Mayor Sylvester Turner and other Houston officials celebrated the 180th anniversary of Houston’s founding on Tuesday with speeches and cake at City Hall.
Turner recalled the decision by August and John Allen, two brothers from New York, to purchase land at the confluence of Buffalo and White Oak bayous.
“I certainly want to thank the Allen brothers for their vision, but I want to thank all Houstonians for just continuing to make this city what it is,” he said.
“Whether we have our hat on, our cowboy boots, or whether or not we are flying in space from the Johnson Space Center, we are all Houstonians, a very welcoming, loving city,” he added.
The Allen brothers paid $5,000 for a league and a half of land – and then persevered in luring people to settle here, despite the floods and mosquitoes.
“We had humble beginnings along swampy Buffalo Bayou,” said Houston Council Member Robert Gallegos. “But thanks to Houstonians’ hard work and ingenuity, we quickly grew into an exporting rail and port hub.”
Gallegos’s council district includes downtown and the historic spot where it all began, now called Allen’s Landing.
The party included a large sheet cake bearing the city seal. The seal features a steam locomotive and a plough –symbols of the agricultural and shipping sectors that dominated Houston’s economy long before oil was discovered in Texas.
Gallegos noted that Houston’s economy has continued to diversity and expand.
“Today we are reaching higher, we are home to NASA, the Texas Medical Center, universities known for world-class research, a renowned theater district, museums, professional sports teams, parades, festivals and perhaps more importantly, the best Tex-Mex food you can find,” Gallegos said.
The Heritage Society held another celebration on Sunday, featuring historic costumes and music. But Aug. 30 is the actual anniversary of the city’s founding.