Merchants and Manufacturers Building - Houston, Texas
Posted by: Groundspeak Regular Member JimmyEv
N 29° 45.953 W 095° 21.531
15R E 271929 N 3295175
Quick Description: The Merchants and Manufacturers Building was doomed from the start, simply because of timing. Built on the edge of downtown, where rail, water and road transportation intersected, this massive project was bankrupt within four years of being built.
Location: Texas, United States
Date Posted: 7/5/2007 4:59:54 PM
Waymark Code: WM1T7Z
Published By: Groundspeak Charter Member BruceS
Views: 35

Long Description:

Houston investors hired the Austin engineering and architectural firm of Giesecke and Harris during the boom years of the 1920s to construct a massive, 10-story, 700,000-square-foot building on the edge of downtown, where Buffalo and White Oak Bayous met. The site was selected carefully – it was where water, rail and truck transportation could easily merge.

The building was one of the largest Houston had ever seen. It was built of reinforced concrete with an extremely high load capacity, designed to support the many trucks and rail cars that would be traveling through the building. On the lower levels was a 300-car parking garage. Through the center of the building was a six-story breezeway, carefully located to capture the prevailing southeast Gulf breeze and cool the building.

As its name indicates, the building was intended to hold the offices and retail outlets of merchants and manufacturers, an early prototype of a mall. The building wasn’t completed until 1930. By that time, the country had plunged quickly into the Great Depression. Within four years the developers were bankrupt, and the building never fulfilled their original intentions. It is now home to the University of Houston Downtown.

Street address:
1 Main Street
Houston, Texas USA

County / Borough / Parish: Harris County

Year listed: 1980

Historic (Areas of) Significance: Event, Architecture/Engineering

Periods of significance: 1925-1949

Historic function: Warehouse, Manufacturing and Retail

Current function: University

Privately owned?: no

Hours of operation: From: 8:00 AM To: 5:00 PM

Primary Web Site: [Web Link]

Secondary Website 1: [Web Link]

Season start / Season finish: Not listed

Secondary Website 2: Not listed

National Historic Landmark Link: Not listed

Visit Instructions:
Please give the date and brief account of your visit. Include any additional observations or information that you may have, particularly about the current condition of the site. Additional photos are highly encouraged, but not mandatory.
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