In an up-and-coming neighborhood in Pearland off Highway 288 and Southfork, two nearly identical mansions sit abandoned in adjoining 15 acre lots. The weeds have grown high around the entry gates to one; the other never even had gates built and sits behind a padlocked chain link fence. There's no landscaping around either one. In fact, they look as if someone dropped two gaudy River Oaks mansions into a cow pasture. And perhaps strangest of all is their sheer size: the smaller mansion on the left is nearly 32,000 square feet while the one on the right is a massive 64,000 square feet, and nearly as long as a football field.
|Photos by Katharine Shilcutt|
According to public records, both houses were once owned by a pediatrician, Dr. Ulysses W. Watkins (who won a Houston Press
Best of Houston award for his radio show on 1430 AM
in 2008). He built the larger of the two houses first, but it was never completed. A vast, broad scar on the west side of the house is missing brick from where the two-story wall was never finished; the unused brick lays in the pasture behind the house. Three of the nine garage doors are plywood. The front door is awkwardly hung, ill-fitting and has no handles; it's most likely a stop-gap until a real door can be installed. And while there is a side driveway, no front drive or sidewalk of any kind was ever built.
While the smaller of the two houses was listed on HAR.com for sale as recently as last August, it no longer appears in the MLS listings. And although the public has been afforded a view of the bizarrely-decorated and decidedly industrial-looking smaller house thanks to that real estate listing and a spotlight on local real estate blog Swamplot
, no one has ever seen the inside of the unfinished behemoth until now.
Along the broad west side of the house, we see where the brickwork abruptly stopped.
Further back up towards the house, the garage is protected from the elements with sheets of plywood where doors should be.
The house is entered from a small, nondescript side door as the front door is non-functional. Inside is one of the strangest layouts ever encountered.