Houston – May 2019 – Vintage Buildings

As noted on the previous post the vast majority of the buildings in Houston are new, built in the last couple of decades, much as a result of an area that has grown from a metro population of 2 million in 1970 to 6 million + today.

But in downtown Houston there are a few architectural gems from the early to mid 1900s that are worth checking out.

An interesting block is on Main Street. For this one block it looks like you are in small town America (if small town America had 60 floor buildings in the background).

The Great Southwest Building was for many years home of the Texas Company, better known as Texaco. Built in the Art Deco style in the late 1920s, today it is high end apartments.

The Rice Lofts was formerly a hotel. This location is famous as it once was the home of a national capital – the Republic of Texas! The current building was completed in 1913.

Completed in 1929 as the Gulf Building, the current JPMorgan Building, with a Chase Bank branch in the lobby is the finest architectural building in the city.

The Julia Idelson Library is part of the Houston Library system. Dwarfed by the surrounding skyscrapers, it provides an oasis in the sea of glass.

Dating from 1926, the Spanish Renaissance style building houses Texas an local history archives.

Houston City Hall is one of the city’s few Art Deco style buildings.

The ceiling of the lobby has a relief of the world, with Texas standing out in gold and an X marking the spot (for Houston).

The murals add to the majesty of the room.

Even the water fountain has style, and a well state quote – build it to last forever. With the unchecked growth for the last 60 years or so I am not certain how much of Houston is built to last forever, but it is an impressive city nonetheless.

7 thoughts on “Houston – May 2019 – Vintage Buildings

    1. Thank you for the comment. Are you referring to the photos of the current JPMorgan Chase branch. I am happy to correct.


      1. I hadn’t scrolled down. You are correct in your descriptions.
        Did you notice that there are water drinking fountains on two wall in the Houston City Hall Lobby? One was for Whites…the Other for “Colored.”


      2. I did not notice the water fountains, but noting the date of the building it is sadly not surprising. I had been to Houston a number of times but never spent much time downtown – overall I was very impressed, and enjoyed checking out the buildings. It was good to see some historic buildings had survived.


      3. You photographed the fountain…with the quotation above it…about “Let us build as if building forever.”

        I wish you could have known the city I grew up in in the 1960s-1980s. We had hundreds of incredible houses and buildings…all now destroyed by clueless imbeciles.


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