Category Archives: Heights

Luna Park


[Luna Park - 1924 newspaper advertisement]

Rollercoaster.jpg
[1920's photo (looking west toward Luna Park) by Mary Bavouset, published with her permission in J.R. Gonazales' Bayou City History blog]


[1920's postcard of Houston showing Luna Park roller coaster in distance (top left)]


[Panoramic photo posted on HAIF by Kevin Jackson, reproduced from a panoramic photo that hangs or hung on the wall of the Harris County Smokehouse restaurant - the photo gives the park's address as 2212 Houston Avenue]


[Detail from photo on cover of Houston Then and Now showing Luna Park coaster in distance (top center)]

Luna Park was an amusement park located in the Heights area – on Houston Avenue, on the banks of White Oak Bayou – in the 1920′s and early 1930′s. The park opened as Luna Park on June 26, 1924, though it may have been open under a different name before that, as images of the park purporting to be dated prior to 1924 exist. For example, the above panoramic photo of “Venice Park – Houston, Texas”, dated 1923, appears to show what became known as Luna Park.

A July 27, 1924 newspaper article described the park as follows:

The park has virtually every variety of amusement device known in the world of showdom. One of its biggest features is the giant skyrocket, a roller coaster larger and higher than any other operating in the United States. The skyrocket is a mile and a quarter long and at its highest point soars 110 feet in the air. The first drop on this mammoth devide is eighty-four feet. Some 2,500 to 3,000 persons ride the twelve cars of the big ride each night. Many other amusement devices dot the thirty-six acre park, which is located within five minutes’ ride from the heart of Houston. A monstrous seaplane swing also has been installed in the park, as has a caterpillar, a merry-go-round, dodgem, baby airplane swing, junior Ferris wheel, miniature railway and other devices.

Three shows now are operating. The Mysterious Sensation, a weird novelty, is proving the stellar attraction. Williamson’s Midget City, a show that has played at many fairs and expositions, also is operating. Another show, “See America First,” described as the latest sensation from Coney Island, is the third show now operating in Luna’s joy lane.

The park is featuring a picnic grove of several acres in area. Here more than a hundred rustic benches and tables have been installed. Picnickers throng the park every afternoon, there being a large number of fraternal, church and Sunday school picnics booked before the end of the summer season.

Luna Park will be an all-year resort, remaining open winter and summer. During the winter months the park’s big dancing casino will prove to be the main attraction. Free automobile parking within the gates is attracting many motorists to the playground each night.

The park’s “scenic railway” was reported to be two feet higher than Coney Island’s, and the dance pavillion was at the time the largest in the south. Luna Park also hired stunt flyer Francis H. Rust to stage night-flying stunts overhead.

Tough Times

Nearly as soon as it opened, however, Luna Park was a center of controversy. A lawsuit was filed against it in July 1924, by a woman who said she was “roughly treated” while standing in line for the roller coaster. She claimed that a park employee “caught her by the arms and desisted only after the crowd threatened to lynch or mob him.”

The park was sued again that August, for noise pollution. A Heights resident complained that “sleep is impossible” when the park’s roller coaster and other devices are operating, though the park’s witnesses testified that the street cars along Houston Avenue made far more noise than all the attractions combined.

Also in August 1924, a local newspaper reported:

The Mexican consulate in Houston may be closed in protest against “discriminatory tactics” against Mexicans, according to Consul H. Valdez. The protest grew out of the arrest and beating of a Mexican boy Wednesday night, after he had been refused admission to the Luna Park dance floor. The boy is Jesus Prieto Laurens, a graduate of Ohio University. He escorted to the dance a prominent Mexican girl, who recently won a beauty prize offered by the Salesmanship Club. He was sold tickets, but was not allowed to enter the dance hall, and when he asked for an explanation he was arrested and charged with assault. While being taken to the police station, the boy says, he was beaten and cursed. His brother, G. Prieto Laurens, former consul here, was held off at the point of a gun when he attempted to aid his brother, it was stated. Another brother of the boy formerly was mayor of Mexico City and governor of the state of San Luis Potosi. The grand jury today began an investigation of the case.

Houston Deputy Constable Frenchy Naquin was charged with assault in the matter, but was ultimately acquitted. At the time he was acquitted, he was also standing charges for assault on a man who was a “keeper of a parking place” near Luna Park.

Sadly, the history of Luna Park soon darkened further. On a single afternoon in October 1924, in two separate incidents, three people died at the park. A professional parachutist, Montie LeMay, was killed when her parachute failed to open. At nearly the same time, Mary Alta Watson and Charles C. Johnson were killed in a fall from the Luna Park roller coaster.

A year later, in August 1925, the Rice Hotel’s barber was stabbed several times at Luna Park.

Happier Days

However, the park remained a popular attraction, as demonstrated by a newspaper report on the Labor Day events of 1925:

The sturdy hands that provide the skill and man power to carry on Houston’s vast trade and industry were busy today at sports, atheltics and amusements at Luna Park. Between 10,000 and 15,000 members of labor unions and crafts, their families and friends thronged into the park throughout the day to enjoy the Labor Day festivites arranged in their honor. There were wrestling and boxing matches in the mammoth inverted bowl of a dancing casino, beginning at 1 p.m. Then there were races and other contests, with prizes to the winners; children’s games; awards to the best looking woman, the oldest couple, the fattest, the tallest, the shortest, the ugliest, and so on. Diving horses performed at 8:30 and 10:30 p.m.

A month later, the Houston and Galveston chapters of the Red Men fraternal organization held a joint “powwow” at the park, described as “one of the most spectacular and interesting of the typical celebrations held under the auspices of Texas Red Men.” The meeting featured “an outdoor initiation and war dance staged by the Galveston degree team in full regalia.” The war dance was staged just after dark, in the picnic grove, which was “appropriately lighted.”

By 1928, even the Mexican consulate appears to have made its peace with Luna Park. In observation of Mexican Independence Day, the consulate organized a two-day program at the park featuring “patriotic speeches, patriotic music; several entertainment features; and a reading of the Mexican Declaration of Independence.”

Marathons

Another noteworthy event in 1928 was a dance marathon at the dance casino:

Fifteen couples and a lone youth shuffled about the Luna Park dance casino today, the third day of a marathon which so far has seen the elimination of only five couples. One little blonde was eliminated from the marathon by her husband of three weeks who went to the dance hall last night. She argued with him, holding the hope of a “first payment on a home” with the prize money, but friend husband was obdurate, and home with him she went. One mother sat up all last night, holding a shoe box in her lap with food and first aid equipment to minister to her daughter who milled about in the long grind. The lone boy will be allowed ten hours, and unless a partner is provided, he will be ruled out. If some girl survives a boy partner in the grind, he will draw her for a partner.

Surprisingly, a report following several days later found the dance marathon still in progress:

Twenty-three pairs of blistered, burning feet were still shuffling about the Luna Park dance hall today in the dance marathon which started a week ago from from last Thursday. There are thirteen boys and ten girls still in the long grind; the three boys being without partners, who succumbed to weariness. The marathon has become grim business; the contestants rush to their cots for the fifteen-minute rest periods each hour; and sleep till roused. Some doze on their feet as they dance. The contestants are spurred on by $1,000 in prize money, three-fourths of which will go to the winning couple.

As the third week of the dancing marathon began, it was reported that the dancers were “continuing by dint of much smelling salts and determination.” But the marathon was clearly taking a toll on its participants:

Two girls, Phyllis Dreyer and Lucille Nelson, fainted last night on the floor, but were revived within the alotted five minutes by nurses and continued the grind. Fred Bradford fell asleep while dancing and tumbled forward on the floor, bruising a knee. He started dancing again, and shuffles along with a limp. Two of the stonger contestants aided Jean Inglehart to stay on his feet last night after he fainted, until he recovered sufficiently to proceed under his own power. The contestants help each other, rather than trying to get them out. The dancers shuffle for forty-five minutes and then rest fifteen in each hour.

The dancing marathon was apparently a promotional success, as a “floating marathon” was scheduled in the park in 1929, and a water tank constructed specially for the event. The floating marathon was billed as the first ever held in the state, and possibly in the world – the winner was to be named the floating champion of the world. Early favorites were 300-pound Tony Roselli and “star long distance swimmer” Lee Colombo.

Park Closes

But the 1930′s brought a return of the park’s early bad luck. In 1930, a man was discovered dead in the picnic grounds, his body having “apparently been there for several days” before police received an anonymous tip. And, in 1932, a Webster farmer was hijacked in his car outside Luna Park. It is unclear exactly when, but the park appears to have closed sometime in the early 1930′s, perhaps a victim of the Great Depression.

More information:
HAIF discussion re Luna Park
Another HAIF discussion re Luna Park
SixFlagsHouston.com discussion re Luna Park
PBS special that includes Luna Park

100 Years Ago – February 13, 1909

Houston, Tex., Feb. 13, 1909: Harris County Sheriff Archie Anderson announced a “systematic investigation of the situation at Houston Heights, the citizens of which suburban addition to Houston are at present experiencing the presence in their midst of negro highway robbers.” The robbers were accused of having carried out almost nightly hold-ups, without masks – including an incident on February 12 in which a Heights resident was robbed “under the glare of an arc lamp.”

The Harris County Sheriff’s Office is one of the oldest law enforcement agencies in Texas – it was created in 1837, with a single man on horseback, back when Harris County was still Harrisburg County. Archie Anderson was the nineteenth Sheriff, from 1899 to 1912. He had previously served as Deputy Sheriff. Anderson took office at a time when “gambling was everywhere and cattle and horse thieves were abundant, as were the cowboys who insisted on shooting up the town.” (Harris County Sheriff’s Department – 1837-2005 (2005))

100 Years Ago – February 11, 1909

Houston, Tex., Feb. 11, 1909: A meeting of International & Great Northern freight men from around the country gathered for a meeting in Houston. The freight men dined at the Richelieu Cafe, and received souvenir menus printed in the form of a railroad car waybill:

The car was weighed at “Destination” and the marked capacity was shown to be “Size of waistband.” The car was stopped only one time en route, and that was “The Richelieu” for “Drink and water.” The consignor was shown to be “Hunger and Thirst Company of Houston,” and the consignee and destination “E Nough (incorporated),” of “Good Night, Texas.”
. . .
The “Articles and Classifications” were as follows:
Martini Cocktail
Oysters on the Half Shell
Olives, Celery, Salted Almonds
Mock Turtle Soup
Spanish Mackerel, Potatoes Duchess
Sweet Breads a la Richelieu
Broiled Chicken on Toast Stripped with Bacon
Peeled Tomatoes Stuffed with Lobsters En Mayonnaise
Ice Cream, Assorted Cakes
Cafe Noir, Cigars

The Richelieu Cafe was located on Congress Street, and does not appear to have been open long.

Houston, Tex., Feb. 11, 1909: That night, a member of the Houston Heights Vigilance Committee was “escorting a young lady from the street car to her home” when the pair were accosted by a “would-be highwayman” with a gun. The committee member drew his own gun, and was able to turn over the attacker to the police at the Houston Heights Drug Store. The recently-formed Vigilance Committee had been patrolling the Heights every night, and the arrest was the eighth it had secured.

Bulletin of Pharmacy (1909)
[Bulletin of Pharmacy (Sept. 1909)]

Highland Park

Highland Park
[Highland Park promenade (postmarked 1908) - University of Houston Libraries postcard collection]

Highland Park
[Highland Park "lake" - HoustonHistory.com]

Highland Park
[Highland Park - HoustonHistory.com]

Highland Park, which opened in Woodland Heights in 1903, was developed by the private Houston Electric Company, which then controlled Houston’s streetcar system, to encourage ridership on its new extension up Houston Avenue. At the time, Houston’s first public park, Sam Houston Park, was the only other large park in Houston. Highland Park would ultimately become Houston’s second public park – the park now known as Woodland Park.

The park was operated by Fred Bishop, who leased the property from the streetcar company. The park was scheduled to open to the public on July 4, 1903, but the opening was postponed a day due to rain. A large crowd was guaranteed because both the clerk’s union and the Woodmen of the World (Magnolia Camp) held their annual picnics at the park that day. The Galveston newspaper reported that: “A programme of interesting events fully a yard long had been prepared and kept up interest at a high pitch from the opening of the festivities until the day was at an end.”

Other groups holding picnics at the park in its opening weeks were the Painters Union and the Houston Civic Club’s First Ward Division. The Painters Union’s entertainment program included James E. Black, a “singer, dancer, and acrobatic high kicker without legs”; and Charlie Ward, described as “Comedian: blackface specialty.” However, dancing was the evening’s main feature.

In its early days, the park’s primary attraction was a dance pavilion, where patrons would waltz and two-step. The park had its own band, the Highland Park Band, made up of about 20 musicians. By August 1903, a gravel path had been added between the streetcar stop and the pavilion, but work continued on the park. In the winter months that followed, most press coverage related to the park was devoted to the Highland Park Gun Club, which held shooting tournaments at the park’s gun range.

Highland Park
[Boat House at Highland Park (postmarked 1908) - University of Houston Libraries postcard collection]

By the time the park reopened for warm-weather use in 1904 – again for the Woodmen of the World annual picnic, complete with “minstrel performances” – a lake (formed by damming Little White Oak Bayou, sometimes called Hollywood Bayou), bridges, boats, fountains, and a cafe had been added, and the pavilion (which doubled as a summer theater) had been renovated. The Galveston newspaper described the park as follows:

Adding grace and beauty to the park are great, tall, towering majestic pine trees and shrub oaks, wierdly beautiful with a fantastic drapery of moss suspended from their branches and festooned around their boughs, bidding a fond welcome to the visitor and offering a cooling retreat from the burning rays of Old Sol. Situated on a grassy eminence fifteen, feet higher than any other spots in Houston the first structure that meets the eye is a large and commodious cafe and buffet building with a capacity to feed and entertain 1,000 people. Broad, wide galleries surround this building on all aides, where cooling drinks and refreshments are served at all hours at reasonable prices. This building commands a fine view of the park and adjoining country and its galleries rest on the edge ot a bluff overlooking the valley wherein sparkle the waters of a lake, dotted here and there with islands, while a gasoline launch and numerous pleasure boats dart hither and thither, forming a scene of animation and enjoyment exquisitely beautiful. Nestled between the hills fifty feet below the cafe and buffet building, with the rays of the sun glittering and sparkling upon its clear transparent surface is a lake of exceptional beauty and picturesqueness. Surrounding the lake on all sides are comfortable tree seats and rustic benches where the pleasure seekers, wishing to rest, may have ample opportunity. Special anangcments have been made with the United States Government whereby 50,000 fish, including the big-mouthed bass and trout, are to be shipped from the United States fish hatcheries at San Marcos to stock the waters of the lake and bayou. In a year or two, when these game members of the finny tribe have attained their full growth, the lake will afford the finest fishing to be had in this section. A few yards from the edge of the lake is an artesian well 478 feet deep, which has a flow of 75,000 gallons daily, furnishing patrons of the park with pure crystal mineral water. The water was tested by a chemist and found to contain a certain per cent of lithia, thus giving it curative properties of exceptional value. Arc lamps are distributed throughout the grounds, and thousands of incandescent lamps are suspended from wires overhead, lighting up the lanes and places of amusement and sparkling like millions of fireflies in the darkness. The surface of the lake, shining and glimmering in the moonlight, reflects the myriad electric lights, the pleasure boats with their gay occupants and the shadows of the great pine trees lend a touch of mystic enchantment to the scene. On the largest Island, which is situated in the center of the lake, is a circular band stand connecting with the main land by rustic bridges, which span the lake on either side.

Some of these park features can be seen in the Highland Park postcards above. Houstorian has found no online photographs of Highland Park, though some may exist in a library collection and/or Houston newspaper archives. Also, a 1904 newspaper article about the park noted that an automobile party that included Baron Masanao Matsudaira and Harvey T.D. Wilson (who had an interest of some sort in the Japanese colony in Webster) took “kodak pictures” of the park, using Mr. Wilson’s camera, on June 19, 1904. So photographs of the park may exist somewhere.

By June 1904, a number of unions had placed Houston Electric Company on their “unfair” list, and begun fining members seen riding the streetcars or visiting Highland Park. One of the unions’ complaints against the company was that it was not hiring union labor at Highland Park. On July 7, 1904, a streetcar returning from Highland Park was dynamited. The car was thrown from its track, one of its wheels was blown off, and its glass windows shattered, raining glass on its full load of passengers. Remarkably, though, none of the riders was injured, a fact deemed “little short of miraculous.” The attack was one of a number of similar incidents around the same time period, all of which were blamed on union interests.

Highland Park
["Shoot the Chute" at Highland Park]

Despite ongoing labor problems, including a strike of streetcar operators and workers, improvements at Highland Park continued. A “shoot the chutes” attraction was added in 1904, as pictured above. A “museum of natural history” – sometimes referred to as the Natural History and Fish Museum – was also added in 1904.

In October 1904, charges were filed against Fred Bishop, the park’s manager, for allowing a theater production to be presented on a Sunday. A newspaper account noted: “The laws covering the case are peculiar and prosecution difficult if any offense exists.” The charges were ultimately dismissed on the grounds that no admission had been charged for the theater production.

The 1905 season at Highland Park opened with a hot-air balloon ascension plus parachute descension. The park also touted games of “water baseball,” using floating rafts as bases. However, the crowds came for the new construction – the “scenic railway” called the “figure 8″ or “roller coaster”:

The “roller coaster” was the leading attraction. The cars were filled from the start, and be it known that boys were not the only patrons, for many men of various ages clamored for seats in the “coasters.” The ride is thrilling in the extreme, but is so smooth and pleasant that there is never a jar of the nerves, though they are essentially tense. The coasters are hauled up a steep incline about fifty feet by a chain belt run by an electric motor. The coaster is then released and Newton’s law does the rest. You plunge forward at a most thrilling gait and many are the ups and downs, ins and outs, but all pleasant, before the end is reached.

The ride is calculated to cure a malady of most any kind, mental or physical. It simply puts new vigor in the heart and new speed through the veins. Its exhilirating effects are almost instantly noticeable. Should a patron mount a car with his blood flowing sluggishly, his heart beating slowly and away down in his shoes, when he whirls through the air up and down, round and round, and alights from the car he will be a new man, and his best girl will be in love with him. It is a panacea for almost any trouble, mental or physical.

In November 1905, Houston Electric Company sued Highland Park manager Fred Bishop for past-due rental payments, plus $30,000 in damages for violation of the parties’ lease agreement. The alleged violation was supposedly Bishop’s “admission of improper characters to the park.” M.C. Michael took over the lease in 1906.

The park continued to operate as Highland Park until no later than June 1908, when it was reopened as “San Jacinto Park” under the auspices of the Houston Civic Club. The new name was confusing because there was already a park at the San Jacinto battleground, and it does not appear to have gained acceptance.

The city of Houston purchased the park in 1911. In 1914, residents of the Woodland Heights neighborhood, which was platted in 1907, successfully petitioned to have the park’s name changed to Woodland Park.

There are still reminders of Highland Park in Woodland Heights today. There is of course Woodland Park itself, which Houstonians continue to enjoy. But there is also, a block to the west, a nursing home named “Highland Park Care Center”. And a Highland Street a few blocks to the north.

For more information:
Steven M. Baron, Houston Electric: The Street Railways of Houston, Texas (1996)

Coombs Park and Heights Natatorium

null
[1919 - Heights Natatorium - Houston Heights Association - Photo taken by Hawthorn Ramage, in about 1913, and donated to the Heights Museum Collection by Ms. Verna Topkins]

HeightsNat
[1909 - Ad from The Jewish Herald]

CoombsPark
[1895 map, showing Heights Blvd. on west of park, and Harvard, Cortlandt, Arlington, Columbia, and Oxford Streets intersecting with park from north]

Coombs Park (sometimes called Forest Park) was an amusement park that the Coombs family built around the turn of the last century on land they owned in the Houston Heights, just north of White Oak Bayou. The Coombs house itself was a sprawling mansion on the southern side of the bayou, in an elevated area that became known as “Coombs Terrace”. On the east side of the intersection of Heights Boulevard and 3rd Street (approximately where Heights Boulevard now intersects with the eastbound feeder road for Interstate 10), north of the bayou, E.L. Coombs dug a lake that featured live alligators and trick high-diving. Describing other features of the park, Sister M. Agatha’s History of the Heights states:

Sunday afternoon was the park’s big day. At three o’clock every Sunday, a Mrs. Roaming (significant name) went up in a balloon, with a monkey for a companion. Sometimes the monkey went up alone. The balloon had a basket and when the lady got ready to come down, she pulled a valve and gradually as the gas escaped, the balloon descended. When the monkey went up alone, the valve was fixed so that the gas was gradually leaking before the ascension. There was a track in the park for goat racing, and the children brought their pets, harnessed to various little wagons or traps, and took part in the race for prizes. Mr. Coombs also provided a zoo with all kinds of animals for the special delight of the children. Between his home and the bayou, extending back to Yale Street, he had an ostrich farm and children of the Heights loved to go near the fence to see the birds. These, too, were for the park.

In 1895, on the banks of the bayou at the southern end of Harvard Street, Coombs built a natatorium. Describing an early photograph of the natatorium, Sister Agatha reported: “Coombs built in the flamboyant style of Coney Island’s heyday. The picture shows a pleasure pier, two and a half stories, with dressing rooms for each floor, like galleries around the pool. The impressive building was topped off with one large round tower and two smaller turrets, each waving a flag.” The Galveston Daily News reported on April 12, 1895 that: “Houston’s new natatorium at Coombs park was thrown open to the public today, and in two hours after the opening every bathing suit in the house was out, and the jolly bathers were enjoying the fresh water. The tank has a capacity of 200,000 gallons of water and is 80×40 feet square, having a depth when full of from 4 to 9 feet of water.” The opening coincided with a Knights of Pythias convention at Coombs Park, and the same edition of the Daily News reported that “[t]he large pavilion is handsomely decorated with bunting, flags, and monograms, bidding the Knights of Pythias welcome,” and that many of the Knights had an opportunity to enjoy the “refreshing waters” of the natatorium.

When the original natatorium building burned, a smaller structure (pictured above) was built in its place. After E.L. Coombs died, the property on which the natatorium was located changed hands a number of times. The natatorium survived Coombs Park, and was still operating as late as 1942. The natatorium was filled in at some point thereafter, however, and there is now a self-storage facility located on the spot.

Dean Corll, the Candy Man

dean_corll.jpg
[Photo of Dean Corll in Army uniform]

Dean Corll was a serial killer who murdered at least 27 people in Houston over a two-year period in the early 1970′s. At the time the murders were discovered, it was the largest number of victims attributed to a serial killer in United States history. Most of his victims were boys or young men who lived in the Heights, where Corll had operated a candy factory (on West 22nd Street, behind Helms Elementary School) – hence the “Candy Man” moniker. His crimes came to light only when Corll was shot and killed by a teenage boy who had helped to lure boys to Corll’s home, and who ultimately participated in some of the murders. The “Houston Mass Murders” received considerable national and international attention in the 1970′s.

More information:
Wikipedia – Dean Corll
CrimeLibrary.com, “Dean Corll: The Sex, Sadism and Slaughter of Houston’s Candy Man”

The “Dry” Heights

houstonheightsmap.jpg
[HoustonHeights.org]

In the United States, Prohibition lasted from 1920 to 1933. [Note: The repeal of Prohibition was not ratified in Texas until 1935.] In the majority of the Houston Heights, it began in 1912 and is still is in effect today. A large section of the Heights was voted dry on September 25, 1912. At the time of the vote, the boundaries of the dry area were described as follows (see map of Houston Heights, above):

From White Oak Bayou and Heights Boulevard to the west line of the Heights plat – north to 16th Street – west to west line of Houston Heights plat – north to center of 26th Street – east down center of 26th Street to center of Yale Street – south on center of Yale Street to center of 22nd Street – east on center of 22nd Street to east end of Heights plat again – then south following east line Heights Addition to White Oak Bayou – following bayou to Heights Boulevard.

Thus, on the small strip of 11th Street between Oxford and Studewood, you’ll find a liquor store and Berryhill. And on the small strip of White Oak between Oxford and Studewood, you’ll find a liquor store and a collection of bars and clubs.

Reportedly, keeping the Houston Heights dry was written in as one of the terms of the 1918 annexation agreement with the City of Houston. A 1937 Texas Supreme Court decision addressed whether a 1919 amendment to the Texas Constitution and/or the repeal of Prohibition (ratified by Texas in 1935) changed the Heights from “dry” to “wet”, concluding that they did not:

As already shown, the City of Houston Heights by vote of its qualified electors was annexed to the wet City of Houston on February 20, 1918. Section 20 of Article XVI of our Constitution as amended in 1919 was adopted in May of such year. It thus appears that at the time the City of Houston Heights was abolished and its area annexed to the City of Houston Section 20 of Article XVI of our Constitution as adopted in 1891 was in effect. It was certainly then the law that the abolition of the corporate existence of the City of Houston Heights and the annexation of its territorial area to the then wet City of Houston did not in any way affect the area originally comprised within the corporate limits of the City of Houston Heights as regards local option. In other words, it was certainly the law at the time the City of Houston Heights voted to dissolve its corporate existence and annex its territory to the wet City of Houston that when an area voted dry it remained dry until it was voted wet at a subsequent election held in and for the same identical area which had theretofore voted dry, and the change, or even abolition, of the political or corporate entity which comprised such area did not alter this fact or rule of law.
….
We now come to consider whether the territory which once comprised the corporate area of the now defunct City of Houston Heights is dry under the provisions of the amendment of 1935. That amendment is the one now in effect and its provisions, construed in the light of what has gone before, must govern this case. By the terms of this amendment the entire State, as such, is again made wet as to all intoxicating liquors; but with certain exceptions and limitations. In effect, this amendment contains provisions which make any county, justice’s precinct, or city, or town dry which was dry at the time it became effective. It therefore preserved as dry any county, justice’s precinct, or city, or town which was dry when it went into effect. Of course, any such area has the right to become wet by so voting at an election legally ordered and held for that purpose under present local option statutes. In this connection, however, we again note that such election must be held in the same area that originally voted dry. As to the case at bar we hold that while it is true that the City of Houston Heights has long since ceased to exist as a municipal corporation, still it yet exists for the purpose of holding a local option election to vote on the question of making it lawful to sell intoxicating liquors within the area origi-nally voted dry. Ex parte Fields, supra; Griffin v. Tucker, supra. In this connection it will be noted that such vote may be had on the question of making such territory wet as to all intoxicating liquors or only as to wine and beer as defined by statute.

Houchins v. Plainos, 110 S.W.2d 549 (Tex. 1937).

More information:
Sister Mary Agatha, The History of Houston Heights (1956)