Houston Architectural Survey

Completed in 1980 by the Southwest Center for Urban Research in conjunction with the School of Architecture at Rice University, this highly descriptive and detailed survey contains more than 200 properties of architectural and historic significance. While concentrating predominantly on early twentieth century residential structures in historically influential areas like River Oaks, Courtlandt Place, Houston Heights, Shadyside, and Broadacres, this database also includes downtown churches, schools, civic and municipal buildings, and a small number of architecturally significant commercial and industrial properties, some dating to the mid-1800s.

Data from this survey can be located in a search of Harris Co. neighborhood surveys and is identifiable by the prefix "NRS-HAS" in the site serial number.

What will I find?

Each document includes serial number, property name and address, county, city, construction date, architect/builder, classification, owner's name, description, area of significance, significance, relationship to surroundings, and bibliography.

  • Classification may include brief information on accessibility, present use, condition, and alterations.
  • Extensively detailed description includes information on style, setting, plan, stories, bays, construction, entrances, windows, interior, and construction history.
  • Discussion of significance focuses mainly on the architectural contribution of the property, but frequently offers other pertinent details, including biographical or historical information.
  • Bibliography, in addition to listing sources of information, often includes extensive biographical and historical details relating to the building, its architect, original owners, or the surrounding community.

How can I use it?

Teachers and students of architecture will find unusually detailed descriptions of individual structures, many of which represent excellent examples of common styles in the area, such as Romanesque Revival, Victorian, Spanish Colonial Revival, and Eclectic. Residential and church architecture are especially well represented here. Architectural and biographical information about important local architects, including Sanguinet & Staats, William W. Watkin, and Joseph Staub, to name a few, is also included.

Though focusing primarily on architectural features, this survey offers a wealth of additional social and historical information. Church history and religion are well-represented in discussions of early churches in the area, including Catholic, Baptist, Episcopal, Jewish, Presbyterian, and Methodist churches. Antioch Missionary Baptist Church, for example, is the oldest black Baptist church in the community, while First Methodist was the earliest Protestant church in a traditionally Catholic area. Educational history is also of prominent interest here, especially for those with an interest in Rice University (formerly Rice Institute), the University of Houston's downtown campus, private Catholic education, or local public education.

Those with an interest in community planning may be interested in the detailed descriptions of historic planned communities, like Broadacres, Courtlandt Place, and the Old Sixth Ward. In addition, genealogists may find information about prominent local citizens, including such figures as Dr. B. J. Covington, a noted physician and an early leader of Houston's black community, and Ima Hogg, daughter of a Texas governor and dedicated promoter of the cultural arts.

What else should I know?

This survey provides exceptionally detailed research and, especially when combined with data from other neighborhood surveys that frequently exists on the same sites, provides excellent information on both the architecture and the history of the buildings surveyed and the local community. Although survey documents are inconsistent in their placement of historical and biographical information in either the significance section or the bibliographic section, the user will have no difficulty identifying valuable information.