HOUSTON AND HOUSTONIANS 17
since been almost completely filled, though traces of it still
In the early days Houston was remarkable for its numerous
large gullies. There was one great one that took up rather
more than the lower end of Caroline Street. It was narrower
after reaching Congress Avenue, and gradually narrowed until
it completely disappeared between Prairie and Texas Avenues.
There were two big bridges crossing the gully, one on Franklin
and the other on Congress Avenue. Those were the two principal
streets used at that time, very few people living south
of Texas Avenue.
But the king gully of all was the one on Rusk Avenue. This
began on Smith Street and before it had gone a block it was
almost a block wide. It became much wider as it neared the
bayou and really got so broad that it was two or three blocks
wide. Both this and the Caroline Street one have been filled
up and now one would never know that they had existed.
One of the famous gullies was that between Texas and Prairie
Avenues. It began on Milam Street about in the middle of the
block and ran down to the bayou. Unlike the other gullies,
this appeared to have been quite ancient, for its banks were
covered with vegetation and free from fresh erosions. Near
where the gully passed Smith Street there was a very large
spring overhung by a large oak tree. I can close my eyes now
and see that spring and the little school of minnows that were
always swimming about in it. I walked down that way a few
days ago and found an immense brick building on a paved street,
40 feet above where that beautiful spring was. I found not a
trace of the gully, it having been filled up and converted into
building lots, all now covered with houses.
There used to be quite a large gully running from Preston
Avenue to the bayou. My earliest recollection of this gully is
of the spring that was at its head, near the southeast corner
of Preston and Louisiana Street. As I recall it this spring was
not much for beauty, though it was large enough to cause a
standing mudhole on Louisiana Street. Going from Preston
towards the bayou this gully widened rapidly and was quite an
obstruction to travel by the time it reached Congress Avenue.
It too has been filled and today not a trace of it remains.
Now, of all the mean and disagreeable gullies that ever existed
anywhere, the big one on Rusk Avenue took the cake. It was
caving constantly and its banks and sides were sticky, red clay.
When it rained, this gully was a place to be avoided. At each
street crossing there was a plank near the bottom of the gully
to enable persons who had to cross to escape the water in the
bottom of the gully. The descent was perilous and ascent
Young, Samuel Oliver. True stories of old Houston and Houstonians: historical and personal sketches / by S. O. Young.. Galveston, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth24646/. Accessed October 13, 2015.