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Brunsville - Old Subdivision Near The Ship Channel

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We know the circles existed because it shows up on various street maps up until the 1950s.

I wonder if Clinton Park was meant to replace it.

I don't know if the interior circles did exist. Maps aren't flawless.

Clinton View was the subdivision replatted in the oval/park in the late forties.

Some time not to long after a rail line was laid through the subdivision effectively cutting it in half. Now, how many times have you seen a rail line cut through a neighborhood was has already been developed? I have seen plenty which have grown around rail lines, but not cut afterwards without an existing right-of-way.
The railroad and old Clinton Road preceeded the development of the subdivision as the last map that I posted shows. Actually both probably happened at the same time. That map before the subdivision was developed is from 1890 and the subdivision was platted in 1893. SO the neighborhood was designed around the RR and the Road.

I think TexasFreeway is referring to the Port Authority RR that sliced through the top third of the oval - not the one that parallels clinton dr.

If the Port Authority wanted a track through there (in the thirties - i think) then they would get it through. The neighborhood was not River Oaks and would not have had the clout to stop it. That said, I think we can safely say that the neighborhood was sparsley developed and putting a rr through there would not have disrupted a lot of homeowners.

And definately a big thank you to Isuredid to getting all the additional plats and maps posted.

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Here are some plats from 1951 when they were filling in the bottom of the ovals. HL&P also cut through the ovals in the middle. If they could lay a new neighborhood on top of the old one, there must have not been much left of the old one.

yeah...but they laid it out in the "park" area not in the residential part of the Brunsville plat

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The book "Houston Electric" discusses how real estate development in the 1890s was often dependent on the availability of streetcar lines. Developments from that often spurred development of a line, and streetcar access was a major selling point for developers. This makes sense, since without cars it would be impossible for most people to easily make it downtown where the jobs and stores were. It would seem to be a good guess that Brunsville was sold in anticipation of a streetcar line being extended to the area, as otherwise such a large subdivision would never make sense. The extension never happened, and this probably effectively doomed the development.

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The present day area just East (across 610) and West (w. of Maxine St. ) is a dredge disposal site for the Port of Houston. There has been ongoing dredging since the opening of the Port. Could the oval areas be a sludge pit type operation?

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galenashapeyt7.jpg

i can envision that the area was simply a rough layout for future lots and streets. a creative one, but not much diferent than the odd shaped little rectangular section just to the east down clinton in Galena park.

The area where 1st thru 8th street are. this is a simarly sized shape as well. do we know when this scetion of blocks was platted and by who? We do know that the area was replatted and filled in with homes but with a different street pattern.

Edited by westguy76

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Here's a map of current utilities in the area. Only the lots within the old "park" have service. This doesn't prove that nothing was built in the original house lots around the "park", but if they were built, they probably didn't have water or sewer service.

I'll go along with the hypothesis that the neighborhood was planned with a great park in the middle, but the plans fell through sometime after 1895 (when the patch just south of the park was platted). Little or nothing was developed on the house lots, and the "park" land stayed in private hands. A rail line and HL&P right of way were cut through the planned neighborhood. Somehow, the developer's fancy park layout was copied onto other maps though never built.

Continuing my guesswork, in 1951, the "park" land within the nonexisting neighborhood was bought and platted. Utilities were brought in along Mississippi and Maxine. This time, houses were actually built. The areas around the park where houses were supposed to be was redeveloped as industrial/commercial land. Ironically, the original plan with housing around a park became industries around housing.

I wonder what the developer was thinking in 1893. This was just after the Heights was developed. Was this supposed to be another suburb? It was near a rail line that could have been used by commuters (maybe a station was planned at the south end of the neighborhood). If not a suburb, where would the people work? This was prior to the major deepening/widening of the ship channel.

Maybe the park like the entire neighborhood was the result of overly optimistic thinking.

brunsvilleutilitieszi0.jpg

Edited by OnTheOtherHand

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galenashapeyt7.jpg

i can envision that the area was simply a rough layout for future lots and streets. a creative one, but not much diferent than the odd shaped little rectangular section just to the east down clinton in Galena park.

The area where 1st thru 8th street are. this is a simarly sized shape as well. do we know when this scetion of blocks was platted and by who? We do know that the area was replatted and filled in with homes but with a different street pattern.

can this not be as simple as just a street pattern that was platted and not developed or subdivided? there are plenty of circles in the middle of blocks in houston. There was one a street over from where i grew up we played baseball and football on it all the time.

look at how they created lots in this elllipse they could fill in the shape we are talking about easy. and its close by perhaps they were envisioned by the same land planner. I guess looking at the shape again they would have to cut streets into it to get to the inner circle. doh!

Edited by westguy76

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This aerial picture is from 1923. Although it doesn't cover the entire area in dispute, it should give everyone another view of how the area looked back then.

shipchannelub9.th.jpg

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This aerial picture is from 1923. Although it doesn't cover the entire area in dispute, it should give everyone another view of how the area looked back then.

shipchannelub9.th.jpg

Nice photo. Looks to me like Brunsville is top center in the shot -just above the "O" in Old Clinton Road and north of the Railroad and new clinton road alignment. There seems to be some development there and possibly i can sort of make out an oval. or maybe i just want to see it??!! :D

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another thing:

1z48t8x.jpg

is this the same oval, or was it thought to be where the streets now are?

ack

Sevfiv, from my "revised-1953" map I can say that the streets Sol, Maxine, Teal would have fallen inside the mysterious outer southern arch or circle (missing from my map), only shows the top arch (Lincoln St. was very near the top of it), Tite St. runs parrallel north of Mississippi, still inside the mystery circle/ arch. Maxine would serve as a good middle marker for the arch with the extention 2 streets on each side east and west. The streets on the outer edges North to South would be Sam Houston on the West, Columbus on the East border. No inner circles are visible. Traces of the road Columbus may be visible on the top of your right oval, rt. off Mississippi St.

Note: What a complicated area...never seen so many name changes for streets.

My personal hunch after studying all material on this area today is that Gnu (Post #53) was probably right about the neighborhood being originally proposed as a carefully planned community with an elaborate park, similar to Magnolia Park, way before industrial expansion changed the area so much. I've noticed that elaborate entrances were common, arched gates were very popular for 'hoods in the 20's (Woodland Heights, Meadowbrook), and I've seen many circle/ oval drives on main boulevards on old neighborhood maps (Park Place, Houston Gardens).

---I also notice (on GoogleEarth) a small circle (which might be the southern one) where Sol St. meets Tite St., just north of the intersection, but it doesn't line up with my proposed middle of the arch being Maxine St.

---Also the 1953 map lists Mississippi (inside the arch) on the same line/ the same st. as Borden - I believe this is a mistake. Mississippi is clearly above Borden. :huh::wacko:

Edited by NenaE

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Here are a few links to block book info. found on that land where those circles should have been. Looks like the bottom half was only developed...I imagine those roads were shell/ dirt for a long time and would have been easily grown over on the top half of the circle, if originally platted. Notice the two names of subdivisions, Brunsville & Clintonview. Notice also the development corp. info. at the top.

http://books.tax.hctx.net/v078/AE1997_78_0078.jpg

http://books.tax.hctx.net/v078/AE1997_78_0079.jpg

http://books.tax.hctx.net/v096/AE1997_96-2_0019.jpg

Note: in these layouts the borders of the arches are further in than I believed in the above post.

Edited by NenaE

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It's been a while so I may have forgotten, but has anyone seen/posted this? It's a detail of the block book map for the oval (the halves were on two sheets so I put them on one):

2ut0pkp.jpg

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It's been a while so I may have forgotten, but has anyone seen/posted this? It's a detail of the block book map for the oval (the halves were on two sheets so I put them on one):

i dont know if i posted it, but i remember looking at it

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Thnx sevfiv, haven't seen that detailed layout before...why are we so fascinated with these circles?... :lol: .

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I am working on something slowly - obsessive, but I'm almost done. I think the formation I posted above was only the very innermost oval (between the two circles and in the outer oval).

I went out there this past weekend for the first time in a couple years and came in from the north side. There is a big elevated prairie off of Maxine St. and Industrial Dr. - anyone know what that is or was? I think it's where the original neighborhood was platted but never built (the presidential street names). If this has been discussed here before, forgive me - it's been a long time!

Otherwise, the area is the same - heavily industrial, run down houses, and trash everywhere.

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Back to Brunsville..

Stumbled upon this:

Christian Aid Society Cemetery

by George E. Wolf Jr./2010

Christian Aid Society Cemetery

Aka: Clinton Aid Society Cemetery, Clinton Cemetery, Fidelity Cemetery.

(Our Ancestors Graves: Douglas Milburn) Southeast of Industrial Rd. at Turning Basin Drive. Graves moved. Possibly cemetery from 19th century Black community of Brunsville?, Clinton?, across Buffalo Bayou from Harrisburg.

(At Rest: Trevia W. Beverly) 9000 Mississippi, southeast of Industrial Road at Turning Basin Drive. Graves moved - where?? - possibly cemetery from 19th Century Black community of Brunsville or Clinton, across Buffalo Bayou from Harrisburg. Portway Plaza Building now occupies this site.

(Harris County Cemetery List: Unknown Writer, 1956?)Clinton Aid Society Cemetery 75-113-00-001 All Blk 84 Brunsville.Very bad. Under water most of the time. No access road to location. North of 9000 Blk of Mississippi.

I found a 1955 map of Houston/Harris Co. and it show the location of the cemetery. Out in the middle of the area that would be the 610 loop, between to levees is this small cemetery. There is no road leading to the cemetery. Was it moved or just covered up like so many others?

txu-pclmaps-topo-tx-houston_and_vicinity-1955a.jpg

THE CHRISTIAN AID SOCIETY

The Christian Aid Society of the Sweet Home Free Mission Baptist Church was organized in 1923 in Clinton, Texas. Their purpose was to purchase an acre and a half of land to be used as cemetery for the colored residents in Clinton, Texas. The members of Sweet Home Free Mission Baptist Church met informally in November of 1922. After many discussions and prayers the Christian Aid Society of the Sweet Home Free Mission Baptist Church had their first formal meeting on January 16, 1923, in the home of Brother and Sister James Maxey directly across the street from my grandparent’s home. The members of the Christian Aid Society met regularly in the homes of their members, where they would meet and pay dues of fifty cents and a dollar to raise money to buy lumber, nails, and wire for the fence around the cemetery and other supplies needed to accomplish their goals.

Each meeting of the Christian Aid Society opened with the singing of a hymn and the reading of the scripture followed by a prayer and sometimes another song. The President would open the business portion of the meeting where the secretary would read the minutes from the last meeting and various committees would make their reports. Before the meeting of the CAS would close different members were allowed to stand and testify about Gods’ goodness. My mother as a small child would sing at the meetings of the Society at the request of my Grandmother. The members of the CAS also used Roberts’s Rules of Order.

So this makes it sound like before there was a Brunsville subdivision that wasn't, there might have been a black community in the area called Brunsville. When the area started to be developed in the 1940s-50s, it seems the local cemetary was moved.

Link: <a href="https://sites.google...ian-aid-society

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I read the link above, very interesting.

I do have a question though, I guess I missed it in the pieces provided. When the construction company was ordered to see that the remains, stones and coffins be relocated, where were they put?

Strange that the author did not say.

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I read the link above, very interesting.

I do have a question though, I guess I missed it in the pieces provided. When the construction company was ordered to see that the remains, stones and coffins be relocated, where were they put?

Strange that the author did not say.

It doesn't really indicate how and when the cemetary was moved, or even if was just built over. All they know was that the map indicated a cemetary that has now gone missing. There's probably no real way to know without excavating around the properties that are on the cemetary location now.

Is there any regulation that relocated remains are required to be registered somewhere?

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I talked to CemeteryWolf about this very same cemetery topic. It wasn't that long ago. I'll look for the link.

See post 5 >

Edited by NenaE

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OnTheOtherHand said, "I wonder what the developer was thinking in 1893. This was just after the Heights was developed. Was this supposed to be another suburb? It was near a rail line that could have been used by commuters (maybe a station was planned at the south end of the neighborhood). If not a suburb, where would the people work? This was prior to the major deepening/widening of the ship channel.

Maybe the park like the entire neighborhood was the result of overly optimistic thinking."

 

I too wondered what the Brunsville developer was thinking. The Panic of 1893 could explain why the Brunsville development failed. The economic depression of the 1890s was just as bad as the Great Depression of the 30s. Southern states being very hard hit.

 

Subdude, I do wonder if Brunsville didn't get its name due to a fair number of blacks living in the area. Just speculation on my part. I only suggest this since as a kid I lived near an all black neighborhood called Brownsville. An elderly black neighbor said the name Brownsville had nothing to do with a surname and everything to do with the neighborhood being exclusively non-white. Oh, Brun could be German, Old English or French meaning brown. Anyway... A few German immigrants in Texas had Brun as a surname and that's a more likely explanation for the name Brunsville is my guess.

 

Thanks to all making contributions. Very interesting and most appreciated.

 

This is my first posting, BTW. :-) I originally lurked around the forum looking for info on Dixie Automobiles once made at 1212 through 1218 Texas Avenue. Then I found this discussion and....

Edited by Chauncey Gardiner

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Welcome to HAIF.

 

On the naming, my guess would be the more obvious - that the (failed) developer was named Brun or something similar.  There was a Brunner neighborhood in Houston. 

 

We will probably never know, but the Panic of 1893 or 1907 could be a good explanation of what happened to the development.

 

 

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Thanks Chauncey...interesting, about the depression, good theory. Brunsville sounds German to me. My German grandfather, along with many others, settled in the East End, hence German Street, later renamed Canal St., Engelke neighborhood., etc. Many Germans moved away from the EE, later, I've read.

And welcome to HAIF.

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I forgot that way back when I made a quick reconstruction of the neighborhood from the block book maps - it would have been larger than this (it extended about twelve blocks more north). Also, I don't know if it was mentioned before, but one of the streets heading north from the ovals was named "Park View" so it's pretty safe to say it was some sort of elaborate park.

 

http://www.arch-ive.org/houston/brunsville/brunsville_reconstruction.jpg

 

 

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sevfiv, "Park View".... I get that. A large and probably ornate commomon area as an anchor to such grand planned development is about right for the late Victorian Era. Brunsville an intended early version of a bedroom community perhaps?

 

Ah... Someone mentioned the park/common ground being designed with bicycling in mind. Interesting theory for a couple of reasons. What a great forum. :-)

Edited by Chauncey Gardiner

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NenaE, Yes.... The economic conditions would have played role in both the decision to build Brunsville initially and then it's failure or deliberate cancellation. Interesting about the Germans moving away. Why?

Thanks

Edited by Chauncey Gardiner

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NenaE, Yes.... The economic conditions would have played role in both the decision to build Brunsville initially and then it's failure or deliberate cancellation. Interesting about the Germans moving away. Why?

Thanks

Not sure, as mine never did. Maybe they didn't like the industrial expansion. The area of Magnolia Park was initially very wooded and park-like. Perhaps they just wanted a bigger house.

Edited by NenaE

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