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 Texas : Towns A-Z / Gulf Coast / Ghost Towns : North Houston

NORTH HOUSTON , TEXAS
AKA Scoville

Texas Ghost Town
Harris County, Texas Gulf Coast
Southwest of State Highway 149
On the Railroad Tracks of the Burlington-Rock Island Line
10 Miles NW of Downtown Houston
Population: 0

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Does this look like a ghost town to you?
Photo Courtesy Ken Rudine, May 2010
Photographer's Note:
North Houston is on or near the same railroad as Louetta and Kohrville. The area is now known as Willowood. The pictured area is on Fallbrook near the intersection with FM249 housing a volunteer fire department and sheriff's office. I always thought a nearby road named N Houston-Rosslyn was a road headed a compass direction from Rosslyn (near Highway 290 and W 43rd St.) But like so many area roads they are named for the termination points. - Ken Rudine, May 2010

History in a Pecan Shell

While most communities fight annexation, the residents here actually asked Houston to include them (as an election ward) after they were left stranded by a hurricane in the early days of the 20th century.

It was first known as Tomball to honor the man the present city of Tomball is named after. When a rival railroad named their station Tomball in 1907, the town then took the name of Scoville (orign unknown).

A post office opened under that name in for about one year – starting in 1908. In 1910 the post office was replaced by the North Houston post office (which closed in 1928).

Mail was thereafter rerouted through Fairbanks.

The town of North Houston had but a single store in 1914 and remained in that underdeveloped state through the Great Depression. The Handbook of Texas reports that in the 1980s, all that remained of North Houston were “two abandoned railroad stations and a few scattered dwellings.”
Harris County Texas 1920s map
1920s Harris County map showing North Houston (above "A' in 'HARRIS')
Photo courtesy Texas General Land Office
The "Lost" Towns of NW Harris County:
Kohrville | Louetta | North Houston | Satsuma


If these are ghost towns, why are there so many people here?


Although they now only exist as sign names at large intersections (Barker-Cypress, Bammel-North Houston, Aldine-Bender, Alief-Clodine, et. al.). It may surprise non-natives that all of these names once represented once struggling or proudly self-sufficient towns. Even the inside-the-loop street of Crosstimbers was once a separate town.

While most people associate ghost towns with ruins and desolation - these ghosts live among us. Were aisles seven and eight at your local HEB once a syrup mill? Was Radio Shack once a livery stable? Best Buy a cornfield or cotton gin?

Are there unmarked graves under the floor of your favorite Mexican restaurant?

The short answer is this: In many cases these villages were already ghost towns - or so close to being ghost towns that you could hardly tell the difference. Most had their life-blood drained from them after WWII with the migration of rural families to Houston. The phenomenon was statewide. Dallas and Ft. Worth have their fair share of postwar "absorbed" ghost towns - as do smaller cities.

Then "Edge City" happened. The relentless march of strip centers, subdivisions and gated communities overtook these former towns until only the names and cemeteries remained.

While the subject is worthy of further investigation (exactly where is the Lily White cemetery behind Memorial City Shopping Center?), we're happy to include this topic, made possible by generous grant of time, sweat and reseach by the Team Rudine.

- Editor
"15 Minutes of Separation"
May 12, 2010 column
North Houston, Texas
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