La Porte, Texas: Tool Box-shaped Building

Old Texas ice house building, after a succession of businesses, redesigned to resemble a giant red tool box.

La Porte Tool Box

111 South 8th St., La Porte, TX
La Porte Tool Box, east of Hwy 146, south of Main St. on S. 8th St.
M-F 8 am 7 pm, Sa/Su 9 am - 5 pm. (Call to verify)
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Toolbox building. Tool Box-shaped Building

New in 2011: a building that may be the world's largest tool box.

It started life as Ice House. In 1950s and '60s Texas, an ice house was a local watering hole. No A/C, just an attic fan covered with chicken wire, sometimes a pool table or shuffleboard to keep the children occupied while the "parents" discussed the day's events over beers. The beer was served in cans punctured with a short-handled device and wrapped in paper, commonly called a diaper. Bottle beer was served similarly. The building had garage doors and was open to the elements and insects. Seating was usually tables and chairs or picnic tables, and there always a bar. The only ice in the ice house was in a cup. Hard liquor could not be sold, but you could bring your own and buy setups or ice.

After a 40 year career as an ice house, it was turned into a resale shop called Mantiques, mostly men stuff. "Women Not Allowed" sign had small print adding "on the roof without a parachute," but few women bothered to read the fine print and would not come in. The sign was eventually removed.

The building was then renamed Real Cheap Tools and other good stuff for the last 10 years. It is currently being changed to "La Porte Tool Box" with a new facade. Owners Don and Mary Hulen help Angie Cook and Kevin Marlow run the business.

[Don Hulen, 10/11/2011]

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March 28, 2015

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