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Author Topic:   Astronauts' Houston homes of the 1960s
carmelo
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posted 01-25-2009 02:33 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for carmelo   Click Here to Email carmelo     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
From the LIFE magazine Google archives, this is the house of Stafford, Young or Cernan?

Lou Chinal
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posted 01-25-2009 03:22 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Lou Chinal   Click Here to Email Lou Chinal     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Going by my memory I would say it's Young's house.

Is that a can of Budweiser Cernan is holding?

sts205cdr
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posted 01-26-2009 12:00 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for sts205cdr   Click Here to Email sts205cdr     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Lou Chinal:
...Is that a can of Budweiser Cernan is holding?
It's mighty likely.

DKS22
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posted 02-02-2009 02:30 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for DKS22   Click Here to Email DKS22     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
It is the Young's house. The boat was built by Tom Stafford and his daughter, Karin and was tested in the Young's pool.

SBIV-B
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From: Buford, GA USA
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posted 02-05-2009 01:29 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for SBIV-B     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I could not help but wondering, Nassau Bay and El Lago were two of the first subdivisions built that were primarily occupied by the Mercury, Gemini and Apollo astronauts.

Are these homes still there, and in good condition as far as upkeep is concerned?

Do current residents know that they are residing in a former astronaut's home and which one?

Any speculation on how many times these homes changed hands over the years?

Would these homes be on some historic places list that Houston might maintain?

I cannot imagine living in one of the homes that one of my astronaut heroes lived in during the heyday of the program.

I would literally be in awe walking those halls...

Robert Pearlman
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posted 02-05-2009 01:33 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
A tour had been scheduled this past October of Timber Cove, including the original homes of John Glenn, Scott Carpenter, Gus Grissom, Wally Schirra, Jim Lovell and Pete Conrad.

Unfortunately, damage from Hurricane Ike forced the tour's cancellation.

FFrench
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posted 02-05-2009 01:50 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for FFrench     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by SBIV-B:
Do current residents know that they are residing in a former astronaut's home and which one?

For some of the homes originally built by Apollo-era astronauts, conveniently close to JSC, they were subsequently owned by two or three shuttle-era astronauts. So history upon history.

And Owen Garriott's home is of course an interesting one, as a very young boy also lived there who one day would fly in space too...

Delta7
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posted 02-05-2009 02:31 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Delta7   Click Here to Email Delta7     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
It would be interesting to find out how many astronauts lived in the same home over the years.

One thing to keep in mind is that today's standards for houses is quite a bit different from that of 40 years ago, as far as size, square footage, and amenities go. Unless they've been extensively re-modeled and added on to, I suspect a lot of the old Gemini-era houses are occupied by families a fair amount lower on the income scale than today's average astronaut.

kr4mula
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posted 02-06-2009 11:11 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for kr4mula   Click Here to Email kr4mula     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
We interviewed an old NASA engineer who lived in Scott Carpenter's house and John Glenn's was next door (or maybe it was the other way around. It was cool to visit him there and he told a story about seeing his very first microwave oven in Glenn's house. Point is, astronaut provenance is very much known by current residents and I also heard it is often used as a selling point.

KC Stoever
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posted 03-10-2009 06:49 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for KC Stoever   Click Here to Email KC Stoever     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
A good friend just sent me a nice photograph of Sleepy Hollow Court, in Timber Cove, Texas, where the Glenns and Carpenters lived side by side at the end of the cul-de-sac that also had a corresponding cul-de-sac for boats in the canal behind the Sleepy Hollow houses.

The photo captured a neighbor's house and an impressive storm drain, which caused me to remember an amusing bit of history perhaps unrecorded by the local historians. It is the story about the ducks of Taylor Lake, hereafter to be called the Skopinski-Carpenter Ducks of Taylor Lake. Or of Timber Cove.

Let me explain. Ted Skopinski (see index of This New Ocean) had 8 children, as I recall. Teresa Skopinski (b. May 23, 1955, Newport News, Va.) was my best friend. (She died perhaps 20 years ago in an accident.) Her older brother, Randy, was both a Timber Cove Dolphin diver, one of the best on the team, and an avid hunter.

On one hunting trip Randy Skopinski happened to down a mother mallard. But he had a tender heart and brought home her duckling.

Now it so happens that the Carpenters had a pet duck named Shingebiss II (although not indexed, Shingebiss I is described in For Spacious Skies). On a lark, Teresa and I decided to introduce the Carpenters' large white domestic duck to the mallard in the Skopinskis' back yard.

After the two birds engaged in some pleasant quacking and Teresa and I grew bored, I lugged the sizable Shingebiss back to to the Carpenter courtyard at 202 Sleepy Hollow Court, where she had a nice pond.

A few days later, however, Shingebiss II left the Carpenter courtyard, waddled out through the Carpenter side yard, past the trampoline, through the Kinkaids' backyard, and finally (in the most perilous part of her journey) crossed Driftwood Place to the Skopinskis' house. She returned to Sleepy Hollow Court rather promptly with her new friend.

Shingebiss and her friend eventually--that summer IIRC--decamped for the Timber Cove canal and then to the vast water wonderland called Taylor Lake. The following summer, having survived gar attack and boat traffic, they returned to the canal with their ducklings: astonishing-looking hybrids with splotches of iridescent green and odd neck-bandings on large white patches of feathers.

I seem to recall the population grew quite large over time although I have no information on the 21st-century descendants of this splendid pair of visionary ducks.

Before I forget: the Glenns kept a bin filled with corn on the back patio. If any passing neighbor saw our very own family of feral pet ducks in the canal, nosing around for food, they knew where the corn was and fed the ducks accordingly.

And the storm drain? That's another duck story, perhaps for another post.

SBIV-B
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From: Buford, GA USA
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posted 03-12-2009 02:59 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for SBIV-B     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Ms. Stoever, when is the last time you have been in your old neighborhood and seen your house?

Is it (and the other homes there) still in good condition? Do they look the same or radically different?

Brock
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posted 03-12-2009 07:25 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Brock   Click Here to Email Brock     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I google mapped Sleepy Hollow Ct, in Seabrook, Tx as I don't think Timber Cove is an actual town. If that is the right street you can look at the street view and it looks like a very nice neighborhood today. Some of the homes are very 60s but it looks like a very nice street with big yards. I can imagine kids would have enjoyed growing up there.

KC Stoever
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posted 03-12-2009 10:30 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for KC Stoever   Click Here to Email KC Stoever     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Thank you for asking about Timber Cove and the Carpenter and Glenn homes on Sleepy Hollow Court.

If you are interested in a general introduction to Timber Cove in the 1960s, I really do recommend For Spacious Skies, the Carpenter biography. You have to wade through a lot of Project Mercury history, but the chapters at the end devote a good bit of text to Seabrook ca. 1962-1967 and to TImber Cove in particular.

The short version is that TImber Cove, now celebrating its 50th anniversary, was home to oil executives who wanted to live in Harris County for the schools. NASA was an unexpected windfall for Timber Cove. NASA astronauts, administrators, and engineers came looking for lots in about 1961.

To answer the particular question about when I was last at the Carpenter house: I was last there in 1991. I had joined my husband, Tom, on a business trip to Houston and we spent a Saturday nosing around Seabrook and TImber Cove.

I knocked on the door at 202 Sleepy Hollow and introduced myself to the owner, a retired NASA engineer whom I believe is still the current owner. He could not have been more gracious to me. I have corresponded with his very kind son.

The home was virtually unchanged. The current owner had kept the original front door, hand-carved in Mexico, in the garage. The blue paint had been changed in the girls room, for which he sweetly apologized, but virtually everything else was identical.

Is the house nice? Yes. Rene Carpenter designed it, as Annie Glenn designed her house next door, based on the knowledge of 21 previous temporary domiciles and the well-informed dreams that Navy wives dream: "if I had a perfect... kitchen/family room/living room/bedroom..." what would it look like?

Working with an eager-to-please builder-developer, Marsters Construction, and in possession of lovely waterfront lots, Rene and Annie each produced fine three-bedroom, one-study homes that had a formal dining rooms, a living room, family room, and front, side, and back yards. (The Schirras and Grissoms chose homes with backyard pools.) Oh, and a utility rooms, for the laundry, and two car garages.

The Glenn home had bedrooms and a study all extending off a long common hallway that trailed off to the right off the common rooms. The Carpenter home had the three bedrooms anchoring three of the four major corners of the house.

What they each had was a wall of floor to ceiling windows facing out toward the canal and Taylor Lake. I can't remember the direction the windows faced.

And the kitchens were wonderful.

Rene chose Thermador double ovens with a cooktop off to the right. She also had an integrated countertop blender mechanism (built in flush to the countertop), which I thought was very ~space age~. A dishwasher, of course, and a double sink.

It was a family home, a ranch house built with brick, that I recall being very comfortable. Not ostentatious. Not better than any house in the neighborhood, not worse.

I don't remember any ostentatious houses. Those came later, as I recall from my trip in 1991. Someone built unsightly two-story vaguely Norman-style manses on the once-beautiful pasture that used surround TImber Cove.

Cattle used to graze there and all the Timber Cove children, age 5 to 16, used to play among the hay bales stacked, unused, in the fields.

SBIV-B
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From: Buford, GA USA
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posted 03-13-2009 08:34 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for SBIV-B     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Thanks Ms. Stoever for relaying that story - by the way, I did enjoy your book about your dad.

Sounds like the older homes of the original 7 and Gemini, Apollo guys are being taken care of.

Coastwatcher
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posted 04-26-2009 12:42 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Coastwatcher   Click Here to Email Coastwatcher     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
New Timber Cove tour dates are July 17-18, 2009. The website for the event is here but doesn't appear to be up and running quite yet.

pokey
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posted 05-04-2009 08:39 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for pokey   Click Here to Email pokey     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I arrived in Clear Lake back in 1985. In the late 80's I would occasionally ride a friend's horse in a large pasture across the street from the Timber Cove entrance. The stable and pasture are now houses like KC said. I very much miss the way it used to be.

Look forward to the Timber Cove home tour this summer.

divemaster
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posted 07-19-2010 08:46 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for divemaster   Click Here to Email divemaster     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I was just rereading "For Spacious Skies" and came upon the part where Rene Carpenter put together a group to build a community pool in the shape of a Mercury spacecraft. A google earth search didn't show anything - but I could be looking for a needle in a haystack. I wonder if it still exists?

sch61
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posted 07-19-2010 02:50 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for sch61   Click Here to Email sch61     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by divemaster:
I wonder if it still exists?
Perhaps this is it - Google Earth:
29º 34' 43.67" N 95º 02' 55.00" W

divemaster
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From: ridgefield, ct
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posted 07-19-2010 04:50 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for divemaster   Click Here to Email divemaster     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Yup - that's it. But Francis French beat you to it. Another repository for useless information.

It must be an interesting site after all of these years.

liquidpilgrim
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posted 08-06-2010 04:56 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for liquidpilgrim   Click Here to Email liquidpilgrim     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by carmelo:
From the LIFE magazine Google archives, this is the house of Stafford, Young or Cernan?
Probably the Young's... Really cool place.

golddog
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posted 10-05-2010 09:39 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for golddog     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I was wondering if anyone knows some of the former addresses that astronauts lived in Timber Cove, El Lago etc. I am visiting that area in January next year and would like to take the opportunity to drive past any addresses - perhaps to try and envisage what is must have been like back in the glory days of the space program.

Editor's note: Threads merged.

jasonelam
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posted 10-06-2010 09:21 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for jasonelam   Click Here to Email jasonelam     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by sch61:
Perhaps this is it - Google Earth
When I saw the picture of the Mercury Pool, it reminded me of one I saw (and swam in) when I was a kid visiting my grandparents in Central Texas: Google Earth 30.311128,-96.64543. Perhaps the same designer or construction company?

Michael Davis
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posted 10-06-2010 11:13 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Michael Davis   Click Here to Email Michael Davis     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
When Alan Shepard became a millionaire during the 1960’s, he moved into the River Oaks section of Houston. I live close to that neighborhood and have always been curious about just which house he lived in. Does anyone have records of Shepard’s exact address in River Oaks?

golddog
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posted 12-28-2010 06:49 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for golddog     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I have just finished my much anticipated visit to Houston and the JSC and whilst there I did a trip through Timber Cove and El Lago, felt very surreal to visit Sleepy Hollow and the Space Center after reading about the area all these years - Australia is a long way away!!!

I took some photos of the Mercury Capsule shaped swimming pool, which I'll share soon.

Henry Heatherbank
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posted 12-28-2010 09:56 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Henry Heatherbank     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by sch61:
Perhaps this is it - Google Earth...
This Google Earth shot also shows another Mercury spacecraft-structure in the same yard as the swimming pool, closer to the canal. It seems to have a raised edge that is casting a shadow. Any ideas what it is? Sandpit maybe? Does anybody know if that is/was original, or constructed after the pool?

golddog
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posted 12-29-2010 07:36 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for golddog     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
These are some of the photos I took at Timber Cove. The pool is still there, quite unique, and the swimming team is still called the Timber Cove Dolphins. It looks like a really nice place to live.

dabolton
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posted 02-07-2011 06:15 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for dabolton   Click Here to Email dabolton     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I lived in Clear Lake Forest (across the street from Timber Cove) in the 80's. I used to hang out in Timber Cove all time. I only learned of its role in history in the late 90's. I was quite surprised. I wonder how many of those former astronaut homes I was in. Its now surrounded by some GIANT multi-million dollar houses on the east side.

ZeroG
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posted 06-24-2013 11:29 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for ZeroG   Click Here to Email ZeroG     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Map of astronaut homes in El Lago, from vacation back home to Clear Lake.

YankeeClipper
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posted 06-24-2013 12:53 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for YankeeClipper   Click Here to Email YankeeClipper     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Awesome map - thanks for posting it!

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