Status Report: There’s Actually Too Much Information on Cotton

Today’s objective: try to make some sense of all the research I collected form the Briscoe Center this week and try to formulate some sort of guiding question for my project. I had a great time doing research; basically just sifting through old documents and pulling any information that’s relevant to my topic, i.e. Houston cotton in the late 19th – early 20th century.

So . . . cotton. Apparently it’s a pretty big deal in Houston. I gathered a bunch of great information that could relate to the rising and falling trends of the cotton industry, like the boll weevil infestation and World War I. Basically, Galveston and Houston competed for the top spot as the leading cotton exporter. Houston won out in the end, thanks to dredging deep shipping channels to transport the cotton along. Also, the city was deemed a huge railroad center for the South.

My neighborhood of Houston, which houses Keller’s Cotton Yard, is right between the Buffalo Bayou ship channel and a large portion of railroad, which were both of great importance to cotton transportation in Houston. As of now, I can see why that whole operation decreased from 1896 to 1907, but not why it’s completely gone (or possibly moved?) by 1924. So I guess my (still developing) question is pretty similar to my old question. I think I’ll start making moves to talking about the general status of cotton exportation through Houston, with the main focus on Buffalo Bayou and Keller’s Cotton Yard as a character study.


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