Fallen Jefferson Davis Nurses Quarters Face Death atop Old City Graveyard, Surrounded by Art and Emergency Response Vehicles

The partially ruined former Jefferson Davis Hospital nurses quarters at 1225 Elder St. — until very recently in the running for a spot on the National Register of Historic Places — was recommended for demolition at last week’s Harris County Commissioner’s Court meeting following a public hearing the day before. The building, tucked west of the elevated freeway tangle where I-45 splits from I-10 near Downtown, would have joined the nextdoor former Jefferson Davis Hospital itself on the historic registry — instead, it looks like the structure will finally meet meet the ‘dozers after its long slow decline, accelerated by damage from a fire in 2013 that lead to last year’s semi-collapse.

Next door, the 4-story hospital structure (built in 1924, and replaced by 1938 with another Jefferson Davis Hospital where the Federal Reserve building now stands on Allen Pkwy.) cycled through various modes of use and disuse until its early 2000’s restoration into the Elder Street Artist Lofts, which serve as low-rent apartments and studios for artsy types. That redevelopment, of course, involved carefully digging around the dozens of unmarked graves turned up on the surrounding land, which beginning in 1840 had served as the second city cemetery (and as the final resting place for a hodgepodge likely including  Confederate soldiers, former slaves, victims of the 1860s yellow fever epidemics, people who died in duels, Masons, and a variety of others). The hospital’s name is still carved above the lofts’ entrance:


Also still standing of the hospital’s original entourage: this boiler room, purportedly earmarked at one point for redevelopment into a community space for the loft folks:

A transmission tower has been installed next to the doomed quarters, perhaps giving a boost to the Houston Fire Department facilities to the southwest (at least parts of which were also built atop gravesites):

The surrounding neighborhood to the north and east, however, share more of the Hospital building’s newfound artistic sensibilities: 

A block north past a discontinuous stretch of Elder St., other former presidents keep watch over the freeways at American Statesman Park:

American Statesman Park, 1400 Elder St., Old First Ward, Houston, TX 77007

Down Elder St. toward the south is the building taken over by Ecclesia Church and Paper Co. Coffee: 

The restored building currently occupied by the Houston Permitting Center building is visible on the far left in the shot of Downtown below below, taken just south of the church:

Photos: Swamplot inbox

First Ward Fire Damage by HFD