- Title: City of Houston and Environs
- Author: Whitty & Stott
- Date: 1895
- Medium: Hand-colored engraving
Condition: Very Good Plus - age toning, light wear and a few repaired separations along original folds (issued folding), repaired tear top left corner, lines of discoloration in margins from old matting, faded original color. Archival tissue backed.
- Inches: 32 x 29 ¼ [Paper]
- Centimeters: 81.28 x 74.3 [Paper]
- Product ID: 316064
Rare map of the city of Houston, Texas divided into wards and labeled based on property ownership. Due to the infrequency with which it has come to market in the past, as well as the fact that the only other known examples currently reside at the Houston Public Library and the Library of Congress, respectively, this piece is referred to as an “unobtainable” historical artifact. Published by Philadelphia firm E. P. Noll & Co., which was active around the turn of the nineteenth century (c. 1890-1910), the map includes the newly formed Houston Heights neighborhood. It also features Buffalo Bayou (labeled “Buffalo River”), White Oak Bayou, and the network of rail lines leading in and out of the city. A legend to the map’s right indicates a guide to various street names:
“To find the location of any street on this map, refer to the letter and figure on the right of the name, which correspond to letters on each side of the map, and figures on the top of the map, and within the space of three inches of where lines from these would meet will be found the street sought for.”
On Valentine’s Day of 1895, the year of this map’s publication, Houston received over two feet of snow, resulting in the shutdown of the entire city. According to the Houston Post, wild snowball fights ensued while a few good-natured Houstonians with sleighs came to the aid of those attempting to walk to town. 1895 also saw the death of “the Mother of Houston” Charlotte Baldwin Allen (1805-1895), wife of Augustus Chapman Allen (1806-1864) and final remaining founder of the city of Houston.
This piece was printed almost sixty years after the Allen brothers’ 1836 purchase of the land which would become Houston. It reflects Houston’s status as the railroad hub of Texas beginning c. 1890, and depicts the city shortly before a period of immense commercial growth: following the devastating Galveston hurricane of 1900, Houston would begin to supersede Galveston as the state’s foremost commercial center. Additionally, the discovery of oil at Spindletop in 1901 spurred the rapid development of Texas’ petroleum industry.
Reference: Johnston, Marguerite; Houston, The Unknown City, Texas A&M University Press, 1991.