History of Properties in Richwood Place

Ever wondered about the history of your home? Who lived there before you? Has your house changed a lot over the years?

In February of 2010, Daniel Baker, the current Vice President of the Civic Association posted information about his experience locating some of the history of his home. Daniel’s post can be found here: http://home.richwoodplace.org/2010/02/28/historic-information-and-resources/

I followed the links from Daniel’s post, requested and received information on my house as well. The information included the names of previous owners, the appraised value at various times in history and a picture of the house. The above image from the year 1964 was a part of the file images I received. It was a very easy process. So, click the links and find out more about the history of your home. It could prove to be very interesting!

A view of our home, from the year 1964

Our house, today, from the same view


Richwood Place, A Post about Deed Restrictions

According to the City of Houston Planning Department, our neighborhood was originally platted in 1924. At that time, and as the neighborhood developed, there were deed restrictions encumbering  most, if not all of the properties that had an improvement, i.e. a single family home built. There have been many changes since that time. Most notably, the vast majority of the original deed restrictions lapsed according to their terms.  Recently, in the early 90s, neighbors and particularly the Civic Association began working to again form deed restrictions that would apply to the properties within our boundaries indefinitely and ultimately preserve the residential character of the neighborhood. They did this under Chapter 201 of the Texas Property Code. http://www.houstontx.gov/planning/Neighborhood/docs_pdfs/Chapter201Chart.pdf

Because this process allowed property owners to exclude their properties from the restrictions, we do have a handful of properties within our neighborhood that are not deed restricted. We have entire blocks that are 100% deed restricted and other blocks that have 2 or 3 excluded properties. One of our goals as a Civic Association outlined in our bylaws is to encourage property owners to sign on to the deed restrictions, which offers certainty and security to themselves, future owners and neighbors. If you are concerned about an activity that may violate deed restrictions, do not hesitate to contact the deed restriction committee chair, Brian Kilpatrick (brianbkil@gmail.com) or the President of the Civic Association, Rebekah Maddux El-Hakam (elrebekah@gmail.com).

As a side note, the majority of our neighborhood now has both the minimum lot size protection and the minimum building line protection through the Houston Planning Department. This sets a standard for the entire block for twenty years concerning what can be developed and where. Properties on blocks that have been approved for this ordinance are not able to opt out of this protection. Our deed restrictions do not allow for structures of any kind, including fences, to be built closer than 20 feet from the front property line. However, a property that is not deed restricted, but is subject to a 20 foot setback by the Minimum Building Line Ordinance can build a fence as long as it does not require a permit (currently, permits are required for fences 8 feet tall or taller or built with masonry) Again, please let Brian or Rebekah know if you have any questions specifically about deed restrictions or any other neighborhood concerns.

Alabama Theatre’s Future Uncertain

From KUHF:

Houston’s historic Alabama Theatre could soon undergo renovations. As Laurie Johnson reports — Weingarten Realty is considering a plan to gut the interior and lease the space as a big box retail store.

The Alabama Theatre on Shepherd is one of two surviving Art Deco theaters in Houston, along with the River Oaks Theatre.

It was built in 1939 and operated as a movie theatre until 1983. It was then converted into a Bookstop, but as David Bush with the Greater Houston Preservation Alliance points out, the bookstore maintained the theatre’s art deco interior.

You can read the full article on the KUHF web site.

Historic information and resources

Last year, I contacted the Harris County Records Management department  to request the Harris County Archives Collection information about my home at 1827 Norfolk Street.  After about a month long wait, they mailed me the information free of charge.  The packet contained tax and sale records from 1939 to 1972.   In 1939, our neighborhood was called “Richwood” and my home was valued at $2,430.  In 1967, the value was up to about $5,400, including land and property.  There’s also a photo from what I believe is in the 60’s or 70’s showing my house looking almost exactly the same; the only differences are the neighboring houses, some missing trees and a different color front door.  I enjoyed viewing the information and thought you might be interested in doing the same on your home.

For immediate gratification, you can also peruse the Harris County Archives online.  Some of the highlights are listed below:

Currently, I’m working on two blogs to be posted in the next week or two; updates from the February 23rd Board meeting and a University Corridor rail update.  If there’s something else you would like to see, or if you can provide more information about historical information, please contact me at dbaker@richwoodplace.org.  And keep in mind, the offer is always on the table if you would like to write a post!