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0 atrium from second story double exposure

0 atrium from second story double exposure 03 blurry room with chandeliers 04 basement bar 05 dining room 06 atrium and brick planters 01 atrium from second story double exposure 07 atrium and brick planters 08 secret passage other direction 09 secret passage 10 atrium with gym 11 atrium with brick planters 12 empty bedroom with fireplace 13 front door - no trespassing

Photos of the interior of Todville Mansion, a butt-ugly brick house along Todville Road, which ran along Galveston Bay from Seabrook halfway to La Porte, Tx.

It deserves a mention because its owner, one Bill List, was murdered there. List made a fortune selling or renting trailers for hauling pipeline sections during the 1960s-70s oil boom, and built his dream house on a lot about 300 feet wide and 1000 feet deep, running from Todville Rd to Galveston Bay. It was a single structure that looked like a 1950s factory from the side and contained two sections of living area, each easily the size of a modern McMansion, joined by an atrium with a pool and garden.

List liked to pick up male runaways and hustlers from Montrose, along lower Westheimer, in Houston, and take them back to his place. Some were to share his bed and some just to look after the place. Basically they were like he was before Fortune smiled on him for awhile. One day in 1984, one of the kids killed List with a shotgun as List came home.

The place was available for years afterward but nobody would buy it. Some developers picked it up and hired various caretakers--stoners, rock and rollers, angry white guys looking for excuses to shoot trespassers, and even a nice family or two.

Some time in the mid 1990s, the place caught fire and was demolished. Now a half-dozen condos occupy the land.

Sometime between 1988 and 1991, a friend and I drove up the long driveway and parked on the coast side, so the car couldn't be seen from the road or by neighbors. We sneaked in the back gate somehow and ran through the house taking pictures (hence the blurriness on some). The place looked like it was in between caretakers, so it didn't look occupied, but it didn't look trashed either. The section facing Todville was locked I think. There are loads of ghost stories connected with the place now, but then, in broad daylight, it looked exactly like what it was--a derelict house.

There's a Facebook group, I think, for people who used to live in the house while its owners tried to figure out what to do with it, and for people like me who sneaked in and maybe got caught by cops called by the neighbors. Cops were always the biggest worry. Happily for my friend and me, we got away, but a few moments after we pulled back onto Todville, a police car passed us in a hurry, going the other direction. I couldn't tell if he was answering a burglary call at the mansion, but I didn't stick around to find out.

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accozzaglia dot ca says:

It was a supremely depressing, tacky, hideous place. When I read postings online now lamenting its demise, it's totally absurd: the place was a depressing compound that should never have been "dreamt" of in the first place. It showed no imagination or foresight — just a crass display of spending money. That the property wasn't sold and restored comes as no surprise at all. It was a loss from the start.

At age 14, in February 1988, I squeezed in through the iron bars and walked around inside. It was a bright, cloudy Saturday, so visibility in most areas was pretty sufficient.

The man had no concept of architectural aesthetic value, and the interiors screamed new money. The green Fiberglas panels atop the high-ceiling atrium area were missing in some places. I sort of wondered whether it was a product of neglecting repairs following Alicia the year before the crime. Some rooms, particularly on waterfront (rearward) side, felt like being inside a typical, late-1970s suburban house — what with textured ceilings, light brown wall-to-wall carpeting, and chintzy masonry for fireplaces. There were effectively no overt traces from the crime scene, but then again, I also fail to recall an access point from within the compound to the attached garage (which was either a three- or four-port, doors all opened, but iron barrier preventing accessibility). There was still parked a racing orange (I seem to recall), black-canvassed MGB convertible with dust gathered on its body from years of disuse, and the black-on-white-era expired licence plate tags that still showed 1984 (which would have been green for that year, I think). The garage, which while viewable from outside, was at the time all but inaccessible — hence the relatively pristine state.

Whilst walking about the waterfront wing (rearward), echoes of punctured rock-wall here and there, I remember being startled by noises of other people moving about inside. I ended up running into two other women in their twenties who had come there to get stoned. They were friendly, although clearly making use of the space as a way to be left alone. I left a short while later, and with the mystery no longer so, I never really felt the need to go back. This was years before I began photography.

It's really a shame that even the film originals here have been damaged by time and storage. Knowing what I do from my own experiences there, I would even volunteer my resources to colour correct-restore a test frame or two of your choosing to have you post those alongside the original condition images. It's a standing offer, fwiw.
Posted 100 months ago. ( permalink )

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blacque_jacques says:

Hi hi,

Thanks for the description! You must have gone there before the estate started hiring caretakers. It was definitely a cheerless place, but Did you know there's a Facebook group for people who have either sneaked in there or lived there as caretakers or partied with them? It's got loads of pix, many of them better than mine.

Thanks for the offer (and thanks for that one pic) and I'll post the two side by side soon. I've got intermittent access throughout the holidays.
Posted 99 months ago. ( permalink )

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brad27livingston666texas says:

As a young kid, I lived in the south Houston/ Pasadena area of Houston close to Alameda Mall and Dobie High School, and when my parents and I would go to Keemah to eat seafood, we used to stop to look at this place in person . I was told of the horrible things that took place there and just the sight of the mansion alone was enough to scare me especially after being told of the evil things that went on inside of its walls. Later in life , just before I turned 18 , I moved to Seabrook with two of my old drinking buddies at Edge Lake Apts off Nasa Rd 1 . This was just before the fire and demolition of the structure. I will never wipe the image of the mansion as it stood during my childhood/teen years from my memory. I was never brave enough back then to sneak into the place , but now how I only wish that I had. Had I stayed in the Houston area after the divorce of my parents to live with my father, I would have attended Dobie High School, and I remember being told that Bill List had in fact lured at least one student from that school out of all those he used to seek out . What I was told as a young kid , and what I have found through research over the last few years has checked out well over 75 % , but I am still uncertain about whether or not any of his victims were actually a Dobie HS student. I do know that the majority of young men who ended up inside the walls of the old mansion were young gay men, and that he usually coaxed/lured them into his home with offers of weed or hard drugs. I would definitely like to know the name of the facebook page that blacques_jacques mentioned in the comment last left - - - my name is brad pavlicek and I have a facebook page under the same name - - I am pictured with a long redneck beard and usually am seen drinking Pabst Blue Ribbon Beer - - please send me any other existing pics , facebook pages, or whatever else that most people don't seem to be able to find very easily on the internet. this story has never been easy to obtain a great amount of detail about despite the fact there was even a movie made on the location which was called "the house on todville road " . And also I don't expect to get a response to this post being the only posted comments I am seeing are said to be posted from 68 months ago, but anyone who replies will be appreciated.
Posted 32 months ago. ( permalink )

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