"Some people think, ‘Oh—there's no history in Houston,'" laments David Bush, acting executive director of Preservation Houston. "But that's not true.”
Bush and his team at PH, the nonprofit historic advocacy organization and National Trust for Historic Preservation partner, continue to debunk that myth by promoting and preserving Houston's historic legacy, one brick at a time.
In 1979, PH introduced the Good Brick Awards to honor residents and businesses for their contributions to the preservation, restoration and enhancement of Houston's architectural and cultural heritage. Since the inaugural awards, which included the Old Cotton Exchange building in downtown, PH has awarded more than 200 Good Bricks. But four years ago, after hearing requests from Houstonians to tour these beautiful preserved structures, the organization created the Good Brick Tour to showcase current and past award winners.
This weekend, tour five historic properties around town, from an early 20th century fire station in the East End to a 1920s Spanish-revival apartment building in Midtown. Here, Bush shares the scoop behind these historic haunts before they open their doors to the public.
Dentler Building at 1809 Summer Street
High First Ward Historic District
“This property was a wreck before it was renovated," says Bush about the First Ward's Dentler Building, which was originally built in 1923 by food manufacture—and producer of then-popular Dentler Maid Potato Chips—George Dentler. "The owners turned it from a derelict apartment into a functional, modern home in 2016.”
2219 Kane Street
Old Sixth Ward Historic District
“This 1900 traditional Victorian cottage wasn’t in great shape. The current owner moved it from another lot in the Sixth Ward and restored the structure," says Bush about the now charming corner lot cottage. "Today, it's a combination of an architect's office and guest house that has a modern interior with historic charms and innovative design ideas, like creative built-ins that make the most of the small space.”
309 Sampson Street
"This Queen Anne-style home from the 1890s was a wreck with holes in the roof, but surprisingly enough, the structure and woodwork details were in pretty good shape," says Bush about the renovated residence. "It was one of six historic Victorian homes that were saved from demolition and moved to the East End."
Fire Station No. 2 at 317 Sampson Street
“The fire station was built in 1910 and received a Good Brick Award this year," says Bush. "It's now a residence with a custom, contemporary interior, but still maintains its firehouse charms with original brass fire poles and arched doorways."
Isabella Court at 1005 Isabella Street
"It's really surprising to walk inside the preserved courtyard of Isabella Court—it’s not what you’d expect to see in Houston," shares Bush about the 1929 Spanish Colonial Revival-style building off of Main Street. "Currently a combination of commercial and residential spaces, three apartments and the beautiful, open-air courtyard will be on the tour."