The second surviving segment of Hempstead Rd. is located between Eldridge Parkway and Huffmeister Rd. The plan for the 290 freeway called for the main lanes to curve around the SH-6 intersection, leaving a short portion of Hempstead Rd. intact. This road served as an alternate access road to the many businesses in the area, and was not very well maintained. By the end of 2013, the road surface on what I call the "Cy-Fair" segment of Hempstead Rd. was badly deteriorated. In 2014 they began tearing up the westbound lanes of Hempstead Rd. near SH-6, and construction had begun on the northeast corner of Hempstead Rd. & Huffmeister, where a new warehouse and business park would be. The old exit to Huffmeister Rd. from 290 eastbound, which also used some of Hempstead Rd., was closed off, and the old road surface removed.
https://webzoom.freewebs.com/theoldcopperfield/May 2013a 027.jpg : The railroad crossing at SH-6 and Hempstead Rd., facing east, May 2013.
https://webzoom.freewebs.com/theoldcopperfield/May 2013a 029.jpg : The railroad crossing at SH-6 and Hempstead Rd., facing west, May 2013.
https://webzoom.freewebs.com/theoldcopperfield/May 2013a 034.jpg : An eastward view of Hempstead Rd. and the parallel railroad corridor from SH-6, May 2013.
https://webzoom.freewebs.com/theoldcopperfield/May 2013a 037.jpg : Another eastward view along Hempstead Rd. (section 2), zoomed in, May 2013.
https://webzoom.freewebs.com/theoldcopperfield/Feb 2012a 045.jpg : A great view of Hempstead Rd. from the SH-6 overpass, facing west, Feb. 2012.
https://webzoom.freewebs.com/theoldcopperfield/Feb 2012a 046.jpg : Another overhead view of Hempstead Rd. from SH-6, showing the intersection below, Feb. 2012.
https://webzoom.freewebs.com/theoldcopperfield/May 2013a 039.jpg : This is the point at which Hempstead Rd. ends, and the 290 frontage road begins. The facility to the right was previously known as Daniel Valve, though the building has been around since at least the early 1960's. Right at the entrance to the facility, Hempstead Rd. ends, and merges seamlessly with the 290 eastbound frontage road.
https://webzoom.freewebs.com/theoldcopperfield/May 2013a 041.jpg : A close-up view at the separation between Hempstead Rd. and the 290 frontage road. The original black asphalt surface ends abruptly, and becomes the grooved concrete we are used to in modern roadways. A haphazard filling of asphalt between the two road surfaces has been the band-aid on this issue for decades. Just one of those little imperfections that was never sorted out during the development of 290 in the 1980's.
https://webzoom.freewebs.com/theoldcopperfield/Nov 2013a 045.jpg : Eastbound on Hempstead Rd. approaching Huffmeister Rd., Nov. 2013.
https://webzoom.freewebs.com/theoldcopperfield/Nov 2013a 046.jpg : Hempstead Rd. at Huffmeister, with the lot on the left freshly cleared of all trees, Nov. 2013.
https://webzoom.freewebs.com/theoldcopperfield/Nov 2013a 047.jpg : The taco stand at the corner of Hempstead and Huffmeiser, Nov. 2013.
https://webzoom.freewebs.com/theoldcopperfield/Nov 2013a 053.jpg : The taco stand again, but facing back along Hempstead Rd., Nov. 2013
https://webzoom.freewebs.com/theoldcopperfield/Nov 2013a 050.jpg : The opposite corner of Hempstead and Huffmeister, before Gateway Northwest business park development, Nov. 2013.
https://webzoom.freewebs.com/theoldcopperfield/Nov 2013a 051.jpg : A view of the cleared land for the business park at Huffmeister.
https://webzoom.freewebs.com/theoldcopperfield/Nov 2013a 052.jpg : Another view of the property line along Hempstead Rd. where Gateway Northwest business park was later built, Nov. 2013.
https://webzoom.freewebs.com/theoldcopperfield/Dec 2013a 004.JPG : Property line along Hempstead Rd. facing Huffmeister, Dec. 24, 2013.
https://webzoom.freewebs.com/theoldcopperfield/Dec 2013a 005.JPG : Property line along Hempstead Rd. facing Huffmeister, Dec. 24, 2013.
https://webzoom.freewebs.com/theoldcopperfield/Dec 2013a 006.JPG : Property line along Hempstead Rd. facing Huffmeister (290 overpass in the far distance), Dec. 24, 2013.
https://webzoom.freewebs.com/theoldcopperfield/Dec 2013a 007.JPG : Future site of Gateway Northwest business park, Dec. 24, 2013.
https://webzoom.freewebs.com/theoldcopperfield/Dec 2013a 010.JPG : One of a few very old concrete crossovers along Hempstead Rd. at the site of Gateway Northwest business park.
https://webzoom.freewebs.com/theoldcopperfield/Dec 2013a 011.JPG : Two of the old driveways. I am not sure what they once led to, but it's gone for sure now. Dec. 24, 2013.
https://webzoom.freewebs.com/theoldcopperfield/Dec 2013a 013.JPG : Another shot of the old driveways, Dec. 24, 2013.
https://webzoom.freewebs.com/theoldcopperfield/Dec 2013a 012.JPG : A shot of the cleared tract of land taken from the 290 frontage road, Dec. 24, 2013.
https://webzoom.freewebs.com/theoldcopperfield/Dec 2013a 008.JPG : Facing east along Hempstead Rd. between Huffmeister and SH-6, Dec. 24, 2013.
https://webzoom.freewebs.com/theoldcopperfield/Dec 2013a 009.JPG : Facing east along Hempstead Rd. between Huffmeister and SH-6, Dec. 24, 2013.
https://webzoom.freewebs.com/theoldcopperfield/Dec 2013a 015.JPG : Facing west along Hempstead Rd. from Huffmeister intersection, Dec. 24, 2013.
https://webzoom.freewebs.com/theoldcopperfield/Dec 2014a 049.JPG : Eastbound on Hempstead Rd. following the branch off from the 290 frontage road near Huffmeister, Dec. 2014.
https://webzoom.freewebs.com/theoldcopperfield/Dec 2014a 050.JPG : The new Gateway Northwest warehouse/office complex at the northeast corner of Hempstead & Huffmeister, Dec. 2014.
https://webzoom.freewebs.com/theoldcopperfield/Dec 2014a 051.JPG : Facing east along Hempstead Rd. from Huffmeister signal, Dec. 2014.
https://webzoom.freewebs.com/theoldcopperfield/Dec 2014a 052.JPG : Crossing the Hempstead/Huffmeister intersection facing north along Huffmeister towards 290, Dec. 2014.
https://webzoom.freewebs.com/theoldcopperfield/Dec 2014a 053.JPG : Eastbound on Hempstead Rd. at the SH-6 overpass, Dec. 2014. Construction has reduced Hempstead to two lanes and has stalled at this point.
https://webzoom.freewebs.com/theoldcopperfield/Oct 2015a 066.JPG : Hempstead Road, facing back towards the SH-6 overpass, Oct. 2015. Construction on a new direct connector ramp is in progress.
https://webzoom.freewebs.com/theoldcopperfield/Oct 2015a 067.JPG : Hempstead Road, facing inbound during construction of new direct connector ramp from SH-6 North to 290 East, Oct. 2015.
https://webzoom.freewebs.com/theoldcopperfield/Oct 2015a 068.JPG : A new Hyatt hotel being constructed along Hempstead Rd. behind Chuy's and Harris County Smokehouse, Oct. 2015.
https://webzoom.freewebs.com/theoldcopperfield/Jan 2016a 066.JPG : Progress on the new Hyatt hotel on Hempstead Rd., Jan. 2016.
https://webzoom.freewebs.com/theoldcopperfield/Jan 2016a 067.JPG : The new Hyatt hotel going up alongside the recently opened Harris County Smokehouse, Jan. 2016.
https://webzoom.freewebs.com/theoldcopperfield/May 2016a 082.jpg : Progress on the new hotel in May 2016.
https://webzoom.freewebs.com/theoldcopperfield/May 2016a 083.jpg : Progress on the new hotel in May 2016.
https://webzoom.freewebs.com/theoldcopperfield/Aug 2016a 067.JPG : This new direct connector ramp being built is all that remains of this end of the second segment of Hempstead Rd.
https://webzoom.freewebs.com/theoldcopperfield/Aug 2016a 068.JPG : A zoomed in view facing inbound along the 290 corridor from what used to be Hempstead Rd. It is now just a construction site.
https://webzoom.freewebs.com/theoldcopperfield/Aug 2016a 069.JPG : Facing west along the Hempstead Road corridor towards the SH-6 overpass. The hotel on the right is nearly finished, but the state of Hempstead Rd. is poor. One end is a construction zone, the other end is missing a huge section of the westbound lanes on either side of SH-6, which had been in that configuration for a few years at this point.
The fourth section of Hempstead Rd. begins in Waller, Texas, just a few blocks east of Hegar Rd. At this point, the main lanes of US 290 veer off to the north of the Hempstead Rd. alignment, leaving behind the rest of the old road all the way into Hempstead, where it ends. Prior to 1997, the 290 main lanes did not extend into Waller, and Hempstead Rd. was still the main highway through the city. All traffic heading to and from Austin had to travel through the heart of Waller, as well as Cypress.
Today, the fourth section of Hempstead Highway is one that can easily be bypassed by travelers, but also one of the most interesting for history buffs. At this point, I do not have exact dates of construction for Hempstead Highway, but it appears to have once been an improvement on existing roadways, much like the Aggie Expressway will one day be an improvement on the existing State Highway 249.
If you have ever been to the heart of Waller, Texas, you will know that on the south side of the railroad tracks, running parallel to Hempstead Rd., there is a narrow, two lane road known as Old Washington Rd., which serves as an access road to many residences and commercial properties in Waller. It should also be noted that early 20th century maps of Harris County show the Hempstead Rd. corridor labeled simply "Washington Rd." all the way into Houston. The name Washington comes from George Washington Hockley, not the first president of the United States. Traveling inbound towards central Houston, Hempstead Rd. ends and becomes Washington St. just before crossing over I-10. I suppose at one time, the entire length of road between central Houston and Waller was known as Washington Rd., and was later superseded by Hempstead Rd. in the 20th century. After Hempstead Rd. took over, the remaining segment of Washington Rd. in Waller County was renamed "Old Washington Rd."
Traveling west from Waller, Old Washington Rd. ends, and is continued by another similar road called "Old Houston Hwy", which leads directly into the town of Hempstead, Tx. Both Old Washington and Old Houston Roads are two lane, asphalt roads, with reduced speed limits, and limited development along the shoulders. In fact, most of Old Houston Rd. leading into Hempstead looks very much like it would have looked 70 years ago. With the right kind of eyes, it starts to become clear that this little side street was, at one time, a major highway to Houston, back in the days before television sets, and before cars had huge tail fins.
https://webzoom.freewebs.com/theoldcopperfield/HH (142).jpg : Intersection of Hempstead Rd. and Hegar Rd. in Hockley, Tx, Feb. 2011. This Exxon station/corner store, which has since closed, was once a popular stop for travelers on Hempstead Rd. heading to places like Austin. This intersection was bypassed by the 290 main lanes during the late 1990's
https://webzoom.freewebs.com/theoldcopperfield/HH (144).jpg : Typical roadside scenery along this section of Hempstead Rd....old barns, farm houses & power lines.
https://webzoom.freewebs.com/theoldcopperfield/HH (150).jpg : An old building on the side of Hempstead Rd., Feb. 2011. It has since been demolished.
https://webzoom.freewebs.com/theoldcopperfield/HH (153).jpg : Westbound on Hempstead Rd. between Hockley and Prairie View, Feb. 2011.
https://webzoom.freewebs.com/theoldcopperfield/HH (154).jpg : Westbound on Hempstead Rd. between Hockley and Prairie View, Feb. 2011.
https://webzoom.freewebs.com/theoldcopperfield/Mar 2012 071.jpg : The roadside scenery in the heart of Waller, Tx, along Hempstead Rd., Mar. 2012.
https://webzoom.freewebs.com/theoldcopperfield/Mar 2012 072.jpg : Blue Bonnet Antiques, built out of an obviously older building in Waller, Mar. 2012.
https://webzoom.freewebs.com/theoldcopperfield/Mar 2012 073.jpg : Old sign for the Kopper Kettle, an old restaurant in Waller, Tx, Mar. 2012. I am currently in search of more information on this restaurant, when it flourished, and when it shut down. The building certainly looks more like a warehouse than a diner, so I am not quite sure how to explain this beautiful abandonment, other than to say that the sign itself was worth immortalizing, in the event that someone tears it down.
https://webzoom.freewebs.com/theoldcopperfield/Mar 2012 076.jpg : Another view of the Kopper Kettle sign with a vintage filter applied to it, Mar. 2012.
https://webzoom.freewebs.com/theoldcopperfield/Mar 2012 077.jpg : Another view of the Kopper Kettle sign in black and white, Mar. 2012.
On my way down Hempstead Rd. in March 2012, I stopped into this auto salvage yard I saw called Mike's Auto Parts, on the outskirts of Hempstead. My attention was drawn to it by an old 1958 Buick sedan parked in front of the building. I asked the owner behind the counter if he specialized in parts for older vehicles, as I had a 1975 Dodge at home that I was always collecting spare parts for. Unfortunately, he did not have very many older cars left in his inventory, but I got an informative story out of him anyway. He explained to me the regret of having crushed so many older cars after scrap prices went up, because now that he had crushed and recycled most of his old iron, collectors from all over were coming to his yard looking for old parts...sometimes people with lots of money to support their hot rodding habits. He then told me about the plans to develop the Hempstead corridor drastically over the next ten or more years, and how it would likely force some businesses like his to close. He had been running his salvage operation for decades, but the end loomed on the horizon for his salvage yard, and big changes were expected to come his way.
https://webzoom.freewebs.com/theoldcopperfield/Mar 2012 080.jpg : Mike's Auto Parts, just outside of Hempstead, Tx on Hempstead Rd.
https://webzoom.freewebs.com/theoldcopperfield/Mar 2012 082.jpg : The old 1958 Buick sitting outside Mike's Auto Parts.
https://webzoom.freewebs.com/theoldcopperfield/Mar 2012 083.jpg : Another photo of the 1958 Buick.
https://webzoom.freewebs.com/theoldcopperfield/Mar 2012 084.jpg : Another photo of the 1958 Buick.
HEMPSTEAD, TX (THE TOWN)
The following pictures were taken in February 2011 in the town of Hempstead, to show the numerous older buildings and houses that have been converted, retrofitted, or repurposed for present day businesses. Unlike Houston, which prefers to demolish and rebuild, most of Hempstead's infrastructure is from the early to mid 20th century. This is also where Hempstead Rd. comes to an end, and intersects with State Highway 159.
https://webzoom.freewebs.com/theoldcopperfield/HH (155).jpg : A Wal-Mart store along Hempstead Rd. that still retains its original "non supercenter" design.
https://webzoom.freewebs.com/theoldcopperfield/HH (170).jpg : Hempstead's old water tower, which is identical to the water towers in many other rural Texas towns.
https://webzoom.freewebs.com/theoldcopperfield/HH (184).jpg : Waller County Courthouse.
https://webzoom.freewebs.com/theoldcopperfield/HH (172).jpg : Looking back down Hempstead Rd. near SH159, the end of Hempstead Rd.
https://webzoom.freewebs.com/theoldcopperfield/HH (182).jpg : Abandoned Shell station across from Lawrence Marshall dealership.
ABANDONED GAS STATION IN HEMPSTEAD, TX.
I came across this long abandoned gas station, located near the vacant Lawrence Marshall car dealership in Hempstead, Tx. The building had no markings, but I would guess it to be from the 1950's era, and has probably been vacant for several decades. Most of the roof has fallen in, and the old drive-on lift is still intact.
Not abandoned, just in need of major restoration, is this old inn, also in the heart of Hempstead.
LAWRENCE MARSHALL DEALERSHIP, HEMPSTEAD TX.
This massive sprawling auto dealership was once Lawrence Marshall Chevrolet, one of the biggest auto dealers outside of Houston. Lawrence Marshall was a major source of employment for the people of Hempstead, and after it closed down following the 2008 recession, and the subsequent closure of many General Motors dealerships, the town suffered heavily. Today, the massive lot sits alongside the frontage road of US 290 at the continued portion of State Highway 6.
OLD HOUSTON HIGHWAY
Parallel to Hempstead Rd. is its predecessor, Old Houston Highway, a simple two lane asphalt highway that spans between the towns of Waller and Hempstead. Most of this road remains relatively unchanged when compared to the growth seen along Hempstead Road, and although Old Houston Highway is not part of Harris County, I thought it was an excellent example of an early road that one might have traveled on in west Houston during the pre-war days. Because of the lack of modernization along the roadsides, it is very much like stepping back in time. The trees are the same. The railroad bridges and power lines are the same. Almost none of today's modern infrastructure has spoiled this classic arterial road.
https://webzoom.freewebs.com/theoldcopperfield/Mar 2012 099.jpg : Looking east along Old Houston Hwy. near Hempstead, TX., Mar. 2012.
https://webzoom.freewebs.com/theoldcopperfield/Mar 2012 104.jpg : An old deck truss railroad bridge hiding among the trees along Old Houston Highway, Mar. 2012. The bridge is located between 359 and Hempstead.
https://webzoom.freewebs.com/theoldcopperfield/Mar 2012 106.jpg : Another view of the railroad bridge.
https://webzoom.freewebs.com/theoldcopperfield/Mar 2012 052.jpg : Black & white photo of the railroad bridge.
https://webzoom.freewebs.com/theoldcopperfield/Mar 2012 046.jpg : Black & white photo of Old Houston Highway, eastbound near Waller, TX.