Scanlan Building - Houston, Texas
Posted by: Groundspeak Regular Member JimmyEv
N 29° 45.677 W 095° 21.678
15R E 271681 N 3294670
Quick Description: This 1909 Beaux-Arts building, designed by Chicago architect D.H. Burnham, was built on the site of the ‘White House of the Republic of Texas.’ It was erected by the daughters of a former Houston mayor, Thomas Scanlan, as a memorial to their father.
Location: Texas, United States
Date Posted: 10/9/2006 5:30:07 PM
Waymark Code: WMTQ1
Published By: Groundspeak Premium Member silverquill
Views: 34

Long Description:
Francis R. Lubbock purchased this lot from the Allen Brothers in 1837. A year later, Lubbock sold the property to the Republic of Texas for use as the official home of the Republic’s President. Only two of the Republic’s presidents, Sam Houston and Mirabeau B. Lamar, lived here before the capital was moved to Austin.

Thomas Howe Scanlan immigrated to Houston from Ireland in 1853. During Reconstruction, he was appointed Mayor of Houston by Texas Governor E.J. Davis, along with four African-Americans who were appointed aldermen. As you can imagine, he wasn’t a very popular mayor, being ridiculed for years after his death as a carpetbagger, but being mayor had its benefits. He made quite a fortune from investments in railroads and real estate, including an 8,400 acre sugar plantation on the Brazos River. He also owned Houston’s Water Works Company, the only supplier of municipal water. Scanlan sold the water works to the city shortly before his death in 1906.

Three years later, in 1909, long after the property’s use as the Republic’s official residence, the seven daughters of Scanlan built this skyscraper as a memorial to their father. Not wanting a design as ostentatious as those done by local architects, the sisters hired D.H. Burnham & Company, a Chicago firm, to design the building. Burnham built an 11-story structure, their only known Texas office building, in the Chicago School style, with a distinctive base, shaft and attic. Austere Beaux-Arts ornamentation on the base of the building was repeated on the attic level. Like most skyscrapers at the time, an L-shaped floor plan was used to allow light and air into all offices. The Scanlan daughters devoted their lives to Catholic charities. After their deaths, the entire Scanlan estate, including the Scanlan Building, went to various Catholic religious orders and educational institutions.

The Scanlan daughters devoted their lives to Catholic charities. After their deaths, the entire Scanlan estate, including the Scanlan Building, went to various Catholic religious orders and educational institutions.



Main Street/Market Square Historic District
Next: Isis Theater | Previous: Sweeney, Coombs & Fredericks



Source:
Texas Historical Commission, "Scanlan Building," available at Texas Historical Atlas

Street address:
405 Main Street
Houston, TX USA
77002


County / Borough / Parish: Harris County

Year listed: 1980

Historic (Areas of) Significance: Person (Thomas Howe Scanlan); Architecture/Engineering (Chicago Style)

Periods of significance: 1909

Historic function: Office Building

Current function: Office Building

Privately owned?: yes

Primary Web Site: [Web Link]

Secondary Website 1: [Web Link]

Season start / Season finish: Not listed

Hours of operation: 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.
Search for...
Geocaching.com Google Map
Google Maps
MapQuest
Bing Maps
Nearest Waymarks
Nearest U.S. National Register of Historic Places
Nearest Geocaches
Nearest Benchmarks
Create a scavenger hunt using this waymark as the center point
Recent Visits/Logs:
Date Logged Log User Rating  
Raven visited Scanlan Building - Houston, Texas 4/8/2013 Raven visited it
run26.2 visited Scanlan Building - Houston, Texas 2/24/2008 run26.2 visited it

View all visits/logs