The flaw: Houston shuns its history
Even the least observant of Houstonians can see that the city has a history of tearing down its own history. Our self-destructive ways date back to the beginning, when the Allen brothers designated Old Market Square as the city’s epicenter in 1836. Beginning in 1841, the square played homed to the Houston municipal government and the historic City Hall. When a report by the city planning commission urged the development of a new Civic Center, the construction of a new City Hall around Hermann Square was suggested. That’s cool and all, since we needed more space and the newer Art Deco City Hall, finished in 1939, is pretty great. But what happened to the old Market Square City Hall? Well, it was converted to a bus terminal, destroyed by a fire in 1960, and instead of being rebuilt as it had been in the past, is now a parking lot, which is not cool and all. That’s just one sad example. The lack of preservation of places with rich historical and architectural importance can seen all across the city (boxed townhome instead of a century-old bungalow, anyone?); with some of the bigger lost landmarks including downtown’s historic Foleys building at 1110 Main -- opened in 1947, demolished in 2013; the first high-rise corporate office building outside downtown, Texas Medical Center’s Prudential Building -- opened in 1952, imploded in 2012; the dazzling Shamrock Hotel -- built in 1949, kissed goodbye in 1987; and an Art Deco icon, the Houston Turn-Verein Clubhouse -- opened in 1929, a goner in 1993.