One area of historical significance now shadowed by the high rises of downtown are the neighborhoods of Houston's retired ward system. Within the past few decades, much of these areas have been torn down to make way for the highways which are now so characteristic of Houston. In the documentary "Who will stand with the 4th Ward?" the late filmmaker James Blue explores the plights endured by the residents of the 4th ward and their frustrations with the expansion of the downtown area. People would hate to see it go since it's home to some of the oldest buildings in town. In fact, the oldest of these structures in the neighborhood were actually built by the first freed African Americans.
|Row of shotgun houses in Houston's Third Ward|
Another hidden gem of Houston is Glenwood Cemetery located just west of downtown right by Eleanor Tinsley Park. Many have found it a calm place to study or take a jog, but some don't know its historical significance to our great city. Take a quick glance at the tombstones as you stroll and you'll recognize some familiar names. Among its occupants are members of the Allen family (founders of the city of Houston), Howard Hughes (famous aviator, movie producer, and billionaire), R.L. Blaffer, George R. Brown (businessman and philanthropist for whom the George R. Brown Convention Center was named), Joseph S. Cullinan (oil tycoon and benefactor of the Houston Negro Hospital), Anson Jones (the last president of the Republic of Texas before it joined the United States), and plenty more. The next time you're in the area, take a moment to take in the natural beauty that this serene environment exudes and pay your respects to the former leaders of Houston.
|Glenwood Cemetery, home to some of Houston's most influential figures|
|"Best Place to be Dead"|
Despite the lesser number of historical landmarks that other cities might have, you can still find sources on Houston history if you know where to look. A great place to start is the Historic Houston Photographs collection in the University of Houston Digital Library. It contains photographs dating back to the late 1800s and early 1900s. The Houstonian Yearbook collection is also a fantastic place to look as well. Not only are these yearbooks filled with history about the University, they also have articles about Houston's past as well.