Houston Texas History:
In 1836, real estate entrepreneurs Augustus Chapman Allen and John Kirby Allen founded Houston at the confluence of the Buffalo Bayou and White Oak Bayou at the present day downtown Allen’s Landing. Houston was named after General Sam Houston, and was incorporated on June 5, 1837. It became the county seat of Harris County that same year. Houston was platted in a grid formation with streets running parallel to and perpendicular to the Buffalo Bayou, and the wharfs were located at Allen’s Landing. Houston became a commercial and railroad center for cotton exports. After the 1900 Galveston hurricane it became imperative for Houston to develop a deep water port. In 1902 President Theodore Roosevelt approved funding for the Houston Ship Channel. The Carnegie Library opened in 1904. By 1910, Houston had 78,000 residents. The Houston Port opened in 1914. During World War II the World War I Ellington Field was modernized for use as an advanced training center for bombardiers and navigators. M.D. Anderson established the Texas Medical Center in 1945. In 196, NASA’s Johnson Space Center was established. Today, primary industries include oil and gas, petrochemicals, biomedical research and aeronautics. The Port of Houston ranks first in the United States in international waterborne tonnage handled and second in total cargo tonnage handled. Because of these strengths, Houston is designated as a global city
by the Globalization and World Cities Study Group and Network. For information on the Houston Tunnel System, and the Port of Houston and Sam Houston Boat Tours, see the Houston Entertainment Page. Houston is located on the Buffalo Bayou at the intersections of IH-45, U.S. 90, U.S. 290, U.S. 59, and SH 6, 51 miles northwest of Galveston, 221 miles northeast of Corpus Christi, 197 miles slightly northeast of San Antonio, 165 miles southeast of Austin, 185 miles southeast of Waco, 97 miles southeast of College Station, and 240 miles southeast of Dallas, Texas.
Houston Ship Channel:
Houston’s original docks were established at the foot of Main Street at the confluence of Buffalo Bayou and White Oak Bayou in the area known today as Allen’s Landing (one the south side of the Bayou). This site is now a public park located adjacent to the University of Houston. Soon, flocks of oceangoing vessels and steamers loaded and unloaded from the docks. During the Civil War the Federal blockade in Galveston stifled the Bayou’s commercial activity. After the Civil War the Buffalo Bayou Ship channel Company, partially owned by the city, dredged the Houston Ship Channel to clear the way for large ships; the water was maintained to a depth of 9 feet. By 1914, the channel had been dredged to a depth of 25 feet. Today, the 52-mile stretch of Buffalo Bayou is the nation’s number one port in foreign cargo and one of the largest ports in the world. The Houston Turning Basin is located in Harrisburg, now a part of Houston. The Houston Ship Channel tributaries include Buffalo Bayou, White Oak Bayou which runs through the Heights neighborhood towards downtown, Sims Bayou running through downtown and south Houston, and Braes Bayou which runs along the Texas Medical Center. The Houston Ship Channel flows past Galveston and then into the Gulf of Mexico.
Port of Houston & Sam Houston Boat Tours:
The Port of Houston is a 25 mile long complex of private and public facilities; it is the 10th
largest port in the country; it is ranked first in the nation in foreign waterborne tonnage, and second in the nation in total tonnage. Over 8,000 vessels navigate the Houston Ship Channel to the Port of Houston each year. The channel has numerous terminals and berthing locations along the Buffalo Bayou and Galveston Bay. The major public terminals are the Turning Basin, Barbours Cut, and the Bayport Cruise Terminal in Pasadena. Today the channel is 530 feet wide and 45 feet deep. The islands in the ship channel are part of the ongoing widening and deepening project and were formed from soil pulled during dredging. The Islands and the salt marshes and bird islands are part of the Houston Port Authority’s beneficial use and environmental mitigation responsibilities. Vehicular crossings of the Houston Ship Channel include the Washburn Tunnel between Galena Park and Pasadena, the Sidney Sherman Bridge (known as the IH 610 or Ship Channel Bridge), the Sam Houston Tollway Ship channel Bridge (formerly the Jesse Jones Toll Bridge and popularly known as the Beltway 8 Bridge), the Fred Hartman Bridge which replaced the tunnel between Baytown and La Porte, and the Lynchburg Ferry which provides a 7 to 10 minute ferry ride across the San Jacinto River between Baytown (1001 S. Lynchburg Road) and the San Jacinto Battleground State Historic Site & Battleship Texas (both are located on the ship channel). The free 90 minute round trip Sam Houston Boat Tour
of the Houston Ship Channel departs from the Sam Houston Pavilion. Visitors view the international cargo vessels and the operations at the Turning Basin Terminal. The air conditioned boat carries 90 passengers. Reservations must be made 24 hours in advance; ID is required. Reservations may be made online
; you must print out your reservation page and bring it with you to the boat. Reservations may also be made by phone by calling (713) 670-2416, Mon-Thu, 10am-4pm. From East Loop 610, exit at the Clinton Drive Exit #28. Go west on Clinton past McCarty to Gate 8. Enter the Gate and stay to the right; a security guard and signs will direct you to the pavilion.
(713) 670-2400. 111 East Loop 610 North, Houston, Texas 77029.
Harris County Courthouse, 1953:
This marble and granite courthouse was designed in modern style. It is located on San Jacinto Street near the 1910 Courthouse Square.
Harris County Courthouse, 1910:
This beaux-arts style courthouse was designed by architects Lang, Winchell & Barglebaugh. It is currently used for Harris County Civil Courts. It is located at Preston and Caroline Streets in downtown Houston.