Author: Mike

My name is Mike and I am the founder of the Houston Historic Retail! I have been running this site since 2015. For more information check out the About page!
These photos were taken after the freeze and it looks like it did a number on the palms.

All quiet at the Taco Cabana

Taco Cabana is a unique restaurant, starting in 1978 from a single location in an old Dairy Queen in San Antonio they brought they idea of Drive Through Tex-Mex across a good portion of the Southern United States. Taco Cabana was so successful early on they even experienced a few imitators by the 80s such as Two Pesos who would later be famously sued by Taco Cabana. By the 90s the family involved with founding T.C. had left the company and after going public the chain experienced enormous growth. Expanding beyond Texas into New Mexico, Oklahoma, Georgia, Florida, Arizona, and …

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This Week in Demolition: Is the Eiffel Tower included?

Happy Easter loyal reader! I hope you’re enjoying what is likely a day off for you, I hope you have time to spend with your family and those around you. As such we’ll keep today’s post short. We have no real commercial demolitions this week, the closest being a former home turned church but nothing of interest. Moving onto homes it seems the time of the “Modern Ranch” is coming to a close. By this I mean homes that were originally built in a traditional ranch style around the 60s or so. They were then highly remodeled during the 90s …

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Etta's as it appeared in 2019 Image source from Streetview

This Week in Demolition: Etta’s Lounge meets its end, and an address on the NRHP

Welcome back loyal reader, This Week in Demolition we see the loss of one of a popular former club with a long history, along with a few interesting residential addresses. Let’s start of with Etta’s Lounge, the building has a unique history as one of Houston’s first 7-Eleven locations. Opening around the end of 1952 or early 53, it was operating only a few months after the first 7-Eleven had come to town. These early locations were small but packed with a variety of products they often served as a “neighborhood market” in a world where convenience store wasn’t yet …

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This Week in Demolition: Site of explosion comes down one year later

This Week in Demolition, we take a moment to reflect on a tragedy just over a year later, the special houses this week will be in the second paragraph. On January 24, 2020 a deadly explosion occurred at the Watson Grinding Facility in Spring Branch. Two employees were immediately killed by the blast, and a third man who lived near the facility died later from injuries related to flying debris. Sadly most neighbors were unaware of what the purpose of the Watson Grinding facility was, or that they stored hazardous chemicals on site. Many houses in the area sustained large …

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The building's exterior is quite pleasant, it's reminds me of the "lego" version but a bit nicer.

Sunoco’s attempt at earning their Stripes

In this fast-paced world of corporate acquisitions it sometimes gets confusing as to who owns what. Family owned concerns are getting harder to find as time goes on, often selling to firms promising an investment that never comes. Stripes was no stranger to all this confusion, having gone from arguably the strongest independent chain in Texas to a subsidiary of 7-Eleven in the short span of only 3 years. Stripes started out as a family owned company in Corpus Christi in 1938, with the actual Stripes we know and love debuting in 2006. It would quickly grow a fan base …

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A photo of the building from 2012

This Week in Demolition: A philanthropist’s River Oaks Mansion and an abandoned Federal Building

This Week in Demolition, we’re spoiled for choice! Let’s start out with some houses of note. Our most expensive residential demolition of the week is no doubt 3315 Del Monte. Located in the heart of old River Oaks this 1960s mansion is not original to the neighborhood. It was built by Albert Alkek, one of the early pioneers of the Texas petrochemical industry being involved early on with Sinclair oil. After Mr. Alkek and his wife passed it seems the house was put under a charitable trust which has donated tons of money throughout the state most notably to Texas …

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