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Second Ward, Houston

Second Ward (also known as Segundo Barrio, Spanish for "second neighborhood",[1] or Segundo in short[2]) is a historical political district ward in the East End community in Houston, Texas. It was one of the four original wards of the city in the nineteenth century. The community known as the Second Ward today is roughly bounded by Buffalo Bayou to the north, Lockwood Avenue to the east, and railroad tracks to the south and west, although the City of Houston's "Super Neighborhood" program includes a section east of Lockwood.[3]

The Second Ward today has mainly Mexican American residents.[4] Many Mexican-Americans moved into the area following World War II and the subsequent white flight from the area. One of Houston's first master-planned communities, Eastwood, where Howard Hughes lived as a child, is located in this ward [2]. The northern end of the community is largely industrial, leading to massive warehouse complexes along the Bayou. There are also many industrial buildings, some of which have found new life as lofts, on the western edge of the neighborhood nearest to Downtown and Minute Maid Park.

Many buildings in the community were constructed in the 1920s and bear the art deco style. While perceived as rundown and neglected in the 1970s and 1980s, recent years have seen major civic improvements including new street lights and pavement, as well as the beginnings of gentrification as professionals and others move from both the far-flung suburbs and other, more expensive Inner Loop neighborhoods.[citation needed] Residents of all ages frequent the Ripley House Community Center.[citation needed]

The Second Ward is in the early stages of revitalization, drawing new residents with its proximity to downtown.


St. Vincent's Cemetery

Second Ward, along with Denver Harbor, was one of the first Mexican-American barrios in Houston. It began taking in Mexican immigrants in the early 1910s during the Mexican Revolution. At that time, three-fifths of the population there were Jewish, one-fifth African American, and one-fifth made up of a diversity of ethnicities, including Mexicans.[5] When Mexican Americans began settling en masse in Houston, originally Mexicans settled the Second Ward. Jesus Jesse Esparza of Houston History magazine said that the Second Ward "quickly became the unofficial hub of their cultural and social life."[6] One of the first Mexican-American neighborhoods in the Second Ward was El Alacrán ("the scorpion"),[6] an area formerly occupied by German Americans that was once called "Schrimpf's Field." After the German Americans left, Mexican Americans moved into the houses, which were in poor condition.[7]

By the 1920s, Mexicans became the majority in the neighborhood. Anglos, Jews, and blacks moved out of the Second Ward. A settlement house, a converted school for Mexican children, and two churches: Our Lady of Guadalupe Catholic Church and the Mexican Methodist Episcopal Church, opened.[8] After World War II, Mexicans began expanding and extended into the Old Third Ward passed Commerce Street. Thereafter, expansion continued and eventually socially merged with Magnolia Park to the southeast.[9]

In 1992 former Mayor of Houston Bob Lanier proposed converting the Script error: No such module "convert". former Milby Bus Barn site into a 59-family low income development which would have been called La Villa de las Flores (Spanish for "the Village of the Flowers"); the Metropolitan Transit Authority of Harris County, Texas used the site as a bus barn from 1976 to 1983. In 1993 workers doing preliminary jobs discovered unused storage tanks, prompting testing for dangerous chemicals. Soil tests revealed petroleum and lead; the lead was 300 times the amount of safe concentration for a homeowner. Local residents received testing. The city began a cleanup in June 1993, replacing 58,300 cubic yards of topsoil and installing "groundwater recovery systems" to remove water contaminated with motor fuel and chlorinated solvents. Fugro Environmental Inc. reported to the City of Houston that the cleanup put the site in compliance with Environmental Protection Agency standards. In Summer 1999 the Texas Natural Resources Conservation Commission reported that the former Milby Bus Barn site was safe. By August 1999 the site remained vacant.[10]

In 2004 Felix Fraga, a former city council member, said that at one point in time, people kept moving out of the Second Ward.[11]

By 2006 many lofts and townhouses were constructed in the Second Ward; this was the first time in history that the Second Ward had townhouses. Fraga said "I think people moving in will say they're moving into the Second Ward."[11]

In 2007 several interns with the architecture firm SWA Group presented proposals on how to improve the Guadalupe Plaza area to the Greater East End Management District offices.[12]

Government and infrastructure

The Houston Fire Department Station 17 Second Ward, located in Fire District 8, serves the community.[13] Firehouse 17 opened in the former Station 2 at Sampson at York in 1926. The station moved to its current location at Delano at Navigation in 1983.[14]

The Houston Police Department's South Central Patrol Division [3] serves the neighborhood.

The Second Ward is in both Texas's 18th congressional district [4] Archived 2 October 2008 at the Wayback Machine, whose current Representative is Sheila Jackson Lee, and Texas's 29th congressional district [5][dead link], whose current Representative is Gene Green.


Primary and secondary schools

Area students attend schools in the Houston Independent School District.[15][16][17] Rusk K-8 School is located in the Second Ward.[15][16] Rusk is named after Thomas Jefferson Rusk.[18] Zoned schools include Rusk K-8 (zoned only for elementary school),[19] Jackson Middle School,[20] and Wheatley High School.[21]

The Our Lady of Guadalupe School, a Kindergarten through 8 Roman Catholic school that is a part of the Our Lady of Guadalupe Church, Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston, is in the Second Ward area.[22][23]

History of schools

Anson Jones Elementary School, named after Anson Jones,[18] was formerly located in the Second Ward.[15][17] It opened on Elysian Street in 1892.[24] The first building of Rusk Elementary School opened in 1902.[18] Our Lady of Guadalupe School first opened on September 8, 1912,[25] one month after the church's first mass.[26]

In 1959 a new Rusk Elementary building opened.[18] In 1967,[27] A. Jones moved to a new location on Canal Street.[24] In several decades leading up to 2006, the school lost population. Charles Ross, the school's final principal, who had served in that capacity for 14 years, said that the school lost about 200 students during his term. As of the 2005-2006 school year, it had a little over 200 students. The student population was mostly Hispanic and African American. Two thirds of the students lived in Clayton Homes, a Houston Housing Authority public housing complex.[27]

Former Anson Jones Elementary School

The A. Jones school closed in 2006.[24] HISD sold the building.[27] The areas formerly zoned to the school were rezoned to the Bruce and Rusk schools.[24][28][29][30] The cafeteria of the former school became a reception hall.[31] Offices of the Urban Harvest organization are now located in Suite 200 of the former school.[32]

E. O. Smith Education Center closed after the 2010-2011 school year; for grades 6 through 8, the Second Ward, previously assigned to E. O. Smith for those grades, was rezoned to Jackson.[20][33]

Colleges and universities

Residents are zoned to the Houston Community College system.

Public libraries

The Second Ward is served by the Houston Public Library Flores Neighborhood Library [6].

Culture, parks and recreation

Guadalupe Plaza Park

Our Lady of Guadalupe Catholic Church, a prominent Mexican-American church;[2] Talento Bilingüe de Houston, a bilingual theatre; and Guadalupe Plaza, a public park, are located in the Second Ward.[4]

Guadalupe Plaza is Script error: No such module "convert". east of Downtown Houston. As of 2008 the park was a haven for drunk and homeless individuals. A man named George Helber frequently filed complaints to ask the city of Houston to improve the park.[34] In 2009 the president of the Second Ward Super Neighborhood, Jessica Hulsey, complained about the park's condition. During that year, Isa Dadoush, a general services manager of the City of Houston announced that there were plans for a $171,000 upgrade of the park to be completed in the northern hemisphere summer of that year, and that the city is advertising for a construction contractor to do the job.[35] Reconstruction of the park began in 2014, with completion targeted for summer 2015.

The Navigation Esplanade, built in 2013, occupies the median of Navigation Blvd. between St. Charles and Delano Sts.

Our Lady of Guadalupe is the first Mexican ethnic Catholic church to be established in the City of Houston. Historically Mexican-Americans traveled to the church from many Houston neighborhoods on Sundays.[2]

Notable residents

See also

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  1. ^ Lomax, John Nova. "Houston 101: Sig Byrd, Houston's King of True-Life Noir." Houston Press. Friday November 20, 2009. Retrieved on September 4, 2012.
  2. ^ a b c Garza p. 15.
  3. ^ [1] Archived 1 December 2008 at the Wayback Machine.
  4. ^ a b Davis, Rod. "Houston's really good idea Bus tour celebrates communities that forged a city." San Antonio Express-News. Sunday August 3, 2003. Travel 1M. Retrieved on February 11, 2012.
  5. ^ Maria Cristina Garcia, Agents of Americanization: Rusk Settlement and the Houston Mexicano Community, 1907-1950 (Texas Historical Association, 2000), p. 125.
  6. ^ a b Esparza, p. 2.
  7. ^ Esparza, p. 3.
  8. ^ Rodriguez, Nestor, p. 31.
  9. ^ Guadalupe San Miguel, Jr., Brown, Not White: School Integration and the Chicano Movement in Houston (Texas A&M Press, 2001), p. 4-6.
  10. ^ Liskow, Samantha. "Paradise Lost." Houston Press. August 26, 1999. 1. Retrieved on April 25, 2009.
  11. ^ a b Kever, Jeannie. "Pride lives on in city's six historical wards." Houston Chronicle. September 7, 2004. Retrieved on October 20, 2011.
  12. ^ Britt, Douglass. "Urban design interns' projects target Second Ward." Houston Chronicle. Tuesday July 24, 2007. Retrieved on September 1, 2012.
  13. ^ "Fire Stations." City of Houston. Retrieved on May 8, 2010.
  14. ^ "Fire Station 17." City of Houston. Retrieved on May 8, 2010.
  15. ^ a b c "'Stros open Enron stadium in 'Classic' business decision." Houston Business Journal. Sunday December 17, 2000. 3. Retrieved on February 6, 2012.
  16. ^ a b "Rusk EL Boundary Map." Houston Independent School District. March 28, 2002. Retrieved on February 6, 2012.
  17. ^ a b "Anson Jones EL Boundary Map." Houston Independent School District. November 22, 2001. Retrieved on February 6, 2012.
  18. ^ a b c d "School Histories: the Stories Behind the Names." (Archive) Houston Independent School District. Retrieved on September 6, 2012.
  19. ^ "Rusk Elementary." (attendance boundary) Houston Independent School District. Retrieved on February 6, 2012.
  20. ^ a b "Jackson Middle School Attendance Boundary." Houston Independent School District. Retrieved on February 6, 2012.
  21. ^ "Wheatley High School Attendance Boundary." Houston Independent School District. Retrieved on February 6, 2012.
  22. ^ Kever, Jeannie. "Schools seeking help find a beacon of hope." Houston Chronicle. November 19, 2010. Retrieved on November 20, 2010.
  23. ^ "Our Lady of Guadalupe School." Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston. Retrieved on February 6, 2012. "Address: 2405 Navigation, TX, Houston 77003-1599"
  24. ^ a b c d "Anson Jones Elementary School." (image, archive) Anson Jones Elementary School. Retrieved on October 20, 2011. "2311 Canal Street"
  25. ^ "History of Our Church." (Archive) Our Lady of Guadalupe Catholic Church. Retrieved on September 4, 2012.
  26. ^ Struthers, Silvia. "La Iglesia Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe celebra 100 años." La Voz de Houston. August 17, 2012. Retrieved on September 4, 2012. "La iglesia tiene numerosas misas en español y cuenta con una escuela que fue inaugurada al mes siguiente de que la parroquia celebrara su primera misa."
  27. ^ a b c Garza, Cynthia Leonor. "Last day of classes marks closure of Anson Jones Elementary." Houston Chronicle. Friday May 26, 2006. Retrieved on October 20, 2011.
  28. ^ "A. Jones Elementary Attendance Zone." Houston Independent School District. Retrieved on October 20, 2011.
  29. ^ "Bruce Elementary Attendance Zone." Houston Independent School District. Retrieved on October 20, 2011.
  30. ^ "Rusk Elementary Attendance Zone." Houston Independent School District. Retrieved on October 20, 2011.
  31. ^ Britt, Douglas. "High-density city centers are area's future, developer says." Houston Chronicle. July 20, 2007. Retrieved on October 17, 2009.
  32. ^ "Directions to Our Office." Urban Harvest. Retrieved on October 20, 2011. "Urban Harvest is located at 2311 Canal Street , Suite 200, 77003." and "The building is marked Anson Jones Elementary School, though it is being converted into office space. The building is near the corner of Canal and Navigation."
  33. ^ "E.O. Smith Middle Attendance Zone." Houston Independent School District. Retrieved on January 21, 2009.
  34. ^ Turner, Allan. "Neighbor fights for cleanup at park drawing homeless." Houston Chronicle. Tuesday March 11, 2008.
  35. ^ Martin, Betty L. "NEARTOWN/HEIGHTS / Safe streets, community centers top concerns / Residents offer wish list for projects in District H areas." Houston Chronicle. Thursday February 5, 2009. ThisWeek Page 3. August 30, 2012.
  36. ^ Ruiz, Rosanna. "`She was the epitome of love' / Mama Ninfa remembered for restaurants, legacy of faith." Houston Chronicle. Thursday June 21, 2001. Retrieved on February 6, 2012.

External links