Thursday, January 29, 2015

When I was a kid growing up in Cypress during the 60s, there were only three places to go without driving into Houston.

     There was Ripper's store at the triangle plot of land at Huffmeister and Telge and the Rippers lived in a house behind the store. Across the road from the store were the cousins land that fronted on Telge Rd..  Ripper's Store was a little white building with a front door facing the triangle parking lot. The store area in the front had one free standing shelf with a few can goods and a cold meat case with cold cuts like Bologna...sometimes. Like many old stores back in the day, it was mostly a bar in the back with a side door facing Telge Rd. where the beer drinkers would park.

     Juergen's store was another destination heading west, at the end of Spring Cypress Road and Facing Hempstead Hwy..
It was half grocery/dry goods and half bar, with a long bar running from the front to the back on the right side of the building and the grocery/dry goods area was on the left half. There were two doors which you could enter and there was only a partial wall in between the two sides. The dry goods side on the left had mostly items left over from days gone by and they weren't stocking anything new anymore. I would love to go back into the left back corner where the old sewing items were, everything looked antique to me.  There was a meat counter on the left side at the back of the store near the center dividing wall. If we were lucky they would have some beef or other cold cuts but it was always minimal and you bought what they had because there was nowhere else to go.
When microwaves were invented in the 70s the bar began having pre-made microwave sandwiches and soft drinks and if there were no adults in that area we were allowed to sit on the bar stools at the long bar and order a sandwich. I always loved all of the old neon bar signs, they had a huge collection of them, I remember. I remember that the younger Juergens couple lived upstairs over the store and the older Juergens couple lived in the old house to the west.  There was a little one room white building to the right or east of the store which I think was a barber shop at one time but became a liquor store too.
Funny enough I remember that neither the Juergens or the Rippers had any children.

     Then there was Hot Wells Swimming pool on 290 which was called Hampstead Hwy back then. It was located south of Hempstead Hwy over the RR tracks. The summers were great in the huge swimming pool that was as big as a football field. The water was always warm and I remember that there was a little room off to the side of the pool where all of the old ladies would go into and sit in a tub. The water was very hot with steam coming off of it. It was probably one of the first hot-tubs.

When I was a child, I spent hours in the woods building forts, bike trails and caves on the side of Dry Gully. We would go into the Ranch next door and fish in the lake which is now in Coles Crossing, it was swarming with Water Moccasins.  Although the lake was built over, I still found a little puddle that is the remnants of the old lake in between two houses. There was a second lake more to the east on the property.

The woods were full of animals. Deer, red fox, bobcats, wolves and coyote. We had a wooden bridge back in the woods that my Grandfather built to cross Dry Gully and it was as large as any bridge on a roadway. I would love to hike back in the woods and sit on the bridge for hours and watch the animals come out to drink water out of Dry Gully.

There was an old one room house on the Ranch where an old man who worked for us once lived and he would helped us take care of our cows. His name was Moses. We still had an old hand pump water well which I loved to use because the water was nice and cold in the summer. The little house was being used to store hay in the 60s.

There was another interesting little old man who lived on Skinner Road in a one room white house in the 60s. It was the only house on Skinner Rd. in between Spring-Cypress and Hempstead Hwy.  My father gave him his first television for Christmas one year after he finally got electricity. His name was John Solomon.  John was the son of slaves and he would sometimes tell us stories. When we found road kill we would bring it to John and he would cook it up.  He traveled around Cypress on his tractor and would pick-up odd jobs. In the 50s John did something bad for a man who had a couple of acres down the road from us. He helped the man move the fence onto our property and stole 14 acres. My Grandfather was dying so nothing was done about it right away. That land is located where the big Cy-Fair complex sits as well as the US Post Office which are near the corner of Spring-Cypress and Skinner Rd.
My father forgave the little old man, and still bought him the television for Christmas.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

The Baker Ranch now encompasses the Subdivisions of  Western Trails which was developed by Joseph Baker's grandson George Baker, and Coles Crossing.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

J.W. (Joseph) Baker

J. W. Baker purchased 2,000 acres of land during the late 1800's in Cypress, Texas.
His Ranch was located approximately 1 1/2 miles east of Cypress on the south side of Spring-Cypress Road.

The exact location of the Ranch began on Spring-Cypress Rd. near Skinner Rd. heading east on Spring-Cypress Rd. crossing over Dry Gully, approx. 1 1/2 mi. to Huffmeister Rd., turning south(right) onto Huffmeister Rd. and following for 1/3 mi.; then turning south again onto the right fork named Telge Rd. Following Telge Rd. 1 1/2 miles past Jarvis Rd. (which did not exist yet), then turning west through the property, over Dry Gully toward Skinner Road again.
J. W. Baker ranched cattle here as did three more generations of Bakers to follow.

Mr. Baker was among the first born in Houston during the years when Texas was "The Republic of Texas".