East Downtown District Wants a New Name

Name the District Contest Graphic, East Downtown District

The East Downtown Management District has hired a Houston design firm to come up with a new name for the triangular area between I-45, Highway 59, and the railroad tracks that separate it from the Greater East End to the east. Apparently, “East Downtown” isn’t good enough. So the design firm, Good Project, has set up a contest. You get to name it!

The winning name will be chosen by the district’s board of directors and announced in a press release on the Name the District website sometime after the competition closes on May 15th. The district board expects the winning entry to become the official name of the district and be used on signage throughout the neighborhood.

Good Project was involved in naming both Sonoma and the Highland Tower, but this is the company’s first stab at naming an entire neighborhood.

So what do you get if you win the contest? Glory? Yes. Fame? No. A representative of Good Project tells Swamplot that there are no plans to give credit to any person who submits a winning entry:

. . . we are already getting multiples of many of the same names and if consensus ends up being the voice that names the neighborhood then it would be impossible to call out just one individual. Most people are content with being included in the process, this is an opportunity that is rarely afforded to the citizens of any city.

That’s right! Naming is a job usually reserved for specialists.

So how can you help? If you’ve got a great name for the East Downtown district, send an email with your suggestion to entry@namethedistrict.com. If you’ve got a great name but want some recognition for your efforts, add a comment below this message on Swamplot after you send your email to the contest — so everyone can see what name you suggested and when.

If your entry is chosen by the District Formerly Known as East Downtown and we’ve got evidence in our comments that you posted it below before anyone else, we’ll make sure you receive credit on Swamplot for your contribution!

6 Comment

  • As has happened before (see HoustonStrategies.blogspot.com’s good discussion today, where someone points out that tourism initiatives where we wish we were ‘world-class’ miss the point that Texanness is something unique the world over, and globally recognized with interest, so that people are drawn to visit for that reason and don’t *want* to come for an imitation of the East or West Coast cities), we’re looking around for something silly to trump up when in fact Houston already has something true, which coincidentally is something of international significance:

    Really the only way to go here is to focus on Dowling Street, which was a node in the Texas country blues network stretching from Deep Ellum down here through the cotton towns of East Texas. It was fertile in plenty of ways; a young George Harrison, long before following the Maharishi, was bent on a factory job in Houston so that he could sit at the feet of his Texan blues guru Sam “Lightnin'” Hopkins of Dowling Street.

    Searching allmusic.com for song names turns up a half dozen about the street. There’s even a recorded blues song called Holman and Dowling, an intersection farther down in the Third Ward a few blocks from where its fabric was gutted by 59 hitting 288, a couple of the freeways whose erection plunged the nationally prominent neighborhood into the decay from which PR firms are now being hired to elevate it.

    Now whether or not anybody favors this, do yourself a favor and enjoy getting to know our place better with some local history reading:





    Dowling Street District is a little stiff, as are the other Dowling Street [blah]’s. Dowling Downs doesn’t make topographic sense, since Downs means dunes or rises.
    If it’s not going to be Downtown, though, it could be Dowlingtown, which is just labyrinthine enough to make you smile once you decide it’s not a stupid name; or, if we must go for brandable flash, Lightnin'[/g/’s] Town or [the] Lightning District. The legacy in the links above hardly belongs to him, but for the sake of the rest of the Houstonians and Texans whose lives were bound up in so much, it would be a great thing to make this naming an opportunity to begin to spread what it all meant.


  • Here goes:
    Inner East End.
    TED: Triangle East of Downtown.
    The Middle East!

  • this could come true if something starts…

    Dynamo Village

  • Most people are content with being included in the process, this is an opportunity that is rarely afforded to the citizens of any city.

    How generous of them; how kind! I am so eternally grateful for this opportunity, O Great City. Allow me to prostrate myself in an unbridled display of appreciation, a la Wayne and Garth: “I’m not worthy!”

    Pfft. That wasn’t incredibly patronizing of them or anything…

  • I’ve always called it “Old Chinatown.”

  • I’ve tried, a few times, to call it “EaDo,” and only ended up feeling like a complete tool.

    I’m a little partial to Old Chinatown, if only because I live so close to the Taoist Temple that “got left behind.”