Montrose is a name frequently noted in the local media, in real estate ads or in conversation. Originally, Montrose applied to a four-square-mile area developed in 1911 as the city’s first large-scale deed-restricted suburban subdivision. In reality, greater Montrose is comprised of multiple smaller developments, including several designated as City of Houston Historic Districts. The most recent neighborhood to be listed is First Montrose Commons.
The boundaries of First Montrose Commons Historic District are roughly Sul Ross on the north, Spur 527 on the east, Colquitt on the south and Roseland on the west. The area contains two distinct subdivision plats: The Lockhart, Connor & Barziza Addition and the Bute Addition. The name, First Montrose Commons, was chosen by the neighborhood civic association in 1994 because its historic houses were among the first built in the greater Montrose area.
The Lockhart, Connor & Barziza Addition was established in 1873 when a portion of the Obedience Smith Survey was subdivided into 25 blocks of 256 lots by real estate broker Robert Lockhart. In addition to being a land developer, Lockhart also had a business where he would sell lottery tickets with the prize being real estate. Phillipa Barziza’s involvement in this development likely came from being a member of a land-owning family in both Virginia and Texas, where her brother formed the Houston Land and Trust Co.
The Bute Addition, which comprises the eastern portion of the historic district, traces its beginning to banker James House, who was deeded ownership of acreage on the edge of Houston in 1848. House filed a plat for his addition, but economic downturns kept him from developing his land. That act fell to House’s son-in-law, James Bute, the owner of Bute Paint Co. in downtown Houston. Bute envisioned his addition becoming “the most fashionable district of Houston.” He sold land in quarter-blocks for $750 to $1,800 per lot. Advertisements touted it as having all the modern conveniences, including sidewalks, sewerage, gas, water and electric lighting. By 1912 an added enticement was the South End streetcar line with cars passing through the subdivision every seven minutes.
Street names are often an interesting reflection of a neighborhood’s history. Brandt and Garrott were named for officials of the Bute Paint Co. Branard was named for George Branard, director of the Houston Water Department, who was killed in 1920 trying to rescue a worker trapped by a cave-in at a sewer construction site. Colquitt and Sul Ross bear the names of former governors of Texas, Lawrence Sullivan Ross (1887-1891) and Oscar B. Colquitt (1910-1915).
Structures in First Montrose Commons reflect a variety of architectural styles that were popular during its years of development. The Craftsman Bungalow is the most prevalent style in the neighborhood. The earliest house is thought to have been built about 1900. Over half of the inventoried structures were built in the 1910s and 1920s or earlier, with another group built in the 1930s. When these additions were platted, the neighborhood was intended to be entirely residential. Over the years, however, the encroachment of commercial and institutional properties has diminished the residential character. The opening of Spur 527 in 1962 caused the destruction of more than half of the Bute Addition’s housing. Only three of its quarter-block mansions remain.
A revitalization of the neighborhood began in the 1970s and accelerated in the 1990s. When the First Montrose Commons Civic Association formed in 1994, it developed a mission — “to protect and enrich First Montrose Commons by encouraging neighborhood pride, communication, advocacy and vigilance.” The organization has remained true to that mission by having the neighborhood designated as a City of Houston Historic District. This step ensures that First Montrose Commons will remain an excellent place for future generations of Houstonians to reside.
|Area||Inner Loop,Mid-Town, Montrose|
All information is subject to change and should be independently verified.