FOR PRESERVATION NEWSLETTER OF THE GREATER HOUSTON PRESERVATION ALLIANCE
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he Board of Directors voted at its July meeting to create the position of Executive Director and unanimously recommended Margie C. Elliott to fill that post. In August Mrs. Elliott accepted our proposal to work half time and has a1ready made significant headway in reorganizing our office procedures. We are confident that Margie's energy, experience and organizational skill will bring us to a level of operational efficiency that will enable GHPA to participate more effectively in a wider scope of local preservation projects. Margie and her husband Uoyd have been Houston residents for more than 25 years. She received her BA degree fr<m the University of Houston and her MA from Rice, both in anthropology. Margie serves on the Board of Directors of Preservation Texas Alliance. In April she completed three terms as the Chairman of the City of Houston's Archeological and Historical Commission. In this position she began working with GHPA as an ex路officio member of our Board. During the last few years Margie has contributed significantly to preservation in Houston, serving as Secretary of the Market Square Association (a sub-committee of GHPA), working actively in the Freedmen's Town area, and offering creative ideas as _11 as her time and organizational skills to other GHPA projects. It is with tremendous enthusiasm that the Greater Houston Preservation Alliance enters this new era We _lcome Margie Elliott and look forward to working with her!
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ElSljllllrll!tmll'IIIJIIPILLOT BUILDING RECONSTRUCfION ANNOUNCED City Partnership has announced the official ceremony to launch reconstruction of the historic Pillot Building, to be held at 10 am. on Wednesday, October 11, 1989 at the downtown building site on Congress Avenue at Fannin Street. Project developer City Partnership will reconstruct the three-story building on the original site, across the street from the Harris County Courthouse. The reconstruction will recreate the original appearance of the building, using as many elements from the original structure as is feasible. Salvaged brick will be used on the "WeSt, plaza side of the reconstructed building, where a landscaped plaza will connect the Pillot Building with the two other County-owned buildings on the same block. Missing cast-iron columns have been reproduced by II. A. Loll, Inc., the project contractor. The Corinthian columns will be lighted to add emphasis to cast-iron architectural elements. Working with local and state historical preservation officials, the developer has made efforts to insure that the reconstructed building will reflect its historical significance. Contemporary improvements and
code requirements will be added on the inside and to the back of the structure. Project completion is scheduled for August 1990. The first story will contain the Pillot Cafe, a restaurant featuring Texas-style and Mexican cooking. The second and third stories will be leased at market rates for offices.
The Pillot Building was originally built by Eugene Pillot in 1858. The structure was one of Houston's earliest commercial buildings, and may be the first building with a cast-iron facade erected "WeSt of the Mississippi In 1974 when the County Administration Building was built, the Pillot Building was saved from the wrecking ball and placed on the National Register of Historic Places. Structural failure terminated restoration of the building, and in 1m the building was condemned and all tenants were moved out. Deterioration continued, and, in June 1988, a significant portion collapsed.
be handled by The City Partnership. For information, contact Doug Crosson, 713-759-1600.
SCHEDULE OF EVENTS September 3O-0ctober 1 AlA Seminar and Tour, Architectural Preservation and the Church, call 622-2081 October 2-4 "Money and People: Managing Main Street's Resources", National Main Street conference, Charleston, call (202) 673-4219 October 6-November 12 Buffalo Bayou Days 1989 October 7-8 Hispanic Festival, El Mercado del Sol, Guadalupe Plaza and Our Lady of Guadalupe Church, call 223-2301. October 11-15 43rd National Preservation Conference, Philadelphia, PA October 11 Groundbreaking for Pillot Building Project, 10:00 a.m., call Doug Crosson, 759-1600 October 11 Oktoberfest, University of Houston Downtown, call 221-1054 October 18 GHPA Walking Tour, Main Street/Market Sq. Historic District, 12:00 noon, call 236·5000 October 19-29 The Elissa sailing off Galveston, Special Press Day Oct. 22 October 20 Houston Archeological and Historical Commission, Call Nell Undquist, 247-1238 October 20-21 Waterfront Festival, Allen's Landing, call 921-2939 October 22 GHPA Walking Tour, Main Street/Market Sq. Historic District, 12:00 noon, call 236-5000 October 23 GHPA Board Meeting, 712 Main Street, Suite 110. N01E DA1E CHANGE. October 26-31 Scare on the Square, Haunted House, 240 Travis, Thurs., Sun., Mon. 7·11 pm.; Fri., Sat. 7 pm. - 1 a.m. Halloween, 7 pm. to 12 a.m. Call 785-2360 October 28 HoI1ywood Halloween on Market Square, call 658·8938 November 2-3 FIXing Up Downtown training program on downtown design, sponsored by National Main Street Program, Milwaukee, call (202) 673·4219. November 2-3 National Trust Symposium, Icons of Faith: Preservation of Religious Architecture in Mexico and the Southwest, Lubbock, Texas. Call Sally Abbe (806)762·6411. November 7 Election Day November 16-18 McFadden·Ward House in Beaumont, 3rd annual conference on Life at Home, 1890-1930. Speaker Thomas J. Chlereth, U. of Notre Dame. Call 409-839·1906 by Oct. Zl for registration. November 17 Houston Archeological and Historical Commission, Call Nell Undquist, 247-1238 November 20 GHPA Board Meeting, 712 Main Street, Suite 110
CELEBRATING 150 YEARS OF CHURCH ARCHITECTURE IN HOUSTON In celebration of the 150th anniversary of several Houston congregations, the Liturgical Architecture Committee of the Houston Chapter/AlA, with the cooperation of the City of Houston's Archeological and Historical Commission, is presenting a seminar and tour to explore preservation issues faced by congregations with older church buildings. The seminar will be held on September 30, 1989 at Christ Church Cathedral, 1117 Texas Avenue, from 9:30 am. - 4:00 p.IIland will cover issues useful to anyone considering remodeling a church or historic Pertinent issues include: building. History/Archeology, documenting existing conditions, methods and research sources; Conservation/Restoration. economics, tax incentives; Rehabilitation/Renovation, authentic vs. interpretive, code compliance; Adaptive Use, major functional and use changes, authentic/contextual vs. contemporary design. The church tour on Sunday October 1 will include five churches which are either celebrating 150 years or will very soon do so: Annunciation Catholic Church, Christ Church Cathedral, First Presbyterian Church, Frrst Methodist Church, and First Baptist Church. Guides at each church will present historical information for that particular building. The seminar fee is $40 before September 22. For more information, call the Houston Chapter AlA office at 622-2081.
SIXTH WARD/SABINE The GHPA Sixth Ward/Sabine Committee continues implementing recommendations contained in the Sixth Ward Plan. A neighborhood meeting was held last November to evaluate progress and the need for possible changes. As a result, the original plan is now being revised and, upon completion, copies will be available for a wide distribution. The Old Sixth Ward Neighborhood Association has taken the lead in pursuing the recommendations.
Recent activities and development in the neighborhood are encouraging. A fair amount of privately initiated home repair and renovation is becoming visible. This work, combined with the results of the Houston Committee for Private Sector Initiatives (pSI) home repair program, is producing distinct change in the appearance of the neighborhood. One of the major goals of the original Sixth Ward Plan was to create a community development corporation (CDC). Mr. Chris Braswell, a neighborhood organizer from PSI, is currently evaluating the potential for a CDC in the Sixth Ward and is investigating possible projects such a CDC might undertake. Other recent activities include a community-wide meeting hosted by the Metropolitan Organization (TMO) to consider housing issues in the First and Sixth Wards. GHPA Sixth Ward Committee Chairperson Bill Weatherford directed a Cultural Arts Council of Houston-sponsored tour of the neighborhood for representatives from arts organizations and corporate contributors. And, finally, new Sixth Ward resident and civic club activist Marsha MacDonald has completed a major restoration project, which features this neighborhood's first swimming pool!
GHPA COMMITTEES AT WORK IN HISTORIC NEIGHBORHOODS The Greater Houston Preservation Alliance has extended its outreach program to the
communities of Freedmen's Town Historic District and San Felipe Courts Historic District through the establishment of the Freedmen's Town Committee and the San Felipe Courts Committee. Freedmen's Town community is located directly west of the central business district of the city of Houston. The Freedmen's Town Committee has prepared historic building nominations for submittal to the Harris County Historical Commission for the Jack. Yates house and Bethel Baptist Church. The Reverend Jack Yates was a founding member of Antioch Baptist Church and founder of Bethel Baptist Church. As an educator and minister in the 1800's, the Reverend Yates participated in the development of 19th century Freedmen's Town and the education of exslaves in Houston. If approved., the markers on these structures will improve the educational information available about the Freedmen's Town community. The Freedmen's Town Association (FTA), the most active community-based organization in the area, is currently involved in a project to rehabilitate nine houses within the Freedmen's Town community. GHPA's committee has presented a set of drawings for the rehabilitation plan of the historic Gregory School to the NCNB Bank at the request of FTA for consideration of possible funding. The scope of work for the rehab project was provided by FTA. The committee also represented community interests in negotiating with the City's Parks and Recreation Department to
establish additional. permanent green space in the neighborhood. (The currently existing Wiley Park is provided through an on路 going lease arrangement with the BrownFoundation.) Also, in Spring 1989, the GHPA committee and the University of Houston College of Architecture preservation class directed by Nia DorianBecnel produced a "Building Condition Survey" of the Freedmen's Town Community. All these activities are the current efforts of the GHPA Freedmen's Town Committee to assist the residents in the rehabilitation of this historic district. San Felipe Courts is a Roosevelt-era, New Deal housing development located adjoining the central business district. The project area is also known as Allen Parkway Village, although there is much talk about renaming the facilities in honor of the late Congressman Mickey Leland. Congressman Leland's office has been deeply involved in the discussions about the future of San Felipe Courts. GHPA's committee has been working in this effort to highlight the significance of this housing project based upon its listing in the National Register of Historic Places. Residents have been fighting both to remain in their homes and to encourage restoration. Last spring a task force to investigate the possibilities for development or redevelopment was established by the Houston Religious Adjudicatory Leaders. GHPA Board member V. Nia Dorian-Becnel represented the San Felipe Courts committee during those discussions. The San Felipe Courts Committee organized a presentation to the Housing Authority of the City of Houston Board of Directors in May 1989. Speakers included Clark Strickland, representing the Mountain/Plains regional office of the National Trust for Historic Preservation; Peter Maxson, representing the Texas Historical Commission; and Stephen Fox, representing the GHP A Board of Directors. GHPA has received support from a number
of local, state, and national organizations in their neighborhood preservation efforts. In addition to those cited above, the National Trust has provided on-going technical assistance. Two grants have been received The for projects in the community. National Trust awarded a Preservation Service Fund (PSF) grant to assist the FTA's Credit Union housing rehabilitation project. Additionally, a Community Development Block Grant was awarded to FTA to fund the rehabilitation of several houses in the district.
Main Street programs into large Texas cities (defined as having populations greater than SOO,OOO). The Houston Heights Main Street Project, initiated in 1988, was a pilot Texas Urban Main Street Project the success of which strongly influenced the decision of this year's legislators to approve the urban component of the Main Street program. Preservationists throughout the state mobilized strong opposition to certain proposed amendments to Texas's HOTEL OCCUPANCY TAX LAW that would have removed historic preservation as an allowable use of the money collected through this tax. Although some changes were made to the existing law, historic preservation remains a permissible use.
LEGISLATIVE NEWS A number 'of preservationrelated bills were placed before this year's session of the Texas Legislature. In Houston, Mike Davis and Margie Elliott, board members of the Preservation Texas Alliance (PTA), monitored progress of several legislative proposals and called upon local preservationists to inform their elected officials on these issues. Partly as a result of PTA's advocacy, six historic preservation bills were passed by the 71st Legislature and have been signed into law by the Governor.
THE GOVERNOR'S MANSION BILL gives oversight of this official residence to the Texas Historical Commission. THE PALO ALTO BATILEFIELD BILL expressed the support of the State of Texas for creation of the Palo Alto Battlefield National Park. THE SALES TAX EXEMPTION ON AMUSEMENT SERVICES IN AN HISTORIC PLACE legislation granted an exemption from the collection of sales taxes on the cost of admission to governmentalor non-profit-run programs housed in historic places. Seven pieces of proposed legislation were
The TEXAS PRESERVATION TRUST FUND created an endowment that can receive grants or private donations to be used for historic preservation. Although no state money was authorized this year for this fund, appropriations may be requested in the future. THE MAIN STREET BILL was introduced by Representative Debra Danburg from Houston's District 137. This bill formally placed the Texas Main Street program into the Texas Historical Commission statute and authorized expansion of the state's
!!5U. enacted. The ELIMINATION OF THE SALES TAX ON RESTORATION, sponsored by Houston Representative Ralph R. Wallace, III, would have repealed this sales tax, which preservationists argue discriminates against restoration-related construction in favor of new construction. The TEXAS CULTURAL HERITAGE PRESERVATION ACT would have provided assistance to non-profit museums. The ALAMO BILL would have transferred control of the Alamo to the Texas Parks The SAM and Wildlife Department. HOUSTON BICENTENNIAL BILL would
have created a commission to coordinate celebrations of the bicentennial of Sam Houston's birth. The TEXAS HEROES MONUMENT IN GALVESTON legislation would have created a commission to plan that monument's restoration. The ISSUANCE OF BONDS FOR STATE CAPITOL AND GENERAL LAND OFFICE BUILDING bill would have permitted release of general revenue bonds to finance restoration plans. And, finally, the HUMAN REMAINS bilI, which would have made vandalism of burial sites, such as American Indian burial grounds, illegal, was vetoed by the Governor after being passed by both the Senate and the , House of Representatives. In addition to these statewide issues, some laws specific to certain sites were enacted. An example is the Old San Antonio Road Senate Concurrent Resolution, which established an unfunded commission to oversee the preparation of a preservation plan for the Old San Antonio Road, first established in 1691 to link Spain's missions in northern Mexico with her eastern borderlands just east of the Sabine River. Today, Texas State Highway 21 follows the general route of the historic Old San Antonio Road.
The Preservation Texas Alliance will soon begin developing a legislative package for the 72nd Session in 1991 and also continues monitoring national legislative proposals. If you have questions or know of issues that need to be addressed, please contact PTA President Mike Davis (0-739-4615; h523-2623).
PLEASE UPDATE YOUR ADDRESS BOOK WITH GHPA'S CORRECTED ADDRESS ADD SUITE NO. 110
HOLLYWOOD HALLOWEEN ON MARKET SQUARE Halloween on Market Square is on its way to becoming a favorite Houston tradition. This year's celebration will be Saturday, October 28, 6:00 p.m. until 2:00 a.m. Judging of the costume contest will begin at 11:00. Awards will be presented to best individual costume and best group costume reflecting the Hollywood Halloween theme. Music will be provided by six local Houston bands, and several restaurants located around the Square will be open. This year's sponsors include Bud Lite, Houston Proud, Downtown Houston Association, Market Square Association, and KLOL radio, who will be broadcasting live from the Square.
HERITAGE EDUCATION COMMITTEE The GHPA Heritage Education Committee was formed in the spring of 1989. GHPA members include Pam Wheat (Ch.), Margie Elliott, Harriet Latimer, and Lois Morris. Other committee members are Gail McCullogh from the Harris County Heritage Society and Jane Jerry, Director of the Children's Museum and member of the Houston Archeological and Historical Commission. Activities of the committee to date have been to (1) survey existing local heritage education programs, (2) survey teachers to determine what kinds of programs and publications are needed, and (3) establish a clear purpose and identify future objectives for GHPA's heritage education efforts. In June, the committee met at Treebeard's Restaurant and members were guided on a walking tour of the Main Street/Market Square Historic District by GHPA Tour Committee Chairperson Kathy Wlld. Two tours of the district will be offered this fall
for school children in order to evaluate the feasibility of expanding this tour program. An ll-page Heritage Education Resource Guide for Teachers has been compiled and was distributed to 35 local teachers at an August in-service meeting for Independent Schools. The guide lists 30 heritage-related field trip destinations within 1 to 1 112 hours driving time from downtown Houston and 26 organizational sources of information about local history. Teachers at the August meeting registered to test future materials that may be developed by GHP A. If you would like to receive a copy of the resource guide, call the GHPA office at 236-5000.
FROM THE DIRECfOR
am greatly honored to have been selected by its Board to be the first executive director of the Greater Houston Preservation Alliance. Three years as chairperson of the City of Houston's Archeological and Historical Commission necessitated my becoming familiar with historic preservation programs in other cities throughout the country, and coming to appreciate how completely those programs rely for success on the dedicated effort of a broad-based local constituency. Realization of the extensive range of projects undertaken by GHPA will require no less. You will read about the current status of several of these in other parts of this newsletter. The prospects are exciting, and I want to get to know all of you who will share in working toward our common goals. Let me invite you to call, either to discuss our projects or simply to become acquainted.
Margie C. EUiou
MARKET SQUARE PRESERVATION
We would like to hear from members who might be interested in participating in a speakers bureau. We have already developed talks on several topics and will be glad to share this information and exchange other ideas. We are also exploring the possibility of organizing one or more new tours to be offered to the public. Call the office and leave your name if you have ideas or would like to know more.
GHPA has recently engaged Team HOU, Inc. and Euclid Street Studios to design and produce a package of promotional materials to be used in a campaign to enlist broader support to continue planning for the revitalization and management of the Main Street/Market Square National Register Historic District
Following the "New Directions for Main Street/Market Square" symposium in January
The Greater Houston Preservation Alliance 712 Main Street, Suite 110 Houston, Texas 77002-3207
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1988, work on this project was undertaken by a volunteer task force of private individuals and representatives of various local organizations, led by Minnette Boesel, Executive Director of the Downtown Houston Association, and supported in part by grants from the City of Houston through the Cultural Arts Council of Houston and from The College of Fellows of The American Architectural Foundation.
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