Chong Hua Sheng Mu Holy Palace: A Houston Oddity

Updated on April 14, 2020
Peggy W profile image

I live in Houston, and I have worked as a nurse. My interests include art, traveling, reading, gardening, cooking, and our wonderful pets.

Chong Hua Sheng Mu Holy Palace
Chong Hua Sheng Mu Holy Palace | Source

Chong Hua Sheng Mu Holy Palace

It can be credited or blamed (depending upon one’s view) on the lack of zoning laws in Houston that the Chong Hua Sheng Mu Holy Palace is in a neighborhood on the west side of H-Town. Even from a distance, this five-story white structure with its 40-foot golden orb stands out as being something out of the ordinary and worth a closer look.

The only sights of this abandoned building are from outside the gates and fenced area of an 11-acre site. It is across from a green space with a hiking and biking trail. That trail goes under roadways in the area, allowing those who are exercising to maintain a set speed without having to stop for traffic.

Chong Hua Sheng Mu Holy Palace
Chong Hua Sheng Mu Holy Palace | Source

Location

You will find the locale of the Chong Hua Sheng Mu Holy Palace here: 3695 Overture Drive, Houston, Texas 77082. We parked near the intersection of the 3600 blocks of Overture and Ashford Point.

I took the image above through fencing on this side of the building. At one time, there were two smaller golden orbs above the square pillared risers.

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Our first view of the Chong Hua Sheng Mu Holy PalaceA closer look from across a field
Our first view of the Chong Hua Sheng Mu Holy Palace
Our first view of the Chong Hua Sheng Mu Holy Palace | Source
A closer look from across a field
A closer look from across a field | Source

Nonprofit Corporation

This building with the golden geodesic dome was to be the first of several other structures on this site. It falls in a category as a domestic nonprofit corporation with a filing date going back to January 24, 2000. The purpose of this nonprofit corporation was religious. It is still considered to be active, although the building project ended before ever being completed.

Duane Bradshaw was the Houston architect selected to create the buildings on this site. His firm specializes in “Religious Facilities, Health Care Facilities, Land Use, and Landscape Architecture,” according to his website. Had construction not been abruptly halted, this ample space would also have had some residential, daycare, and even retail spaces built upon this property.

Different views of the Chong Hua Sheng Mu Holy Palace
Different views of the Chong Hua Sheng Mu Holy Palace | Source

End of a Dream

What was a Taoism compound (primarily Buddhist in nature) led by Master Cheung was thrown into disarray when he died. It was to have cost around six million dollars.

The sects new leader, Kwai Fun Wong, who was a citizen of China, had applied for permanent residency in the U.S. but had not yet attained that status. She should have gotten permission from our immigration agency before leaving the country according to the laws in effect at the time.

Kwai Fun Wong made a trip to Hong Kong to arrange for the funeral of Master Cheung. When she came back to the United States, she was arrested, briefly detained by the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service, and eventually deported.

All construction ceased at that time. The interior of this building with 40,000 square feet of floor space is also unfinished.

Different views of the Chong Hua Sheng Mu Holy Palace
Different views of the Chong Hua Sheng Mu Holy Palace | Source

Current Status

Amazingly, after all of this time, someone is still mowing the grass. This building would seem to be a natural target for graffiti but is kept graffiti-free. With its nonprofit status, no Houston taxes are being collected. This property still has ties with the Wu Wei Tien Tao Association, which is a Chinese universalism based religious organization.

Just viewing this building with the two exterior staircases and impressive architecture, I can only imagine how the finished project might have appeared.

Descriptions include the following: a “Mayan Epcot Center,” a “white elephant,” an “Alief Area Folly,” or just an oddity and bizarre. For some reason, it reminds me of the Dr. No James Bond Film.

I can also imagine some eccentric billionaire fashioning this in honor of the game of golf. Notice the white ball shapes atop some of the fence posts? Of course, that giant golden orb would have been the signature golf ball like icing on a cake.

Will this building ever take on a new life? Or will it sit vacantly? I guess only time will answer that question.

View from the street of the Chong Hua Sheng Mu Holy Palace
View from the street of the Chong Hua Sheng Mu Holy Palace | Source

More Unusual Places in Houston

If you liked learning about this, you might also want to check out these other offbeat, unusual or fun happenings in and around Houston. They are all worth a visit.

  • The Beer Can House
  • Unique Smither Park
  • Folk Art at the Orange Show Foundation
  • The Art Car Museum

Do you have unusual buildings or quirky places near you? Please share information about them in the comment section below. Thanks!

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

Questions & Answers

    © 2020 Peggy Woods

    Comments

      0 of 8192 characters used
      Post Comment
      • Peggy W profile imageAUTHOR

        Peggy Woods 

        3 weeks ago from Houston, Texas

        Hi Patricia,

        It is amazing the exterior of the building has been kept graffiti-free and that the lawns are maintained even though the building is empty. I hope you get to come back to Houston one day also.

      • pstraubie48 profile image

        Patricia Scott 

        3 weeks ago from North Central Florida

        The certainly is a place that it would be worth a drive-by just to see that orb that is there. It's interesting that Lawn Care still maintained after all these years. There is so much to see and do in Houston. I hope I get back there one day. Many angels are headed your way. Stay safe and well hugs and love

      • Peggy W profile imageAUTHOR

        Peggy Woods 

        6 weeks ago from Houston, Texas

        Hi FlourishAnyway,

        That would be ideal if it could be used to help someone instead of it being vacant.

      • FlourishAnyway profile image

        FlourishAnyway 

        6 weeks ago from USA

        It’s too bad that it sits vacant. You’d think that a religious organization would want to have it be used in some manner, benefiting someone—homeless, immigrants, etc.

      • Peggy W profile imageAUTHOR

        Peggy Woods 

        7 weeks ago from Houston, Texas

        Hi Liz,

        It was set up as a religious institution, so they do not have to pay taxes on the land. If they had to pay taxes, I'm sure that something would have been done by now to either fix it up and use it or sell it.

      • Eurofile profile image

        Liz Westwood 

        7 weeks ago from UK

        What an unusual series of events. I am surprised that this has beel left for so many years, when you consider what useful purposes the land around it could serve.

      • Peggy W profile imageAUTHOR

        Peggy Woods 

        7 weeks ago from Houston, Texas

        Hi Martin,

        It certainly is an interesting structure. Too bad it was never realized.

      • Marti Barrett profile image

        Martin Barrett 

        7 weeks ago from USA

        Nice building structure! Thanks for sharing.

      • Peggy W profile imageAUTHOR

        Peggy Woods 

        7 weeks ago from Houston, Texas

        Hi Kathy,

        Glad that I can bring a bit of Houston where your brother lives closer to you in this time of social distancing. Wishing you and your family good health in the days ahead.

      • The Stages Of ME profile image

        Kathy Henderson 

        7 weeks ago from Pa

        Peggy,

        Oh my, this is very close to one of my brother's house. I love seeing all the Texas spots through your hub. Thank you for sharing. It makes me feel close to family when I can't be with them.

        Take care

      working

      This website uses cookies

      As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, wanderwisdom.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

      For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://maven.io/company/pages/privacy

      Show Details
      Necessary
      HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
      LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
      Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
      AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
      HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
      HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
      Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
      CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
      Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
      Features
      Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
      Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
      Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
      Marketing
      Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
      Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
      Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
      Statistics
      Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
      ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
      Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
      ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)