Houston’s Farmer’s Market on the Bayou
Before the Wortham Theater Center, there was a Farmer’s Market right on the Buffalo Bayou. Well, actually…before Wortham Theater Center, we had a parking lot. But before becoming a parking lot, that location was home to Houston’s second Farmer’s Market.
Originally located in Market Square, the Houston Farmer’s Market was moved to its Preston Ave location in spring of 1929. Bordered by Buffalo Bayou, Preston, Smith, and Prairie streets, the Farmer’s Market was the shopping hub for fresh produce, meats, and seafood.
We’re so used to every neighborhood having its own HEB or Whole Foods these days, but prior to WWII, grocery stores were not really a “thing.” Farmer’s Markets were the main source of groceries for every Houstonian who didn’t grow/slaughter it themselves.
The Preston Avenue Farmer’s Market was demolished late-1958 in lieu of a flood control project. This $350,000 (3.5 million today) project included channeling and straightening this section of the bayou in preparation for the extension of Memorial Ave into Texas and Prairie Streets.
Afterwards, the location remained a parking lot until the Wortham Theater Center’s construction in the 1980s and subsequent opening in 1987.