Houston: Where Seventeen Railroads Meet the Sea
"WHERE SEVENTEEN RAILROADS MEET THE SEA"
Houston Ship Channel
A DESCRIPTIVE VIEW BOOK IN COLORS
By JEROME H. FARBAR
he City of Houston was one of the first products of the new Republic of Texas. Founded by the Allen family and General Sam Houston after the defeat of the Mexicans at San Jacinto, April 21, 1836, and named in honor of the illustrious Texan who won Texas' independence, the new town was destined to be the chief city in the new Republic and today it maintains the same position as the chief city of the State of Texas, with a population of 125,000 or more persons.
When Mexico was forced to relinquish claims to Texas in 1836 the victorious Texans threw off the mantle of warfare to face a much more stupendous task—that of governing a great undeveloped empire, twice the size of Japan and 825 miles in length from north to south and 740 miles wide from east to west.
Establishment of the chief city or capital was the first task, and it was decided to place it at a point easy of access by water, which was then the chief method of transportation, with the exception of overland, yet far enough inland from the coast to be safe from tropical and gulf storms.
That point was determined at the headwaters of Buffalo Bayou, fifty miles inland. It was proposed to found the town on land owned by the Harris family, but a disagreement with the Allen family on land matters forced the Allens to desert the Harrisburg town project and come three miles farther up the bayou, where they founded Houston. Today the town of Harrisburg is but little larger, if any larger, than when founded, and now is a suburb of the City of Houston.
So Houston was founded. The wisdom of its forefathers in laying out the city on a navigable stream has proved the greatest factor in the upbuilding of Houston. Long since the old name of Buffalo Bayou has given away to the more distinctive name of "Houston Ship Channel," and the old bayou, still an arm of the sea, has been deepened to a depth of 25 feet and widened to 200 feet at the bottom, and the ships of ocean commerce are entering the land-locked port of Houston over its placid waters.
The Ship Channel is Houston's greatest commercial asset. It has given Houston the water rate, while traffic cover its waters amounts to over $55,000,000 annually. Houston is a port of entry and a customs house is maintained. The improvement of the channel to a depth of twenty-five feet has just been made under an appropriation of $2,500,000, the work being directed by United States engineers. The City of Houston, by agreement with the government, forever guarantees to maintain free wharf facilities, so no commerce over the wharves of Houston will be subject to tax.
Houston is the railroad center of the Southwest, seventeen railroads entering the city and making their terminus. Over one hundred passenger trains operate in and out of Houston daily. Houston is the largest railroad center and deep-water port combined in the South. Houston is general headquarters for the Sunset-Central Lines (Southern Pacific lines in Louisiana and Texas), the International & Great Northern Railway, the Texas Frisco Lines, and the Trinity & Brazos Valley Railroad.
The only general office building of Southern Pacific Lines is at Houston—the nine-story, half-million dollar general offices of the Sunset-Central Lines. A modern half-million dollar hospital is maintained in Houston by the Southern Pacific.
The shops of the Sunset-Central Lines and of the Houston & Texas Central Railroad are in Houston. Nearly 2,500 men are employed in the great shops of the Texas & New Orleans Railroad, and over 500 men in the shops of the Houston & Texas Central.
Houston is the financial center of the Southwest, with more banking capital, greater clearings, and greater deposits than any city in Texas. Deposits subject to check average $45,000,000, while bank clearings are second only to New Orleans in any southern city. Several costly and modern buildings house Houston's financial institutions.
Houston is the largest inland port cotton market in the world, handling nearly 3,000,000 bales annually, or the bulk of the crop of Texas and Oklahoma. Houston has greater concentration facilities than any city in Texas and a compressing capacity of 3,000,000 bales per year. The greatest item of commerce over the Ship Channel is cotton, and the channel alone saves over $6,000,000 annually to the cotton producers of Texas, as it reduces, for a haul of fifty miles, the railroad rate of 21 cents per hundred pounds to 6 cents.
Houston is the oil center of Texas, twenty-three oil corporations, with a combined capital of $70,000,000, being domiciled in Houston. One corporation—The Texas Company—is capitalized at $50,000,000.
Houston is the lumber center of the Southwest, forty-nine lumber corporations, with a combined capital of $40,000,000, being domiciled in Houston. Annual business amounts to $37,000,000. The cut is confined almost entirely to long-leaf yellow pine, great forests of which are located within a few miles of Houston.
Houston is the industrial and manufacturing center of Texas, with 347 manufacturing institutions, turning out 282 different articles and employing 10,000 factory workers. The annual payroll of Houston is in excess of $10,000,000.
Houston is the sugar and rice center of Texas, being in the center of the producing region for both commodities.
Houston has forty tall buildings of six stories and over, ranging up to eighteen stories, which is more skyscrapers of six stories and over than possessed by any other city of equal population in the world.
Houston has greater modern hotel facilities than any city in the South, having two hundred more first-class hotel rooms than New Orleans, the nearest competitor. The Rice Hotel, of eighteen stories, containing six hundred guest rooms and costing $3,500,000, is the largest and costliest hotel in the South.
The largest and most modern convention hall in the South is in Houston—the great Municipal Auditorium, recently completed at a cost of $400,000. It seats 700 persons and 10,000 can be accommodated with seeing and hearing distance of the stage. It was built by the city and paid for out of the general revenues of the city.
Municipal government in Houston is by commission form. Taxable valuations are $100,000,000, the greatest of any city in Texas, and the taxable valuation of Harris County, of which Houston is the county seat, is $128,500,000, the greatest of any county in Texas.
Houston is an all the year 'round city. A pleasant winter resort, warmed by gulf trade winds, and cool in summer, fanned by gulf winds. It is a hospitable city where true southern hospitality is exemplified.
View of the Famous Causeway. Built of Reinforced Concrete. Is Two and One-Half Miles Long. Cost $2,000,000.
Main Street North From Walker Avenue. All the Buildings in This View Were Constructed Within the Last Three Years.
View of the City Hall and Public Market. Municipal Government in Houston is Commission Form, With a Mayor and Four Commissioners at Its Head.
Main Street North From Bell Avenue. Houston Is Noted for Its Great Trees and Is Known as the "Magnolia City."
Harris County Court House at Houston. Harris County, With Taxable Valuations of $128,500,000, Is the Richest County in Texas.
Houston Is Famous for Her Fine Park System. "Old Mill" Is a Cozy Nook in the Semi-Tropical Sam Houston (City Park).
The New Union Station Is a Part of the $5,000,000 Holdings of the Houston Belt & Terminal Company. Finest Passenger Station in the South.
Chronicle Building Is One of the Forty Skyscrapers, All of Which Have Been Erected Within Five Years.
View of the First National Bank Building. Houston Has More Banks, Greater Capital, Greater Clearings and Deposits Than Any City in Texas.
Typical Cotton Barge on the Houston Ship Channel. This Waterway Cuts the Railroad Rate From 21 to 6 Cents a Hundred Pounds and Annually Saves Texas Planters $6,000,000.
The City Auditorium Is the Largest Modern Convention Hall in the South. Seats 7,000 Persons and Cost $400,000.
The Rice Hotel Is 18 Stories High, 600 Rooms, Cost $3,500,000. Occupies the Same Site as the First Capitol Building of the Republic of Texas.
Union National Bank Building. Houston's Financial Institutions Are Housed in the Finest Banking Houses in the South.
The Grand Central Station Is the Entry of the Southern Pacific Lines to Houston. Over One Hundred Passenger Trains Operate in and Out Daily.
The Postoffice and Federal Building Is a Fine Example of a Modern Government Building, of Which the City Is Justly Proud.
The Carter Building Is the Tallest Exclusive Office Building in Texas. The View Shows the Carter Building and the Bender Hotel.
Cotton Pickers in the Field. Houston Is the Largest Inland Port Cotton Market in the World, Handling Nearly 3,000,000 Bales Annually.
The Banking House of the Texas Commercial National Bank Is One of the Finest Exclusive Banking Houses in the South.
Administration Building, Rice Institute. Endowment, $10,000,000; Seventh Richest College in the United States. Thirty-three Buildings to Be Incorporated in the Academic Plan.