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For Preservation The Newsletter of Greater Houston Preservation Alliance

Summer 2003

Volume 14, No.2

Transportation Act Protections Threatened

From the Executive Director

Highway construction has taken a heavy toll on Houston's historic resources. as exemplified by these late Victorian houses in the 1200 block of Elysian on the Near North Side.

Efforts are undeIWay in Congress to remove historic preservation and parkland protections from the Transportation Equity Act (TEA-21). Road builders are blaming safeguards instituted under Section 4(f) of the Transportation Act of 1966 for problems in completing construction projects on time, despite a recent Federal Highway Administration study concluding that environmental and historic preservation reviews are not responsible for major delays in road projects. Section 4(f) states, "It is the policy of the United States Government that special effort should be made to preserve the natural beauty of the countryside and public park and recreation lands, wildlife and waterfowl refuges, and historic sites." Under Section 4(f), the Secretary

Virginia Senator John Warner is leading the effort to keep Section 4(f) intact. Testifying before the Subcommittee on Transportation and Infrastructure, Senator Warner said, "Historic properties are an important means of telling our nation's history They are our outdoor classrooms for students and living treasures to our past. I remain committed to ensuring that the preservation of our historic homes, structures, battlefields and open spaces remain on an equal footing with the ever-increasing demands for transportation construction." The House and Senate will consider these measures when Congress reconvenes after Labor Day Houstonians are well aware of the impact highway construction can have on historic land-

of Transportation may not approve projects that require the use land from a historic site of national, state or local significance unless there is "no prudent and feasible alternative." If there is no alternative, the project must include "all possible planning to minimize harm" to the historic site. Congress authorized these protections when scores of historic places were being lost to the expanding Interstate Highway System. In 1971, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld Section 4(f), calling its preservation protections of "paramount importance." The law has been used to protect New Orleans' French Quarter by preventing construction of an expressway along the Mississippi riverfront within 50 yards of Jackson Square.

marks, older neighborhoods and local parks. GHPA encourages its members and supporters to write their representatives in Congress and express support for maintaining the Section 4(f) review process in the reauthorized Transportation Act. To download a letter to Congress, visit www.ghpa.orgISection4j. The addresses of Harris County's Congressional delegation are available at www.ghpa.orgllinksl

congress. html. GHPA often uses e-mail to update its members about timely preser-

vation issues. If we do not have your e-mail address and you would like to receive these updates, please send your name and e-mail address to GHPA will not share this information with any other organizations or businesses.

Historical Marl~er Dedicated at College Parl~ Cemetery The preservation of College Park Cemetery took an important step fOIWard with the dedication of a Texas Historical Marker on August 1. The long-neglected AfricanAmerican burial ground at 3540 West Dallas was founded in 1896 and is one of Houstons oldest black cemeteries. During the ceremonies, Al Davis, chairman of the Harris County Historical Commission, announced that the State has also designated College Park a Historic Texas Cemetery GHPA has had a long relationship with &thel Missionary Baptist Church, which has assumed responsibility for the cemetery Former GHPA board member

Willie Lee Gay conducted much of the research that was required to receive the state marker. In March 2003, GHPA helped further improvements to the cemetery by coordinating a week-long clean-up by students from Second Baptist School. Bethel Churchs pastor, the Rev. Robert Robertson, Jr., recognized GHPAS support during the marker dedication. Also speaking was Martha Whiting, granddaughter of the Rev. Jack Yates, who is buried in the cemetery Yates, a former slave and one of Houstons most prominent black leaders, founded Bethel Missionary Baptist Church.

In the weeks ahead, GHPA will offer you the opportunity to interact with some of the men and women who want to govern our city for the next two years. You will be receiving invitations to public forums for mayoral and city council candidates where you can let our elected officials know what kind of city you want Houston to become. Local government is facing a variety of quality-of-life issues, including urban revitalization and economic diversification, defense of neighborhood integrity and authenticity of place, preservation of green space and protection of historic resources. Our public officials must actively address these concerns if Houston is to attract quality development and continue to prosper. I hope you will attend these events and submit thoughtful questions for the candidates. Not only will you learn more about the candidates' opinions, you will be showing our future leaders the level of support historic preservation enjoys in our community These forums offer another opportunity to educate our local officials and help them appreciate the benefits preservation offers all Houstonians. Working together, we can create a preservation ethic for our community and make Houston a better place to live.

kL Ramona Davis

Use your Rand aIls Remarkable Card to support historic preservation in Houston. Please pick up an application at a Randalls Courtesy Booth, complete the top portion and fill in GHPA's account number, 2841, in the Good Neighbor Program section of the form. Randalls will then donate a portion of your total purchases to GHPA.

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From left: Martha Whiting, granddaughter of the Rev. Jack Yates; Al Davis, chairman, Harris County Historical Commission; Elmer Bailey, Jr., executive director, Harris County Juvenile Probation Dept.; the Rev. Robert Robertson,Jr., Bethel Missionary Baptist Church; GHPA Executive Director Ramona Davis and former GHPA board member Willie Lee Gay.

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Preservation Progress

Preservation Update


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"Mr. Houston" Jesse H. Jones financed the Texas State Hotd, shown here ca. 1930.

Renovation is underway again at the Texas State Hotel, 720 Fannin, after a June incident in which sections of eight floors collapsed in pancake fashion. No workers were injured and the building remains structurally sound, There has been no explanation for the collapse, which occurred while demolition crews were clearing the building's interior panitions. The City of

Landmark. Alfred C. Finn, architect of the San Jacinto Monument, designed the 36-story Art Deco tower. Formerly known as the Gulf Building, it was Houston's tallest skyscraper from 1929 to 1963, and has been GHPA's home through most of the organization's history JPMorgan Chase is also generously providing the building's historic banking hall as the site of GHPA's Cornerstone Dinner presenting the 2004 Good Brick Awards on Saturday, January 10. The JPMorgan Chase Building is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is a National Historic Civil Engineering Landmark.


The Harris County Sports and Convention Corp. hopes to select a proposal to redevelop the Astrodome by September IS, Potential developers toured the world's first domed stadium in June and faced an August 8 deadline for submitting their plans, On the day before the developers' tour, the Houston Chronicle published an editorial by GHPA Executive Director Ramona Davis calling for the stadium's preservation and offering ideas for its adaptive re-use. The next day, Sports and Convention Corp, Executive Director Willie Loston told the Chronicle, 'The only thing that we have settled on at this point is that this building is not going to be tom down." The Astrodome is on GHPA's List of Endangered Buildings,

The home designed by architect Alfred C. Finn for his own family has been demolished. Finn, who created plans for the Gulf Building (now the JPMorgan Chase Building) and the San Jacinto Monument, produced the blueprints for the modest two-story house in 1920. Finn lived in the Craftsman-influenced home on the comer of San Jacinto and Rosedale until his death in 1956. GHPA had contacted the property owner about preserving the house~ Plans for the vacant land are not known.

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The restoration adds another chapter to a colorful history that has involved some of Houston's most prominent citizens, In 1926, a group of New York investors purchased property at the comer of Fannin and Rusk, demolished several boarding houses and began building the 16-story San Jacinto Hotel. When the original developer went into receivership, Will C. Hogg bought the property with the goal of opening the hotel in time for the 1928 Democratic National Convention. The contractor was unable to meet the deadline and Jesse H. Jones took over the project. Renamed the Texas State Hotel, the 381-room property opened in September 1929.

Houston Historic Landmark is being redeveloped as a hotel. The building was designed by architect Joseph Finger, who also created the plans for Houston's City Hall. The hotel is notable for its Spanish Renaissance detailing and ornate metal canopies, which remain largely intact even though the building has been vacant since the mid-1980s.

*** GHPA supported the successful effort to have the JPMorgan Chase Building, 712 Main Street, designated a City of Houston Historic


The former Union National Bank Building, 220 Main Street, is finding new life as the Hotel Icon. Developer Randall Davis is leading the investment group that is transforming the historic office building into a US-room boutique hoteL Work on the building is scheduled to be completed by December. Union National Bank constructed the building in 1912, The design features freestanding Corinthian columns and

arched openings with keystones carved in the likeness of Mercury (above), the Roman god of commerce~ St. Louis architects Mauran, Russell &: Crowell created the blueprints. The firm deSigned several buildings in Houston for Jesse H. Jones, who was a director of Union National Bank. The Union National Bank Building is listed on the National Register of Historic Places as part of the Main Street/Market Square Historic District.

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Union National Bank Building, 1912

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Architect Alfred C. Finn created the blueprints for his home at 4902 San Jacinto.

JPMorgan Chase Building, 1929

GHPA Seel~s Good Bricl~ Award NOlllinations GHPA is accepting nominations for the 2004 Good Brick Awards through Friday, September 26, To qualify, projects must be located within the Greater Houston area and must have been completed within the last three years. Award categories include: • renovation, restoration or adaptive re-use of historic buildings • sympathetic additions or new buildings that enhance historic properties • recognition of craftspeople • preservation- or heritagerelated programs or activities

• outstanding service or leadership in historic preservation, Anyone may submit a nomination, including the individuals who have undertaken the project, architects, contractors, businesses, institutions and members of the community at large . "It is essential that GHPA recognize the individuals, businesses and institutions whose projects preserve Houston's unique heritage and enhance the quality of life in our city," said GHPA President Anita Garten. "By honoring these exceptional

efforts, we are increasing awareness of historic preservation and making important progress toward establishing a preservation ethic for our community." A jury of preservation and design professionals and community leaders, chaired by GHPA board member Paul Homeyer, will select the winners~ The 2004 Good Brick Awards will be presented during the Cornerstone Dinner on Saturday, January 10, in the historic banking hall of the JPMorgan Chase Building in downtown Houston. The event is being chaired by Phyllis Childress, who, with her

husband Tony Abyad, was a Good Brick Award winner in 2001. GHPA has presented the Good Brick Awards since 1979 to recognize outstanding contributions to the preservation, restoration and enhancement of Houston's architectural and cultural heritage. Complete nomination guidelines, along with the required forms and a gallery of 2003 Good Brick Award winners, are available online at www, For additional information, call 7l3~216.s000 or e-mail info@ghpa,org.

The historic Heights Branch of the Houston Public Library, 1302 Heights Boulevard, is open again after extensive renovations to the original 1925 building and the 1979 addition. The project brought the library into compliance with Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) standards while preserving its historic character, Architect J-M. Glover designed the original building in the Italian Renaissance style. The Texas Historic Landmark was one of the first two branch libraries in Houston,

Heights Branch Librwy, 1925

Thank you!

Allan Green1erg Addresses Preservation Weel~ Luncheon Historic preservation supporters filled the Texas Room at the Houston Club when celebrated architect/preservationist Allan Greenberg spoke at GHPAS Preservation 2003 Luncheon and Fair on Friday, May 9. GHPA brought Greenberg to Houston as part of the organization's annual observance of National Preservation Week. During his speech, Greenberg discussed his philosophy of historic preservation and the role of modern architecture in historic neighborhoods.

"We have to look at the context of preservation. Surely, part of architecture is to take whatever corner and make it more beautiful and enhance the context of the existing buildings," he said. "If you say about architecture that everything new is good and everything old is irrelevant, you are talking about fashion, not architecture." The architect became familiar with Houston when he designed Rice University's Humanities Building. His widely admired design occupies the

last building site on Rice's main academic court. "Whenever I get off the plane at the airport, I feel the city's energy," said Greenberg. "[Houston] is always a different city, even if you've come back after only three months." The National Trust for Historic Preservation created National Preservation Week in 1971 to celebrate and encourage grassroots heritage activities. In keeping with this year's National Preservation Week theme, "Cities, Suburbs &

Countryside," the 2003 Preservation Fair featured local heritage organizations and government agencies. Among the organizations with displays at the fair were Houston Hispanic Forum, Old Jeff Davis Hospital and Avenue Community Development Corporation, City of Houston Planning & Development Department, Rice Design Alliance, Rutherford B. H. Yates Museum, American Institute of Architects Houston, and Friends of the Julia Ideson Building.

GHPA gratefully acknowledges these organizations and individuals for their support of the Preservation 2003 Luncheon and Fair:

H-E-B Gensler Anita Garten Nancy Ames The Magnolia Hotel Hawes Hill & Associates Houston-Space City U.S.A. Minnette Boesel Properties John P. McGovern Foundation The Mid-Continent Companies, Ltd.





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Mike Howard, GHPA President Anita Garten and Preservation Week speaker Allan Greenberg

Surpik Angelini, GHPA board member Tony Abyad and GHPA Executive Director Ramona Davis

GHPA board member Susan Hill, Roy and Sarah Hill

Steve Adger. GHPA board member Lynne Bentsen, Charles Rieppe and Caro Walker

Julie Hodges, GHPA board member Nancy Ames and Cindy Crane Garbs

Patrick Van Pelt with Christie Taylor

People in Preservation State Senator Kyle Janek of Houston played a pivotal role in safeguarding historic districts and Texas landmarks during the Legislature's regular session. Senator Janek was instrumental in defeating several measures that would have severely weakened local preservation ordinances across the state. GHPA cooperated with Preservation Texas, Preservation Dallas, National Trust for Historic Preservation, Texas Neighborhoods Together and Texas Municipal League in sending representatives to Austin to support the senator's successful effort to protect the state's older neighborhoods. GHPA board members engaged in an extensive letter-writing campaign to make Houston-area legislators aware of the organization's position on these important issues.

house for U.S. House members seeking information on preservation issues. Caucus members will receive a digital newsletter and have opportunities to interact with preservation professionals through site visits and seminars. The caucus has already sponsored a sign-on letter urging increased funding for the federally-mandated State Historic Preservation Offices. From 2001 to 2003, federal funding for the Texas Historical Commission dropped 33%, from $1.27 million to $850,000 annually

*** GHPA sponsored a table at the Blueprint Houston Citizen Congress on Saturday, May 31. Janice Ashton, Kay Crooker, Minnette Boesel, Stephen Fox, Mary Margaret Hansen, Sherry Hill, Beth Madison, Martha Peterson and Patty Porter were the members, board members and volunteers who joined GHPA staff for the program to ensure historic preservation is part of the "Vision, Values, Goals and Priorities" for Houston's future.

Among the top 15 goals endorsed by the Citizen Congress were: • Revitalizing Neighborhoods: Houston promotes and preserves inner city and older neighborhoods, improves their infrastructure with increased public open space and encourages historic preservation resulting in diverse livable, walkable neighborhoods. This goal was deemed Extremely Important or Very Important by 75% of the Citizen Congress delegates.

• Urban Cores: Houston promotes the revitalization of vibrant, walkable urban cores as entertainment, workplace and residential destinations, preserving historic older areas and neighborhoods and promoting sensitive new development. This goal was deemed Extremely Important or Very Important by 74% of the Congress delegates. For a complete report on the Blueprint Houston Citizen Congress, visit

*** Ray + Hollington Architects have been recognized with a 2003 Treasures of Texas Award from Preservation Texas for their rehabilitation of the former Weldon Cafeteria, 4916 Main. GHPA presented Ray + Hollington with a 2003 Good Brick Award for the project, which renovated the 1949 MacKie & Kamrath-deSigned building for use as the architecture firm's studio and office.

*** Houston-area Representatives Chris Bell (25th District) and Nick Lampson (9th District) are among the 40 charter members of the newly created Congressional Historic Preservation Caucus. The group will serve as a clearingWeldon Cafeteria, 1949

GHPA Calendar For updated information on each of the following events, please visit

August 24

Architectural Walking Tour of the Warehouse District.

September 26

Good Brick Awards entry deadline. Completed nominations must be received at the GHPA office by 5 p.m.

October TBA

Annual Membership Meeting. Members will be mailed an invitation.

October 22

Mayoral Candidates Forum. The Houston Club.

January 10

The Cornerstone Dinner presenting the 2004 Good Brick Awards. JPMorgan Chase Building.

Walking Tour Dates

September 28, October 26, November 23

Greater Houston Preservation Alliance 712 Main Street, Suite llO Houston, Texas 77002-3207

Nonprofit Org. U.5. Postage Paid Houston, Texas Permit No 712

Address Correction Requested Return Postage Guaranteed

Greater Houston Preservation Alliance 2002-2003 Board of Directors Anita W. Garten

Louis H. Skidmore,Jr., AlA

Eileen Hricik

David B.Jones

Hill Swift, AlA


Past President

Vice President



Voting Directors Tony Abyad Nancy Ames Lynne Bentsen Monique Bossett Alfred]. Calloway Gracie Cavnar

Charles Foster Diane Gendel L. Susan Hill Paul Homeyer Gigi Huang Patricia Laurent

Non-Voting Ex-Officio

Cora Sue Mach Beth Madison Patty Porter Mary Ann Reynolds Rick Walton

Corporate Members

R. George Cunningham Parliamentarian

Tony Abyad / 917 Franklin Land, Ltd.

JPMorgan Chase

American Institute of Architects, Houston Chapter


Larissa Lindsay

Associated General Contractors, Houston Chapter

Lancaster Hotels &: Resorts

Bellweather Exploration Company

METRO Transit Authority

Bowne of Houston

The Mid-Continent Companies, Ltd.

Budweiser/Silver Eagle Distributors, L.P.

Minnette Boesel Properties

Case &: Associates, General Contractors

Mission Constructors, Inc.

El Paso Energy Corporation

NL Industries

Fretz Construction Company

North Houston Bank


PaineWebber Investment Banking

George H. Lewis &: Sons! Forest Park Lawndale

Russo Painting &: Carpentry

Greenwood King Properties

Stewart Title of Houston

Haynes Whaley Associates, Inc.

Union Pacific Railroad Company


WS. Bellows Construction Corp


Walter P. Moore

Houston Hispanic Forum

Watkins Hamilton Ross Architects

Houston House & Home

Webb Architects

Robert Litke Charles D. Maynard, Jr. Randy Pace Bart Truxillo

GHPA Board Members are nominated by the Nominating Committee, approved by the Board, and elected by the membership .

Kendall Heaton Associates

Spire Realty Group, Inc.

The mission oj Greater Houston Preservation Allianc, (GHPA) is to promote the preservation and appreciation oj Houston's architectural and cultural historic resources through education, advocacy and committed action, thereby creating economiC value and developing a stro11ger sense oj community. GHPA is a 501 (c) (3) not-for-profit corporation. GHPA is supported, in part, by a generous gl'anLJ"Om the City oj Houston through the Cultural Arts Council oj HoustonlHan;s COLIllty, and Jrom t/1e Texa.~ Commission on the Arts through the Cu/tu ral A rts Council. For Preservation is published quarterly with the generous SUppOI't oj HOUSlon House &: Home magazine.

Copyright 2003 Greater Houston Preservation Allia11ce. All rights reserved.

Summer 2003 GHPA Newsletter  

"For Preservation," the newsletter of Greater Houston Preservation Alliance

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