HTX Comforts of Home 2013
Take A Home Tour

No McMansions allowed: This Houston community shows how it sticks up for history

No McMansions allowed: This Houston community sticks up for history

18th Annual Eastwood Historic Home Tour October 2013 person holding photo of Navaway Theater
This year's Eastwood Home Tour includes a special exhibit at 742 Telephone featuring new and archival photographs of the neighborhood. Photo by Abrahán Garza
18th Annual Eastwood Historic Home Tour October 2013 4447 Rusk
4447 Rusk, built 1919 Photo courtesy of Eastwood Civic Association
18th Annual Eastwood Historic Home Tour October 2013 5226 Mulford
5226 Mulford, built 1929 Photo courtesy of Eastwood Civic Association
18th Annual Eastwood Historic Home Tour October 2013 4809 Walker
4809 Walker, built 1916 Photo courtesy of Eastwood Civic Association
18th Annual Eastwood Historic Home Tour October 2013 4723 McKinney
4723 McKinney, built 2011 Photo courtesy of Eastwood Civic Association
18th Annual Eastwood Historic Home Tour October 2013 4620 McKinney
4620 McKinney, built 1912 Photo courtesy of Eastwood Civic Association
18th Annual Eastwood Historic Home Tour October 2013 4445 McKinney
4445 McKinney, built 1913 Photo courtesy of Eastwood Civic Association
18th Annual Eastwood Historic Home Tour October 2013 person holding photo of Navaway Theater
18th Annual Eastwood Historic Home Tour October 2013 4447 Rusk
18th Annual Eastwood Historic Home Tour October 2013 5226 Mulford
18th Annual Eastwood Historic Home Tour October 2013 4809 Walker
18th Annual Eastwood Historic Home Tour October 2013 4723 McKinney
18th Annual Eastwood Historic Home Tour October 2013 4620 McKinney
18th Annual Eastwood Historic Home Tour October 2013 4445 McKinney

In celebration of its 100th anniversary, the Bayou City enclave of Eastwood is pulling out the stops for its annual home tour on Saturday and Sunday.

Five beautifully-restored homes from the 1910s and '20s will highlight an era in which Houstonians lived without highways and air conditioning in a compact city of roughly 150,000 people. Current homeowners will be on site at every location, ready to field questions about everything from the neighborhood's history to architectural preservation.

"We always try to maintain a small town feel to the event," longtime tour organizer Karen Niemeier tells CultureMap. "Each visit should be like coming over to a friend's house rather than walking into a museum."

"Each visit should be like coming over to a friend's house   rather than walking into a museum."

This year's tour throws a curveball with the inclusion of a sixth home built in 2011. When a 2009 fire devastated the previous structure, the homeowners (longtime East End residents themselves) wanted to rebuild in the spirit of the area. 

"It's important to show what can be done instead of just a bland McMansion," Niemeier says. "New construction can work with the existing neighborhood. Big porches, pier-and-beam and Craftsman-style details all make sense and look wonderful alongside the older homes."

For the Eastwood centennial, former DiverseWorks head and local resident Diane Barber helped organize an exhibit of historic neighborhood images culled from the City of Houston’s vast photo collection. Interspersed with the archival pieces will be new photographs of the culturally-vibrant neighborhood taken by East End artists Abrahán Garza, Mike Luster and Stick 'Em Up film director Alex Luster. The exhibition will be on view at 742 Telephone.

Also new to the 2013 tour is special on-street project by Better Block Houston. On Sunday, the urban planning nonprofit plans to take over a full block Telephone Road at Lockwood for a temporary installation demonstrating how existing city streets can be adapted for better walkability and community connectivity.

Tickets for the 18th annual Eastwood Home Tour can be purchased at Bohemeo's cafe on Saturday and Sunday. The East End Then & Now exhibit opens Friday with a reception at 7 p.m. The Better Block event runs from noon to 5 p.m. on Sunday along the 700 block of Telephone.