Heights Living, Victorian style.

Craftsman Bungalow.  1926.  The Heights.
The last several posts have been about travel and architecture in cities outside of the US.  This time I have decided to bring it home, and what a better way than to write about my neighborhood:  The Heights.

The group of neighborhoods (Woodland Heights, Norhill, Houston Heights, Sunset Heights, et al.) just northwest of Downtown Houston collectively known as the Heights, was originally founded in 1891 as "Houston Heights".  It served as a streetcar suburb of Houston and it was annexed to the City in 1919.

The neighborhood sits on higher ground than the rest of the city (thus the name), and a bayou separates it from the rest of Houston, this gives it a clear  definition and provides several points of entrance into the neighborhood.  Moreover, the communities still retain much of their original turn of the 20th century character, thanks in part to the efforts of caring neighbors and Historic designations such as the Norhill Historic District. (http://www.proctorplaza.com/

For most Houstonians The Heights is a beloved, sought after, and well known place.  It is alive at different times of the year with festivals that attract artists, musicians, and visitors from all over the city and other parts of the State.  It is home to unique neighbor-owned boutiques and antique shops, exciting dining, wonderful parks, and most attractively, it is home to the famous "Heights Craftsman Bungalow". (See pictured above a typical Craftsman Bungalow).  If one lives in The Heights, chances are (pretty big chances) that one lives in one version of the bungalow.  One could say that the Bungalow is the face of the Heights.

Which is why I am always happy to see some architectural variety:

David Barker House.  Houston Heights.  This house was home to the Mayor of Houston Heights.  Built in 1910.
Victorian houses are rare in the city of Houston (due to indiscriminate demolition...).  Houston Heights, being the oldest part of The Heights boasts the highest quantity and quality of Victoriana.  The next several examples are all neighbors on the same street, all in the National and Texas Register of Historic Places.  Houston Heights is home to so many buildings in the Registers that this post would be endless would I to post them all, so I am just posting my favorite.

Queen Anne Cottage.  Houston Heights.
The owner of this house told me that if I had visited one week earlier to take this picture I would have captured his white roses in full bloom.  People in The Heights take great pride in their gardens, usually planting native plants that will survive in the harsh heat.  Another feature common to Victorian and craftsman houses alike is the porch, where the neighbors will usually hang a porch swing.

Small Victorian.  Houston Heights.
All the streets in The Heights are lined with centenary oak trees that shade and cool the houses, and also make for interesting shadows across the façades.

Small Painted Lady.  Houston Heights.

The Milroy-Muller House during the March azalea bloom.  Houston Heights.  National Register of Historic Places. 
Image by Ed Uthman.
The Horse Stop at the Milroy-Muller House

The Pumpkin House.  This is a traditional "Painted Lady" Victorian House, but it has some really Robust details, particularly in the porch that wraps around the corner of the house.  I'd like to think of it as "Robust Ginger Bread".

The Pumpkin House.  Front Door.

The Pumpkin House.  The wrought iron fence is a historic reproduction, in which the owners took pains to hide some modern amenities:  Notice the doorbell button revealed only in the glare of the western afternoon light.

The Truxillo Home.  Built in 1892 in the Queen Anne/Stick Style.  It sits across the street from the Pumpkin house and it is in the National Register of Historic Places due to its "Architectural Significance, and because I live here"; as its owner jokinly put it.  But he wasn't joking about its beauty, the house is truly rare.  The owner of the Truxillo Home takes great pride in his garden which he has appropriately designed in a romantic manner.  The afternoon this picture was taken I found him diligently prunning and watering his plants, guarding them from the already setting heat.

Here lives a romantic English garden translated to the Texan landscape.  The Truxillo Home.  Houston.  Heights.

The Truxillo Home.  Houston Victoriana.

When you come to Houston make sure to cross the bayou into The Heights, enjoy our shops, our food, our parks, and our beautiful buildings.  If you live in Houston do visit us often, and if you are already my neighbor, isn't this place the coolest in town?

Afternoon shade.  Woodland Heights.

All images by NPL unless noted otherwise.



Jennifer said...

So pretty, Nadia. I am really looking forward to visiting and seeing The Heights.

Jane and Lance Hattatt said...

How really fascinating all of this sounds. Houston Heights is, clearly, from what you show and describe a very individual place in which there is to be found a great deal of civic pride.

We are delighted to have come across your blog for we are, like you, much interested in architecture and the arts in general, subjects about which we write ourselves. We are signing up as Followers and will look forward to remaining in touch.

Julie Khuu said...

Beautiful and picturesque...Looks like such a lovely and pleasant place to live! That entrance is insane...love the welcoming archway!

Btw, Haute Khuuture just celebrated the 1-year mark and I'm celebrating with a HUGE giveway! Would love to see you stop by when you get a chance!

Happy Tuesday hun!


Haute Khuuture Blog

Aristaeus' Aprentice said...

It's good to live in a neighborhood where history and beauty go together hand by hand.

Cote de Texas said...

Gorgeous! everything looks so beautiful - i esp. love those purple azaleas. i wish they lasted all summer!!!!


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