First home of Live Oak Friends Meeting, home of Myra and Walter Whitson, 2336 North Boulevard in Houston, painted by LOFM member Margaret Willits.
Our Quaker group began in the mid-1950s as a handful of seekers who met for evening worship at a private home. Later, as we grew in number, “home” moved eight more times, until we decided to buy a modest, blue-painted frame house with its own small garage apartment in the Heights.
Our 12-year stay at the house on Alexander and 10th gave us a wonderful sense of stability. Many who came to “look in” on Quakers decided to stay. But as our numbers grew, the meeting house became more crowded, and classroom space--which by now included a storage room, a temporary structure, and the hall outside the bathroom--could no longer accommodate the children’s activities.
In early 1995, we sold the house on Alexander Street and purchased land in Shady Acres, a neighborhood on the edge of the Heights. Early in December of 1995, Hiram Butler, a newcomer to our meeting, introduced us to James Turrell, a Quaker artist whose medium was light. Turrell spoke of his Quaker background and shared his dream of creating a “Skyspace” for a Friends meetinghouse. It was a project beyond our conception at the time, but with the enthusiastic support from many parts of Houston, especially the art community, The Live Oak Meeting House Project was born.
The new building opened in the fall of 2000, and has been a home to the LOFM community and a resource to the larger community ever since. In addition to weekly Skyspace viewings at sunset open to the community, it is also a desirable location for weddings, memorial services, and other gatherings.
To provide additional space for children’s religious education Friends decided to purchase a small frame house from our neighbor, who had lived there with her family for over forty years. The addition of a neighborhood house to the project seemed to reflect our desire to become an integral part of the neighborhood. The “Little House” also provides a place for outreach and community participation as a service to the neighborhood.
You can read a more detailed description by May Mansoor Munn, an author and long time member of LOFM, or peruse other historical naratives in the PDF documents below.