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.


At 9:25 PM, Anonymous chris archinal said...

i would like to learn more about your knowledge of the Memorial Bend area. Do you have any old pics, video footage, etc? I am putting together a video of the Memorial area called "That was then, this is now" and would love to see any footage you have. you can reach me at

At 12:03 PM, Blogger ArchiBend said...

Most of my research has come from three sources:

1. Poring through old Houston Chronicle and Houston Post archives at Rice University. You can come across the same information at UH, as well. The process is time-consuming but you can uncover a great deal of information

2. Talking to original owners. Some of the original owners of the neighborhood can share a wealth of information. While memories can sometimes get "spotty", you'll still gather quite a bit.

3. My conversations with William Floyd yielded a great deal of information. Now that Floyd has passed away, much of his knowledge is gone, as well.

It's a lot of work but it can pay great dividents.

At 11:08 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

If anyone still cares about photos of Memorial Bend. 12803 Figaro was well documented on Kodachrome slides from 1965-1975.
Contact me at 415-271-2519. I know which family member has them.


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