Thursday, March 03, 2005

The Neighborhood, It is a' Changing....

We live in the Houston Heights, a neighborhood that's been in transition for a number of years. There was one round of revival about 25 years ago - that one involved buying and rehabbing the old homes. Most of the old homes worth fixing up are taken, so the second revival involves tear downs. The Heights is an old neighborhood (for Houston) with a mix of grand Victorian homes, Craftsmen cottages and shot gun shacks. The bulldozers are busy grinding up the latter.

Round the corner from us was a collection of 5 old shot gun shacks, in varying degrees of collapse. Most of the residents spent a good deal of time on the their front porches- I think because there were more people living in them then could comfortably fit inside. The fairly large common space of yard which was pre-emptied by the domino players.

There were about 6 of them, 5 elderly African American men and a young white woman who looked liked life had been none to gentle with her. They had some cast off chairs and a couple of old auto seat cushions and were pretty much out there from sun up to sun down. I think that the amount of beer they drank was far greater than the amount of domino tiles they turned, but they never bothered anyone. Couple of times we gave them beer we had left over from parties which made them very happy. Occasionally the woman would show up on our doorstep with a black eye and ask for money. We'd give her $5, knowing full well it would go for more beer, not medicine.

Sevearl months ago the houses were boarded up and the residents and the domino players vanished. 2 weeks ago the houses vanished too.
Now we've got mud and a realtors sign -DistinctiveLivingHouston. From the looks of the website the homes are going to be very high end, equipped with granite counters, hot tubs and game rooms.

The new houses will no doubt raise the value of the neighborhood, and our own house. But they won't come with domino players. I miss them.
Yet another bit of local color is gone, leaving homogeneity in it's void. I hope they found a new place to play.


Mamacita said...

I hope so, too.

Satin Jenni said...

Hi I stumbled upon your site.
A great read...I find the real estate transition and resultant demographic changes to your neighborhood to be an interesting read. I have blogmarked you in Blog Explosion.