Lost to the Wrecking Ball July 19, 2007 due to demolition by Harry James, BUILDER.
The Significance of Heights Boulevard
The Doyle House at 945 Heights Boulevard is located within the boundaries of Houston Heights, which was designated as a Multiple Resource Area (MRA) and listed in the National Register of Historic Places. The large, Queen Anne style home, with Classical Revival detailing, located at 945 Heights Boulevard, is a unique example of this type of house, not only for Houston Heights, but for Houston as well.
The house is a large, Queen Anne style home with a wraparound porch (3,236 square feet) located on two lots (11,750 square feet). It features unusual paired, square wood columns ornamented with vertical fluting. The porch also features an unusual, closed railing consisting of a series of inset paneled balustrades. The main entry door (which has been removed) as well as the door to the side of the porch are canted, or set at an angle, which is another unusual feature of the home. The house also features large, oversized modillion-like bracket detailing under the eave overhang. The most striking and unusual feature of all, which only exists on this particular house in Houston, is the architectural element featured in the prominent shingle-clad, upper gable. It is a classically inspired, balconette window which is inset into the gable front and topped with a lunette shaped window.
Construction of the house began in February 1906, and the house was still far from complete, when the owner of this home, Mr. Kuhn, stepped on a nail at the site. The wound never healed, and Mr. Kuhn eventually died in 1906 from blood poisoning a few months later. He was only 36 years of age at the time of his death.
According to the 1908-1909 City Directory of Houston, George M. Winstead was living in the house at 945 Heights Boulevard after its construction by William A. Wilson. Winstead was the commercial agent of the St. Louis Southwestern Railway Company of Texas, whose offices were located at 427 Commercial Bank Building. He apparently sold the house to Jules C. Goldstein, who was living there in 1919. Goldstein was a general sales agent. Then by 1920 the house was occupied by S. Jules Pfieffer and his wife, Bertha, the proprietors of Pfeiffer’s Café, located at 1210 Main Street.
It would not be until 1923 that Patrick Francis Doyle, an Irish immigrant, purchased 945 Heights Boulevard from the Pfeiffers. Shortly after purchasing it, Doyle expanded the size of the home since his family was large in numbers. Doyle, who was a contractor, built the large, two-story addition at the rear of the house to add more living space downstairs and additional bedrooms upstairs. Doyle’s daughter, Agnes, who lived in the house most of her life, always contended that her father had built the house originally. However, Patrick Francis Doyle apparently enlarged it, thus the origin of Agnes’ story about her father building it.
Agnes Bridget Doyle, the youngest of the children and who never married, was born on May 30, 1910 in Dallas. Agnes Doyle lived most of her life at 945 Heights Boulevard except for the last few years, which were spent in Compassionate Hospice Care, where she died on July 27, 2004. Agnes Doyle was a life long member of All Saints Catholic Church in Houston Heights as was her family. She was also a member of the Altar Society at All Saints, which is located just a block away from her house at 945 Heights Boulevard, and which is visible from her front porch even today.
Historical Preservation Officer
City of Houston
Built about 1896, the Heights Natatorium was located in the old Coombs Park at the end of Harvard Street at White Oak Bayou. The building had open galleries two and a half stories tall that surrounded and overlooked the water. Dressing rooms were located on each floor. The entrance was flanked by a large round tower and two smaller turrets on which flags were mounted. According to Sister Agatha’s History of Houston Heights, the original building burned early on and a more modest structure was erected (pictured here.) When Coombs Park was dismantled, the Natatorium was also sold, eventually to the Vieweger family in 1907, who ran it for many years. Its last owners were Mrs. Beulah Dean and Charles H. Dean Jr., who operated it from 1929 until 1942. For years it was a drawing card to the Heights before swimming pools existed and was perhaps the most popular Heights attraction for young and old alike. This photograph was taken by Hawthorne Ramage about 1913.