008 Community Improvement Award Nomination Deadline is January 15
The Community Improvement Awards program is sponsored by the Houston Heights Association. The awards are given to recognize residential and commercial restoration, renovation, and new construction efforts that serve as models to the community and to encourage similar restoration, renovation, and development.
The four categories of Community Improvement Awards are Residential Restoration or Renovation, Commercial Restoration or Renovation, New Residential Construction, and New Commercial Construction. The geographic area is bounded by North Loop 610 on the north, North Durham Drive on the west, Washington Avenue on the south, Studewood on the east, and North Main on the northeast.
1) Determine that the property fits within the guidelines listed above.
2) Download the entry form (PDF) and print it. A copy was included in your December hardcopy newsletter. It also has the eligibility and judging criteria for each category.
3) If available, please include a simple snapshot with your entry for identification. Before and after photographs are very helpful in the judging process. All photographs will be returned after the awards are presented.
4) Only one nomination per person per category will be accepted.
5) Nominations must be received on or before January 15, 2009. Mail in a sealed envelope to the address on the form.
6) The winners will be selected by a panel of judges.
7) Decisions on the number of awards granted and whether to grant an award in every category is at the sole discretion of the judges, whose decisions are final.
8) Winners will be announced at the HHA annual Awards Dinner on February 22 at the Heights Fire Station.
Save The Date!
The Houston Heights Association gratefully acknowledges the support of the following Winter 2008-2009 Diamond sponsor:
"A Design Guide for the Houston Heights Historic Districts"
A new design guide for our historic districts is now available on the City of Houston's web-site. Mayor Bill White in the preface to the document states:
"The Historic Houston Heights is one of the City's greatest gems and assets. With a small town feel, a notable history and an array of important historic architecture, the Heights is a truly remarkable place. In our ongoing efforts to preserve the unique character of the Heights, this Design Guide, with lots of visual help, serves as a tool for building and remodeling in this area. I encourage you to make use of this tool if you plan to build or renovate. Please help Houston keep the Heights special."
The Design Guide was prepared by Jonathan Smulian for the Department of Planning and Development of the City of Houston.
To find the guide on the city’s site (www.houstontx.gov), select “Planning & Development” from the “Departments” pulldown at the top, select “Historic Preservation”, then “Design Guide for the Houston Heights Historic District” under “HISTORIC PRESERVATION LINKS,” which should take you to . Links to the individual sections PDFs are provided at right.
Sections in PDF format (file size MB):
The Houston Heights Association gratefully acknowledges the support of the following Winter 2008-2009 Silver sponsor:
Recovery has begun on the Heights Boulevard esplanade after Ike hit it hard. We lost an estimated 50 trees on the esplanade and suffered damages to the sprinkler system on almost every block. However, the City of Houston came in quickly with crews to clear the debris and, with some volunteer help, clean up progressed quickly. It is fortunate that, over the last ten years, HHA has planted about 600 trees on the esplanade that will help replace some of those we have lost!
Eleven trees have been planted in the esplanade since Ike. These include four planted on the 900 block by volunteers from Price Waterhouse Coopers along with seven by HHA volunteers made possible through donations from the neighborhood.
You may have noticed two new oaks on the 1200 block and four new oaks in Marmion Park that are much larger than anything our volunteers have planted before. These were made possible through an extraordinary effort by Paul Carr and donations of time and equipment from Grogan Lumber and William Salario Landscape Design. The water and Shumard oaks came in 30” boxes and required a fork lift and tractor to move into position. These large trees provided an instant canopy.
Students from Immanuel Lutheran School have also been helping to spruce up the Boulevard. Each month the group spends a Friday afternoon helping out. This school year they have cleaned up flower beds, picked up storm debris, and created new mulch beds to help protect our trees.
By the time you read this, the 1100 block gazebo will also have a new coat of paint. Volunteers from Bungalow Fitness (on Main at Aurora) stepped forward to take on this task and help maintain this Heights icon.
More volunteers will be needed to help us plant many more trees in 2009 and maintain the existing improvements. If you’d like to help, send an email to and we will add you to the email list. We also need donations to help fund the purchase of trees and supplies! Your tax deductible donations can be made by check to P. O. Box 70735, Houston TX, 77270-0735 with a memo indicating “for the Boulevard” or on-line at , select “make a donation” on the left side of the home page, then enter your donation amount under “Heights Boulevard Reforestation Project”.
Heights Trees Count!
The Houston Heights is renowned for our extraordinary Urban Forest. Habitat for Wildlife & Life Style-- our Native Trees & gardenscapes provide Natural mitigation from flooding, pollution & antidote to Houston's burning heat (high energy costs)
The HHA Urban Forestry Committee works hard to provide Neighbors opportunities to "Get Out in Our Green" with Monthly Native Garden Tours, the first Tuesday of the Month -- (some Saturdays) and Heights Urban Forestry Day --- on Saturday, October 4th.
This year, wonderful folks hosted a great day of education, kids gardening giveaways, distribution of over 150 Tree, and 3 Trees planted on the Blvd.
Special Thanks to these Very Special partners that made the day, and commitment since 2005--- and it's these people that make our neighborhood such a great place--every day of the Year!
Kelly Simmons: Gardening Gifts for Kids, Taylor Moore: Gift of over 150 Trees in 2008, TARGET: refreshments, Design & Inspiration: Signs & refreshments, Starbucks & Nicole & John Ridgway: Coffee Bar, Genie Mims, Jean Taylor, HHA Presidents Mark Williamson 08 & Jim & Barb Potter 07: Volunteers Extraordinaire, Jim Bennett, HHA Boulvevard Chair, Trees for Houston, The Parks people, City of Houston's Urban Foresters, Lauriel Hindman & Bob Pearson, Reagan High School ROTC Students.
HHA Great Native Garden Tours: These folks generously opened their wonder-filled gardens, and shared their incredible stories & hospitality with Heights neighbors-- thank-you! Jeff Law, Bart Truxillo, Terry Gordon Smith, Victoria Harrison & Jay Wehnert.
Kudos to the neighborhood: The Heights Association Urban Forestry Day, was included in Mayor Bill White's Initiative: Million Trees + Houston as the launch event for this year-- 2008 to 2009.
As one of the folks on the Urban Forestry Committee wisely commented , "The best time to plant a Tree is 20 years ago, the next best time is Today!"
See you in 2009!
The Houston Heights Association gratefully acknowledges the support of the following Winter 2008-2009 Bronze Sponsor:
A Great “CATCH” to start the New Year!
A HONEYMOON, LIES AND A MISSING WIFE
UpStage Theatre presents the first show in their evening series of 2009, Catch Me If You Can, by Robert Thomas, at Lambert Hall in the Heights.
When Daniel Corban’s new wife goes missing on his honeymoon, he calls the police to report her disappearance. Shortly after, a woman claiming to be his wife arrives on the doorstep of their honeymoon cabin in the mountains. How can Mr. Corban prove to the authorities that this woman is not his wife, when everyone else involved in the investigation is convinced that she is Elizabeth Corban? This is a mystery thriller that will have you guessing until the very end.
Cast members include: Danny Seibert, Alan Johnson, Maggie Flecknoe, David Barron, Sonia Kronberg, Henry Feldman and Mandy Wilburn. Directed by David Hymel.
Catch Me If You Can performances are January 2, 3, 8, 9 and 10 at 8pm and one matinee performance on January 4 at 2 pm in Lambert Hall, 1703 Heights Blvd, Houston, Texas. Tickets are $15 and group rates are available. To reserve your tickets, please call 713-838-7191 or visit .
Founded in 2000 by Arnold Richie, UpStage Theatre is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization that is supported by a group of talented volunteers dedicated to providing high quality, affordable and family-friendly theatrical experiences. UpStage relies solely on ticket sales, ad sales, and the generosity of its patrons for its finances.
To schedule an interview or preview performance with any of the cast or directors, please contact Amber Ambrose at 409-201-3560 or email .
Please welcme the following new or returning members to the Houston Heights Association.
Steve & Elizabeth Griffin
Margaret C. Williams
Our thanks to the following for their generous support of the programs of the Houston Heights Association.
Ruth Davis — Beautification
Harmony Electric Co., Inc., Laura & Dennis Virgadamo — Boulevard Trees
Cheryl & Robert Ketchie — Flower Gardens, Boulevard, and Historic Preservation
Catherine Wiejaczka — Boulevard
The 2008 Heights Holiday Home Tour is Wrapped Up with a BIG BOW!
By Trudy W. Nelson, 2008 Chair
Special thanks to everyone who worked so hard on the 2008 Houston Heights Historic Home Tour and made it a really fun, successful, and record-breaking event! Preliminary numbers indicate we have hit a new high with approximately $42,000 raised! Congratulations are for everyone as we can make a significant impact to our community with these funds.
It ALL begins and ends with our generous Homeowners: Katrina and Tom Stilwell, Lisa and Tom Gladney, Suzanne and Vaughn Counts, Steve Ouellette and John Carmona, Patti Worthington and Kathleen and Mark Williamson. Without the graciousness of these homeowners, there would be no tour! Thanks should also be extended to the many neighbors who endured additional traffic and parking during the event. We appreciate your patience as well.
Outstanding Head Docents enable the Home Tour to run smoothly. They perform a myriad of tasks and do so willingly and cheerfully! MAJOR thanks are due to Melinda and Lee Gaskill, Kemberly Warren, Freddie Fuller, Janet Buchheit, Kit Davis, Denise Martin, Barbara Potter, Carey Jordan and Brian Simmons. These volunteers were responsible for the coordination of dozens and dozens of docents who helped show the various homes. Thanks to you all!!
Holiday florals were everywhere and thanks are owed to Felix Hernandez of Behind the Garden Gate, Stems Custom Floral, Wally Nobles and Sondra Wilson of the Heights Floral Shop, Judy Bankhead and Susan Tate of Darlene’s Flower & Gift Shop, Marianne Sulser of M. Sulser Design and a special thanks to Lisa Gladney and Freddie Fuller, the ‘unknown’ florists of Miz Magnolia (hidden talents abide in the Heights). These florists donated their time and creative efforts for the Heights community - please remember them when you are in need of flowers!
Committee members once again were shining stars and crucial to the success of our event. Believe it or not, they have been working since last Christmas and many have already begun thinking of next year’s tour. I think they are simply real-life elves living in the Heights. Thanks so much to all the members of the committee this year - especially the following:
Eleanor Lane, Volunteer Coordinator. Not enough can be said for the efforts of the outstanding volunteer who oversaw legions of volunteers and she had not even been involved with the tour before! Unbelievable!
Honi Knowles, aka “the House Hunter”, who is already scanning our area for cherished homes for the 2009 tour and Robin Franklin, the other half of our Poster Distribution Duo, who get the word out so effortlessly (posters get distributed both near and far and these are the folks who do it);
Carol and Angelos Sofianopoulos, Trolley Chairs, who cheerfully move everyone around as if they were royalty and provide smiles and cheer to the holiday season;
Molly Block and Sue Wheeler, who responded to countless inquiries of the tour and did so promptly; and Sue and Terry Wheeler, who miraculously put signs out in the wee hours helping everyone know the tour is happening and where to get information;
Kit Davis and Ann Vanwagener, our Thank You Duo, whose aim was to keep our homeowners appreciated (remember, without them, we have no tour!);
Genie Mims, Tour Photographer, who captures the homes outer beauty for our brochure and who captured the homes during the tour as well - look for pics on the HHA website soon;
Catherine Craig, Floral Chair, who coordinated the beautiful florals which graced the homes;
Chasity Munn, Entertainment Chair, for coordinating the delightful music which added to the festive spirit of our event;
Amydell Beardshall, Co-Chair and responsible for the fantastic free photos provided by Reliant Energy - what a treat to have some fun holiday photos as you waited for the shuttle bus;
Marianne Sulser, 2007 Tour Chair, who was calm, way cool and always there to lend a hand for everyone involved in this year’s tour - we call her our “without her where would be’ chair!
Angela DeWree of Design and Inspiration, Collateral Designer, who continues to create outstanding design; Susan Love Fitts, of Susan Love Fitts Communications, who amazingly gets the word out on our tour - she is responsible for all that wonderful press which lets everyone know how small town cool we are;
Advance tickets sales, jump started this years tour’s success and included The Artful Corner, Another Place in Time, Buchanan’s, Eclectic Home, Oolala, and Waldo’s Coffee House;
Hundreds of docents, ticket sellers are the cogs that keep the tour running . . . they are amazing volunteers who sacrifice their time;
And of course, there are simply not enough thanks to extend to our Business Manager Lauriel Hindman and Fire Station Chair Bob Pearson. They are often the ‘behind the scenes’ folks, but without them, the curtain never opens!
Thanks are also due to Olmstead-Kirk Paper Company for donating all the paper for every bit of printing we did, which included our posters, tickets, and postcards. And, of course, our many sponsors that support the Houston Heights Association - Allied Waste, San Jacinto Stone, Memorial Hermann, Fiesta Mart, The Detering Company, Prosperity Bank, Grogan Building Supply, William Shaw and Associates! They are our backbone.
And, as for this year’s chair, she is simply honored to have worked with so many wonderful neighbors in contributing to “our” HHA. Happiest of holidays to all!!!
Calendar of Events for January-February 2009
HHA headquarters: The Fire Station is on the corner of Yale and 12th Streets.
Every Wednesday and Saturday, 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM, Historic Houston’s salvage warehouse is open. Call 713-522-0542 or visit their web site .
January 29, 30, 31, February 5, 6, 7, 13, 14 - Opera in the Heights presents Giuseppe Verdi’s Macbeth at 7:30 PM in Lambert Hall, 1703 Heights Blvd. For tickets or more information, call 713-861-5303 or visit .
March 26, 27, 28, April 2, 3, 4, 10, 11 - Opera in the Heights presents Giuseppe Verdi’s Falstaff at 7:30 PM in Lambert Hall, 1703 Heights Blvd. For tickets or more information, call 713-861-5303 or visit .
February 22, Awards Dinner
April 3-5, Spring Home Tour
April 18, HHA Camp-Out & Music Fest
June 6, Heights Fun Run
October 4, Bicycle Rally
December 4-5, Holiday Home Tour
Copyright and Submissions
The Heights is published monthly by the Houston Heights Association. Its purpose is to acknowledge achievements and to inform HHA members of events.
Copyright 2009, the Houston Heights Association and/or the authors unless otherwise noted.
Newsletter inquiries, suggestions, or submissions should be directed to:
Editor, The Heights, P.O. Box 70735, Houston, TX 77270-0735;
email ; or leave a message on 713-861-4002.
Staff and Contributors
Editor: Gerald Melancon
Editor Emeritus: Mark R. Williamson
December contributors: Jim DePitts, Diane Easley, Janice Evans, Lauriel Hindman, Peggy Lindow, Genie Mims, Anne Sloan, Mark Willamson, Cindy Wingo