This Week in Demolition: A former bank on a historic downtown plot

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This week in Demolition, we see multiple interesting demolition permits filed. Starting off with some of the more interesting houses we have 1149 Waverly an interesting 1920s cottage (no interior photos sadly!) in the Heights, also in the Heights a boring but charming 40s bungalow at 1230 Nicholson. Along with a bevy of other houses and photos that can be found in the listings below, however this week we’re here to be true to our roots and talk about retail. Let’s talk about the history behind the former Bank of American Drive-Thru at 800 Franklin Street, and how it connects to a Houston community you’ve definitely heard of.

The land itself carries a decent bit of a history, being at the “crux of settlement” for Houston. In the early days of Houston this area was the shopping district. Surrounded by the large open air Market Square, there were shops lining the blocks surrounding the square. The corner lot at which this drive-thru sat, was the starting point for one of Houston’s most prominent early citizens. Joseph F. Meyer Senior. Just after the Civil War, Meyer opened a small wagon repair shop at the corner of Milam and Franklin streets in downtown. The store would originally be surrounded by other tenants in similar fields, such as a print shop, a granite smith, and a tombstone carver. Meyer’s store would prove to be the dominant force in the block, providing supplies to a quickly growing Houston. Mr. Meyer used this knowledge of the ever expanding town to strategically purchase thousands of acres of land Southwest of then current city limits. The land had previously been farmed for rice, and was mostly leased back to farmers by Meyer. Upon his death in the 1935 Meyer would split this land between his sons. The family would keep their attention towards the business for a few more years, dropping hardware and wagon parts for automobile supplies, and selling cars, even adding airplane parts prior to closing. However by the 1950s, Meyer’s prediction had come true and Houston’s city limits and building limits had pushed to the family property. The land that had been purchased as a result of a speculating hardware salesmen’s intuition is what we now know as Meyerland. The Meyer family would continue to run the automotive supply store until at least the 1960s. Meyer had been President of Houston National Bank at the time of his death, so it’s no surprise that it would end up in the hands of a bank. The Meyer family still retains much property including in the area around the former store, and commercial properties in their family lands.

Parking Lot? I think not! Photo credit to hindesky on HAIF

This is a list of the buildings which received a City of Houston demolition permit the week before this post.

Residential Demolitions
1104 Stanford St, Houston, TX 77019– Bakerdale, 1920s, Ad for lot, Photos
5918 Southlark St, Houston, TX 77033– Southcrest
3643 Meadow Lake Ln, Houston, TX 77027– River Oaks, Garage Only, Photos
5029 Malmedy Rd, Houston, TX 77033– South Park
2027 Antoine Dr, Houston, TX 77055– Long Point Manor, Overgrown Mess, Photos
1513 Wycliffe Dr, Houston, TX 77043– Wrenwood, Photos
1510 Caywood Ln, Houston, TX 77055– Shady Villa, According to Streetview was replatted, Photos
1030 W 21st St, Houston, TX 77008- Quensell Lawn, 1930s
1903 De Milo Dr, Houston, TX 77018– Oak Forest, Gummi
1230 Nicholson St, Houston, TX 77008– Heights, 1930s Single Story Bungalow, Photos
4533 Allison Rd, Houston, TX 77048– Minnetex, Small Ranch
5906 Guadalupe St, Houston, TX 77016– East Little York
5428 Hopper Rd, Houston, TX 77016– Timber Acres
7922 Lynette St, Houston, TX 77028– Parkhurst Estates
1806 Chippendale Rd, Houston, TX 77018– Oak Forest, 40s Ranch, Photos
3522 George St, Houston, TX 77026– Kashmere Gardens, Literally Abandoned and rotting, Photos
4130 B St, Houston, TX 77072– Dairy Townsite (Downtown Alief), Trailer Home
1713 Hollister St, Houston, TX 77055– Timber Creek, 50s Ranch with a Pool!, Photos
527 Harvard St, Houston, TX 77007– Heights, 20s House Permit for Garage Only, Photos
2203 Woodhead St, Houston, TX 77019– Plainview
5313 Green Tree Rd, Houston, TX 77056– Pine Shadows, 1950s Ranch, Photos
7327 Iwo Jima Rd, Houston, TX 77033– South Park, Fitty Men!
410 E 41st St, Houston, TX 77022– Willadale
7219 Fairway Dr, Houston, TX 77087– Golfcrest
5205 Wylie St, Houston, TX 77026– Fairgrounds Park
5105 Clover St, Houston, TX 77033– Sunnyside Gardens
5516 Kittridge St, Houston, TX 77028– Triangle Gardens, Photos
5519 Pickfair St, Houston, TX 77026– Kashmere Gardens Park
7329 Bigwood St, Houston, TX 77016– Scenic Woods
1149 Waverly St, Houston, TX 77008– Heights, 20s Cottage, Photos
5817 Carew St, Houston, TX 77074– Braeburn
3410 E Lockwood Dr, Houston, TX 77026– Kashmere Gardens
1729 Althea Dr, Houston, TX 77018– Oak Forest, 40s Home, Photos
822 John Alber Rd, Houston, TX 77076– Hayes Heights
9314 Richland Dr, Houston, TX 77078– Chatwood Place

Non-Residential Demolitions
2950 Broadway St T9,12,15, Houston, TX 77017– Tejano Center for Community Concerns
800 Franklin St, Houston, TX 77002– Former Bank of America drive-thru location. Used by Laz parking since 2013
801 Rosine St, Houston, TX 77019– Neighbor to Accents in Iron as featured last week.
716 Waugh Dr, Houston, TX 77019– 710 Waugh Drive Office Building
1316 Tidwell Rd, Houston, TX 77022– Former Auto Shop Comprised of Residential buildings

3 comments

  1. To me, there is something charmingly Houston about things like freestanding motor banks and gas stations still hanging in and around the central business district. I felt the same way about the old freestanding McDonalds that used to sit in the heart of downtown, where the 609 Main office building now is. I understand why these things are generally disliked by urbanists and urban redevelopers alike, but for me they are fun reminders of the quirky way Houston develops and redevelops. I’m not necessarily sad to see the BoA at 800 Franklin go, but I was certainly never unhappy it was there in the first place.

    1. That McDonald’s was a better use of space than the parking lot that replaced it and this bank for many years. Tbh I’m not against big chains embracing the flats ideal of leasing out the ground floor.

      1. I certainly agree that leasing the ground floor is a much better use of space, it’s just far less interesting than a freestanding motor bank or fast food restaurant in a downtown setting.

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