Older Is Better: The Five Best Antique Malls in Houston

Categories: Whatever

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And the Lord said: Let Me be embroidered.
What better way to honor your living relatives than with gifts from someone else's dead relatives? Wait, no, we want you to like antique malls! Let me try again: Shopping for an older relative, who remembers the days before iPads? And Wii? And even cell phones?! You might want to treat them with a bowling shirt monogrammed with their uncle's old automotive shop's logo. Or look for a beautiful train kit from the 1940s, perfect for the non-trendy person who wants to make an indie statement -- or just look like they're meeting Cary Grant in North by Northwest.

I like to get and give gifts that are just a wee bit more unique than a box of Omaha steaks, not that there's anything wrong with carnivores. So when I travel, I check out antique and collectibles shops for that special item. Original Hanna-Barbera Flintstones lunch pail? Check. USAF bomber jacket no doubt worn against the Luftwaffe? Check. Butter churn used by some unfortunate woman before electricity and pasteurization? Check. ANYTHING Star Trekian? Double check. You usually get more bang for your buck when a bunch of vendors are housed under one roof, so we've come up with a list of the Top Five Antique Malls in the H-town area.

Always check an antique shop for a pulse before you go. Here's some we know are open; some even have Christmas sales:

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Doesn't look like much from the outside, but....
5. Carolyn Thompson's Antique Center of Texas, 7200 Old Katy Rd., Houston, 713-688-4211
It's conveniently tucked under I-10, near 610 just north of the Galleria, but is moving sometime after the first of the year, so tremendous deals are to be found amongst the heavier items, right? I kept going in, with all the banners announcing "Moving Sale," expecting tremendous bargains. Prices seemed high, and I work around a bunch of commodities traders, so I figured, what's it hurt to negotiate?

The staff was so accommodating, calling the various vendors with my offers. (Not much downward movement, though.) Then, to my chagrin, I learned that the State o' Texas is paying them to move a few hundred feet north, to the old JC Penney in the former Northwest Mall. It'll be a massive bill, and just so the current spot can cleared to serve as the tip of a parking lot, not even anything significant, in the expansion of US 290.

Oh well -- my Depression glass candlesticks from there will gleam just as brightly at the Christmas dinner table.

4. Red Queen's Attic, 900 3rd Street, Rosenberg, (no phone listed; you may contact them via their Web site)
With a provocative name such as this, you can just hear old Uncle Bert's disdain: "Commies?! AND Gays?!" (Even though he wouldn't use exactly those words and even though some of his best friends are.) Go to the little garden section in the back for garden tchotchkes.

Do yourself a favor: Spend a Saturday visiting Rosenberg. This mall is in the historic section. There's a charming train station across the street. It's real homey, and on summer Friday evenings they have live bands in a vacant lot in the historic district. After you hit the shops, you can walk over to Bob's Taco Station, which earned its 15 minutes o' fame on the Food Network TV show Diners, Drive-ins and Dives.


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4 comments
Janet Werner
Janet Werner

Hi Lee, the Spring Antique Mall owner, Karla Baker, all the dealers (which includes myself, the 'frisky vendor with the mannquin heads), thank you for giving us a shout out on your blog. In the hopes of eventually moving into your #1 position, please save the date…the second weekend in November 2012. The 2nd weekend in November is our customer appreciation event which we call our ‘Holiday Open House.’ We have live entertainment, a buffet, and gift certificates for door prizes, and a store-wide sale. You are cordially invited and we sincerely hope you will attend. We have also added you to our VIP list for a private event that we call our ‘Spring Fling.’ (Date to be determined; usually the start of spring, but it fluctuates every year.) We’ll let you know.  We really enjoyed your blog! Please become a ‘Friend’ of our Facebook page and take a look at our new website at www.springantiqueland.com  (We’ve linked your blog. ;)

nightmare on Bagby
nightmare on Bagby

Babette -

Good luck finding a USAF jacket worn against the Nazis - the Air Farce (sorry, I'm a Navy vet) didn't exist until after WW2; prior to that the fighter/bomber wing of the non-Naval forces was called the US Army Air Corps.

Thanks for the comment about bowling shirts - my first girlfriend in Houston had dozens of the damn things. It was much more fun to go out junking for anitique polyester than shopping for shoes (the acid test of a relationship) at the Galleria.

Lee R.
Lee R.

re: the jacket

For real? I am due some refunds, then!!

Thanks for the clarification...I know more about the Navy, myself.

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