Historic Houston mansion misses near demolition

Historic landmark built more than 80 years ago

By Owen Conflenti - Anchor, Aaron Wische - Senior Executive Producer

HOUSTON - A piece of Houston history has been saved from a wrecking ball, thanks to a local couple who has purchased the property.

From the day it went on the market, people have been asking, 'What's going to happen to the old Weingarten Mansion?' Now we have an answer.

Local 2 anchor Owen Conflenti got a tour of the property from the new owners and learned about plans for renovation.

The mansion has been a landmark in the Riverside Terrace neighborhood of Southeast Houston since 1935. It's tucked behind trees along Brays Bayou, sitting on a sprawling 5-acre lot.

It belonged to the Weingarten family, known for opening a popular grocery chain in Houston nearly 100 years ago.

Fast forward to this century and it's now one of the hottest properties around. Throughout the summer, prospective buyers like Darryl and Lori Schroeder came to scope it out.

"When we got an interest in the house, one of things they asked was what are you going to do with the house," Darryl told Local 2.

In a growing city with great opportunity, the Weingarten property was primed for development.

"I think you could divide it up into probably, I think, 14 different lots and put new houses on it," Darryl explained.

But for the record, that is not the plan.

Built more than 80 years ago, the house is more than showing its age. But where some see the imperfections, the Schroeder's see potential.

"It's an icon for the city, so I think it's great that we keep it as an icon for the city," Darryl said. "So what we want to do is take what's here and improve on it. You look out over here, you get the bayou, out there you got all the grassy areas to the bayou, it's not like living in the city."

The family said they will add some modern amenities like air conditioning, but with the goal of keeping everything in its original spirit and style.

As big supporters of the University of Houston, The 100 Club, Noah's House and other organizations, the Schroeder's are accustomed to opening their home and giving back.

"We'll remodel the house, we will live in the house but we'll also have it available for parties that we do for fundraisers," Darryl said.

And in that sense, the project is about the community, too. They're not just fixing up a house, they're saving and restoring a unique piece of Houston history.

"We want it to really be a show place, so when people drive by they go, 'That's the old Weingarten house, and look how nice it looks,'" Darryl explained.

The Schroeder's have hired a Houston architect and UH graduate, David Bucek, to lead the renovation.

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