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Abandoned Section Of Original Brays Bayou In The Middle Of Texas Medical Center


theoriginalkj

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Happy Friday...

I was stunned when I found this, but would you believe that there is an old section of the original alignment of Braes Bayou right in the middle of the Texas Medical Center, hiding in plain sight? I found it today while walking by MD Anderson and the University of Texas School of Nursing building. The UTSN building is at the SE corner of Bertner and Holcombe. Just east of this building is a small park, which contained the homestead of a family that saw the TMC growing all around it and decided to give their 1 acre of land to the TMC under the stipulation that it be left as a park. At the north end of this park, about 15 feet from Holcombe, is a 20 foot deep gully that extends the full length of the park, west to east. After calling my brother, Texas Freeway (http://www.texasfreeway.com) owner/webmaster and doing some research online, it appears that this little 20 foot deep gully is perhaps the only remaining section of the original Braes Bayou, PRE Army Corp of Engineers re-alignment, dredging, concreting that took place in the 50's. See, the original Braes Bayou winded incessantly across Houston in a path that had to have taken water 2-3 times longer to pass through Houston's, so the ACoE decided to straighten the bayou's to provide more direct water drainage, and foliage elimination to provide less resistance. This little section of the bayou is visible in GoogleEarth historical imagery as well as TOPO maps on www.historicaerials.com going back to 1915 that show the winding alignment in this direct spot, adjacent to present day Holcombe Blvd.

It would post some snap-shops in HistoricAerials or GoogleEarth to show this comparison, but I am short on time right now - perhaps another faithful HAIF poster can put some up?

Kevin

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Happy Friday...

I was stunned when I found this, but would you believe that there is an old section of the original alignment of Braes Bayou right in the middle of the Texas Medical Center, hiding in plain sight? I found it today while walking by MD Anderson and the University of Texas School of Nursing building. The UTSN building is at the SE corner of Bertner and Holcombe. Just east of this building is a small park, which contained the homestead of a family that saw the TMC growing all around it and decided to give their 1 acre of land to the TMC under the stipulation that it be left as a park. At the north end of this park, about 15 feet from Holcombe, is a 20 foot deep gully that extends the full length of the park, west to east. After calling my brother, Texas Freeway (http://www.texasfreeway.com) owner/webmaster and doing some research online, it appears that this little 20 foot deep gully is perhaps the only remaining section of the original Braes Bayou, PRE Army Corp of Engineers re-alignment, dredging, concreting that took place in the 50's. See, the original Braes Bayou winded incessantly across Houston in a path that had to have taken water 2-3 times longer to pass through Houston's, so the ACoE decided to straighten the bayou's to provide more direct water drainage, and foliage elimination to provide less resistance. This little section of the bayou is visible in GoogleEarth historical imagery as well as TOPO maps on www.historicaerials.com going back to 1915 that show the winding alignment in this direct spot, adjacent to present day Holcombe Blvd.

It would post some snap-shops in HistoricAerials or GoogleEarth to show this comparison, but I am short on time right now - perhaps another faithful HAIF poster can put some up?

Kevin

There's more sections of the pre-alignment bayou further east. The bayou was straightened out once before the channelization of the 50s and 60s took place. In the 1920s before Riverside was built, the bayou was straightened and S. and N. MacGregor were built along each side. Old sections of the bayou can be seen in Parkwood Park between N. and S. Parkwood, also in that park on Calumet at Ennis just across the street from the Groovy Grille Mansion, and along S. MacGregor just east of Scott along that curve just before you come to the old Weingarten home.

Edited by JLWM8609
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This gave me a reason to test out a quick slider tool -

1915 topo/current Bertner location: http://www.arch-ive....ou_bertner.html

1944 (1953?)/current Mills Park location (realignment was already well underway): http://www.arch-ive...._millspark.html

1944 (1953?)/current east of Scott location (old alignments on north and south sides of the bayou): http://www.arch-ive...._macgregor.html

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Fascinating! Yeah, if it's a slightly hilly spot of land in Houston, it's usually associated with the water flow. The Harris County block books also show areas that had the natural direction of water flow, before man's manipulation. The Riverside area is an interesting study. I don't know if it's totally advantageous to propel the water at faster speeds, in every case, through concrete chutes. Heard that water always tries to return to it's natural path, if redirected. Or, water takes the shorter route, as in oxbows, that get naturally eliminated, over one. I love the slide/ compare feature. This iPad is still very limiting, laptop GoogleEarth Has more features, suh as the earlier aerial map function.

Edited by NenaE
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  • 2 weeks later...
  • The title was changed to Abandoned Section Of Original Brays Bayou In The Middle Of Texas Medical Center

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