In 1880, when former president Ulysses S. Grant visited Houston by rail to celebrate the opening of Union Station, our city’s population was but some 16,000 people—slightly smaller than that of Galveston. In the ensuing decade, however, the growth of the railroads, combined with our state’s cotton- and lumber-based economy, would help the Houston economy to thrive.
Two neighboring landmark buildings from our post-Reconstruction boom still survive today, on the 900 block of Prairie Street: the two-story Scholibo Building (1880) and thew three-story Charles Brashear Building (1882). The former, at 912 Prairie, is named for the family of German-born baker Charles Scholibo (1844–1900). Over the course of the 20th century, the structure, marked by its Italianate architecture, would be home to many businesses. Restored and renovated in the 1990s, it now houses the Fryar Law Firm.
Banker Charles Brashear (1839–1911), born a Houstonian in the era of the Republic of Texas, was the scion of a locally prominent family; one cousin, Sam Houston Brashear, served as mayor of Houston in the late 1890s. The Victorian building at 910 Prairie that bears his name was designed by noted architect Eugene Heiner (1852–1901). Heiner’s other work includes Houston’s old Cotton Exchange Building (1884), at 202 Travis, and a number of courthouses throughout the state of Texas.
Read more in the 2016 Spring H Texas issue, available soon on newsstands and digitally.