Allen's Landing Park - Houston, Texas
Posted by: Groundspeak Regular Member JimmyEv
N 29° 45.842 W 095° 21.536
15R E 271917 N 3294970
Quick Description: It was along these banks, sloping steeply down to the bayou, where the Allen Brothers landed their boat in 1836, founding the City of Houston.
Location: Texas, United States
Date Posted: 9/25/2006 6:11:56 PM
Waymark Code: WMRD6
Published By: Groundspeak Premium Member silverquill
Views: 116

Long Description:
Two real estate speculators, brothers Augustus and John Allen, came to Texas from New York in 1832. After spending time in Nacogdoches and Galveston, they decided to develop and market a town along Buffalo Bayou. Their first choice was the already established town of Harrisburg. For a few years, the Allens negotiated to buy the town, but that was fraught with difficulties - the land titles weren’t clear, the brothers found the price being asked too high, and, in 1836 during the Texas Revolution, Harrisburg was burnt to the ground. So John Allen paddled further up Buffalo Bayou, to the ‘head of navigation’ – the furthest point upstream that a steamboat could turn around – and the two men founded their town.

The clever brothers named the town for Sam Houston, hero of the Battle of San Jacinto and first president of the Republic of Texas, easily convincing the newly formed government in West Columbia to locate the capital here. Always the promoters, they placed ads in newspapers throughout the United States, extolling the wonderful (and mostly imaginary) virtues of their new town. You can see a portion of one of the ads, published in the Texas Telegraph & Register, engraved on a retaining wall along the steps leading to the bayou.

In 1839, President Lamar, a long-time rival of Sam Houston, moved the capital to the town of Waterloo, later to become Austin. The loss of the capital didn’t slow Houston’s growth – the town remained a center of commerce and transportation for the surrounding fertile prairies. The first dock was constructed at Allen’s Landing in 1840, evolving into busy public wharves. These wharves remained the principal landing for barge and steamboat traffic, sending out agricultural goods such as sugar and cotton, and receiving manufactured goods from the United States and Europe, until the building of the Main Street Viaduct and establishment of the Houston Ship Channel in 1912.

In 1967, Houston dedicated a park on this site, with the Houston Chamber of Commerce sponsoring the construction. It has been rebuilt several times since, in sporadic bursts of civic pride. The current incarnation consists of grassy terraces sloping downwards from Commerce Street to a facsimile of the public wharves on Buffalo Bayou. There are good views of the Main Street Viaduct, spanning the bayou, and the Art Deco Merchants and Manufacturer's Building on the other side.

Sadly, after the latest bout of civic pride, the park has once again deteriorated. Public art recently decorated the park, but it has since disappeared, and the park seems to be the current home for Houston’s vagrants, scaring off most other users. Regardless, any stroll of the Main Street/Market Square Historic District should begin here. Metered parking is usually available in front of the park on Commerce Street. Parking is free on Sunday, as well as after 6pm Monday through Saturday.

Main Street/Market Square Historic District
Next: First National Bank | Previous: Houston Ice & Brewing Co.

Texas Historical Commission, "Main Street/Market Square Historic District," available at Texas Historical Atlas
Works Progress Administration, "Texas: A Guide to the Lone Star State," available at most libraries

Name: Allen's Landing Park

Street Location: 1001 Commerce Street

Local Municipality: City

State/Province, etc.: Texas

Country: USA

Web Site: [Web Link]

Memorial/Commemoration: Commeomorates the founding of Houston.

Date Established: 1966

Picnic Facilities: None.

Recreational Facilities:
Fishing and kayaking in Buffalo Bayou is possible.

Monuments/Statues: A retaining wall is carved with excerpts from an ad the Allen Brothers published in the Telegraph & Texas Register on August 30, 1836 extolling the virtues of their speculative development.

Art (murals/sculpture, etc.): No.

Fountains: No.

Ponds/Lakes/Streams/Rivers/Beach: On Buffalo Bayou.

Special Events: None.

Traditional Geocaches:
None active.

Visit Instructions:
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