Blog Series: Republic of Texas CapitalsBlog Series
Seventh Capital, Houston
Houston became the seventh capital of Texas when President Houston ordered the seat of government to Houston on December 15, 1836. Houston was formed when the Allen brothers acquired a tract of land on Buffalo Bayou near the former town of Harrisburg. The brothers named the town Houston after Sam Houston in hopes of him choosing the town as the capital. As an incentive, a capital building was offered to be built. Congress moved to Houston in April 1837 even though the capital building was still unfinished. Early-day Houston had a reputation as a lawless town and then had a terrible yellow fever outbreak that killed over 10 percent of the population. All of this, along with Houston’s marshy location and the inadequate accommodations caused Houston to lose out in the battle to became the permanent capital of Texas.
The photo is a photograph of a reproduction of a map created in 1869 by Gail Borden, who was commissioned by the Allen brothers to produce a map of the city. The “Original Plan of Houston” shows a city hugging Buffalo Bayou with space reserved for a courthouse, churches, and schools. It can be found in special collections at the University of Houston Library.