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Downtown/midtown streets (or avenues?)


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Always thought it would be interesting to post this but never got around to it.  But today I read on chron.com's "trending now" section the same topic.  The blogger, writer, contributor or whatever the person's title is took note of TXDOT's freeway exit sign's reading Gray Avenue / Pierce Avenue pointing out how the street signs read Gray Street/Pierce Street and wanted to know why.  Since I'm a historic Houston buff (especially for downtown/midtown) I kind of already knew why just by being curious and observant.  When the Borden brothers (I believe they were brothers but I could be wrong) designed the layout of the downtown Houston streets over a hundred years ago they desigated all north/south streets as STREETS and all east/west streets as AVENUES.  And I believe this was true for the area now known as midtown (i.e. McGowen and Elgin Avenues) as well.

 

The historic Mellie Esperson Building on Walker has above it's main entrance 815 Walker Avenue.  When I used to live downtown I would pass by the historic Masonic Temple at Fannin and Clay everyday walking to work.  They had/have metal, bronze, or copper plaques on both the Clay and Fannin side that read FANNIN STREET and CLAY AVENUE.  The Clay side plaque either fell off or was vandelized and was missing for a short while.  I then took note of the replacement which now reads CLAY STREET.   And if I'm not mistaken before the Houston Club Building was demolished a few years back I belive the address on the buildings sides read Capitol Avenue and Rusk Avenue.  My mother was a 1954 graduate of Incarnate Word Academy and in the advertisement section of her year books all business on east/west streets were listed as Avenues.  For whatever reason in the last part of the 20th century Texas was the only street that stayed designated as an Avenue.

 

In the early 00's when downtown was experiencing a renisance they rebuilt most of the streets (in midtown too) with concrete to replace the asphalt on top of asphalt on top of asphalt, which included the underground infrastructure, I always thought it would have been cool to return the streets to their original status as Avenues since the signs were being replaced anyway.

 

 

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