Preserving History

Houston's LULAC Clubhouse Needs Your Help

A national treasure in the heart of Midtown is in danger of demolition.

By Carolina Larracilla Edited by Amarie Gipson August 12, 2021

Marker from the Texas Historic Commision outside the LULAC Clubhouse 60 in Midtown. Courtesy of the National Trust for Historic Preservation. 

Image: Dee Bunker

There is nothing Houstonians are more proud of than our thriving multi-cultural diversity including food, art and music. Our Hispanic and Latinx communities in particular make up 45% of Houston’s population, a presence that has deeply influenced the city’s cultural and political activity.

From 1955 - 1996, Houston served as the de facto national headquarters for the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC)the largest and oldest Hispanic and Latinx civil rights organization in the U.S. 

The original seven board of trustees and Felix Tijerina at the signing of the deed to the LULAC Clubhouse in 1955. Courtesy of the Family of Ernest Eguia. 

Founded in Corpus Christi in 1929, the organization served as the Hispanic and Latinx equivalent of the well-known National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). Throughout the 1950s and '60s, Houston's LULAC Council 60 chapter made many strides in the fight for social equalityfrom combating unemployment through SER-Jobs for Progress to early childhood development initiatives like Project Headstart

Nearly two decades after the formation of its Houston chapter, seven members of LULAC Council 60 purchased a modest, 2-story stucco building in Houston’s Midtown. And now, the 114-year-old Bagby Street headquarters is in desperate need of repair. The building is one of two places in Houston designated as a national landmark by the National Trust for Historic PreservationIn his biography of Felix Tijerina, historian Thomas Kreneck summed up the significance of the LULAC Council 60, calling it "a center of Mexican American civic activity in Houston."

In response to Hurricane Harvey, American Express granted LULAC $140,000 to begin the restoration, but the project still has a ways to go. So, just like they did in 1955, LULAC Council 60 has turned to the community to raise the funds necessary for preserving this significant cultural site. 

In honor of the original $2.35 donation that jump-started a public effort to create the Clubhouse in 1955, Council 60 is recognizing every donation, no matter how small. 

Every donor will have their name on a wall in the completed building, called the “Clubhouse Familia”, forever acknowledging their part in ensuring the Clubhouse is preserved. 

For more information on how to help, visit here

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