FOR PRESERVATION NEWSLETTER OF THE GREATER HOUSTON PRESERVATION ALLIANCE May 1987
OUR CITY'S HISTORIC RESOURCES The Houston Archeological and Historical Commission has compiled and approved a list of over thirty buildings, structures and sites owned by the City of Houston, which have historical and/or archeological importance. More sites and structures will be added over time. The list was complied in response to the Commission's enabling ordinance which specifies that one of the roles of the Commission "is to provide informed, expert advice to the Mayor and City Council on matters involving ... preservation of city-owned, historically significant structures and facilities." The present City Hall, which is undergoing extensive renovation and rehabilitation will be fifty years old in 1989 and eligible, it is hoped, for nomination to the National Register of Historic Places (NRHP). It was designed by the late renowned architect, joseph Finger. It is a fine example of 1930's art deco design and details, and incorporates features typical of civic structures of the time.
Julia Ideson Building, Ralph Adams Cram, 1924.
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The julia Ideson library building is already on the NRHP. It was the central library from October 1926 until the new library building was completed fifty years later in 1976. The julia Ideson building was to be one of several buildings planned for downtown Houston as part of the recently (1922) formed City Planning Commission's master plan for the beautification of downtown Houston. Unfortunately, the 1929 stock market crash and ensuing 1930's depression interfered with those plans and the julia Ideson building was the only one in the master plan to be constructed. Another interesting structure on the list of Cityowned buildings is the City Cremetory and Pumping Station built in 1901 on White Oak Bayou at what is now 807-811 North San jacinto Street. The Cremetory was an early example of civic thrift because it recycled trash. It is said that trash was barged to the Cremetory which operated the pump station and was also sold to nearby businesses for heating or to operate steam engines of one sort or another. Probably every structure and site on the City-owned list has an interesting story ortwo orthree associated with it. With time and help of volunteers, the Houston Archeological and Historical Commission may be able to produce an interesting book to accompany the list, some day.
Houston City Hall, Joseph Finger, 1939.
HAHCUPDAT... The Houston Archeological and Historical Commission was established by the Houston City Council in 1984. The Commission is charged with advising the Mayor and City Council on matters related to archeology and historic preservation. Other, more specific duties are assigned to the Commission by City ordinance. Among them are preparing a list of sites and structures within the city and educating the residents of Houston about the val ue of local archeological and historical resources. The Commission has accomplished a great deal in its short history. The Commission has provided comments on several City-initiated construction projects which had potential for impact upon resources and has offered the preservationist's perspective on planning for City projects. Recently, the Commission hosted a seminar for City of Houston and other local agency representatives on how to deal with archeological and historical resources encountered during planning and construction of public projects. In fulfilling the responsibilities assigned to it, the Commission has employed the resources of its membership in compiling a list of significant sites and structures in Houston. A related project, described in this newsletter, is the compilation of a list of architecturally and/or historically significant structures which are owned by the City of Houston. Recognition of the value of these structures affords the opportunity for including preservation in all future plans for maintainance or modification to the structures. Members of the Commission are appointed by the Mayor of the City of Houston and approved by City Council. The Commission is composed of appointees from selected City of Houston Departments and local curatorial institutions. local individuals knowledgeable in preservation have also been appointed. There are eleven appointed positions on the Commission. Currently there are nine appointed members and three ex-officio members. Appointed members are: Margie Elliott, Commission Chairman louis J. Marchiafava, Houston Public library Clyde R. Bragg, Houston Parks Department Richard C. Scott, Houston Public Works Department Roger Moore, Consulting Archeologist luis Salinas, Ph.D., Houston International University Stephen Fox, Anchorage Foundation of Texas V. Nia Dorian-Becnel, College of Architecture, UH/University Park Kelly A. Thompson, Thompson - Frater Associates Ex-officio members of the Commission are: Efraim S. Garcia, Houston Department of Planning and Development
Julie Cohn, Office of the Mayor John P.landers, Harris County Historical Commission Barrie Zimmelman of the Houston Department of Planning and Development serves as staff to the Commission. If you would like information about the Commission or are interested in participating in the Commission's volunteers program, contact Ms. Zimmelman, at 247-1253.
FOURTH WARD STUDY UNDERWAY The Fourth Ward neighborhood is the sixth of Houston's National Register of Historic Places Districts. The historic district, listed in 1985, is a forty-block area bounded by West Dallas, Arthur, Victor and Genessee streets. This area has been the focus of heated debate in recent years as proposals for largescale redevelopment of the neighborhood have been drafted. In its role of providing support to local historic districts, the GHPA has initiated a study of the Fourth Ward. The study is similar in concept to the Sixth
Ward/Sabine Historic District Revitalization Study which was completed by the GHPA in 1986. The Fourth Ward study will evaluate ways to stabilize the neighborhood and preserve historic resources. It is extremely important that the historic district not continue to deteriorate during the interum period while redevelopment plans are being considered. The GHPA Fourth Ward study will cover a much larger area than just the historic district. As GHPA board member V. Nia Dorian-Becnel stated, successful preservation of a historic district hinges on maintaining a buffer of compatible development. Other GHPA members participating in the study are Minnette Boesel, Mike Davis, Carter Hixon, Barrie Scardino and William Stern. These GHPA members are serving as volunteer consultants. Volunteers are being provided technical assistance by Paulette Wagner, Manager, Neighborhood Planning, Houston Department of Planning and Development. Funding assistance for the study is being provided through private donations from local individuals. The GHPA's volunteer consultants will present their findings to a task force of community leaders. This task force will be organized in Summer 1987. Members of the task force will be called upon to review recommendations and assign priorities to recommended actions. GHPA members and friends interested in assisting with the Fourth Ward study are invited to contact Mike Davis, at 522-0100. .
A new feature in our newsletter will be a source column of craftsmen and materials. This column is a departure for our newsletter. Although it may seen "commercial", our aim is to acquaint preservationists with available resources. This first article features a store reminiscent of an old fashioned dry goods store, Pasternak's Emporium, at 2515 Morse (across the street from Southland Hardware on Westheimer). The store owner, Cary Pasternak, a third generation grocer before selling his own Alabama Street store in 1985, purchased the Emporium from the founder's son, Gene Arnold. Pasternak can be empathetic to your needs; his own keen interest in restoration developed from efforts at restoring an older Montrose bungalow-style home. Pasternak merchandises antique architectural elements in the organized, tidy fashion of a grocer. In two years, Pasternak has restocked and enlarged the Emporium's selling floor space. Merchandise is also marketed nationwide by catalogue (and not just "to the trade only"). Services offered at the Emporium include a research service. If the desired item can't be located, Pasternak can duplicate most wood and brass vintage items. If you are looking for a unique door, fireplace mantel, stained glass window, original brass door hardware, columns (wood or iron), Victorian gingerbread trim or even original restored brass desk fans (he has a repair service, too) Pasternak's is a good place to begin your search.
RKS OF DEMOCRACY
May 10 - 16, 1987 is Preservation Week across America. This year's theme for Preservation Week is Landmarks of Democracy. President Ronald Reagan, in his letter announcing Preservation Week states, "In this Bicentennial Year ofthe United States Constitution, Historic Preservation Week's theme 'Landmarks of Democracy' is most fitting. Historic homes, schools, churches, and other buildings give us special insights into the people and ideas that shaped our Constitution and our society." Locally, preservationists are celebrating Preservation Week with the announcement of the Houston Archeological and Historical Commission's list of City-owned buildings of archeological and/or historical importance (see related article). Landmarks of Democracy, whether local, statewide or national in significance, playa central role in our understanding of our city's and our nation's history. By teaching us about where we came from, they contribute immensely to our contemporary lives. We have much to celebrate. Let's make National Historic Preservation Week 1987 the best one yet.
WALKING WOODLAND HEIGHTS On April 25, Houstonians were offered an opportunity to see one of the city's most unique neighborhoods. The Woodland Heights Civic Association and the Greater Houston Preservation Alliance cosponsored a home tour of the Woodland Heights neighborhood. Woodland Heights possesses a beautiful collection of Bungalow houses. The tour, either walking or driving, allowed residents and guests to see examples of this popular housing style. Eight homes were open along the tour route, giving participants a chance to see the beautifully crafted interiors of representative Woodland Heights homes. Approximately 300 people visited the neighborhood to participate in the tour. Thank you to all the Woodland Heights Civic Association and GHPA volunteers who made the tour a success and a pleasure.
Cary Pastemak displays resources a Emporium.
A sampling of the Bungalow-style homes in Woodland Heights.
Membership Chairperson Beverly Pennington reminds us that 1987 memberships are due. Memberships form the base of the GHPA's operating budget and allow for programs, publications and advocacy vital to the preservation of Houston's historic resources. Mrs. S. l. Baiamonte Joe H. Baker, Jr. Sally R. Banttari Benan Beard Mrs. Frances Beard Pat Burris Charlie Cooper The Honorable Debra Danburg Mr. & Mrs. T. M. (Buster) Dees Mrs. James DeNike Mauriene Dickens Anita Doyle
Greater Houston Preservation Alliance 712 Main Street Houston, Texas 77002
Thank you to the following persons who have recently joined the GHPA or have renewed their memberships for 1987:
Edwin A. Eubanks William Evans Nancy Farmer Joe & Nel Fusig William Greene David W. Harris Charles W. Hazelgrove Dorothy Knox Houghton Vickie list Joseph A. Manero R. M. McDannald, Jr. Louis Morris
W. O. Neuhaus III G. Randle Pace Beverly Pennington Mrs. J. T. Rutherford Trula Sharpe Carolyn C. Shimek William Stern Howard T. Tellepsen, Jr. Kay D. Weed Kathleen S. Wild Mary C. Wyllie Michael & Susan Yancey
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FOR PRESERVATION is published as a membership service of the Greater Houston Preservation Alliance. Editor-Mike Davis, Contributors - Minnette Boesel, Kent Millard, Beverly Pennington, Kathleen Wild, Michael Wilson, Barrie Zimmelman.
"For Preservation," the newsletter of Greater Houston Preservation Alliance