Barbers Cut / Houston Ship Channel

It has been awhile since I have visited the area, but it is a great spot to shoot passing ships, even though the bar is long gone. . . haven’t been for awhile, so I don’t know if it is still accessible.

DSC_3007 by Carey Akin, on Flickr

1 Like

Last time I transitted through there was about 8 years ago. There was a chain link fence with a gate blocking access to unauthorized vehicles from going all the way to the end where the restaurant used to be. There were some cars and trucks inside the gate so it looked like the area was being used as a parking area for terminal workers.

They are currently dismantling the old Ro-Ro berth that was on the end of Morgan’s Point, but I believe the Fire Boat is going to remain there. The space is needed to dredge out the junction of the cut and the main ship channel so they can swing and back in the new post panamax container ships and fully utilize the new gantry cranes they have installed.


Yup, I took this shot 5 years ago. I am too lazy to check but that may have been the last time I was down there. I was over inside the grounds last year, but didn’t check out the end of the road then. Was kind of busy that day.

Hmm, I think that was a LASH dock, not Ro-Ro. . . by the time I started working shoreside in the area, it was really only ever used as a lay berth. Any time I see a ship tied up there, I know that they are having issues. . . .

You’re right.

After a harrowing ride with much wind while entering light barge, we gratefully stopped there. My very experinced Norweigian mate was happy we stopped before going upriver. As was I. That is a heckuva channel.

It’s official name was “The Point”. If I remember right that was painted on the roof. It did close down after 9/11 but it was only indirectly for security reasons. Before 9/11 they did a lot of business with sailors from the ships, but after 9/11 a fence went up around the terminal and The Point was outside the fence. Sailors had a hard time even getting off their ships to use the phone for awhile. Going outside the gate for a burger and a beer was out of the question.

The Chicken Ranch was a famous whorehouse north of Houston.

135 feet used to be the standard height over a shipping channel.
The new standard is 178’.

I knew I heard chicken ranch in Texas somewhere. Shit I am old.

I remember the fence and also the turnstile that @DamnYankee mentioned. It didn’t make much sense to me to have a turnstile there instead of a gate. I never had occasion to use the turnstile while working out of the terminal but would ride my motorbike to the Point for a burger and a beer when I was home on my days off. It was a bit of a ritual and I was disappointed to see it go.

Wasn’t there long enough to visit. Just a stopover from high winds. Exxon Baytown was our usual destination back then. Went further upriver on occasion. Damn that place was narrow in some spots.

Exxon Baytown was the most squared away terminal I’ve ever seen.

No problem with Exxon, just getting there to load sometimes was a bitch with a beam wind. 18’ draft on the tug, 600’+ barge and 36’ air draft. anywhere from 5600 to 7200 HP EMD’s. Always crabbing up that channel. Don’t miss it at all. Pilots did not look forward to board us empty inbound, outbound quite alright with a load at about 32’.

1 Like