In This Issue
|Newsletter of the Houston Heights Association|
|Volume Thirty-Five, Number Twelve, December 2009|
|Click here for the print-format PDF version.|
|Click here for back issues.|
|Click here to return to main HHA site.|
Home For The Holidays -
This Friday & Saturday!
Recently described by Southern Living as “one of the most fascinating neighborhoods in the South’s biggest city,” Houston Heights will once again live up to this reputation when it presents the 2009 Houston Heights Holiday Home Tour “Home for the Holidays” this weekend. Tour hours are Friday, December 4, 6:00 to 9:00 PM and Saturday, December 5, 3:00 to 9:00 PM.
This year’s tour features seven beautiful homes, spectacularly decorated for the holidays. In addition to the homeowners’ treasured collections, area retailers have designed rooms in each home that will be reminiscent of December home design magazine covers.
You may buy tickets during the hours of the tour at the Heights Fire Station at Yale and 12th Streets or at each home for the price of $20. The following retailers in the Heights will sell tickets at a discounted price of $17 through 6:00 PM on Thursday, December 3: Another Place in Time, The Artful Corner, Buchanan’s, Eclectic Home, Koelsch Gallery, and Waldo’s. Shuttle bus rides are included with your ticket and begin and end at the Heights Fire Station where you may park.
Other activities revolving around the tour this year include the following:
The Heights Library Open House - 1302 Heights Boulevard - featuring a marionette performance of “Twas the Night Before Christmas,” on Friday at 7:00 PM, Claire Dance Group performing scenes from “The Nutcracker” on Saturday at 2:00 PM, and Santa will take time out of his busy schedule to visit good boys and girls at the Library on Saturday between 3:00 and 5:00 PM. Ernest Washington will play holiday favorites on the piano beginning at 7:00 PM on Saturday, so stop by then for some caroling fun.
Heights Women’s Club Crafts Market - held at the Heights Fire Station during the hours of the tour. HHWC members will sell drinks, sandwiches, desserts, snacks, and wonderful handmade crafts. You will also want to purchase raffle tickets for a chance to win a beautiful, queen-sized, one-of-a-kind, HWC handmade quilt. All proceeds benefit the HHWC. [See article below.]
Mistletoe Madness - Heights businesses pull out all the stops once again on Saturday, December 5, with this popular event featuring holiday shopping and specials, art, food and refreshments, entertainment, and great eats at local restaurants. Locations all around the neighborhood. [See right column.]
These beautiful homes will be open for the tour:
• The Booth Home at 1132 Rutland - This beautiful Craftsman bungalow was built in 1920 and recently restored with thoughtful period finishes.
• The Watkins Home at 816 Arlington - Located on a rare lot and a half, the owners of this 1920s Craftsman bungalow knew immediately that this was the right house for their major restoration project.
• The Sanchez Home at 832 Allston - Preserving the original charm of this 1919 Craftsman bungalow is what inspired the homeowners to purchase and restore this home.
• Fort Robert at 713 Waverly - Tucked behind the wooden gates and brightly colored stucco wall of Fort Robert lies a serene, Spanish-inspired enclave.
• The Pumpkin House at 1648 Harvard - Bill and Amydell Beardshall’s home was designed after a Queen Anne Victorian and is maintained in the Northern tradition of “painted ladies.”
• The Longstreth-Maloney Home at 537 Cortlandt - The homeowners were delighted to find this Victorian-designed home, styled in the tradition of their hometown of New Orleans.
• The Otto House - This Queen Anne-style home, designed by William A. Otto in 1898, was, amazingly, purchased in 1971 by Mark and Linda Gonzales from its original owner, Maria C. Lucas.
We hope you will be “Home for the Holidays” this weekend!
Holiday Toast with Toys!
Been a little Naughty this year? Do something Nice at The Houston Heights Association’s Holiday Mixer and Toy Drive. Come one and all to a wonder-filled HHA General Meeting on December 14.
Chief “Santa” James Mosier of Constable Jack F. Abercia’s Precinct One and his Constable “Elves” will be here to launch the 2009 “Annual Cruise for Smiles” Christmas Toy Drive. Bring new toys, a bike, books, or games to put under the HHA Tree!
Come celebrate with homeowners of the 2009 Holiday Home Tour, Chairs Katrina Stilwell & Amy Brooks, and some of their volunteers.
Our friends from Target will be here with a special surprise.
Music, Mixing, & Holiday Cheer! Everyone is invited!
That’s 7:00 PM on Monday, December 14 at the Historic Houston Heights Fire Station and City Hall, 12th and Yale Streets.
For more information about Constable Abercia's Christmas Toy Drive, please click here.
Fourth annual event offers visitors fun, food, festive holiday atmosphere on Saturday, December 5
Houston’s Historic Heights knows how to throw a good party. Whether it’s “White Linen Night” in August or “Mistletoe Madness” in December, Heights residents, businesses, artists, musicians, and organizations come together to put on a celebration worthy of the many accolades they have received over the years.
This December’s 4th annual “Mistletoe Madness” will be no exception. Billed by organizers as just the right mix of “Eat, Drink, Shop, & Be Merry,” Heights Mistletoe Madness 2009 is geared up to make this year’s event the best yet.
Set for Saturday, December 5, from 12:00 noon to 6:00 PM, art and live entertainment will be on hand throughout the day. Retail shops, restaurants, galleries, and sponsor businesses will be open for visiting and shopping. Invite your friends. Make a day of it.
Spread Some Cheer:
Community Improvement Awards
Please help us select and honor deserving property owners for their hard work and vision in our neighborhood by nominating them for Community Improvement Awards. The winners will be announced at the Volunteer Appreciation & Awards Dinner on February 28 and in the Newsletter.
A copy of the nomination form and instruction sheet was included in the print edition of the November issue. It is also available online .
The Houston Heights Association gratefully acknowledges the support of the following 2010 Platinum sponsors:
Director Election Results
Congratulations to the following members who were elected to serve on the Houston Heights Association Board of Directors during the years 2010-2012 (listed in ballot order):
Thanks to them and the other candidates for their willingness to serve the Association and the neighborhood.
Thanks also to Janice Evans-Davis and Mark Williamson, who are leaving the Board after serving three-year terms, and everyone else who served on the Board during 2009 and continue or return in 2010.
Please welcome the following new members to the Houston Heights Association.
India & Brad Hancock
Martin & Jacqueline Harrison
PetPals Pet Sitting, Karen Zorn
Alison Rensink, gift membership from Danelle Guilbeau, Karen Derr & Associates
RBLOK, Keegan Gentry
Rheumatology Specialists of Texas, P.A., Dr. Javier Berrios
Urban Soles Outpost, Inge Feagin
Please thank the following donors for their generous support of the programs of the Houston Heights Association.
Clementina Lopez - Parks, Boulevard, & Flower Gardens
John & Nicole Ridgway
Terry Gordon Smith
Donna Thomas - Boulevard
The Houston Heights Association gratefully acknowledges the support of the following Winter 2009-2010 Silver Sponsor:
Spotlight on Heights Business Member: Harmony Electric
Laura and Dennis Virgadamo own Harmony Electric. They are excited to be celebrating the 25th Anniversary of Harmony Electric Co., Inc. in 2010. Laura and Dennis take this anniversary opportunity to extend appreciation to their customers, outstanding employees, and the community. They enjoy working on old homes and have assisted with projects for Historic Houston. They specialize in commercial and residential service. Over the years, Dennis has collected many historic electrical devices, which he displays in his office.
Laura and Dennis started Harmony Electric in 1985 out of their home in the Jersey Village area and moved the business to the Heights the next year. After they fought the traffic and tiring commute for five years, the Centennial Museum attracted them to their current home across the street in 1991. This home has been featured on the Heights Holiday Home Tour.
Dennis founded the 17th Street Community garden (an Urban Harvest garden) at 17th and Yale Streets in 2004. Many of you may remember the dilapidated townhomes that preceded the garden. This garden has been recognized with a special Community Improvement Award from the Heights Association. The Virgadamos were recruited to the Houston Heights Association by Melvalene Cohen, Evelyn Bishop, and Clayton Lee. Harmony Electric did the electrical and second floor lighting in the Fire Station and the initial electrical for the World War II Memorial. Laura coordinated entertainment for seven years for the Heights Festival, and Dennis worked on the Heights Bridge project.
Away from Harmony Electric, Laura and Dennis enjoy volunteering for the Miniature Schnauzer Rescue and Opera in the Heights. Laura has served on the Opera in the Heights Board of Directors, the OH Guild, and the Board of Directors of the Houston Heights Association, and she is a past President of the Houston Heights Woman’s Club. They are Marcella Perry Award recipients. They acquired their 1905 house-turned-office at 811 Yale in 1996. It won the Community Improvement Award for Commercial Restoration. Away from the Heights, they enjoy traveling to Italy, where they have traced back to fellow Virgadamo family members.
Some favorite Heights area haunts for the Virgadamos are Java Java, BBQ Inn, Berryhill’s, Triple A, and Yale Grill. Laura enjoys shopping at Ooh la la and the many garden centers.
Next time you need an electrician, please support Heights business member Harmony Electric for your residential and commercial needs. If you’re a business member, remember to come out to the next mixer on January 13.
Thousands Raised By Local Artists For Heights Boulevard Reforestation And Beautification Project
The Houston Heights Association is very grateful for the recent fundraiser and major donation made by artists John Palmer and Chris Silkwood when they held their second annual Collaborative Art Event at the John Palmer Art Gallery on Heights Boulevard. John and Chris again pledged a percentage of their art proceeds for the Heights Boulevard Reforestation & Beautification Project, primarily to replace trees that were tragically destroyed last year during Hurricane Ike. The event, supported by many Heights citizens and HHA members, was a huge success.
When all was said and done, John and Chris together contributed $5,000 and were delighted to be able to make such a significant donation toward the Boulevard Project.
If you would like to make a contribution to the Heights Boulevard Reforestation and Beautification Project, please mail a check to the HHA or visit the HHA web site and click on Make A Donation in the left column.
Urban Forestry Committee’s Halloween Fun And Tree Facts At The Fire Station
Little visitors learned the ‘TRICKS’ for living in tandem with trees, and ‘TREATED’ themselves to some knowledge - and some candy - on October 31 at the Heights Fire Station. Urban Forestry Committee members Diane “Give me those ruby slippers” Easley, Genie “Leibovitz” Mims, Taylor “Born to be wild” Moore, Nicole “Uhura” and John “Make it so” Ridgeway, Kelly “Give peace a chance” Simmons, and their fearless leader and Board member Angela “It’s not easy being green” DeWree handed out treats to approximately 75 little ghosts and goblins (and their escorts). Buchanan’s Native Plants donated 100 beautiful pansies in an assortment of stunning colors, and Taylor Moore and Newton Nursery donated fabulous fall pumpkins to delighted visitors.
Brad Hendricks with the City of Houston Urban Forestry and Barry Ward, Executive Director of Trees for Houston, were on hand to answer questions and hand out booklets with information on our urban landscape and how to register our magnificent trees with the Texas Forestry Service. For information on how to register your cherished tree (either on your property or in the City’s right-of-way), please visit . It’s easy to do and will add a layer of protection to the future of our treasured Heights trees.
“Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot,
The Houston Heights Association gratefully acknowledges the support of the following Winter 2009-2010 Bronze Sponsors:
Reagan Journalists Turn Tables on Dan Rather
Dan Rather, Reagan Alumni Class of ’49, found himself on the other end of a reporter’s notebook when Reagan HS journalism students recently interviewed him about his long and successful career in the field.
The students met Rather when he emceed the HoustonWorks USA’s black-tie gala held at the Hilton-Americas Houston on Saturday, October 31. The organization invited the Reagan students to attend their 25th anniversary celebration because of Rather’s connection to the school and the journalism field.
HoustonWorks, founded by former Mayor Kathy Whitmire, provides job placement and training for more than 900,000 job-seekers annually. Over 800 local and national stars attended the gala, including actors Brett Cullen and Keesha Sharp and R&B singer Regina Bell. During the evening, the students also met with Whitmire, Houston Sheriff Adrian Garcia, and Farouk Shami, founder of the CHI Corporation.
Prior to the big night, Reagan journalism teacher John Corson “discussed the event at length and had the students prepare for their interview with Mr. Rather.”
Like true journalists, the students were not bashful with their questions -“How did you become involved in the field? What is your proudest personal/professional accomplishment? What advice would you give a young person that is interested in your field? How has the field of journalism changed over the years you have been involved?”
So, did Rather actually get his start in journalism and news reporting during his years at Reagan? These questions and others are answered in the students’ article in the mid-November issue of the Reagan Statesman. For a copy of the Statesman, please contact John Corson at or the school office, 713-865-4400.
Third Annual Victorian Holiday Tea
The Houston Heights Woman’s Club proudly announces the dates and time for the third annual Victorian Holiday Tea. This year’s Co-Chairs are Rosina Chevalier and Melvalene Cohen. The tea will held on Sunday, December 13, in the clubhouse located at 1846 Harvard from 3:00 till 5:00 PM.
The high tea will feature a general theme of imaginatively decorated tables. Each table will be lovingly arranged by a club member with her own china, silver, crystal, linens, flowers, and creative flair. Members enjoy dressing in Victorian costume complete with hats to keep the mood festive and fun. Anyone attending is encouraged to dress up too if you wish.
Most of you who have attended this event in the past know you can expect elegant buffet items such as tea sandwiches, ladyfingers, scones, and cookies. Proceeds from the tea go directly to the general maintenance and upkeep of the Historic Heights building where the club meets.
This year, reservations will be available ONLY by RSVP with your check made payable to Houston Heights Woman’s Club. No phone or email reservations can be accepted this year. Please mail your check with the name(s) of the attendee(s) to HHWC Holiday Tea, Post Office Box 7782, Houston, Texas 77270-7782. The cost is $20 for HHWC members and $25 for non-members.
RSVP by December 9. For more information, contact Melvalene Cohen at 281-685-8444 or Rosina Chevalier at 713- 636-9819.
Heights Woman’s Club Holiday Fundraiser
The Heights Woman’s Club will have a Holiday fundraising event at the Heights Fire Station on Saturday, December 5 from 1:00 to 5:00 PM. Light refreshments will be sold to tide over famished tour-goers. In addition, the Woman’s Club quilt will be on display, a unique collection of handmade craft items created by club members will be available for sale, and individually created holiday wreaths will be displayed and for sale as well.
Plan to come before the Home Tour begins to have some tea, sandwiches, and cookies, do some early Holiday shopping, purchase raffle tickets for the quilt, find the perfect wreath to adorn your door for the holiday season, as well as learning more about one of the oldest women’s clubs still in existence.
Want Your Renovation To Be On TV?
Have you recently renovated your attic or master bathroom? Then HGTV is looking for you! Home & Garden Television’s (HGTV) Bang For Your Buck is looking for fun and enthusiastic homeowners in the greater Houston area right now! Renovations must have taken place within the past three years.
Each episode will tour three similar remodels at similar price points in the same city. The producers will bring in their design expert and real estate expert to determine how the renovation impacts each home’s value. They’ll also provide viewers with expert advice, answers on remodeling values, and inspiring ideas for design.
Taping will begin shortly, so if you’re interested, you need to apply immediately! Send photos of your attic or master athroom and request an application from Brooke Schledewitz at or 303-712-3168.
Bang For Your Buck is produced for HGTV by High Noon Entertainment in Centennial, Colorado. It airs Friday nights at 8:30 Central.
HPD Holiday Shopping Safety
With the Christmas Holidays just around the corner, the officers at the Heights Storefront wanted to make sure that our friends and citizens are as safe as possible, as their lives become more hectic in the up coming weeks. We will all be out shopping at all hours of the day and night, fighting traffic, making a list and checking it twice, and getting that last minute present which we somehow forgot to buy. Soon there just won’t be enough hours in the day!
BE CAUTIOUS of strangers, especially those invading your personal space while at the stores! Be cautious of vehicles following you home or from store to store, and report any and all suspicious activity to 713-884-3131! All emergency situations should be handled through 911!
Please pass along these flyers from us, so that everyone can become more aware of their surroundings and decrease their chances of becoming a victim this Christmas season. [The flyers are available and . Another from the Houston Fire Department is available .]
Also please inform everyone that the Central Patrol’s December P.I.P. meeting will be held on Dec. 2, 2009 at 7:00 PM at 1600 State Street. For more information, please contact Officer C. Trautwein at or 713-222-5196.
We at the Heights Storefront all wish you and yours a very happy and safe Thanksgiving, Christmas Holiday, and New Year.
Calendar of Events for December-January 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 .
Every Monday, 7:30 to 10:00 PM, Houston International Folk Dancers introductory lessons at Oddfellows Hall, 115 E. 14th.
December 5 (7:00 PM) and 6 (11:00 AM), St. Mark’s United Methodist Church at 600 Pecore presents a traditional outdoor Nativity pageant. Large cast, accompanying musicians, elegant costumes, friendly beasts, “angels”; no fee, no sermon.
December 19, 9:00 to 10:00 AM, the City of Houston Bikeway Program presents the MKT Rails to Trails Ribbon Cutting at 2424 Spring Street. For more information, contact Dan Raine at 713-837-0136 or . Postponed from October.
January 28 through February 6, Opera in the Heights presents Giuseppe Verdi’s Un Ballo In Maschera at Lambert Hall, 1703 Heights Blvd. “Ballo in Maschera - love and politics - they cannot mix. Despite good intentions, this ill-fated combination can only spell a bad ending. One of Verdi’s greatest masterpieces.” Visit for more information.
February 28, Awards Dinner
April 9-11, Spring Home Tour
June 5, Heights Fun Run
October 3, Bicycle Rally
December 3-4, Holiday Home Tour
At The Fire Station
Every second Monday, 5:00 to 7:00 PM, and every fourth Monday, 8:00 AM to noon, the City Council District H Satellite Office is open.
Recycling Dates Rejoined Garbage Pickup
The City of Houston Solid Waste Department announced that curbside recycling in the Heights and Heights II areas moved to Thursdays starting in November. Most of the HHA coverage area is on the “Thursday B” schedule, which started on November 12. Our calendar listings now show the new common dates in our area.
Copyright and Submissions
The Heights is published monthly by the Houston Heights Association, Inc. 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: Mark R. Williamson
Assistant Editor Kathleen S. Williamson
Hilary Parr Cobb, Diane Easley,
Mike Easley, Lauriel Hindman,
Karen Nann, Barbara Potter,
Chris Silkwood, Kelly Simmons,
Katrina Stilwell, Lanna vonBaden.