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Historic Houston Roads


mblaise

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I agree - would have to study more about the origins/original purposes and links of current streets to get some possible insight on the inconsistencies.

Sev and Rad Sallee both have it on the nose.

Houston is made up of several municipalities that were acquired, one of which is The city of Harrisburg on the east side of the city which still bears the name of the street, and was also the original name of the county, BTW.

Another example is Westheimer, which used to be nothing but a dirt road leading to a ranch (where lamar High school currently stands) owned by a Mr. Westheimer.

As far as the highway systems and such, they can be rather confusing to people when they first get here, but its a quick shorthand to describe that particular part of town. The only parts that give me trouble is when it comes to dealing with the loop.

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As far as street changes, Sanborn maps and especially the block book maps sometimes have changes recorded by hand on them.

This map of Montrose/Fairview area shows how Montrose was Lincoln St. and also maybe "Fan Buran," but that looks like it was a mistake.

http://books.tax.hctx.net/v018/AE1997_17-18_0308.jpg

Speaking of Montrose, here's a little map showing the divide between Montrose Blvd. and Studewood (c. 1925).

It shows from the south Montrose changing to Lincoln at Westheimer, Lincoln ending at W Dallas, then Studewood starting just north of White Oak bayou.

Studemont was the link between Studewood and Montrose.

http://i25.tinypic.com/wwj1uu.png (green is Montrose route, yellow on street names)

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City streets that change like Voss/Hillcroft, Blalock/Piney Point/Fondren don't bother me so much. None of those have overlapping names. I-10/Katy Freeway can be called either for the same section. The road doesn't change in the middle, it's both names in one place.

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Chill. All the roads are, like, connected. Totally.

It's only our limited perception of time and space and vibrancy that keep us from seeing that all roads are the same road.

And you can't step into the same road twice, because, like, the road is always changing and so are you.

Dig it.

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For what it's worth, Grand Parkway's exit on I-10 in East Houston is signed as both SH 99 and Grand Parkway. Funny though, considering it might be Houston's next loop, it's barely a step above being a dirt road.

What confused the hell out of me, before I moved to Montrose from New Orleans, was Westheimer -> Elgin and Richmond -> Wheeler, while West Gray and West Alabama became just Gray and Alabama. All that combined with all the one ways and the fact that the Spur messes up the Midtown grid pattern used to mean that as soon as I saw the Midtown street sign logo, I knew that I was hopelessly lost.

Now that I live on West Alabama almost at Main, I'm used to it, but when my native Houstonian friends let me drive around Midtown, they're amazed that I know where everything is. I guess after the thousandth time you learn. But I still refuse to drive downtown, cuz that's just crazy talk.

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  • 4 weeks later...
Many old Houston city maps have Breen Road listed as Mulberry Street. Was the named changed, possibly around 1965 or 66? Why was the name of the road changed?

I know many other roads in Houston had names changed - South Park to MLK, ?? to Sgt. Macario, even T. C. Jester was originally called White Oak Drive.

Sometimes pieces of roads were absorbed into longer roads when the extensions were built. Antoine took over a short street called Oxbow, T.C. Jester took over a street called Telford. T. C. Jester took over Leroy Street. etc. any other examples? probably many!

Mangum Road used to be called White Oak Drive.

W. T.C. Jester was Teleford, I have lived right off of W.T.C. Jester and W.34th Street since 1958.

W.34th from Shepherd going west to Oak Forest, then north to W.43rd, then west to Mangum Road, then north to Acorn, then to west to Antoine, then north to Pinemont.....used to be the original Rosslyn Road. It is on a 1950 Map that I have.

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I just thought of another road that was covered up to make way for an extension - Eldridge Parkway north of 1960 makes a bend just south of Cypress North Houston Road. This curved section was formerly a street called Susquannah (not sure of spelling).

Another obscure one was when the Antoine extension was built from 290 to Hempstead Road, it went over the top of a tiny street called either March or May Street. April Street still exists a couple blocks down.

Does anyone know why Ora Street was closed? It's a short street near Dacoma and Hempstead. I've seen other funny things with sections of streets barricaded.

Wow that was great about all those streets. Here's another good bit of trivia - the Gulf Freeway was never a "full freeway" until the 70s. Highways with crossovers are not freeways.

I have some web sites of abandoned highways, bridges and "lost" highways if anyone might be interested. I have also been thinking about taking pictures of abandoned streets in the Houston area if there was any interest - I know of at least a dozen places where the concrete remains from old roadways - North Houston Rosslyn, Perry Road, FM 529 just to name some.

Ora Street was closed after one of the businesses close to the road bought the land. It is now private. there used to be an old wodden home on the road on the right side and befroe the land was sold the house was in terrible condition it was torn down.

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Will Clayton Pky. was once Jetero Blvd.

I had totally forgotten that.

Gulfton Drive in Bellaire was changed to Fournace Place a few years ago. Was this to disassociate Bellaire from the apartment slum just down the street?

That area was so well known as the "Gulfton Ghetto" that I would not be surprised.

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This might be the perfect place to ask this - Gulfton Drive in Bellaire was changed to Fournace Place a few years ago. Was this to disassociate Bellaire from the apartment slum just down the street?

As I remember, Texaco was considering putting up a lowrise office building and the street name change was part of the negotiations between the parties. The building did indeed become a reality.

Edited by GoneGator
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As I remember, Texaco was considering putting up a lowrise office building and the street name change was part of the negotiations between the parties. The building did indeed become a reality.

The name change was more than a few years ago. My Uncle worked in the Bellaire office starting in the 70's, and th estreet was named Fournace then. Texaco, now Chevron, has been at that Bellaire location since the 40's. The oldest building still there is on the SW corner of the campus, or the NE corner of Fournace and Rice.

Chevron bought Gulf then Texaco. Maybe they will change the name to Gulfton again.

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Another recent name change is the change of an old portion of W. Fuqua at S. Post Oak. The new segment that runs down to past the BW is W. Fuqua, but the old segment that terminated at S. Post Oak has been renamed Fuqua Gardens Rd. or something like that.

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Another recent name change is the change of an old portion of W. Fuqua at S. Post Oak. The new segment that runs down to past the BW is W. Fuqua, but the old segment that terminated at S. Post Oak has been renamed Fuqua Gardens Rd. or something like that.

I think the signage east of South Post Oak actually reads "Almeda-Genoa." IIRC that's the sign at the intersection with Hiram Clarke anyway....

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Maybe I'm just crazy, but from my childhood in the 1950s, it seems that what is now called West Mount Houston, was designated as W. Mont. Houston. As in West Montgomery-Houston Road, because that road led from Houston to West Montgomery County. Can anyone clue me in on this?

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Ora Street was closed after one of the businesses close to the road bought the land. It is now private. there used to be an old wodden home on the road on the right side and befroe the land was sold the house was in terrible condition it was torn down.

I'm no expert, but Fournace came first. At least it was there when I was a child in th '50s.

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Maybe I'm just crazy, but from my childhood in the 1950s, it seems that what is now called West Mount Houston, was designated as W. Mont. Houston. As in West Montgomery-Houston Road, because that road led from Houston to West Montgomery County. Can anyone clue me in on this?

Mount Houston is a subdivision off of Homestead Road. It was always Mount Houston. Here is a link to the block book map for that subdivision. You can see in the map that some of the street names have changed, but most are still per the original plat.

Mount Houston Block Book

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Maybe I'm just crazy, but from my childhood in the 1950s, it seems that what is now called West Mount Houston, was designated as W. Mont. Houston. As in West Montgomery-Houston Road, because that road led from Houston to West Montgomery County. Can anyone clue me in on this?

West Montgomery Road has always been West Montgomery Road, going from the Shepherd/Tidwell intersection to western Montgomery County. The state also designated this road as F.M. 149.

What is today's West Mount Houston Road was originally called Airline Link Road and went from West Montgomery Road to Steubner-Airline. In 1956, the state extended Airline Link Road from Stuebner Airline to U.S. 75 (the predecessor to the North Freeway) and designated the road as F.M. 2430 from U.S. 75 to West Montgomery Road.

In 1960, the state realigned FM 149 to deviate from West Montgomery Road at the Airline Link intersection and then proceed to U.S. 75 over the former F.M. 2430. Airline Link Road was also renamed West Mount Houston Road. The remainder of West Montgomery from West Mount Houston south to Shepherd/Tidwell was then given the designation F.M. 2430 (the former designation of Airline-Link).

In 1963, West Mount Houston Road was extended from the new North Freeway over Halls Bayou to Airline Drive.

West Mount Houston and East Mount Houston never meet and probably never will. East Mount Houston actually passes through the Mount Houston area mentioned by isuredid. West Mount Houston never comes close to it.

In case you're wondering if there is an East Mongomery Road, the answer to that is yes. Fulton was East Montgomery Road until it hit Airline and then East Montgomery continued up Airline from that point.

Edited by Firebird65
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  • 1 month later...
just out of curiousity, what does it say about Gulf Bank? I've always wondered about that street name. And I've heard that West Road is named for a farmer. Does the book shed any light there?

Sorry - had misplaced my copy of the book, but just found it. It doesn't include Gulf Bank, that I can see. There is an entry "West" that discusses Simeon West, who "platted the town of Deer Park."

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Wow - after flipping through the book again, I see an entry for Barbarella - it's apparently up north by N Houston/Rosslyn and Alabonson. I thought it was funny that this street is very close to Casablanca Rd., and just around the corner from Stoner Ct. :rolleyes:

This area was platted around 1979.

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Wow - after flipping through the book again, I see an entry for Barbarella - it's apparently up north by N Houston/Rosslyn and Alabonson. I thought it was funny that this street is very close to Casablanca Rd., and just around the corner from Stoner Ct. :rolleyes:

This area was platted around 1979.

Barbarella? Excellent.

My all-time favorite Houston street name though is Betty Boop.

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Westheimer, west of Dairy Ashford was named Westheimer Beeler Rd.. In my 1990 Key Map, it still showed up that way. One of the Beelers was a friend of my father. Apparently, the Beelers operated a ranch in that area. A story I heard was that the elder Mr. Beeler gave 40 acres to a former ranch hand, Mr. Roquemore, who operated a dirt yard from the land for many years, it closed maybe 10 years ago. Fortunately for the Roquemores, the 40 acres fronted on Westheimer.

Another name changed street in town that I have not seen mentioned is perhaps the most famous of all, MLK. If my memory is working today, I think that used to be Southpark or South Park.

MLK is near the neighborhhod with all of the great WW2 names, Iwo Jima, Tarawa, Kassarine Pass, Bataan, Anzio, etc. Gosh, I wonder when that neighborhood was built and who the target residents were?

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MLK is near the neighborhhod with all of the great WW2 names, Iwo Jima, Tarawa, Kassarine Pass, Bataan, Anzio, etc. Gosh, I wonder when that neighborhood was built and who the target residents were?

I'm guessing it was WWII vets. Lots of affordable housing was built in the post war period to accomodate the "baby boom" of 1946-1964.

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  • 4 weeks later...

I have been studying the 1913 map listed here: http://www.tsl.state.tx.us/arc/maps/images/map0435.jpg

& found that Canal St. was originally called German St. (I imagine the name change came with WWI). The st. runs all the way into Downtown, is between Harrisburg &

Navigation.

P.S. This map link is a "very good" source for neighborhood info.

Edited by NenaE
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I have been studying the 1913 map listed here: http://www.tsl.state.tx.us/arc/maps/images/map0435.jpg

& found that Canal St. was originally called German St. (I imagine the name change came with WWI). The st. runs all the way into Downtown, is between Harrisburg &

Navigation.

P.S. This map link is a "very good" source for neighborhood info.

Also, all but two of the saint-named streets south of Harrisburg and east of Milby have been renamed. Only St. Augustine and St. Joseph remain, despite the coming of St. Joseph Parkway downtown.

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I have been studying the 1913 map listed here & found that Canal St. was originally called German St. (I imagine the name change came with WWI). The st. runs all the way into Downtown, is between Harrisburg & Navigation.

You may be right about why German St got its name changed during WWI. A lot of German names and names related to Germany were changed because of the strong anti-German sentiment that prevailed at the time.

I think I know why it was changed to Canal. I'm just theorizing here, but In 1914, the Houston Ship Channel was completed and opened, and changing the name of a major street leading to the channel and the Port of Houston was perfectly in order.

So when the name "Germany" just had to go, why not rename it Canal? It means "channel" in Spanish.

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I have no idea when or why it was changed, but at one time the street we now call West Dallas was named San Felipe. It ran from the west side all the way into downtown.

I know it was San Felipe as recently as World Wars One and even WWII, because newspaper accounts of the Camp Logan race riot in 1918 said the rioting soldiers advanced toward downtown Houston on San Felipe Road.

Also, the City of Houston built that big public housing project just west of downtown early in WWII, and named it San Felipe Courts, for the street that ran along the south side of the project.

Does anyone have an old map that shows the original route San Felipe took going west out of downtown?

Oh, so that's why I used to hear old-timers refer to Allen Parkway Village housing project as "San Felipe Courts" when I was a child. Interesting!

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I don't have precise information about the San Felipe/West Dallas name change, but have found a newspaper reference to "West Dallas avenue, which used to be San Felipe road" from February 3, 1923.

There was also discussion earlier in this thread about how Waugh got its name. The information I've found indicates that Waugh was named for Private Tom T. Waugh, who died in World War I, and whose father, T. L. Waugh, was Houston's street and bridge commissioner for some period in the 1920's. The Waugh Drive bridge was built in the early 1920's "to connect Euclid avenue in Hyde Park [later renamed Waugh] with the north side of Buffalo Bayou" and was referred to then as the "Cleveland Park bridge". Fifty-six acres in size, Cleveland Park was the largest of the five city parks in existence in Houston as of 1911 (the others were Sam Houston Park (29 acres), Elizabeth Baldwin Park (2.5 acres), Highland Park (26 acres), and Settegast Park (acreage at the time unknown, but it was small).

Edited by tmariar
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Also, all but two of the saint-named streets south of Harrisburg and east of Milby have been renamed. Only St. Augustine and St. Joseph remain, despite the coming of St. Joseph Parkway downtown.

I also noticed those Saint st. names. Old maps have so much info. Be sure to check out the other old maps in the link, the one from the 1940's is full of info. about how the neighborhoods grew. One example, Meadowbrook shows the first streets that were laid out, 5-7, near Old Galveston Rd.

One map (Topo) shows a body of water on the East side of Magnolia Park. Rail encircled it. Must have been associated with the park originally there; could have been filled when dredging of the channel started, 'hoods built.

A big thanks! to the site they are listed under, quite an impressive collection.

You may be right about why German St got its name changed during WWI. A lot of German names and names related to Germany were changed because of the strong anti-German sentiment that prevailed at the time.

I think I know why it was changed to Canal. I'm just theorizing here, but In 1914, the Houston Ship Channel was completed and opened, and changing the name of a major street leading to the channel and the Port of Houston was perfectly in order.

So when the name "Germany" just had to go, why not rename it Canal? It means "channel" in Spanish.

Good theory FilioScotia, The reason I am wondering, is my G-Grandparents chose to live in Central Park (pt. of Magnolia Park). (This still bothers me, why have the two names). My ggrandfather was of German ancestry. Great-grandmother was English ancestry, but grew up in South Texas, "in the valley". She (NenaE) always loved the East End. Edited by NenaE
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I have no idea when or why it was changed, but at one time the street we now call West Dallas was named San Felipe. It ran from the west side all the way into downtown.

I know it was San Felipe as recently as World Wars One and even WWII, because newspaper accounts of the Camp Logan race riot in 1918 said the rioting soldiers advanced toward downtown Houston on San Felipe Road.

Also, the City of Houston built that big public housing project just west of downtown early in WWII, and named it San Felipe Courts, for the street that ran along the south side of the project.

Does anyone have an old map that shows the original route San Felipe took going west out of downtown?

I have a theory that San Felipe was the original road from harrisburg and later houston to San Felipe, capital of austins colony. Washington, north of Buffalo bayou went to Washington on the Brazos. If so these would have been the first roads coming into houston from the west. The only competitor would be old richmond road, which might have been of the same era.

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I have a theory that San Felipe was the original road from harrisburg and later houston to San Felipe, capital of austins colony. Washington, north of Buffalo bayou went to Washington on the Brazos. If so these would have been the first roads coming into houston from the west. The only competitor would be old richmond road, which might have been of the same era.

Your theory is correct. In the 1830s and 1840s, there was a deeply rutted wagon road between Harrisburg and San Felipe, and nearby Columbus. I read about it in a personal history written by a German immigrant in 1849. He traveled that route in the early 1840s, and he described his journey from Harrisburg to Columbus as four days of pure hell.

That "road" was soft and deep mud for much of the way across what is now the Katy prairie out to beyond what is now Sealy. He wrote that he and his fellow travelers spent most of their time digging their wagons out of the mud and pushing them to help the horses. Mosquitoes the size of birds also kept them miserable. They camped at night wherever they could find dry ground. It's instructive to think about this when you drive from Houston to Columbus in about one hour.

Over many decades this road became known as the San Felipe Road, and, like most "roads" of those times, it probably followed at least several parallel routes that started in Houston and ended in San Felipe.

Edited by FilioScotia
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"Now, Elgin turns into Westheimer once you get west of Brazos, but at one point, it was called Hathaway St at that portion, I guess a "buffer" name between the two names of the major throughofare"

When the AVONDALE area was platted for development 100 years ago a contest was held to name the development-- a dozen people split the prize money with the name "avondale"---Hathaway was part of the "shakespeare" theme for streets nearby--like stratford--helena etc

TAFT was called something else i think when first platted--but i'm not sure what--somehow it must have been changed when TAFT won the 1908 election--

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Your theory is correct. In the 1830s and 1840s, there was a deeply rutted wagon road between Harrisburg and San Felipe, and nearby Columbus. I read about it in a personal history written by a German immigrant in 1849. He traveled that route in the early 1840s, and he described his journey from Harrisburg to Columbus as four days of pure hell.

Can you tell me where you read this personal history? Is it a published source or an archival document?

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Your theory is correct. In the 1830s and 1840s, there was a deeply rutted wagon road between Harrisburg and San Felipe, and nearby Columbus. I read about it in a personal history written by a German immigrant in 1849. He traveled that route in the early 1840s, and he described his journey from Harrisburg to Columbus as four days of pure hell.

Can you tell me where you read this personal history? Is it a published source or an archival document?

It was a book I came across in the early 70s. It seems to be a fairly well known book because I've seen references to it in other books on early Texas history. I'm still digging around on the Internet trying to find some record of it. I'll post it when I find it.

Edited by FilioScotia
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The most intriguing thing about that 1913 map is the G.H & S.A. Railroad that runs south on present day Montrose and crosses over to Almeda Rd. You would be hard pressed to find any sign of it today.

Lola's (on Fairview) is rumored to have been an industrial building of some sort that abutted the railroad. The entrance still resembles a loading dock.

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Lola's (on Fairview) is rumored to have been an industrial building of some sort that abutted the railroad. The entrance still resembles a loading dock.

That's an interesting observation and probably a correct assumption. This may explain why some of those streets around the "boy bars" are so convoluted as compared to the surrounding blocks. The tracks may have made their curve at this location.

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Your theory is correct. In the 1830s and 1840s, there was a deeply rutted wagon road between Harrisburg and San Felipe, and nearby Columbus. I read about it in a personal history written by a German immigrant in 1849. He traveled that route in the early 1840s, and he described his journey from Harrisburg to Columbus as four days of pure hell.

Can you tell me where you read this personal history? Is it a published source or an archival document?

It was a book. Roemer's Texas, written in 1845 by a German immigrant named Ferdinand Roemer.

Roemer's book focuses on the experiences of other German immigrants in settling in Texas, and it's still widely read and respected by historians. It's also still available from a number of publishers. You can buy it on Amazon dot com.

Edited by FilioScotia
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It was a book. Roemer's Texas, written in 1845 by a German immigrant named Ferdinand Roemer.

Roemer's book focuses on the experiences of other German immigrants in settling in Texas, and it's still widely read and respected by historians. It's also still available from a number of publishers. You can buy it on Amazon dot com.

You can read the book, Roemer's Texas, online in digital form on the Houston Public Library website.

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  • The title was changed to Historic Houston Roads

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