Avenue CDC sponsors Historic Designation in Northside Houston!
Avenue CDC helped to sponsor a 2002 community plan (Northside Village Economic Revitalization Plan) which identified 6 potential historic districts within the Near Northside. Avenue CDC then applied for and received a grant from National Trust for Historic Preservation to get the work done for the nomination of two of these districts. In 2010, we obtained another grant from Local Initiatives Support Corporation/GO Neighborhoods to complete the work for the nomination of the district that was placed on the National Register in 2010.
Congratulations Northside on your new Historic designation!
Many of Avenue’s programs preserve historic buildings, and Avenue has received three Good Brick Awards from the Greater Houston Preservation Alliance for these efforts. Avenue CDC’s first historic preservation project took place in 1993 when we partnered with the Greater Houston Preservation Alliance to restore the Cannata Houses, two Victorian era shotgun houses which were in danger of demolition.
In 1998, Avenue CDC saved the 1890’s Deihl House from demolition by moving it within the Old Sixth Ward Historic District and replacing the roof. The Deihl House was then sold to a family who completed the restoration.
Jeff Davis Hospital
Avenue CDC partnered with Artspace Projects Inc. to preserve the original Jeff Davis Hospital and to covert it to 34 loft-style affordable apartments designed as live/work spaces for low-income artists.
The Jefferson Davis Hospital, the first city-owned hospital that accepted indigent patients, was dedicated on December 2, 1924. At completion of the construction, the Old Jeff Davis Hospital was praised as one of the most modern hospitals in the United States. It incorporated ideas from New York’s Bellevue Hospital, Boston’s City Hospital, Massachusetts General, and Philadelphia’s General and University Hospitals.
The neo-classical architecture is simple and straightforward and echoes the belief of its builders in never-ending progress. It is one of few such structures left in Houston and has gained recognition as a particularly good example of the style. Notwithstanding the imposing façade, the building’s interior features convey an empathy and warmth seldom found in institutional architecture.
The Old Jefferson Davis Hospital site is registered as a State Archeological Landmark. The Hospital was built on the site of a historic graveyard donated to the city by Houston’s founders, Augustus and John Allen. The graveyard has been the final resting place of many early Houstonians from all walks of life including city aldermen, former slaves, victims of the yellow fever and cholera epidemics of early Houston Civil War veterans (both Confederate veterans and Union soldiers from the occupation of Houston).
A historical monument has been placed at the entryway of the restored building to recognize individuals buried in the cemetery.
Fire Station No. 6
Avenue acquired the historic Fire Station No. 6 from the City of Houston in 2008 in order to rehabilitate the 2,800 square foot, two-story building and convert it into three apartments affordable to households earning no more than 80% of area median income. Fire Station No. 6, built in 1931, is the only historic, city-owned fire station building remaining today in Houston’s Old Sixth Ward, as well as one of the few remaining examples of civic architecture in Houston dating from the early 20th century. Located at 901 Henderson Street, the building was designed by the City of Houston Architect Department, then headed by W. A. Dowdy. Dowdy also designed the 1924 Jefferson Davis Hospital at 1101 Elder Street , which Avenue CDC rehabilitated and converted to affordable apartments in partnership with Artspace. Fire Station No. 6 is classified as “contributing” to the Old Sixth Ward National Register and City of Houston Historic District. The original design of Fire Station No. 6 incorporated the Craftsman bungalow style of architecture, and McCrae’s history of Houston noted that the when built Fire Station No. 6 “was hailed as the most modern fire station in the South. The station had hardwood floors, ceiling fans, showers, and running ice water. Particularly nice for the firefighters were the screened walls surrounding the sliding pole. The screen kept mosquitoes and flies from getting into the dormitory.” Avenue’s renovation preserved the building’s historic façade.
In 2002, Avenue CDC acquired nine historic homes in the First Ward neighborhood. The homes were renovated and are now rented at affordable rates. Our success in preserving these structures was recognized with a 2005 Good Brick Award from the Greater Houston Preservation Alliance. For rental information, call Donna Ramirez at 832-623-1278.
Under the innovative Move Home program, Avenue CDC accepts the donation of older homes which would otherwise be demolished. These homes are moved to vacant lots in our target area, rehabilitated, and sold to low- and moderate- income families. This program preserves these historic structures (albeit not in their original location) and provides architecturally compatible housing in our community. The Move Home program improves the community as a whole by cleaning up and redeveloping vacant lots–many of which had formerly been overgrown by weeds and used for illegal dumping. Move Home has also contributed to community pride, inspiring many neighboring property owners to clean up and repaint their houses.
Under our House Save program, Avenue CDC purchases vacant houses located in our target area and rehabilitates them for sale to low-income families/individuals. The House Save program preserves these older homes, many of which were in poor condition and posed a hazard to community residents. As these houses are redeveloped, the sense of community safety and pride increases.