Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Ben and the Astrodome

 I knew the family who lived in the house at 3070 Locke Lane.The owners were Ben and Marie McGuire. Ben was a very successful lender in Houston and Marie was his secretary. Ben was buddies with all the big names in Houston and they financed the building of the Astrodome, among other things. He was one of the biggest dealmakers in town.
Their sprawling house was set up perfectly for their live-in housekeeper, Dorothy, to have her own quarters. Their son got a “circus room” to play in, filled with Barnum and Bailey nostalgia. The upstairs was full of Marie’s spooky doll collection (nobody liked to go up there) and the bar was packed with Ben’s miniature liquor bottles from their many years of travels. Any afternoon they would be guaranteed to be watching the Wheel of Fortune and like most many River Oaks families, they never used the front door.
They outlived Dorothy and after Ben died Marie’s sister Nita moved in the house. Marie died in 2009 and now the house is gone too. This is a beautiful part of River Oaks. The movie "Terms of Endearment" was filmed in the two houses next door. Ben and Marie got to meet Jack Nicholson one day- They gave Jack VIP tickets to an Astros game, and they said he seemed like a nice guy.
Ben and Marie loved their Astrodome- what a shame how young of a building it is and this too is a tear down. We miss Ben and Marie and it’s sad to see their house go, but I’m glad they don’t have to see the bleak future of the Astrodome. Back in the day, Ben would have fought to keep the Astrodome, and knowing him, he probably would have won. Ben was a businessman first but he also had a big heart and many terms of endearments of his own to battle it out with the big guys.

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