FOR PRESERVATION NEWSLETTER OF THE GREATER HOUSTON PRESERVATION ALLIANCE
March 1988 CALENDAR
The coming months will be filled with GHPA activities. Please mark these events on your calendar. Each event is free of charge to members of the GHPA. Sunday, March 13, 2:00 PM - Allen Parkway Village Walking Tour. The tour will be led by Lenwood Johnson, President, Allen Parkway Village Residents Council. Meet at main entrance off Allen Parkway access drive. Monday, March 14, 7:00 PM - GHPA Monthly Board of Meeting, at the home of Linda and Terry Ott, 220 Westmoreland.
Sunday, March 27, 2:00 PM - Warehouse District Walking Tour. The Tour will be led by Stephen FOX, Fellow, Anchorage Foundation of Texas. The tour will include visits to artists' lofts and refreshments at Houston Studios. Meet at the Houston Terminal Warehouse and Cold Storage Building, 701 N. San Jacinto Street. Sunday, April 10, 2:00 PM - Main Street/Market Square Walking tour, led by Kathy Wild, GHPA Tour Program Chairman. The tour will feature buildings in the Main Street/Market Square National Register Historic District. Meet at the corner of Preston and Milam streets. Monday, April 18, 3:30 PM - GHPA Monthly Board of Directors Meeting. The meeting will be held at the GHPA office, located off the first floor east lobby of the Texas Commerce Bank Building (Gulf Building) at 712 Main Street. Saturday, May 7 - Preservation Workshop co-sponsored by the Texas Historical Commission and Preservation Texas, Inc. The workshop will be held at Heights Christian Church, 1703 Heights Boulevard. For registration information call the GHPA office, at 236-5000. Saturday and Sunday, May 7 and 8 - Courtlandt Place Home Tour. More information will be provided in the near future. Monday, May 16, 3:30 PM - GHPA Monthly Board of Directors Meeting. The meeting will be held at the GHPA office, 712 Main Street.
TIME FOR MARKET SQUARE The clock which once graced the tower of the City Hall and Market on Market Square has been located and is being returned to Houston. Mayor Whitmire has appointed a committee to suggest a proper use and location for the clock. The clock is actually four faces, each approximately twelve feet in diameter. It was mounted in the main tower of the old City Hall and Market building which stood on Market Square. Several individuals and organizations have suggested that the clock be incorporated into the design for improvements to the Market Square Park. GHPA board members Tim Cisneros and Barrie Scardino agree with this proposal and -have devised a conceptual drawing of how the clock might become part of a design for Market Square (see conceptual drawing prepared by Cisneros and Underhill, Architects and Planners). The design concept takes its inspiration from the recent Italy in Houston festival lights. The outline of the building would be created using structural members. This superstructure would be lighted in the evenings, recreating the presence of the old City Hall on the Square. Inclusion of this design would require some modification of the plan developed by DiverseWorks. However, the good fortune of recovering the Market Square clock merits consideration of including this symbol of Market Square's grand past in the square's future. This proposal, which is only at the concept stage, would contribute to making Market Square a destination for Houstonians and tourists alike. Such a creative approach to historic preservation will certainly lead to the revitalization of the Main Street/Market Square Historic District. RITZ THEATER Houston developer Gary W. Warwick has announced the planned restoration of the Ritz Theater. The Ritz, located at 911 Preston between Main and Travis streets, is Houston's only surviving movie palace. The theater was designed by one of Houston's most revered architects, William Ward Watkin, who's other works include the Houston Public Library (Julia Ideson Building) and the Museum of Fine Arts. ' The theater will be restored for use as an 800 seat cinema and will also accomodate live performances. Salvaged interior appointments from other theaters will be used in the restoration. The sign, which has been painted over to read "Majestic Metro" will be restored and relighted. The planned restoration of this building is a positive sign that the Main Street/Market Square Historic District is beginning to be appreciated as a one-of-a-kind place in Houston and a place worthy of private investment in historic preservation.
GHPA ANNUAL MEETING The GHPA annual meeting was held on January 21, 1988, in concert with the opening of the Main Street/Market Square Symposium. Outgoing President Minnette Boesel reviewed the year's accomplishments. These included the opening and staffing of the GHPA office, co-sponsoring the Woodland Heights Home Tour, the GHPA Christmas Reception and co-sponsoring of the Main Street/Market Square Symposium. Treasurer Pat Burris gave the year-end financial report which showed a positive balance for FY 1987 (for information about the financial statement call the GHPA office at 236-5000). Election of officers and board members was held at the annual meeting. New GHPA officers are; Barrie Scardino, President; Bart Truxillo, Vice-President; Pat Burris, Treasurer; Mike Davis, Secretary; and, Minnette Boesel, Immediate Past President. New board members were elected. They are: Tim Cisneros, Stephen Fox, Harriet Latimer, and Charles Maynard. Returning board members are Nia Becnel, Jane Ellen Cable, Edwin Eubanks, John Hannah, Barry Hoore, Beverly pennington, Beverly Rudy, Kathy Wild, and Michael Wilson. Ex-Officio members are Margie Elliott representing the Houston Archeological and Historical Commission, Bill Weatherford representing the Sixth Ward Neighborhood Association, and Gerald Berkhardt representing the AlA Historical Resources Committee. Incoming President Barrie Scardino announced plans for a number of new progams and events. Examples are monthly tours, completion of the Fourth Ward Study, and maintenance of an Endangered Buildings List. Look for more information on these projects in this and future issues of For Preservation.
GOOD BRICK AWARDS 1987 Good Brick Awards were presented at the opening session of the "Reclaiming Houston Downtown: New Directions for the Main Street/Market Square District" symposium (see related article). Awards were presented to Wortham and Van Liew for the preservation of the Federal Land Bank Building and to Charles Hansen for the redevelopment of the Central Church of Christ on Montrose Boulevard as the Campenile. This office and retail project includes space donated for the new Montrose Branch of the Houston Public Library. A Good Brick was also given to the Houston Committee for Private Sector Intitiatives for their Home Repair Program. An award of service to Council Member Eleanor Tinsley, for furthering historic preservation efforts in Houston, was also announced.
Congratulations to reciepients of the 1987 Good Brick Awards. And thanks for a commitment to preservation sensitive development! 4
HAIN STREET/MARKET SQUARE SYMPOSIUM The Main Street/Market Square Historic District was the focus of attention on January 21-22, as over 200 interested persons gathered for the symposium "Reclaiming Houston Downtown: New Directions for the Main Street/Market Square District." The symposium was sponsored by the GHPA in cooperation with the Houston Archeological and Historical Commission, Central Houston, Inc., Downtown Houston Association, Rice Design Alliance, DiverseWorks, Houston AIA and, the Houston Chapter - Construction Specifications Institute. The symposium began on Thursday evening January 21, with a keynote speech by renouned Denver preservationist Dana Crawford, developer of Larimer Square. Mrs. Crawford's insights were followed by presentation of the 1987 Good Brick Awards (see related story) and a reception. The Friday session of the symposium was a full day of analysis of the historic district's potential for revitalization. Paula Peters Turner chronicled the revitalization process of Dallas' successful West End. Barrie Scardino and Roger Moore, local preservation and archeology consultants, respectively, described the past and present status of Main Street/Market Square. Efraim Garcia, Director of the City's Planning and Development Department advised symposium participants of available public incentives for revitalization of the district. Other speakers were Elizabeth Barker Willis of the Texas/New Mexico Field Office of the National Trust and Stan Graves of the Texas Historical Commission, both of whom discussed financial incentives for historic preservation. Anice Reed of the Texas Main Street Program suggested approaches for marketing the district. Local marketing experts, Don Vaughn of the Greater Houston Convention and Visitors Bureau and David Gockley of the Houston Grand Opera addressed the problems involved in bringing Houstonians downtown after business hours. Richard Andrews, formerly with the National Endowment for the Arts talked about the role of public art in the revitalization of the Main Street/Market Square district. These informative sessions were followed by wor~ sessions designed to address problems and opportunities within the district. Brainstorming sessions addressed the areas of Visions for Market Square, Private Redevelopment, Creating a Market for Market Square, Improving the Public Environment, and Implementing a Strategy. The symposium has generated a great deal of excitement and renewed commitment for the preservation of Main Street/Market Square. A task force has formed to channel the energy generated by the symposium (See related article). Also, a swmnary of proceedings is being prepared. GHPA members who would like to receive a copy of the swmnary should contact the GHPA office at 236-5000. Please ask for a copy of the symposium swmnary and leave your mailing address on the answering machine. 5
HARRIS COUNTY JAIL PROPOSAL Harris County Commissioners Court is considering the development of a new jail to relieve overcrowding at the present facility. The County is under court order to address the crowded conditions at the jail. One proposal under consideration by Commissioners Court is the redevelopment of the Houston Terminal Warehouse and Cold Storage Building for use as the new jail. This proposal has been given a great deal of media attention. Preservation and environmental groups have expressed concerns about the appropriateness of a jail being sited at the confluence of Buffalo and White Oak bayous, opposite Allen's Landing. The Board of Directors of the GHPA passed a resolution asking Commissioners Court to reconsider use of the site as a jail. The jail proposal would require the addition of four floors to the five story Houston Terminal Warehouse and Cold Storage Building. The proposal would also reface the building in brick, obscuring the building's facade. The warehouse is a contributing structure in the Warehouse District. This area is currently being considered for nomination to the National Register of Historic Places. The GHPA Board of Directors reached its decision because the jail proposal would alter the building's facade, making i t no longer contributing to the potential district. At present, Commissioners Court has chosen to hire an outside firm to evaluate this, and two other proposals (at different sites). The Board of Directors of the GHPA has offered the services of the GHPA, if needed, to avoid impacts to historic structures while yet answering the demand for additional jail facilities. WARREN'S INN On Friday, January 29, GHPA members were called to aid a coalition of artists from DiverseWorks and other community members to protest the scheduled demolition of the Bethje Lang Building, 316 Mllam Street. This building, commonly know as Warren's Inn, has sat facing the west side of Market Square since 1868. GHPA representatives have long been concerned for the building's survival. Efforts to educate the building's owner had been unproductive. The visible public protest which averted demolition of the structure convinced the owners that a wide cross-section of Houston1ans revere the historic buildings in downtown and hope to see the buildings preserved and restored. Upon demonstration of public concern for the building, the owners have postponed demolition and are advertising the building for lease. GHPA President Barrie Scardino has directed efforts to inform the owners of the Bethje Lang Building's significance and has offered the services of the GHPA to help in any way possible to see that the building continues to hold its rightful place on historic Market Square. 6
PRESERVATION TEXAS Preservation Texas continues to represent the interests of the GHPA and other historic preservation organizations throughout Texas. Preservation Texas, Inc. is a non-profit organization chartered to promote the development of strong local historic preservation organizations around the state. Recently, the Board of Directors of the organization approved the creation of a new 501 (c)(4) organization, Preservation Texas Alliance, Inc. This non-profit will serve as advocate for historic preservation at the state legislative level. The GHPA is a member of Preservation Texas Alliance. Individual memberships are invited and encouraged. For more information, contact Preservation Texas and Preservation Texas Alliance board member Mike Davis, at 739-4615.
ALLEN PARKWAY VILLAGE February 1988 marks a heightening of the controversey centering around the proposed demolition of Allen Parkway Village. This 1,000 unit public housing development has been slated for demolition by the Housing Authority of the City of Houston. This proposal has become a historic preservation issue with the recent listing of the property on the National Register of Historic Places. Allen Parkway Village, originally called San Felipe Courts, was constructed during World War II as low-income housing. The project was the largest built in Texas during the first decade after passage of the National Housing Act of 1937. It exemplifies the social ideals and planning standards of the New Deal Era. It is exceptional for the calibre of its modern architectural design and detail, a condition recognized nationally at the time of its construction. (National Register Nomination form, 1987.) The GHPA Board of Directors has toured the development and has asked for a meeting with Housing Authority officials to ask that preservation of the project be considered. The GHPA Board is expected to pass a resolution stating its position on the threat to this National Register property. Beverly Pennington, Chairman of the Endangered Buildings Committee and GHPA President Barrie Scardino would like to remind you that, as with any issue on which the GHPA Board of Directors is asked to comment, the input of GHPA members is essential. If you would like to voice concerns regarding the Allen Parkway Village demolition or other matters facing the GHPA, please contact the office, at 236-5000.
MEMBERSHIP CHAIRMAN .,----,
Volunteer Needed! The GHPA is seeking a volunteer to chair the Membership Committee. This position requires one or two hours per month to update membership rolls and mail letters to new and renewing members. The chairman will also oversee membership renewal mailouts twice each year and produce mailing labels for other mailouts. Access to a computer needed, preferrably Apple lIE for compatability with existing mailing list. If you are interested in taking on this essential position, please contact GHPA President Barrie Scardino, at 528-1521. Thanks. GHPA OFFICE HOURS The GHPA is currently operating without office staff. Kent Millard, who served as part-time GHPA Projects Coordinator has taken a position with the Texas/New Mexico Field Office of the National Trust for Historic Preservation. Congratulations Kent! GHPA President Barrie Scardino will be in the office each Friday from 10:00 AM till 1:00 PM. You are invited to visit the office during these hours, or other times by appointment. The GHPA office houses current historic preservation information, copies of local preservation surveys, and a clippings file of newspaper clippings. If you have questions or information or would just like to find out what's going on, visit the office on Friday.
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"For Preservation," the newsletter of Greater Houston Preservation Alliance