Event Detail
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Houston History Bike Ride

Fourth Ward National Registered Historic District of Freedmen’s Town and College Memorial Park Cemetery

 

Date: February 17, 2019

Starting time: meet at 1:00 pm, leave at 1:15 p.m.

Starting location: Fonde recreation center, Sabine and Memorial

Duration: total distance about 7 miles, about 3 hours

Lunch: I will be eating lunch at The Paper Company on Elder Street around noon, marked on the route map. You can drive there and then back to Fonde for the ride. If you want to take the 10 minute bike ride up there from Fonde, let me know and I will meet you at Fonde around 11:45 a.m.

 

Links:

-              ride route map (click on pips for sight information)

-              Fourth ward photo album, including some vintage photos of original structures (all captioned)

-              College Memorial Park Cemetery photo album

-              map to starting location

 

Ride overview

An important historic Black Houston neighborhood is the National Register Historic District of Freedmen's Town in the Fourth Ward, the first independent Black neighborhood in Houston after the Civil War.

These few blocks that comprise historic Freedmantown encompass some of the few remaining physical landmarks in Houston that connect us with 19th century chattel slavery and Emancipation.

 

After Emancipation, freed blacks viewed land ownership as a key symbol of liberation. Dozens of black families settled in this area in the Fourth Ward that became known as Freedmantown, or Freedmen's Town.  The swampy land, subject to frequent flooding from Buffalo Bayou, was undesirable, so vacant and cheap; by the 1870’s, Freedmantown became a predominately Freed Black settlement. Initially, Houston's black middle class centered in the community but later moved out as downtown encroached.

 

Despite development pressures for this neighborhood in a premium location, some historic buildings and brick streets remain, as well as a small Museum that is the heart of preservation efforts.

This note gives some background on the neighborhood and the closely related College Park Memorial Cemetery.

Historic sites can be seen on the route map and photo album. Map pips and photos are captioned. The blue map line is the ride route; we will visit the cemetery first. A green map line marks the boundary of the historic district. Blue map pips are surviving buildings. Purple pips on the map mark sites of former historic buildings that have been demolished. Red lines on the map are brick streets that were paved by the neighborhood around 1907 after failing for six years to get the city to pave the sloppy and unsanitary muddy streets. Included in the map and photos are two well-preserved houses in nearby Sam Houston Park that came from this district, and three downtown buildings that supported this community; Antioch Baptist Church, still standing, and two buildings long gone, the Colored Carnegie Library, and the Old Colored High School, later Booker T. Washington High School.

Event: Houston History Bike Ride - Fourth Ward Event Cost: Free
Where: For Members Only Meeting Place: For Members Only
Address: For Members Only Meeting Address: For Members Only
Web Site: For Members Only Meeting Time: For Members Only
Location Phone: For Members Only Parking Cost: For Members Only
Start Date-Time: For Members Only Reg. Deadline: For Members Only
* End Date-Time: For Members Only PrePay Required: No
Event Leader: For Members Only
Event Summary: n/a
Directions: For Members Only
Members: 4 Max Attendance: 20
Guests: 3 Spots Available: 13
Total Attendance: 7    
Overnight: No Kid Friendly: No
Skill Level: n/a Dog Friendly: No

CHECKLIST - Gear Details and Rules
Helmet
Road Bike
Mountain Bike
Sunscreen
Water
1/2 to 1 quart per hour required
 
* estimated
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