The New International Encyclopædia/Houston
HOUSTON, hū′ston. A city and the county-seat of Harris County, Tex., 50 miles northwest of Galveston; on Buffalo Bayou, an arm of Galveston Bay, at the head of navigation, and on the International and Great Northern, the Southern Pacific, the Missouri, Kansas and Texas, the Houston and Texas Central, and several other railroads (Map: Texas, G 5). It is a railroad centre of great importance, and improvements by the Federal Government have added to its transportation facilities by giving direct water communication with the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic Ocean; while local transit is facilitated by several bridges across the bayou. Houston occupies an area of nine square miles. It has the Houston Lyceum and Carnegie libraries, the building of the latter costing $50,000. Other prominent structures include the high school ($155,000), the United States Government building, the city hall, the court-house, the cotton exchange and market, and the Masonic Temple. The William M. Rice Polytechnical Institute, endowed with the estate of the founder, amounting to about $20,000,000, will be located in Houston. The city controls extensive commercial interests; it is one of the most important cotton markets in the United States, and in its lumber trade ranks with the leading cities of the Southwest. Cottonseed oil and sugar are also exported, and a large general trade contributes to the city's prosperity. There are extensive railroad car and machine shops, cotton-compresses and oil-mills, planing-mills, foundries and machine-shops, rolling-mills, potteries, brick and tile works, flour-mills, carriage and wagon shops, etc. The government, under a charter of 1897, is vested in a mayor, elected every two years, a municipal council, and administrative officials, who are chosen by popular vote. Houston spends annually in maintenance and operation about $565,000, the principal items of expenditure being $145,000 for interest on debt, $100,000 for schools, $70,000 for street expenditures, $55,000 for the fire department, $50,000 for the police department (including amounts for courts, jails, reformatories, etc.), and $20,000 for the health department (including amounts for charitable institutions). Houston was laid out and settled in 1836, was named in honor of General Sam Houston, and temporarily (in 1837) was capital of the Republic of Texas. Population, in 1890, 27,557; in 1900, 44,633.