The city block bordered by Congress, Milam, Preston, and Travis streets has a long and fiery history. The block was deemed “Market Square” in 1839 and in 1841 the very first City Hall was built.
The original 1841 City Hall + market house was replace by a new building in 1873. This version, number 2, only only stood for 3 years until it was consumed by fire in 1876.
In 1876, City Hall / Market House #3 was built and this version occupied the block until yet another fire destroyed it in 1901.
The fourth and final City Hall & Market House was constructed in 1904. This one stood for the longest amount of time, surviving until 1960, and is the one seen in the photo directly above. I’ll give you one hot, flamin‘ guess as to what caused #4 to meet its demise in 1960. 😉
Afterwards, the city of Houston gave up on Market Houses and the lot sat as a parking lot until it was turned into a park in 1976. The version of Market Square Park that Houstonians are familiar with today was constructed in three phases between 1987 and 2010 .