Real Estate / Mansions

An Oil Baron’s Remarkable Mansion on Houston’s Secluded Longbow Lane Enclave Hits the Market With a $9.6 Million Asking Price

This Beyond Unique House Brings a Fascinating History

BY // 07.14.22
photography Patrick Bertolino for Sotheby's International Realty

Nestled along the forested banks of Buffalo Bayou, the Houston mansion built in 1967 for Bessie and Bill Liedtke, cofounder of Pennzoil Company, has long reigned as one of the most remarkable dwellings in the secluded Longbow Lane enclave. Today, the home, designed by the “godfather of modern Texas architecture” O’Neil Ford, is on the market for $9.6 million.

Bessie Liedtke lived in the home at 3 Longbow Lane until her passing earlier this year meaning that little has changed since the couple moved in almost 60 years ago. Bill Liedtke III is the seller. Ruthie Porterfield of Martha Turner Sotheby’s International Realty has the listing of the dwelling that is secreted amid 3.3 acres of wooded terrain.

Twin circular swimming pools are just part of the allure of the remarkable dwelling at 3 Longbow Lane which is on the market with Ruthie Porterfield of Martha Turner Sotheby's International Realty. (Photo by Patrick Bertolino for Sotheby's International Realty)
Twin circular swimming pools are just part of the allure of the remarkable dwelling at 3 Longbow Lane which is on the market with Ruthie Porterfield of Martha Turner Sotheby’s International Realty. (Photo by Patrick Bertolino for Sotheby’s International Realty)

Visitors will find anything but the typical mid-century modern residence here. With this project Ford married Modernism with the architectural idioms of Mexico creating a courtyard style floor plan that features a double-height atrium and an open, second-story gallery beneath an enormous skylight. Eschewing glass and steel construction, he designed with wood, stone, ceramic tile and brick.

According to Liedtke family members, the couple and their architect traveled to Mexico where they purchased  hand-cut Tezontle stone for columns, Vallecillo quarry stone, vintage brick, Saltillo tiles, mesquite wood floors, vintage doors, carved-stone boat sculptures from Lake Patzcuaro, stone and masonry architectural elements and free standing sculptures. Key to the design are bóveda (vaulted brick) ceilings with Mexican bóvederas brought in for the unique construction.

12318514(6) (Photo by Patrick Bertolino for Sotheby's International Realty)
The vast central atrium of the home at 3 Longbow Lane. (Photo by Patrick Bertolino for Sotheby’s International Realty)

These artisanal details are myriad throughout the house such as thick cross beams with tin or lead engraved caps, marble sink decks and the colorful tile work in bathrooms.

The  dwelling includes expansive formal living areas and an inviting study, both with opening to patios/gardens. An impressive great room with double-height windows and a massive smokestack fireplace. An open gathering kitchen. A spacious first-floor primary suite with two baths. A morning room and dressing room. Plus five bedrooms.

Elizabeth Anthony

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12318514(14) (Photo by Patrick Bertolino for Sotheby's International Realty)
One of several vast living areas at 3 Longbow Lane (Photo by Patrick Bertolino for Sotheby’s International Realty)

Two circular tiered pools are adjoined by a guest house that is complete with two bedrooms and two baths, a living and dining area and a raised deck overlooking the bayou. The bedrooms feature the bóveda ceilings while the baths are decorated with colorful tile work.

The house, the Liedtkes and the Longbow Lane enclave have a fascinating history, all of which Porterfield can provide interested buyers.

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