September 2019 Mod of the Month

September 29, 2019
2316 Harlem Street, Englewood, Houston, TX 77020

Please help us find a new preservation-minded owner for an exceptional modern design located 4 miles northeast of downtown Houston. A different twist on vintage modern architecture was recently rediscovered and refreshed in Houston’s historic Fifth Ward.  Join us Sunday, September 29, 2019 for a Mod of the Month open house event from 2 – 4 PM.

The design is thought to be the work of the well-regarded architect John S. Chase.  It was built in 1953 for Milton and Carrie Curtis in the Englewood neighborhood, near the Houston Ship Channel portion of Buffalo Bayou. Milton Curtis was associated with the International Longshoremen’s Association Local 872.  John Chase designed ILA halls for several locals in the area, including Local 872 in 1956. The Curtis house was long a gathering place and symbol of pride for the neighborhood.

John S. Chase (1925 – 20012) was from Baltimore, Maryland.  After serving in WWII, he earned a degree in architecture from Hampton University in Virginia. In 1952, he earned a Masters Degree in Architecture from the University of Texas, becoming the first black person to do so. He soon became the first registered black architect in Texas.  Unable to find work, he started his own firm and specialized in the design of churches and houses.  His work was inspired mostly by Frank Lloyd Wright’s Usonian ideals.  Later works include a number of buildings for the TSU campus, the largest collection of his work.

Near Sunday’s MOTM, don’t miss Chase’s First Shiloh Baptist Church of 1955 located at 4420 Lyons Avenue complete with a stunning minimalistic tower.