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Yale Street Bridge History


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I received an interesting newsletter in the e-mail today. There's not much identification on it other than it appears to have been put out by a company called Art & Environmental Architecture.

But the newsletter is quite interesting, and has some great old photographs from Buffalo Bayou. So, I've converted the PDF pages into images to share with all of you here.



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I'm fascinated by the photo of the "Birdsall House."

In his very fine and highly praised biography of Sam Houston, James L. Haley includes what looks like a tintype of a small house that's identical to it, with what appears to be a small lean-to shed nailed onto one side of it.

The picture is in the Texas State Library Archives, and the house is identified as the first executive mansion of the Republic of Texas.

It was in downtown Houston, somewhere in the general vicinity of what is now the Federal Building, and it was where Sam Houston lived in his first term as President, from 1837 to 1838, when Houston the city was the Republic's capitol, .

Here's a link to the book in Google Books.


The photo of the first executive mansion is on page 192.

On page 191 there are details of the famous naturalist John James Audubon's visit to Houston -- the new City of Houston and President Sam Houston. Audubon later wrote about that visit, and his description of the President's executive mansion and its conditions is priceless:

"We approached the President's mansion wading in water above our ankles. The abode of President Houston is a small log house consisting of two rooms and a passage through, after the Southern fashion. The moment we stepped over the threshold (sic) on the right hand of the passage we found ourselves ushered into what in other countries would be called the antechamber. The [dirt} floor, however, was muddy and filthy; a large fire was burning, and a small table covered with paper and writing material was in the center; camp beds, trunks and different materials were strewed around the room. Here we were presented to Mr. Crawford, an agent of the British minister to Mexico, who has come on a secret mission. The president was engaged in an opposite room on some national business and we could not see him for some time."

Audubon wrote that when he finally got to meet with Houston, he was received cordially and Houston "offered us every facility in his power. He at once removed us from the anteroom to his private chamber, which by the way was not much cleaner than the former." Audubon wrote that Houston's cabinet was meeting in the bedroom, working, but they stopped to drink toasts to the republic.

Imagine. All that was going on in at the same time in that tiny Birdsall house.

Edited by FilioScotia
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  • The title was changed to Yale Street Bridge History

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