Now Celebrating 175 Years of Lies About Houston Real Estate

Why is everyone marking the 175th birthday of Houston today? Because that many years ago, the Allen brothers waited until what they hoped would be the end of a brutal and sticky summer before posting the first newspaper ads for what they were sure would become “the great interior commercial emporium of Texas.” A few highlights from their dry and breezy copy from August 30, 1836: “Tide water runs to this place and the lowest depth of water is about six feet. Vessels from New Orleans or New York can sail without obstacle to this place, and steamboats of the largest class can run down to Galveston Island in 8 or 10 hours, in all seasons of the year. . . . There is no place in Texas more healthy, having an abundance of excellent spring water, and enjoying the sea breeze in all its freshness. No place in Texas possesses so many advantages for building, having Pine, Ash, Cedar and Oak in inexhaustible quantities . . . In the vicinity are fine quarries of stone. . . . Steamboats now run in this river, and will in a short time commence running regularly to the Island.” A city can dream, can’t it? Happy birthday, Houston!

Image: The Portal to Texas History

10 Comment

  • Happy Birthday Houston 175! In 25 years from now when it is 200 years old, what will this place be like? I guess the dream will continue.

  • “Stone quarries”?

    Where? Did they mean recycled cement from downtown?

  • Hey, embellishments aside, were they wrong? I like it…”the great interior commercial emporium of Texas”.

  • Wasn’t Damon Mound an early quarry?

  • Wasn’t there someone a short time later who described our fair city as a fetid swamp infested with mosquitoes and Methodists?

  • I’m with JT – I can make a rock-solid (although not rock quarried here, necessarily) case for Houston being “the great interior commercial emporium of Texas.” Houston – still totally worth it!

  • They didn’t lie, really, they just left out the part about 200% humidity, mosquitoes the size of prehistoric birds, equally prehistoric roaches that fly and are easily, and often, mistaken for bats, and snakes galore. Including the two-legged ones who had already begun arriving along with the Allen Brothers who were without doubt the most famous, or infamous depending on how you choose to look at it, of the con artists attracted to Houston in the past 175 years…

  • Liar, liar pants on fire!!!

  • Aw man….these charlatans really did it. Maybe they were the ones to start selling them coon dick toothpicks. Let me know, and don’t be late.


  • @ flake,
    what’s Damon Mound and where is/was it?
    Were there mound building Indians this far south along the coast?