Jump to content

Houston’s Original Six Wards: Then and Now


Recommended Posts

This looks like an interesting series of classes:

Six Tuesdays, September 22-October 27, 2009, 7:00-8:30 p.m.

Fee: $135.00 CEUs: 0.9

Fee if registering after September 8: $145

Fee for Houston History Association members: $135

Fee for Rice alumni: $125

Have you ever wondered about Houston’s six wards – what and where they were, how each was unique or what they are like today? Having ceased to function as legal and political units of the city in 1906, the wards’ individual identities and influence on the city’s growth remain a viable part of Houston’s culture. Many still refer to the areas as “wards.” How often do we refer to a given church as in the Fourth Ward, a certain cemetery in the Sixth Ward or a university in the Third Ward? In this course, six local experts will explore Houston’s wards, taking a look at the defining characteristics of each. The residents, architecture, workplaces, community institutions and neighborhoods will be examined as they existed in the past and as they are today.

Course Schedule:

September 22. In the Beginning: The Wards System and Houston’s First Ward. At its founding, Houston was divided into political geographic districts called wards, precursors to today’s council districts. Today, the wards are loosely defined by geography and have no direct bearing on city government. The First Ward, a mix of residential and commercial properties, began as a center for the commodity and produce business because of its proximity to Buffalo Bayou and the Market House. An exploration of this working class neighborhood which had a sizeable Italian population and was defined by the railroad industry which employed many of its residents. Betty Trapp Chapman, historian and author of several books on Houston’s history.

September 29. From Das Zweite to El Segundo: The Second Ward. One of the city’s oldest, least-known and most interesting areas, the Second Ward played a significant role in Houston’s early development. An in-depth look at shifting settlement patterns, notable people and names of now-vanished places. Thomas McWhorter, senior historic planner, City of Houston.

October 6. Houston’s Third Ward: Exploring Displacement in the 21st Century. City planners and developers are uprooting urban communities to make way for “the new,” causing inhabitants to suffer “root shock,” a traumatic reaction to the destruction of one’s emotional ecosystem. A behind-the-scenes look at the Third Ward’s sociopolitical and cultural history and its arts and culture. Carroll Parrott Blue, research professor and community liaison, University of Houston, documentary filmmaker and author of “The Dawn at My Back: Memoir of a Black Texas Upbringing.”

October 13. From Freedman’s Town to Midtown: Houston’s Fourth Ward. Of all of Houston’s wards, the Fourth Ward is the one most shrouded by history and myth and in recent years has become a battleground between advocates of the past and proponents of the future. An examination of its past and its myths and an attempt to understand the present and future of this part of old Houston. Cary D. Wintz, PhD, professor of history, Texas Southern University.

October 20. The Fifth Ward: Houston Expands North. After the Civil War, the Fifth Ward became the first addition to the original city and was home to roundhouses, shops, cotton compresses and iron foundries. A look at this working-class neighborhood, which initially included freed slaves, Irish and other ethnic groups, but is now primarily African American. Doug Weiskopf, author of “Rails Around Houston” and several articles on Houston railroading, and chapter historian, Gulf Coast Chapter of the National Railway Historical Society.

October 27. Old Sixth Ward: 150 Years of History. The Sixth Ward endured a century-long struggle to develop its own identity and remains Houston’s only protected historic district. An exploration of its prominent architecture and its notable moments in history. J.D. Bartell, historic conservation officer, Old Sixth Ward Neighborhood Association.

Course Co-Sponsors

Houston History Association


Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 3 weeks later...

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Create New...