(Above photo: The Matzke house, situated along the north bank of Langham Creek, Sep. 2015)
At the Northwest corner of State Highway 6 and West Little York Rd. is a giant 47 acre tract of land along the bank of Langham Creek with an old, rustic plantation style home situated deep on the property. This property has been the topic of much historic discussion online due to its sharp contrast to the heavy commercial and suburban development surrounding the land. While little information and details are available, and no photographs of the interior of the home have been published, a lot of things have been learned about this historic homestead through the sharing of information online in the historical community, as well as some solid facts from public records.
The home was constructed in 1940 in what has been called a Gulf Coast Cottage/Colonial style. At the time of its construction, the Addicks Reservoir was being planned and constructed further south near the Addicks town site. Numerous sources confirmed that the house was built using reclaimed materials from abandoned homes within the Addicks Reservoir property boundary. Homes and farms that had belonged to displaced residents of Addicks. Some of the first property records listed the owner as A. Matzke. The original property boundary once extended as far north as FM 529. Keep in mind, when this home was built, there was no West Little York or Highway 6 running through the area. Even Addicks-Satsuma did not run the same route as present day Highway 6, so the creek itself seemed to be the basis for the location of the home. Highway 6 did not push through until the mid 1960's, and it did so behind a wall of trees that kept the home out of view from the main highway for years.
At some point between 1950 and 1976, the home was owned by Lawrence Marcus (of Neiman-Marcus fame), who opened up a polo farm on the north side of the property. Records show that Lawrence Marcus sold the property to a Henry Sauer in 1976. The property remained very private and well hidden until the early 2000's. Something happened, possibly a death of a title holder, I'm not sure....and the house became property of an estate. Over the next few years, it changed hands several times, and some of the land along the front of Highway 6 was sold off for development. In early 2005, bulldozers cleared the line of trees along Highway 6 that had kept the house hidden for so long.
As the house was exposed to plain view from Highway 6, it began to catch the attention of local residents, historians, and architects who had previously never noticed it. The clearing of trees also revealed several small sheds or cabins that had been shrouded in foliage for decades. There were stern warnings painted on the cabins warning trespassers that they would be shot without hesitation. People who have visited the house to gather historical information have also stated that the homeowner was not very keen on strangers on his property for any reason, and every visitor was treated as an unwelcome trespasser. While I can respect the desire for privacy, you can't have a house like that on Highway 6 and NOT expect people to be curious about it.
At some point, the homeowner was renting out rooms to people, and I met one in a bar back in 2004 who told me the place was haunted. He would wake up and find his personal belongings moved around the room in strange arrangements, and also claimed to have heard footsteps in the hallways on nights when nobody else was around to make such sounds. He also told me the place had a huge wet bar inside. While I would love an opportunity to see the inside of the place, for now I will have to remain content with photographing the house from a safe distance.
As for the details on the home, the rustic look was by design. The house features a wide-panel tin roof that has rusted over time and acquired a nice patina. The house is 7,676 square feet inside. There are six bedrooms with full bathrooms, 2 half-bathrooms, and five various other rooms (11 total) inside the house. The property also includes a wooden pole barn, and a frame detached garage.