Sunday, January 23, 2005

Why Memorial Bend Matters

Over the past three years, many residents in Memorial Bend have become aware of the importance and achitectural significance of our neighborhood. Yet, some still wonder why they should care about preserving the integrity of Memorial Bend. I thought the following e-mail from Robert Searcy, a Houston-area realtor, might shed some light on the issue. Robert specializes in helping Houstonians find modern houses in Houston and has brought some of his own clients to Memorial Bend. This e-mail points out the recognition Memorial Bend is now receiving not only locally but on a national level.

When I talked to people at the Recent Past Preservation Network, or Atomic Ranch magazine about Glenbrook Valley the usual question comes up, “is it near Memorial Bend?” It seems to really validate the comments made by Joe at Jet Set Modern. Many mod enthusiasts I deal with are very specific about wanting “inner-loop” or very close to it. I have had them turn up their nose at areas outside the loop along Braeswood, or in Glenbrook as being “too far out” then turn around and want to see homes in Memorial Bend. I really think the internet presence and the careful documentation of the architects and history has given Memorial Bend a near iconic status with modernist nationwide. It gives it a certain cache’ to local modern enthusiast who might not otherwise ever consider living as far out as the beltway. (yes there are those who think the world falls off flat at Post Oak). A good deal of Memorial Bend’s newfound growing prestige, a growing prestige that can make it rise above comparable neighborhoods around it, rests on the backs of its modern houses. It is an asset the residents of the community would do well to promote and preserve, even if they don’t live in one or particularly care about modern style. It is what sets that neighborhood apart & gets it noticed.

Robert was also kind enough to share we with me part of an e-mail he received from Joe Kunkel, publisher of online magazine, JetSet Modern Magazine. Like Robert's e-mail, this one speaks for itself...

I think what Michael has done for Memorial Bend with the website will have a large impact on the appreciation (and therefore, preservation) of that subdivision. People all over the country know about Memorial Bend because of his website, which I also featured prominently on my website. Whenever I talk to modernists in other states and we get on the topic of regional concentrations of modern houses, Memorial Bend usually comes up. I know there must be quite a few other areas worth mention, but they are not effectively promoted.

Nearby neighborhoods like Rustling Pines have seen one house after another razed as anonymous McMansions have been slapped up in their place. These houses tower over original houses and take away from the character and integrity of their neighborhoods. Let's hope that Memorial Bend doesn't fall prey to this type of McMansionization, lest it become just another neighborhood.

Tuesday, January 11, 2005

Houses for Sale in the Bend and Info. on Glenbrook Valley

Houses for Sale in the Bend

While Houston's real estate market has been on an upswing for years, right now is a slow time of year for those in the market for a house. Juding by the current listings at, there are two modern houses for sale right now in Memorial Bend. They are as follows:

12827 Tosca - MLS #1711206
Though listed on HAR as a traditional, this 1956 definitely has a clean, modern look with a flat composition roof, clerestory windows over the living areas and a nicely incorporated carport. Architect unknown. The house is listed at $319,900.00

330 Electra - MLS #3829714
This was architect William Floyd's favorite design in the Bend, incorporating some interesting design features like three barrel vaults over the living/dining areas. Other interesting design touches include slat screens by the front entrance and the dining room (see below). The plans for this house were included in the 1960 Summer/Fall issue of New Homes Guide Magazine as well as an early 70s issue of Living Now Magazine. A few modern touches like the original sputnik lamp have been removed. Some sympathetic landscaping and a bit of help on the inside would make this a great mid-century home. The house is listed at $330,000.00

Glenbrook Valley

I think it's great when other neighborhoods decide to start appreciating the mid-century architecture that so many people unfortunately take for granted. One such neighborhood is Glenbrook Valley, a 1950s neighborhood that hosted the 1956 Parade of Homes.

Robert Searcy, a local real estate agent and Mid-Century Modern enthusiast is building a web page dedicated to the great houses in Glenbrook Valley. Be sure to visit the page or, better yet, take a spin down to the Hobby Airport area to check out some cool architecture. Some houses you'll see include: