It’s hard to entertain people who visit Houston because it has no unique tourist attractions. I thought that Houston’s history might be interesting to visitors so I decided to study it in books and on the web. I’d like to share some facts about Houston that may interest you.
The Korean-American population in Houston is tiny compared to Los Angeles, New York, Atlanta, and Chicago, and is only 1/3 the size of that in Dallas. Because of this, many Koreans think of Houston as a small, rural city. But according to the 2010 national census, Houston is the 4th largest city in the U.S.
Many people don’t know that Texas was once an independent republic. It had been a province of Mexico, but in October 1835, the people revolted with General Sam Houston as their leader. The rebels defeated the Mexican army, led by President/General Santa Anna, at San Jacinto, which is a few miles northeast of Houston. They established the Republic of Texas in 1836. It lasted for 10 years before Texas joined the United States as a state in 1846. The republic was governed by four Presidents, with Sam Houston serving as the first and 3rd President.
To attract people from the East, the republic gave 4,428 acres of land to any household for free. (In comparison, our church’s lot is 10 acres.) 177 additional acres were added for each person in a family who was able to plow the land.
Two land dealers in New York, Augustus Chapman Allen and John Kirby Allen, purchased and developed 6,642 acres of land near the banks of the Buffalo Bayou. When it grew to become a city, they named it after the General and President of the Republic of Texas, Sam Houston. The street names in downtown Houston – Chapman, Allen, and Kirby – are named for the founders of the city. Houston was designated the first capitol city of Texas when it declared itself a republic. (Austin, the current capitol of Texas, was named after the first Secretary of State of the republic, Stephen F. Austin.)
In 1901, oil was struck at Beaumont near Houston. That marked the start of Houston being the center of the petroleum industry. With the invention of air-conditioners in the 1950s, hot and humid Houston became a nice place to live and many oil companies moved their headquarters here, making it what it is today – the mecca of the petroleum industry.
Houston also boasts the largest medical centers in the world. This started when George H. Hermann donated a piece of land to build a charitable hospital in 1893. That became Memorial Hermann Hospital, which many our church members go to when they are sick. Many hospitals, medical facilities, and laboratories were added through the years to form the largest medical center in the world.
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