Hermann Estates building, Fire Station No. 2 and three distinctive homes receive historic designation
On October 1, 2014, Houston City Council designated the Jack R. and Auban Tenison House, the Forrest and Myrtle Oldham House, the Hortense Sparks and William Ward/M.D. Anderson House, and the Fire Station No. 2 as historic landmarks. Council also designated the Hermann Estate Building as a Protected Historic Landmark.
The Hermann Estate Building at 204 Travis, also known as the Hermann Lofts Building, was originally called the George Hermann Estate Building. Construction was completed in 1917. The building was commissioned by the estate of George Henry Hermann (1843-1914), a Houston resident who accumulated a personal fortune through various business enterprises. Hermann was a philanthropist who donated much of the land on which Hermann Park now sits and funded what is now known as Memorial Hermann Hospital, among his many contributions to the City and residents of Houston. The Hermann Estate Building was designed in the Neo-Classical style by Houston architect Louis A. Glover of F. Glover and Son Architects. The Hermann Estate Building originally was designed to house personnel working in the cotton industry. In 1996, it was sold to private investors and converted into and sold as residential lofts.
Built in 1910, Fire Station No. 2 is a brick, two-story structure at 317 Sampson. Company No. 2 was one of the three original, volunteer fire companies in Houston during the late 1800s. The cast-concrete rustication, the proportions of the brick arched openings, and the layout of the symmetrical facade of Fire Station No. 2 are all characteristic of Houston architect Olle Lorhen's work of the period. It was used as a fire station until 1983, when it was sold by the city to a private owner. The building has been vacant for the last 30 years but is now being renovated by a new owner as a single residence.
The Hortense Sparks and William Ward/M.D. Anderson House, 1902 Sunset Boulevard, was built in 1934 by the Benson-Hall Company for Hortense Sparks Ward and her family. Hortense Sparks Ward was the first female lawyer in the State of Texas, and the first female registered to vote in Harris County. She was a leader of the suffragette movement in Texas, and served as a Justice on a special, all-female Supreme Court of Texas appointed by the Governor in 1925. Philanthropist M.D. Anderson lived in the home in the last few years of his life. The house is designed in a Colonial Revival style.
The Jack R. and Auban Tenison House, 1609 Kirby Drive, was designed and built by the Russell Brown Company in 1935. The Russell Brown Company was founded in Houston in 1906 and built a number of stylish and important houses in Houston. The Tenison House is designed in the Tudor style. Jack Tenison was in the automobile and financing business. He also owned and sold several homes and lots in River Oaks.
The Forrest R. and Myrtle Oldham House, 2504 Brentwood Drive, was designed and built by local builder C.C. Rouse circa 1928. Forrest Oldham was a purchasing agent for Gulf Oil. The home was later owned for many years by Malcolm and Anita Baker. C.C. Rouse developed numerous homes in River Oaks. The house is designed in a Neoclassical style, and is an early home for Brentwood Drive and River Oaks.