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: 8/14/2007 5:23:54 PM
Waymark Code: WM20E0
Published By: Groundspeak Regular Member Team Farkle 7
Views: 100

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.

Style: Art Deco

Structure Type: Commercial/Retail

Architect: Giesecke and Harris

Date Built: 1930

Supporting references: Not listed

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