Texas Historical Markers hidden in plain sight in the Houston

Photo: Brett Coomer, Houston Chronicle

Image 1of/19

Image 1 of 19

HOUSTON HISTORY: Houston’s best historical markers 

A Texas State Historical Marker, honoring the Astrodome, is dedicated on Tuesday, May 29, 2018, in Houston.

See more of Houston’s historical markers…

HOUSTON HISTORY: Houston’s best historical markers 

A Texas State Historical Marker, honoring the Astrodome, is dedicated on Tuesday, May 29, 2018, in Houston.

See more of Houston’s historical markers…

Photo: Brett Coomer, Houston Chronicle

Image 2 of 19

Charlotte Marie Baldwin Allen

2525 Washington Avenue

MARKER TEXT: Considered by many as the “Mother of Houston,” Charlotte Marie Baldwin Allen was a leader in Houston during a time when women had few rights and fewer opportunities. She was born in Onondaga County, New York, and was the daughter of Elizabeth (Warner) and Dr. Jonas Cutler Baldwin. She married Augustus Chapman Allen in 1831. Charlotte arrived in Texas in 1834 when she joined her husband and his brother and business partner, John Kirby Allen, both of whom were already actively engaged in Texas land speculation. In August 1836, the Allen brothers purchased land on Buffalo Bayou and were soon advertising the establishment of a city called Houston. Although she left Texas in 1835 for health reasons, Charlotte returned in 1837 and assumed a prominent role in the development of Houston. After the death of her brother-in-law, John Kirby Allen, in 1838, Charlotte became an participating member in the extensive business dealings of the Allen and Baldwin families. She became involved in all aspects of business, from registering her own cattle brand in 1838 and directing the construction of a slaughterhouse to process the beef, to negotiating numerous real estate and development projects. After the civil war, Allen continued as an accomplished businesswomen, overseeing the sale of numerous properties. She donated various plots, including Old Market Square, to the city of Houston and to churches and civic organizations. When Charlotte Allen died, flags in Houston flew at half-staff in her honor. In 1907, Charlotte Baldwin Allen Elementary School beca

less

Charlotte Marie Baldwin Allen

2525 Washington Avenue

MARKER TEXT: Considered by many as the “Mother of Houston,” Charlotte Marie Baldwin Allen was a leader in Houston during a time when women had few

… more

Photo: Joe Holley / Houston Chronicle

Image 3 of 19

4400 Bellaire Blvd. 

MARKER TEXT: Teas Nursery Company traces its history to 1843, when John C. Teas (1827-1907) began selling apples out of his back yard in Indiana. After moving the business to Missouri in 1868, Teas became a nationally prominent horticulturist. In 1908 his son, horticulturist Edward Teas, Sr. (1870-1951), met developer W. W. Baldwin who was then planning the community of Westmoreland Farms and the town of Bellaire in southwest Harris County. Baldwin hired Teas to execute the planting designs for Bellaire Boulevard and adjacent streets. Teas started work in Bellaire early in 1909. The next year, he moved his family from Missouri to this site and opened Teas Nursery Company. Initially specializing in the sale of fruit trees and flowering shrubs and plants, the business was later expanded to include landscaping services. The company’s early projects included the landscaping of Rice Institute (now Rice University) and the River Oaks subdivision. By 1951 Teas Nursery had planted over one million trees in the Houston area. Edward Teas died the same year, leaving ownership of the nursery to his descendants.

less

4400 Bellaire Blvd. 

MARKER TEXT: Teas Nursery Company traces its history to 1843, when John C. Teas (1827-1907) began selling apples out of his back yard in Indiana. After moving the

… more

Photo: Melissa Phillip, Houston Chronicle

Image 4 of 19

3405 Dowling Street

MARKER TEXT: African American blues singer and guitarist Sam Hopkins was born in Centerville, Leon County, Texas in 1912, the youngest of five children of Abe and Frances (Washington) Hopkins. Sam learned to play guitar from John Henry and Joel Hopkins, two of his older brothers, and began his musical career in Central Texas under the guidance of Texas blues pioneers Alger “Texas” Alexander and Blind Lemon Jefferson. Hopkins traveled throughout the south for many years but ultimately settled in Houston in the mid-1940s. He became a mainstay of Houston’s Third Ward music clubs, especially those located on and around Dowling Street. Hopkins was “discovered” by an Aladdin Records talent scout in 1946 and was sent to Los Angeles for his first recording sessions. It was during these sessions that Hopkins picked up the nickname “Lightnin’” and recorded his first hit record, “Katy Mae.” After returning to Houston, Hopkins recorded for Gold Star, one of the earliest labels to record blues in Houston. Despite recording success, Hopkins continued to play and sing at Houston dance parties, street corners, and Dowling Street establishments. He also continued to record and tour, although he rarely played outside of Texas during the 1950s. The popularity of folk and blues music of the 1960s brought additional attention to Hopkins, and he performed to more integrated audiences, including several performances at New York’s Carnegie Hall. After a prolific career that included approximately 100 recorded albums, and over 600 songs, Hopkins died in 1982; he is buried in Houston’s Forest Park Lawndale Cemetery.

less

3405 Dowling Street

MARKER TEXT: African American blues singer and guitarist Sam Hopkins was born in Centerville, Leon County, Texas in 1912, the youngest of five children of Abe and

… more

Photo: Eric Kayne, Freelance

Image 5 of 19

Image 6 of 19

Jack Johnson 

Jack Johnson Park, 2601 Avenue M (Galveston)

MARKER TEXT: Galveston native Arthur John “Jack” Johnson (1878-1946) was the first African American world heavyweight boxing champion. He grew up in Galveston’s east end and honed his fighting skills working on the Wharves. During the 1900 storm, Johnson helped his family escape from their home on Broadway. In 1901, he refined his defensive skills with the help of Joe Choynski while in jail for illegal boxing. Johnson won the “Colored World Heavyweight Champion” title in 1903 but was determined to defeat white titleholder Tommy Burns. Though Burns initially refused the match, Johnson pursued him around the world until he finally agreed to fight in Australia in 1908. Johnson’s technical knockout in the 14th round led to a search for a “Great White Hope” to retake the title. He defended his title in the 1910 “Fight of the Century” with a knockout of former champion James Jeffries. His victory spawned both riots and celebrations. In 1912, the U.S. government indicted Johnson under the Mann Act in an attempt to tarnish him and discourage his interracial relationships. He fled the U.S. and lived in exile for eight years. In 1915, Johnson fought his last important match in Havana, Cuba. Although younger, fitter and taller, Jess Willard needed 26 rounds to knock out Johnson and take the heavyweight title. Johnson finally surrendered to federal authorities in 1920. While in prison, he obtained two patents. Johnson continued to fight but never again for a title. He spent his later years as an entertainer and exhibition fighter. A car crash on a North Carolina road ended his life at age 68. Johnson, “the Galveston Giant,” pursued his ambitions against rigid notions of racial hierarchy in 20th century America. His refusal to submit to the social standards of his ti

less

Jack Johnson 

Jack Johnson Park, 2601 Avenue M (Galveston)

MARKER TEXT: Galveston native Arthur John “Jack” Johnson (1878-1946) was the first African American world heavyweight boxing champion. He grew up in

… more

Photo: Michael Paulsen, Staff

Image 7 of 19

813 Congress (Yes, right outside La Carafe) 

MARKER TEXT: Irish native John Kennedy (1819-78) came to Houston in 1842. A baker, he operated a store at other locations in the city before commissioning the construction of this building about 1860 for a steam bakery. Kennedy later established other operations and became a leading businessman of Houston. One of the oldest structures in the city on its original site, the two-story brick building remained in the Kennedy family until 1970. Recorded Texas Historic Landmark – 1980

less

813 Congress (Yes, right outside La Carafe) 

MARKER TEXT: Irish native John Kennedy (1819-78) came to Houston in 1842. A baker, he operated a store at other locations in the city before

… more

Photo: Michael Paulsen, File

Image 8 of 19

4100 – 4110 Almeda

MARKER TEXT: From 1896 until the 1960s in the southern United States, Jim Crow Laws effectively banned African Americans from using public facilities and basic services that were used by whites. In March 1960, thirteen students from Texas Southern University (TSU) started a non-violent movement protesting these laws and changed Houston forever. These young architects of change formed the Progressive Youth Association (PYA), meeting at the South Central YMCA or in their apartments to plan strategies. These “War Room” meetings are where they organized Houston’s first sit-in. On March 4, 1960, the thirteen students met at a flagpole on TSU’s campus and marched in pairs one mile to Weingarten’s Supermarket (4110 Almeda Road) with the objective of being served at the lunch counter. Dozens more joined them as they marched, singing black spirituals. Though white employees refused to serve the students and patrons hurled insults at them, they sat there silently for hours, occupying all 30 counter stools in shifts. More sit-ins occurred over the following days and weeks. The sit-in at Weingarten’s Supermarket was the first in a series of non-violent demonstrations leading to the peaceful end of segregation in public places. Houston’s lunch counters quietly desegregated on August 25, 1960. Department stores, hotels and restaurants soon followed, and Houston’s Astrodome opened in 1965 as an integrated facility. The sit-ins ended with the signing of the 1964 Civil Rights Act. Today, these thirteen unsung heroes are remembered for starting a movement that advanced civil rights and equality in Houston. (2009)

less

4100 – 4110 Almeda

MARKER TEXT: From 1896 until the 1960s in the southern United States, Jim Crow Laws effectively banned African Americans from using public facilities and basic

… more

Image 9 of 19

715 Franklin 

MARKER TEXT: Magnolia Brewery was part of the Houston Ice and Brewing Company, founded in the late 19th century by Hugh Hamilton. Some of the brewery’s popular brands included Magnolia, Southern Select and Richelieu beers. This building, designed by H.C. Cooke and Co. in 1912, was part of a much larger complex of structures along Buffalo Bayou. The building’s details include pronounced cornice, upswept corner corbelled parapet and stained-glass transoms with a magnolia design. The company closed in 1950, but the building remains a link to the area’s industrial history. Recorded Texas Historic Landmark – 2003

less

715 Franklin 

MARKER TEXT: Magnolia Brewery was part of the Houston Ice and Brewing Company, founded in the late 19th century by Hugh Hamilton. Some of the brewery’s popular

… more

Photo: Coomer, Brett, COURTESY OF Bart Truxillo

Image 10 of 19

Image 11 of 19

2310 Elgin Street

MARKER TEXT: Between 1900 and 1920, a residential building boom fueled the establishment of a commercial district on Dowling Street, the Third Ward’s main artery. The bustling district included restaurants, shops, churches, stores, professional offices, movie theaters and nightclubs. Located at the corner of Elgin and Dowling Streets, the Eldorado Ballroom was designed by architect Lenard Gebart for the prominent philanthropists and business owners Clarence Arnold Dupree and his wife Anna Johnson Dupree. The ballroom opened in 1939 and was named for one of the social clubs to which the black community’s most prominent professionals and business people belonged. The Eldorado Ballroom provided opportunities for members of the black middle and upper classes to demonstrate their wealth and sophistication. The ballroom launched the careers of musicians and band leaders such as Milton Larkin, Illinois Jacquet and Arnett Cobb. In the late 1950s, the Eldorado Ballroom hosted popular entertainment acts from nationally-known black artists in the blues and R&B genres. By the 1960s, migration out of the inner city resulted in the relocation or closure of many businesses in the area. In addition, the declining importance of social clubs, inadequate parking, and competition from other venues cumulatively led to the ballroom’s closure in the 1970s. Following the deaths of the Duprees, oilman Hubert Finkelstein purchased the property in 1984 and 15 years later donated it to Project Row Houses, a community organization. The Eldorado Ballroom is one of the few historic buildings remaining in the Third Ward’s former commercial district.

less

2310 Elgin Street

MARKER TEXT: Between 1900 and 1920, a residential building boom fueled the establishment of a commercial district on Dowling Street, the Third Ward’s main artery. The

… more

Photo: Houston Chronicle

Image 12 of 19

Milam and Congress

MARKER TEXT: Platted 1836 by surveyors Gail Borden, Jr., and Moses Lapham as “Congress Square.” It was intention of city fathers Augustus C. and John K. Allen to have permanent Capitol of Republic of Texas located here. However, this was never realized and almost immediately it became center of commerce for the flourishing city. Residents, farmers, peddlers and Indians all crowded here daily with wagon loads of goods to trade. Soon merchants were vying for permanent sites for stores. One early observer noted “reason for its popularity was that the municipal government was conducted in Kesler’s Arcade, a saloon only a half block away.” In 1840 Houston’s first municipal market house was built here. Before it was completed, city officials voted to enlarge it and include a city hall also. For 30 years building served dual role– the market overflowing till it reached the streets. Many items, including household and farm goods, were sold here. It was here that Houston Independent Light Guard mobilized after Texas decided to invade Mexico, 1842. Several municipal buildings occupied the site following original market-city hall. However, the seat of city government was eventually moved to a new location and this became a park. 

less

Milam and Congress

MARKER TEXT: Platted 1836 by surveyors Gail Borden, Jr., and Moses Lapham as “Congress Square.” It was intention of city fathers Augustus C. and John K. Allen to have

… more

Photo: Jim Doersam, Houston Chronicle

Image 13 of 19

Bagby and Rusk

MARKER TEXT: Due to the efforts of businessman Jesse H. Jones, the Democratic National Committee chose Houston as the site of the 1928 Democratic National Convention. Located on this site, the 20,000-seat Sam Houston Hall was completed in 64 days at a cost of $200,000. The convention met from June 26 to 29. Major issues addressed included the enforcement of prohibition and the plight of America’s farmers. One senator remarked that the 1928 delegates constituted the most disorderly orderly crowd he had ever seen. On June 28 New York Governor Alfred E. Smith (1873-1944) was nominated for president on the first ballot. An anti-prohibitionist, Smith was the first Roman Catholic to be nominated for the U. S. Presidency by a major political party. Senate Majority Leader Joseph T. Robinson, a Southerner and supporter of prohibition, received the nomination for vice president on June 29. Smith, who did not attend the convention, later read a formal acceptance speech in Albany, New York. On November 6, Republican candidate Herbert Hoover won the national election by a wide margin. Though Alfred E. Smith had been nominated for the nation’s highest office at the Houston convention, he did not carry Texas in the November general election. 

less

Bagby and Rusk

MARKER TEXT: Due to the efforts of businessman Jesse H. Jones, the Democratic National Committee chose Houston as the site of the 1928 Democratic National

… more

Photo: Houston Chronicle

Image 14 of 19

58 Spencer (South Houston) 

MARKER TEXT: The first documented flight of a heavier-than-air flying machine in Texas occurred over this site on February 18, 1910, two weeks before the first military airplane flight by Lt. Benjamin Foulois at Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio. The South Houston flight was part of a land development promotion sponsored by the Western Land Corporation and the Houston “Post.” French aviator Louis Paulhan, on a coast-to-coast flying exhibition tour of America, was commissioned to demonstrate his flying skills. The promoters arranged for special excursion trains to transport spectators to the site from downtown Houston. Headlines in the “Post” proclaimed, “This is the first opportunity for Texans to see a real demonstration of man’s ability to fly. Don’t fail to come and see demonstrated the greatest invention of the present era.” A crowd of more than 2,500 people gathered on Friday, February 18th, to witness Paulhan’s first Texas flight in his Farman biplane. Because of high winds and inclement weather, the aviator was not able to perform some of his most spectacular stunts, but the crowd was thrilled with the aerial display. A second flying exhibition on the following day drew almost 6,000 people.

less

58 Spencer (South Houston) 

MARKER TEXT: The first documented flight of a heavier-than-air flying machine in Texas occurred over this site on February 18, 1910, two weeks

… more

Photo: Google Maps

Image 15 of 19

Image 16 of 19

Memorial Park

MARKER TEXT: Soon after the United States’ entry into World War I in 1917, the U. S. Army established 34 training camps to prepare troops for warfare. Named for Gen. John A. Logan, Mexican War and Civil War veteran and U. S. Senator from Illinois, Camp Logan was established at this site on July 18, 1917. Encompassing 7,600 acres of land, it consisted of a main camp, auxiliary remount depot, rifle range, artillery range, and drill grounds. During construction, members of the 3rd Battalion, 24th Infantry (black troops commanded by white officers) were assigned to the camp as guards and were stationed about a mile to the east. The black soldiers’ August 23, 1917, armed revolt in response to Houston’s Jim Crow laws and police harassment resulted in the camp’s most publicized incident, the “Houston Mutiny and Riot of 1917.” Troops receiving training at Camp Logan included the 33rd Division, composed of the Illinois National Guard, part of the 93rd Division, and other Regular Army units. Following training, they went on to serve in battle in France in 1918. Camp Logan closed on March 20, 1919. Part of the land later became Memorial Park, named in tribute to the soldiers who fought in Europe.

less

Memorial Park

MARKER TEXT: Soon after the United States’ entry into World War I in 1917, the U. S. Army established 34 training camps to prepare troops for warfare. Named for Gen. John A. Logan,

… more

Photo: Cindy George | Houston Chronicle

Image 17 of 19

2024 Seawall

MARKER TEXT: Built at a cost of $1,000,000, this hotel was financed by local businessmen and public subscribers to help the economy of Galveston following the 1900 hurricane. Completed in 1911, it was designed by the St. Louis firm of Mauran and Russell. The Spanish Colonial revival styling included a red tile roof and white stuccoed brick walls. The hotel and city are named in honor of Count Bernado de Galvez (1746-86), Spanish Governor of Louisiana and Viceroy of Mexico. Recorded Texas Historic Landmark – 1980

less

2024 Seawall

MARKER TEXT: Built at a cost of $1,000,000, this hotel was financed by local businessmen and public subscribers to help the economy of Galveston following the 1900 hurricane.

… more

Photo: Galveston CVB

Image 18 of 19

2009-2011 Washington Ave 

MARKER TEXT: Original site of the Houston Coca-Cola Bottling Company The Houston Coca-Cola Bottling Company, one of the first companies in the nation granted franchise rights for the distribution of Coca-Cola in bottles, opened its doors in a brick building on this site in 1902. J.T. Lupton of Chattanooga, Tennessee, was the primary owner. The initial purchase of syrup from the Coca-Cola Company consisted of 387 gallons of syrup, and bottled Coca-Cola was delivered by a mule-drawn wagon. In 1908, the company bought almost 3,000 gallons of syrup to meet the soda demand, which was growing along with Houston’s population. In this location, they had one hand-operated bottling machine with a capacity of 250 cases a day. By 1915, sales of Coca-Cola had increased such that the company moved to larger facilities at 1212 Washington Avenue. In 1918, J.E. Evans became the plant’s general manager, and during his tenure Houstonians continued to celebrate the soft drink sensation, prompting the company’s continued growth. By 1948, C. Lupton Thomas, general manager, and J.E. Evans, president, developed plans for a new facility at 2800 Bissonnet. Lauded as the world’s most modern Coca-Cola plant, the new million-dollar plant opened to the public in June 1950. For more than a century, the Houston Coca-Cola Bottling Company has provided jobs, as well as refreshment, to the City of Houston and surrounding areas. The company has consistently given back to the city through charity work and project funding. As one of the largest operations of its kind in the world, it continues its commitment to employees, customers and neighbors. (2003) 

less

2009-2011 Washington Ave 

MARKER TEXT: Original site of the Houston Coca-Cola Bottling Company The Houston Coca-Cola Bottling Company, one of the

… more

Photo: Google Maps

Image 19 of 19


Check out the slideshow above for some of the most interesting historical markers in Houston…

Recently the Astrodome was honored with its own Texas Historical Marker, over 50 years after it was built. The marker debuted during a special event on May 29 on the stadium’s southwest side.

NEW THINGS TO SEE: The Astrodome gets its own Texas State Historical Marker

The city is covered in these markers, some hidden in plain sight but no less interesting or worth visiting. Some of the markers are in busy area where  people likely drive or walk by them daily, offering up morsels of local history.

Not all markers are boring either, no matter what kids might say.

As of Jan. 2016 there were over 16,200 markers across the the state of Texas, with about 250 added each year, according to the Texas Historical Commission website. These markers offer visitors a history lesson in obscure and not-so-obscure moments in Texas history.

HOUSTONCHRONICLE.COM: The history of Texas’ most Texas-iest things

To have a marker there should be some historical significance to document and impart to generations of Texans to come. There is a $100 application fee to have a marker considered. In the case of the Dome’s plaque, the Houston Astros picked up the $2,000 tab for the shiny, new marker on site.

The annual application season kicks off later this year. The process calls for the inclusion of a detailed, narrative history documenting why the property or topic deserves a marker. Basically, a research paper is needed.

The first historical marker authorized by the Texas Historical Commission to commemorate Juneteenth, the issuance of the proclamation June 19, 1865, ending slavery in Texas was dedicated in 2014 on The Strand in Galveston.  / handout

Photo: handout

The first historical marker authorized by the Texas Historical Commission to commemorate Juneteenth, the issuance of the proclamation June 19, 1865, ending slavery in Texas was dedicated in 2014 on The Strand in Galveston. 

There are several kinds of markers, including Recorded Texas Historic Landmarks, Historic Texas Cemetery markers, subject markers, and centennial markers added in 1936 to commemorate the 100th anniversary of Texas’ independence from Mexico.

A NIGHT WITH HISTORY: Spending a night aboard the Battleship Texas, the last of her kind

The most popular ones are the black and silver subject markers, like the Astrodome now has. These are the ones that are commonly seen on Texas road sides, with detailed information. It could be a person who resided nearby, a building, a settlement, a business, or an important historical location.

These markers don’t particularly safeguard a site or offer it protection. A site must be deemed a Recorded Texas Historic Landmark for that to happen.

Craig Hlavaty is a reporter for Chron.com and HoustonChronicle.com.

RankTribe™ Black Business Directory News – Arts & Entertainment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *