Five years back I used to spend a fair bit of time in Bacliff, that two-fisted, hard-drinking, meth-blighted, gang-ridden Galveston County village by the bay.
Some locals, including many of the members of the 4th Street Players, the town's Caucasian set of would-be Bloods gangsters, rejoiced in calling the place "the Wicked Sticks," and it was not hard to see why. Bacliff makes neighboring San Leon seem like Malibu by comparison, and Grand Avenue—Bacliff's main drag—was then (and likely still is) lined with a procession of brown-lettuce supermarkets, illegal gambling dens, hot-sheet motels, massage parlors, cut-rate liquor stores, and dive bars.
Most infamous in that last category was Jackie's, to this day the only tavern from which I had to depart walking backwards. A father and son both affiliated with the Brown Assassins, the 4th Street Players's Hispanic rivals from the other side of Grand Avenue, did not like the tenor of my questions about the local gang situation, nor did the father appreciate my companion's rejection of his crudely-stated romantic overtures. In the end even the barmaid was jeering at us and egging on the gangsters; hence our leaving in reverse.
This building always stuck out to me, even amid all that backwoods vice. I mean, could that rambling, pink, yellow, mauve and robin's egg blue palace be anything other than a bordello? On a ride-around tour of the town with a local cop, I asked as much, and the cop just chuckled and shook his head but declined to elaborate. Another local source gave a similarly reticent response. Neither acknowledged that there was anything out of the ordinary about this place. I don't know, maybe it's just me.
But now the gaudy Wicked Sticks manse is currently on the market. For $250,000 Bacliff's weirdest structure can be yours. Though it's just blocks from the bayfront, the place was built in 1910 and has survived every hurricane to rip through the town since. There's a total of six bedrooms, a three-car garage, and four more covered parking spaces out back. There's a carriage house with a studio apartment and eat-in kitchen. And there are trees: big ol' handsome oaks.
Location, location, location...You don't have to worry about Jackie's Bar anymore—it closed a few years back—but Katie's Bar (housed in what used to be Bacliff's post office) is still there and has always been a much nicer and safer place. Noah's Ark oyster bar is a hop-skip-and-jump away, and you would be right across the street from the town antique store.
Which, in true Bacliff spirit, is called Junk And Disorderly.