This Week in Demolition: Demolishing the House that saved Buffalo Bayou

This Week in Demolition, we take a look at a very important house located at a very special spot on Buffalo Bayou. You’ve likely heard of Jacob and Terry Hershey, or at the very least have heard of the 500 Acre Terry Hershey Park, which spans the length of Buffalo Bayou from The Beltway to the George Bush Reservoir. If you’re around my age, you know probably don’t know much more about the Hershey’s than the park. Well, there is a little more than meets the eye to the story of Jacob Hershey, established himself by helping to create one of the largest coastal and river barge firms in the United States. As of 2021 the company still operates, albeit after many mergers and name changes. Mr. Hershey found Olive Duncan Green as his bride, daughter of a wealthy ranching family, the two were the prime example of a Texas “post-war power couple”. Moving into 3395 Del Monte (River Oaks), the couple were surrounded by like-minded socialites, and everything seemed great until the Hershey’s filed for divorce. While I don’t have a record of what Ms. Green did, Mr. Hershey quickly remarried to Therese “Terry” Tarlton who was already an environmentally involved person. I’m not sure if Terry flipped Jacob into being an environmentalist, with the degree in philosophy she held it’s quite possible.

However, it happened Mr. and Ms. Hershey quickly became vocal advocates of nature. Of specific interest to them were the Houston waterways, no doubt watching the channelization of our Bayous had been a devastating experience for many, this particular plan struck deep with the Hersheys. Channelization plans had been put in place onto Bayous like White Oak, and Brays during the 1940s and 50s by the Army Corps or Engineers as a way of mitigating flooding. The results are the “drainage ditch bayou” portions you have likely driven past. Beyond adding the concrete channel at the bottom the bayous were straightened out, trees were removed. From a real estate point of view channelization was excellent, removing the kinks and turns in bayous helped to increase available land, the same went for any foliage removed during the process. When the call was made to channelize Buffalo Bayou in the 1970s Terry Hershey was one of the first people to successfully shut the idea down. You might wonder why a couple who lived in the front of River Oaks had such an attachment to a bayou. Well, in Mr. Hershey’s divorce he lost the original house and moved to a new development right along the bayou, 1 Longbow Ln. With support of other Bayou dwellers such as County, City, State level politicians, and even former President H.W. Bush, Hershey was able to completely quash any channelization in her lifetime. James passed in 2001, and Terry in 2015. You might be able to fairly call this an early case of NIBMY-ism, but according to 2020 studies done by Rice University, channelization likely increase the risk for the bayous flooding when compared with natural bayous.

The (former) mailbox of the Hershey’s

 

Residential Demolitions
1 Longbow Ln, Houston, TX 77024– Circle Bluff, Home of James and Terry Hershey, who saved Buffalo Bayou from concrete canalization
3015 Inwood Dr, Houston, TX 77019- River Oaks, 1930s John Staub Home, Photos
1601 Morse St, Houston, TX 77019– Lewisdale, 1940s Two Story, Photos
3711 Watson St, Houston, TX 77009– Woodland Heights Annex, Garge Only, 1930s Bungalow still for sale and undergoing renovations, Photos
5722 Beall St, Houston, TX 77091– Highland Heights Annex, Full’o’junk, Photos
212 E 44th St, Houston, TX 77018– Logan, Photos
5006 Braesvalley Dr, Houston, TX 77096– Meyerland, Flooded but remediated, Photos
215 Chimney Rock Rd, Houston, TX 77024– Huntleigh, 1960s Photos
2800 & 2802 Greenbriar Dr, Houston, TX 77098– Westcourt, 60s Top and Bottom Duplex, Photos
914 W 16th St, Houston, TX 77008– Shady Acres Annex, Photos
1523 Potomac Dr #C, Houston, TX 77057– Westhaven Estates, Condo, Photos
1706 Candlelight Ln, Houston, TX 77018– Oak Forest, 1950s, Photos
848 Little John Ln, Houston, TX 77024– Sherwood Forest, 4k Sqft House on an acre, likely flooded, Photos
2368 Bolsover St, Houston, TX 77005– Southampton Place, Photos
13102 Highwood Rd, Houston, TX 77079– Gaywood, Photos
4502 Kingsbury St, Houston, TX 77021– Southern Village, Photos
6639 Fairfield St, Houston, TX 77023– Idylwood, Photos
406 W Pierce St, Houston, TX 77019– W Pierce Green
4930 Enyart St, Houston, TX 77021– Macgregor Terrace
3511 Askew St, Houston, TX 77087– Oak Acres
924 Rutland St, Houston, TX 77008– Heights
7038 Jay St, Houston, TX 77028– Wesley Place
5522 Minden St, Houston, TX 77026– Kashmere Gardens
7321 & 7323 Lavender St, Houston, TX 77016– Kashmere Gardens
9222 Dexter St, Houston, TX 77075– Easthaven
4317 Dickson St, Houston, TX 77007– West End Grove
3839 Florinda St, Houston, TX 77021– Scott Terrace
2007 Althea Dr, Houston, TX 77018– Oak Forest
4645 Galesburg St, Houston, TX 77051– South Sunnyside Court
5520 Minden St, Houston, TX 77026– Kashmere Gardens
510 Cool Mist Dr, Houston, TX 77013– Wood Bayou
7107 Shotwell St, Houston, TX 77028– Trinity Gardens
1529 Canter Bayou Way, Houston, TX 77043– Upland Square

Non-Residential Demolitions
6100 Main St, Houston, TX 77005– Rice University, Hanzsen College
1200 Wilcrest Dr A&B, Houston, TX 77042Club Westside, Likely for expansion of zoo as mentioned on KHOU
4213 Bellaire Blvd, Houston, TX 77025– Former location of Cyclone Cycles who is still open on Stella Link
1800 Houston Ave, Houston, TX 77007Former Curtis Company Service Station

2 comments

    1. If you happen to grab any photos of the area, please send them my way. I don’t have occasion to visit Rice U Grounds.

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