Preserving Architectural Properties in Houston
Avenue’s first historic preservation project took place in 1993 when we partnered with the Greater Houston Preservation Alliance (now Preservation Houston) to restore the Cannata Houses, two Victorian-era shotgun houses which were in danger of demolition.
Since then, Avenue has continued to preserve properties which were either converted into rental homes or sold to Houston homebuyers. Some of our preservation highlights include:
Jefferson Davis Hospital
The Jefferson Davis Hospital, the first city-owned hospital that accepted indigent patients, was dedicated on December 2, 1924. Upon its completion, the hospital was praised as one of the most modern hospitals in the United States. It incorporated concepts from New York’s Bellevue Hospital, Boston’s City Hospital, Massachusetts General, and Philadelphia’s General and University Hospitals.
But the history of the location, registered as a State Archeological Landmark, precedes this 1924 construction. The hospital was built on the site of a graveyard donated to the city by Houston’s founders, Augustus and John Allen. The graveyard was the final resting place of early Houstonians from all walks of life including city aldermen, former slaves, victims of yellow fever and cholera epidemics of the 1800's, and Civil War veterans (both Confederate veterans and Union soldiers from the occupation of Houston).
The building’s use as a hospital ended in 1938 as it became inadequate to serve Houston’s growing population. The building passed into a variety of uses over the years but stood vacant and derelict from the 1980's to 2000's. From 2004 to 2005, Avenue partnered with Artspace Projects Inc. to undertake an ambitious $6.3 million project to rehabilitate the building and convert it into affordable live/work space for local artists.
The neo-classical building has been lovingly restored and renamed Elder Street Artist Lofts. The building has 34 loft-style apartments, now rented at affordable rates to low- and moderate-income residents.
The Jefferson Davis Hospital was entered in the National Register of Historic Places in 2005.
2007 Historic Rehabilitation Award from Preservation Texas for the Elder Street Artist Lofts (Old Jefferson Davis Hospital)
2006 Good Brick Award from the Preservation Houston for renovation of the Old Jefferson Davis Hospital
In 1998, Avenue saved the 1890’s Deihl House from being demolished and turned into a parking lot. After having it's roof replaced, the two-story home was relocated to the Old Sixth Ward Historic District four blocks away from it's original location. The short distance for the move and the help Avenue received as a non-profit organization made the move financially feasible, saving the historic house from demolition before the city adopted its historic district ordinance. After the Deihl House was moved, it was then sold to a family who completed the restoration and still live there today.
Fire Station No. 6
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. Avenue acquired the station from the City of Houston in 2008 to rehabilitate and convert it into three apartments affordable to low-income families.
Located at 901 Henderson Street, the 2,800 square foot, two-story 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 helped rehabilitate and convert to affordable apartments in 2005). Fire Station No. 6 is classified as ‘contributing’ to the Old Sixth Ward’s status on the National Register of Historic Places and as a City of Houston Historic District. The original design of the station incorporated the Craftsman bungalow style of architecture, and Avenue’s renovation preserved the building’s historic façade. McCrae’s history of Houston noted that it “was hailed as the most modern fire station in the South” when it was built. Today - is it one of our scattered site rentals?
In 2002, Avenue acquired nine historic homes in Houston’s 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, see our Homes for Rent page.