William L. Foley House - Houston, Texas
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member Raven
N 29° 45.345 W 095° 21.357
15R E 272186 N 3294046
Quick Description: Originally built in 1904, the house of William L. Foley -- the Founder of the Foley's department chain -- was relocated several times around downtown Houston within the last 100 years before finally settling in a local heritage tourism center.
Location: Texas, United States
Date Posted: 4/6/2013 2:57:57 PM
Waymark Code: WMGT01
Published By: Groundspeak Charter Member BruceS
Views: 2

Long Description:
The William L. Foley House is a 1904 two-story Neo-Classical wooden building with four fluted Corinthian columns and a double gallery extending across its facade. It was built by William L. Foley, an Irish businessman best known as the Founder of the Foley's department chain: he opened the W.L. Foley Dry Goods Company at the 200th block of Travis (specializing in French imports and “ladies’ piece goods and notions”) in 1876 and the first Foley Brothers Department Store (together with his nephews Pat and James Foley) back in 1900. In 1950, Blanche, Foley’s last living child, sold the Foley name to Federated, who ultimately dropped the “Brothers” moniker and called it Foley’s Department Stores.

The house originally stood at 1617 Texas Ave. (N 29° 45.404 W 95° 21.407) in a neighborhood known as Quality Hill. Within months of Foley moving into his new home in 1905, a local railroad interest group started buying up a 12-block area for a new Union Passenger Station to be built right next to Foley's new home. Foley fought Houston Belt and Terminal Railway to stop the project, but in 1906 the house site was lost in condemnation proceedings: Foley received $64,000 for his land.

And so in 1909, Foley moved his newly built house to 704 Chenevert (N 29° 45.289 W 95° 21.381, at the old corner of Capitol and Chevernet). It was quite common for houses within Houston to be moved back in those days, as there were no utilities hooked in or wires overhead to deal with.

In 1963, Blanche -- the same person who had sold the Foley name to Federated -- bequeathed the house to the Annunciation Catholic Church to which they belonged and which was located just across the street from the original home site. In 2003, the city of Houston bought the house from the church and moved the building once again, this time close to its original location and right next to the Arthur B. Cohen house at 1711 Rusk St. (N 29° 45.291 W 95° 21.433).

In early 2007, the mayor of Houston announced plans to convert both the William L. Foley House and the Arthur B. Cohen house into a regional heritage tourism center. Both buildings were moved once more, just a few feet further North from their previous locations on the 800th block of the Avenida de las Americas. The house is now currently located at N 29° 45.345 W 95° 21.357, but who knows: maybe it will move a fourth time in a couple of years? Only time will tell...
Original Location: N 29° 45.404 W 095° 21.407

How it was moved: Wheels / Dolly / Truck

Type of move: Inside City

Building Status: Public

Related Website: [Web Link]

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Recent Visits/Logs:
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run26.2 visited William L. Foley House - Houston, Texas 11/16/2013 run26.2 visited it
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