Now Hiring Tour Guides for That Abandoned 1927 Cistern Buried Along Buffalo Bayou

The Cistern, Buffalo Bayou Park near Sabine St. at Memorial Dr., Houston, 77007

Update, 3/24: BBP has updated the link to and language of the job posting; this story has been updated.

Wanted: Buffalo Bayou Partnership is seeking some college types folks to show people around the long-empty city drinking water reservoir near the intersection of Sabine St. and Memorial Dr., which the group also hopes to turn into a temporary art space some day. The “accidental cathedral” was only accessible by a set of hatches and 14-foot ladders back when BBP first examined it; a $1.2-million grant is being used to bring the 87,200-sq.-ft. underground space up to code for visitors.

The cistern, nicknamed after the 6th-century reservoir beneath Istanbul, lies just north of the Lee and Joe Jamail Skate Park beneath what will become a raised outdoor lawn intended for concerts and events at Buffalo Bayou Park. The 1927 reservoir was drained and decommissioned decades ago after it started leaking uncontrollably; the structure was planned for demolition and fill-in by the city around the time the park’s planners took an interest in the space, initially imagining uses like parking and mulch storage.


After seeing it, however, folks at the BBP thought the cavernous space’s unexpected visual appeal could be put to other uses — though they weren’t sure what uses, exactly, and there was no budget at the time. In 2013, SmartGeometrics created an eerie 3D flythrough of the space to help BBP and friends visualize the dark cavern and spur some ideas (or maybe even funding) for using the spot.

Photo: Buffalo Bayou Partnership


Work in the Underground

9 Comment

  • College Type AKA We aren’t going to pay you $#!+.

  • nice place, how has Pauline Oliveros not made a performance here yet?

  • BBP did not purchase this property. It was transferred from PWE Dept to the Houston Parks and Recreation Dept so it could be included in Buffalo Bayou Park developed by BBP.

  • Neither this article nor the official job posting says anything about “college types.” Your caption in your Facebook post is ageist, and not related to the actual job. Please edit to remove the ageist component.

  • So no contact information about the job. Thanks for nothing.

  • Thanks, Joe! The article has been corrected.

  • @Chris Alexander, did you read the posting at the link?
    “Buffalo Bayou Park is seeking college students to serve as a Cistern Attendant for part time work…”

  • The ground shakes, drums… drums in the deep. We cannot get out. A shadow lurks in the dark. We can not get out… they are coming.
    Just don’t hire any guides named Pippin.

  • I think it would be a great way for a kid to learn communication skills and how to conduct him/herself in front of an audience. Making some walking around money is a side benefit.