Nowadays in class, we spend half of our time over at the Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, a huge archive right on the edge of the UT campus. We’re starting to get deep into our research of our chosen neighborhood of Houston (see the Sanborn map from the previous post). The last time we were there, we compared the 1907 map with those of the same neighborhood from 1887 and 1924, and made notes of the changes that we found. And actually, it’s pretty interesting.
Unfortunately, I can’t access the Google Doc of the notes that were taken, so here’s what I remember. Over the course of thirty-seven years and three maps, we could track the growth of the major businesses in our area, specifically the Brazos Hotel. With each map, buildings were added and/or expanded, and floor plans would often change. Also, sometimes a business would just completely disappear, only to be found in a new location a few blocks away. We could also track the increased mechanization/industrialization of the businesses. In 1907, a lot of buildings were warehouses or horse stalls. In 1924, just 17 years later, all of these were converted into car garages or machinery storage.
At this point, we are really focusing on the two competing hotels on the same street: the Brazos Hotel and the Macatee hotel (which may or may not have anything to do with a prominent Machetee family who owned a bunch of stuff in Houston at the time).