Tuesday, September 25, 2012

That Big Net out West on Katy Freeway - TopGolf's West Houston Skyline Alteration Project on Course

A variation on the theme of horizon-modification is evolving in the burbs: It's not just construction cranes that are changing the skyline out West

What's that big net there going to catch?
  • o   Migratory birds on the way to and from Central and South America.
  • o   Monarchs en route to their winter haunts in Mexico.
  • o   Small planes taking off from West Houston Airport.
  • o   Top dollars of energy company executives.

TopGolf's massive golfing and entertainment center past the Wafflehouse and Sams' at the the Highway 6 - Katy Freeway Overpass is already making its mark on the neighborhood -- even before project completion and grand opening -- with its enormous golf-ball-containment nets soaring above the roofs of the surrounding apartment complexes, warehouses, and stores. 
Like they say, everything is bigger in Texas -- or it better be, you-all. Even companies from other states come here to help make the point. TopGolf reportedly dropped $15mil on the project, it's biggest yet, which is to feature food, games, sports, and music live with liquor license. Panem et circenses plus for well-heeled energy-company executives and for area workaholics in need of a well-deserved break alike.

Ready to Net Energy Corridor Dollars
TopGolf coming to town
(Sams Club Store and BP's corporate campus in the background) 

TopGolf Grand Opening Buzz: The Wait will soon be Over

The entertainment complex is taking shape (9/8/2012 photo)

The hiring flag is hoisted too

Downstream from the Top Golf course: Will any of the chip-fitted golf balls
make it down here, ready to embark on a journey all the way to Galveston Bay
via Buffalo Bayou?

Also see earlier H-Town West blog post: 
TopGolf Houston construction pics (August 2012) Memorial Brook Boulevard Houston TX 77084 (spelled Top Golf - two words - on City of Houston permit)

Bird eye's view of TopGolf project site on Google Maps/ Satellite View with pic of  Wafflehouse located on the corner of I-10 West-bound frontage road and Highway 6 .
No signs of construction yet on the empty parcel between Katy Freeway
and Bellhaven University on Park Row - Houston Texas 77084

Another crane on the horizon in the Energy Corridor (at BP's Westlake Campus)

BP Westlake 4 Construction site pics 

Update: Status of construction on BP campus at Katy Feeder Road (11/23/12 photo)

bp Westlake campus with crane seen from across the Freeway looking South

BP's Westlake Campus in Houston's Energy Corridor 
South of Katy Freeway between North Eldridge Parkway and Highway 6

BP's Corporate Campus at Westlake on the Map 
See more construction crane pics on other project sites in the Energy Corridor by clicking this link. (Feb 2013 update)

Monday, September 24, 2012

Cullen Park Hike & Bike Trail in September (photo tour)

Birdhouse on the Prairie

Tree-lined section of Cullen Hike & Bike Trail (paved throughout)

Edge of meadow along Cullen Park Hike & Bike Trail near the West Houston Airport

Yellowish-green berries hanging from small tree seen against the blue sky over the prairie land
South of the runway at West Houston Airport

Looking up - Twigs with double-rows of leaves make for nice profile against the sky
Red Trumpet flowers with seed pods on the same twig

Bushy-hairy grass stalks on the edge of the meadow alongside the hike and bike trail

Majestic Oaks (my best guess) at the historic grave site where members of German pioneer families
who settled in the Addicks-Bear Creek  in the 1800's area are buried

A few of the gravestones with German inscriptions at the Koch-Schmidt Cemetery

Picnic tables and gazebo at one of the park and playground areas with facilities
in Cullen Park / Addicks Reservoir (near the burial grounds of the German Pioneers that settled the area )

Kids playground along Cullen Hike & Bike Trail with a few rays of sun in the late afternoon
(accessible via the trail or by car, with parking lot and amenities for visitors nearby)
Orange butterfly with white specks under the wings. It had landed on a stalk in the grass
and was flipping its wings as if to show off to colorful patterns on both the top and bottom sides.
Sunlit vegetation on a late afternoon at bend in the Cullen Trail
near the East End at Highway 6 / Patterson Road
Heading West on Cullen Trail in the late afternoon:
Backlit foliage and tree branches 

Cullen Hike & Bike Trail - Trailhead on the East End (at Highway 6 at Patterson Road) with Signs

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Cullen Park (Addicks Reservoir) in pics

Like George Bush Park, Cullen Park is a huge suburban park, more properly thought of as a cluster of parks in a wilderness area, linked by a paved hike & bike trail that runs East all the way to Highway 6, and provides a link to Bear Creek Pioneers Park via Patterson RoadLike Bear Creek Park, Cullen Park also features numerous pavilions and picnic areas with tables and benches, and sports facilities at the "Phase" located near Saums Road.

Not the mention a velodrome, which -- by contrast -- is a rather unique facility in the area. 

Playground area with sprinkling water fun for kids at Cullen Park on Saums Road.
Park pavilion with red roof in the background
City of Houston Park Regs posted at Cullen Park
The Cite of Houston leases the park from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and maintains it
Picnic table with benches in tree-shaded area of Cullen Park
Bridge over South Mayde Creek at Cullen Park with picnic table-bench set in front
Pavilion at Cullen Park - Saums Road near Barker-Cypress

Sports facility / field at Cullen Park

Sunset at Cullen Park in West Houston

The Cullen Hike and Bike Trail passes South of the West Houston Airport, where another large developed park area with amenities and playground for kids is located. There is also an expansive meadow (mowed) bordered by green wilderness (grasses, brush, small trees) with an abundance of butterflies and other insects during the warm part of the year. 

Some segments of the trail are lined by trees and shaded by the canopy. Others cross open green spaces. A trail also runs alongside South Mayde Creek, one of the waterways that feeds into the Addicks Reservoir and ultimately drains into Buffalo Bayou (and on into the ship channel further downstream).

Koch-Schmidt Cemetery (Friedhof in German) - Graves of German settlers in Addicks Reservoir - Graeber deutscher Einwanderer

Historical marker at Koch-Schmidt Cemetery in Addicks Reservoir / Cullen Park. Gedenktafel mit den Namen der hier bestatteten Mitgliedern der Gruenderfamien deutscher Herkunft.

This historical grave site contains the earthly remains of early German immigrants who settled in the Addicks-Bear Creek Area in the 1800's and also founded the Bear Creek German Methodist Church. Names of immigrant families include Adicks, Ankele, Gastmann, Groeschke, Hoffman, Leier, Matzke, Mueller, and Schmidt.  
Pastor's gravestone towering over those of the flock

View of German settler graves through the chain-link fence

Fallen tree with Spanish moss between cemetery and one of the Cullen Park picnic and playground areas (Phase 4)
West Harris County near Groeschke Road / West Houston Airport

The German immigrant families that settled on Bear Creek also founded a German Methodist Church. Its current incarnation has its church building South of the Addicks Reservoir on Highway 6 at Park Row, with spire and weather vane. 

Die deutschen Einwandererfamilien gruendeten auch eine protestantische Gemeinde und errichteten ein Kirchengebaeude. Die heutige Version der Methodistenkirche befindet sich suedlich vom Reservoir einen Block von der heutigen I-10 Autobahn entfernt. Das urspruengliche Gebaeude fiel einer Ueberschwemmung zum Opfer. Um eine Wiederholung zu verhindern, wurde die Kirche ausserhalb des Ueberschwemmungsgebietes wieder-aufgebaut. 

Going red as Fall approaches

There is still plenty of green, though, not to mention blue sky.

Tree in the center of the meadow
Greenspace in Addicks Reservoir South of Groeschke Road
Lone birdhouse

Hey...I am green too
.... and I don't just turn red for the Fall. I like it that way at all times.

Greenery with blue sky in Cullen Park South of West Houston Airport