Bellaire Historical Marker Information
Marker Title and Location: Bellaireandnbsp;City Hall 7008 S. Rice Avenue
William Wright Baldwin, president of the South End Land Company, founded Bellaire in 1908 on part of the 9,449-acre ranch once owned by William Marsh Rice, benefactor of Rice Institute (now Rice University). Baldwin surveyed the eastern 1,000 acres of the ranch into small truck farms, which he named Westmoreland Farms. He platted Bellaire in the middle of the farms to serve as an exclusive residential neighborhood and agricultural trading center. The project was separated from Houston by approximately six miles of prairie. South End Land Company advertisements, targeted to midwestern farmers, noted that Bellaire ("Good Air") was named for the area's Gulf breezes. The original townsite was bounded by Palmetto, First, Jessamine, and Sixth (now Ferris) streets. Bellaire Boulevard and an electric streetcar line connected Bellaire to Houston. The town was incorporated in 1918, and C. P. Younts served as first mayor. The post-war building boom in the late 1940s and early 1950s resulted in rapid population growth. Completely surrounded by the expanding city of Houston by 1949, Bellaire nevertheless retained its independence and its own city government.
Marker Title and Location: Bellaire Presbyterian Church 5001 Bellaire Boulevard at 3rd Street
Bellaire residents founded the non-denominational Bellaire Union Congregational Church and Sunday School in 1911. Services and classes were held in the local school building and the town's streetcar terminal known as the "Pavilion." In 1919 many members of Bellaire Union and others petitioned the First Presbyterian Church of Houston to establish a presence in the community. The Bellaire Mission was established on April 5, 1919, with the Rev. R. L. Jetton as pastor. Later that year the first church building was erected on land donated by D. T. Austin. The Rev. Robert H. Bullock became the mission's first full-time pastor in 1940 and in 1942 a new brick sanctuary was dedicated. The mission became self-supporting in 1943 when the congregation became known as the "Bellaire Presbyterian Church." During the mid-1950s Bellaire Presbyterian helped establish several churches in the area. Membership in the congregation grew rapidly and in 1957 a new 1000-seat sanctuary was constructed at this site. The congregation reached 1,794 members by 1963. Bellaire Presbyterian has played an important role in the history of Bellaire and represents the oldest continuing congregation in the community.
Marker Title and Location: Bellaire Street Line Car Bellaire Boulevard and 3rd in Paseo Park
In 1909 the Westmoreland Railroad Company, directed by Bellaire developer William Wright Baldwin, began construction of a streetcar line between this site and Houston's Main Street (4 mi. E) to improve transportation between Bellaire and Houston. Laid out on the esplanade of Bellaire Boulevard, the streetcar line consisted of one railway track and an overhead electric wire. The line terminated at this site, where the company constructed a waiting pavilion and a turnaround loop. At the same time, the Houston Electric Company extended its south end line from Eagle Avenue down present Fannin Street to connect with the Bellaire line at Bellaire Boulevard (now part of Holcombe Boulevard). The trip between Bellaire and downtown Houston required one transfer at Eagle Avenue. Service began on December 28, 1910. The streetcar line, often called the "Toonerville Trolley," became an integral link between Bellaire and Houston and played a vital role in the development of this area. The availability of motor transport and frequent derailments caused by worn-out track led to the abandonment of the line on September 26, 1927. Motor bus service began the following day.
Marker Title and Location: Texan Capture of Mexican Dispatches (San Jacinto) Bellaire Boulevard at 2nd
The San Jacinto campaign in southwest Harris County. After the fall of the Alamo on March 6, 1836, Gen. Sam Houston led the Texan army in retreat from Gonzales. The Mexican army under Gen. Santa Anna followed eastward from San Antonio. On April 14, while Houston's army was north of him, Santa Anna led a division of his army from the Brazos River near present Richmond to Harrisburg. He crossed present southwest Harris County, then an uninhabited prairie, and reached Harrisburg (12 miles east of this site) on April 15. The Mexicans burned Harrisburg on April 17 and continued marching east. Houston's army, arriving at Buffalo Bayou opposite Harrisburg on April 18, found the town in ruins, but did not know the whereabouts of the Mexican army. That day, Texan scouts led by Erastus "Deaf" Smith captured thee Mexicans, including Capt. Miguel Bachiller, a courier, and a guide in this vicinity. The prisoners and their dispatches revealed the location, size, and plans of the Mexican army. With this vital intelligence, Houston intercepted Santa Anna's March on april 20 and defeated his division with a surprise attack on April 21 at the San Jacinto River. The Battle of San Jacinto ended the Texas Revolution and secured the independent Republic of Texas. (1989) Sponsored by the Bellaire Historical Society Information provided by the Texas Historical Commissionandnbsp;