Looking for Houston Zero

LOOKING FOR HOUSTON ZERO “In Chicago, there is a ‘zero-point’ at State and Madison, where all addresses move from zero away from that intersection.  It seems that Houston has some semblance of this system, as addresses go lower the closer to Buffalo Bayou (on N/S streets at least) and as they cross the bayou, even-numbers go from the west side to the east side.  My question is, where is Houston’s null address point? Allen’s Landing?  Is it a single point that then radiates due East/West and North/South, or does it follow the bayou? Maybe someone could write a Google map script that plots all the addresses in Houston under the number 100. . . . ” [Swamplot inbox]

9 Comment

  • It’s probably buried somewhere under the Astrodome (with Jimmy Hoffa’s body).

  • It’s not as straightforward as Chicago (few places are). Partly because of the street grid is north-south, and part is NE-SW, and partly because of haphazard annexation over the years.

    In many parts of the city, the N/S “zero” is approximately Buffalo Bayou, but in order to keep numbering consistent block by block, not all streets count all the way down to zero. Heights addresses, however, count North from Center St., and keep with the street numbers. On Shepherd, the two systems overlap: numbers go up from the bayou south on “S. Shepherd”, and up from the bayou north on “Shepherd” until about 6th St, at which point the numbers follow the street numbers on “N Shepherd”. So you may have three locations with the number 2101 on Shepherd.

    East-West is also tricky. Downtown address count from roughly where Texas St. would cross Houston Ave if these two streets actually did cross. Other parts of the city center around Houston Ave. Midtown address center around roughly the 527 spur, and Heights address around Heights Blvd.

  • Since there is no street at block 0, think of Commerce Street as the starting point at the 100 block. The 100 block perpendicular to Commerce is Albany Street (in Midtown), but they never intersected. If they did, it would be around the old Jeff Davis Hospital at Elder and Girard. Also, where Albany would cross Gray St (but doesn’t) is where West Gray begins.

  • Fascinating discussion. Here’s a follow up question…who made the decision on what number starts where? I don’t mean which agency or commission or nebulous authority. I mean who is the person, by name, who signed the order declaring that Block X will be number X?

    This reminds me of a question that I’ve always had and for which I’ve never gotten clear answer. Who is the person who decides what the speed limit will be on a given street? Sometimes, I disagree with the posted speed limit (though I obey it, of course ;)) and I wonder to myself who was the beaurocrat/politician/public works sign hanger who decided that Street X will have a speed limit of X mph?

  • Westheimer and Montrose. That’s where all the zeros are each time I drive by.

  • It all starts where Elgin changes names to become Westheimer.

  • We don’t even have evens on one side of the street and odds on the other consistently. For example, in Audubon Place, the evens are on the north, in Westmoreland, they are on the south.

    Hoping for a zero point is such chaos is futile.

  • This is one time when having the old paper maps is best. Those red address numbers make the pattern, or lack thereof, quickly evident. Buffalo Bayou does seem to be the north-south zero point even all the way out to Highway 6. The east-west zero point for almost all of west Houston appears to be Baldwin Street in midtown where the true north-south grid begins.