Located in downtown Houston, across from City Hall, is the Julia Ideson Building of the Houston Public Library, a beautiful Spanish-Renaissance style building that holds one of the largest collections of Texas history in the state.
One focal point of the historic building is the Houston Metropolitan Research Center which is the premiere repository of Houston history. Housed in the building are extensive photographic collections depicting the history of Houston, the African American Collection, one of the finest Latin American Collections in the nation, valuable rare books, as well as large murals and original oil paintings.
Surrounded by large oak trees and landscaped courtyards, the Julia Ideson Building itself is one of the most significant architectural landmarks in Houston.
Video scenes are from the documentary, "In Search of Houston History," produced by the Friends of the Texas Room and aired on HoustonPBS.
Researchers use historic maps to better understand and document the settlement and development of early Texas.
Texas impresario Stephen F. Austin compiled a map of his colony in 1830. That map shows the first Anglo settlements in Texas, which was a part of Mexico at the time. His first colony had 300 settlers.
News paper publisher Gail Borden designed the original plat of the new town of Houston, and the same street grid now forms downtown Houston. Yes, it is the same Borden of Borden's Milk fame.
The town of Harrisburg, along Buffalo Bayou, was established in 1826 by John Richardson Harris, one of Stephen F. Austin's original 300 Anglo American colonists, and the man for whom Harris County (Texas) is named. Mexican troops under the leadership of Gen. Santa Anna burned the town in 1836 during the Texas Revolution. The town of Harrisburg is now a part of Houston and is the located in Houston's historic East End.
The first railroad in Texas began operating from Harrisburg in 1852. An 1880 map shows how the railroads fanned out in all directions from Houston.
This extensive map collection of early Texas provides a comprehensive view of the geographic evolution and the ethnic development of Houston and the state of Texas
These priceless collections are part of the Houston Metropolitan Research Center in the Texas Room at the Houston Public Library. Video scenes are from the documentary, "In Search of Houston History," produced by the Friends of the Texas Room and aired on HoustonPBS.