Do you feel like all of Houston’s cool places are disappearing? Doesn’t it feel like big-shot property owners don’t give a lick about Houston’s architectural treasures? Have you ever had that uniquely Houston experience of driving past new construction and wondering what used to be there? Do you even know the story of your own city or neighborhood?
Why does everyone have amnesia in this town?
Throughout Houston’s history, the future has been valued more than the past. How else do you explain Houston’s tear-it-down attitude, the lack of zoning, and toothless historic preservation ordinances? Outdated conventional wisdom argued that zoning regulation, preservation guidelines, and master plans would scare away investment from potential, new business – too many rules, too much headache. Well, plans are good. Historic preservation is good. And, knowing the story of your city is good. Let’s remember what came before, and support what we still have. Let’s cure city-wide amnesia!Lately, our community has been reminded just how vulnerable our older architectural treasures are. I ask myself all the time, “Why don’t owners appreciate the value that historic properties add to the quality of life in Houston?” If you’re anything like me, then you enjoy all that Houston has to offer – whether old, not so old, or new. Now, I’m not asking you to lie down in front of a bulldozer. Rather, I’m writing to ask you to help me identify, preserve, and support the landmarks that embody the architectural, social, and cultural history of Houston.
Let’s demonstrate how much we value our unique, local landmarks – especially the small, unusual, cool, and off-beat ones. Help me get the word out that there are places, institutions, businesses, streets, and neighborhoods that are worth knowing about, preserving, and supporting. Let’s end the neglect.
In the coming weeks and months, Houstorian will:
· Provide opportunities for all of our voices to join in a single, loud voice.
· Create an online forum for sharing stories and images from Houston’s past.
· Seek ways to strengthen The City of Houston’s Historic Preservation Ordinance.
· Encourage a greater commitment to telling the story of Houston, preserving its architectural and cultural history, and supporting the landmarks that make Houston fun and unique.
Let me know if you’d like to share, preserve, and support Houston’s landmarks; and, finally, cure amnesia.
Join Houstorian today.
James Glassman, Houstonian