Some Houstonians -- mostly University of St. Thomas grads -- know that Howard Hughes lived for a while as a teen at 3921 Yoakum, now a campus building called the Hughes House. It's home to the theology and archeology departments.
But before that Hughes and his family lived in the Beaconsfield Apartments near downtown, or at least near where downtown was then.
And, just by going from the book Howard Hughes: Hell's Angel by Darwin Porter, the billionaire's legendary weirdness pretty much got its start there.
How weird? Well, from his home there "Sonny" would go out for bouts of mutual masturbation with a neighborhood boy. Which we guess is not that weird, maybe, especially if you compare it to what he and his mother were allegedly doing at the Beaconsfield.
Let's take up the story after Hughes' mother Allene had learned of the boys' activities.
He now started to sleep naked in the same bed with his mother, although Alllene insisted she wear a nightgown.
"I get a hard-on when she touches me real intimate," Sonny confided to [his jerk-off pal] Dudley. "Sometimes at night, she holds me so tight I can hardly breathe. One night she played with me. She told me it would provide some relief to me. I began to like it and sometimes let her play with me three or four times a night. It does cut down on my being so nervous."
Perfectly remembered quotes decades after the fact? We have no reason to doubt any of this tale.
Allene also dressed him up as a girl, but she did have her limits, Porter writes. At school one day Sonny heard about blow jobs. "That night Sonny begged Allene to do that to him, but she adamantly refused," Porter writes.
Mother of the Year nominee!!
We Believe Local Journalism is Critical to the Life of a City
Engaging with our readers is essential to the mission of the Houston Press. Make a financial contribution or sign up for a newsletter, and help us keep telling Houston’s stories with no paywalls.
Support Our Journalism
Hughes also likely got his germophobia at the Beaconsfield, although his mother had been distilling that in him earlier. But the Camp Logan riots threw a huge scare into
his her, and she rampaged on about the germs the black soldiers were no doubt infested with. (The riots didn't do much for Hughes' racism, either.)
Allene forced her husband, estranged as they were, to build her a safe house way out in the `burbs, and thus the family moved to what has become the University of St. Thomas campus.
The Beaconsfield lives on, as a condo building near Main and Pease.
View Larger Map