Environment and Economy Along Houston’s Bayous
Winner of the Friends of Fondren Library Undergraduate Research Awards, 2016. This paper was originally prepared for Rice Course HIST 201, American Urban History given by Professor Kyle Shelton, Department of History in Fall 2015.
The bayous have played a key role in the development of Houston since the city’s founding in the early 19th centuries. Houstonians have approached their relationship with the bayous in several different ways. Boosters and industrialists, who transformed Buffalo Bayou into the Houston Ship Channel, viewed the bayous as key pieces of infrastructure to be shaped and utilized in order to optimize Houston’s trading position. Environmentalists, City Beautiful proponents, and others saw the bayous as ideal green spaces. However, all groups laying claim to Houston’s bayous have done so for the express purpose of economic growth. In a city defined by its entrepreneurial spirit, even Houston’s natural features have been put to work