In 1929, Tony and Bridget Segrato, first generation descendants of Italian immigrants, purchased a 100' x 100' tract of land on the southeast corner of Bissonnet and Ashby. On the site they built a modest one-story brick grocery store from which they also provided home delivery service to their growing list of customers in the adjoining Southampton neighborhood.
In 1934, they bought adjacent land east of their comer lot on Bissonnet and a large tract to the south across the alley, which fronted on Ashby. After erecting a two-story building on part of the newly-acquired Bissonnet plot a few years later, they moved into one of four apartments on the second floor.
The new retail shops provided on the first floor included a drug store occupying the old grocery store space on the comer, with the new Segrato's No. 2 Grocery Store adjacent to it. Hebert's Beauty Salon and Barber Shop, the Jack and Jill Liquor Store, Frenchy's Restaurant and later a radio (and eventually television) retail and repair store were among the other early business tenants that occupied the store fronts.
The above photographs, circa 1940, show the northern exterior of the new “shopping center” addition, and the interior of the new Segrato's Grocery Store No. 2. On the exterior photo, the corner of Bissonnet and Ashby Streets is on the right.
As business prospered, the Segratos later constructed six more one-story retail store front units to fill out the east end of their property along Bissonnet Street. After retiring from the grocery business in 1941, they continued to manage the rental operations of the store fronts and the four upstairs apartments until Tony's death in 1956.
To fulfill her and Tony's original ambition, Bridget decided to develop the large tract behind the Bissonnet retail center. Maryland Manor, a 48-unit apartment complex, was completed by in 1961. During the next 15 years, the apartment rental business proved to be very successful because of the Manor's appeal to Rice University students and the tenants associated with the growing Texas Medical Center complex nearby.
In 1976, the retail store fronts on Bissonnet were converted into efficiency apartments and the former Gulf Oil service station site adjacent to the east side of the property was acquired in 1979. The service station was demolished and the lot was used for parking.
In 1993, a program was embarked upon to renovate the 80 dated apartment units. Sections of the 60-year old building on Bissonnet were stripped to bare exterior walls. A second floor was constructed over the old single-floor storefront portions. This worn and seasoned facility was then rebuilt into a revitalized and attractive group of one and two-bedroom apartment residences with a distinctive Southampton flair. The main entrance was moved to an elegant leasing center built on the old Gulf service station site. The aging 30-year old apartment complex in the rear was enlarged and updated in the same style as the Bissonnet structure.
The new 67-unit Maryland Manor was re-opened for residents in 1995. Although the caretaker and appearance of the present site have changed, the concept of quality customer service from the Segrato's old grocery store days of the 1930's has remained the same.
Residents have discovered a warm home-style atmosphere, accentuated by attractive amenities and a professional and caring management staff attentive to residents' needs. Today, Maryland Manor continues its longstanding reputation as a stylish and friendly neighborhood community convenient to the Texas Medical Center, Rice University, Greenway Plaza and Houston's Central Business District.