Houston City Hall and Market House

Undated, but likely between 1904 – 1910
Photographer: E. W. Irish Photo Company

The city block bordered by Congress, Milam, Preston, and Travis streets has a long and tumultuous history. The block was deemed “Market Square” in 1839 and in 1841 the very first City Hall was built.

In 1873, a new City Hall and Market House was built, but it only stood for 3 years until it was consumed by fire in 1876.

The 1876 City Hall / Market House

In 1876, City Hall / Market House #3 was built and this rendition occupied the block until yet another fire destroyed it in 1901.

Last, but not least, the fourth and final version of the City Hall & Market House was constructed in 1904. This one lasted the longest, surviving until 1960, and is the one seen in the photo above. I’ll give you one hot, flamin‘ guess what caused #4 to meet its demise in 1960. 😉

Afterwards, the city of Houston gave up on Market Houses, and let the lot sit as a parking / party 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 .

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