As you whoosh around Houston and the Downtown area have you ever wondered about where all the street names came from? Recently I read a book called “2 minute Histories of Houston” by Garvin Berry and Betty Chapman. And guess what? I was amazed to find out that almost all street names surrounding me (I live in Downtown Houston Apartments) have a history linked to them.
The street names disclose long forgotten details and mysteries. It is like attending a history class while you are driving around town. Houston’s original streets were mapped by Gail Borden in 1837. He intentionally gave them such names. I think it was a brilliant plan to keep the history alive in the streets. The San Jacinto Street is named after the Texas Revolution (This is where the victory was tasted.) The streets Milam, Travis and Fannin streets were named after Texas soldiers who died in the war. Louisiana Street was named after the state Louisiana because this was the state that provided men and supplies. The Smith Street was named after a soldier who built the first hotel in Houston after the war.
The Allen brothers were so keen to acquire cooperation in the United States for their new city and the Republic of Texas that they wanted to obtain support by naming streets. The Homer and Milton Streets were renamed as Austin in admiration of a Texas settler.
To cover the judicial basis Franklin was named after the first judge in the Republic. Commerce and Main Streets were named to center the business community near the Brazos River. This is not all. A number of other streets bear witness to Historic events. Telephone was the road built to carry arduous construction items for the state’s first long distance line. Mykawa was named after the Japanese farmer who introduced rice farming in the area.
Some streets like Gessner are also named after everyday citizens. Streets named after political figures like mayors and judges are abound. Illustrations are mayors like Holman, Baldwin, McGowen, Baker and Holcombe. Judges like Gray, Hadley and Denman. Often war heroes have had their names on street signs like Bissonet, Pitzer and Waugh. Though some streets have nothing to do with history. Lemac is a camel spelt backwards in reverse. Inch street was named as such since it measured an inch on the map. So next time you are driving around notice the street names and try to dig up the history of the street you live on. Trust me it’s cool