The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 19, July 1915 - April, 1916 Page: 42
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The Soutlwestern Historical Quarterly
The presence of State officials, of ministers and other repre-
sentatives from foreign countries invested the place with an im-
portance out of harmony with its general character and primitive
The need for a supply of drinking water for the large number
of people who frequented the capital was keenly felt. One of the
first acts of Congress, approved December 18, 1837, authorized
F. R. Lubbock to procure cisterns for the use of the capitol build-
ing, to contain 10,000 gallons. On December 15, 1838, a meet-
ing of citizens was held to organize the Houston Water Works
Company, Beauchamps Springs on White Oak Bayou to furnish
the supply. The water of these Springs, about two miles distant,
was considered pure, and as the wooden tanks, attached to the
dwellings and other houses, did not hold sufficient rain water, this
water was sold by the gallon and carted about town. The Water
Works Company, so far as records show, did not progress farther
than the meeting, and the election of Win. Lawrence as Chairman
and A. F. Woodward, Secretary. It was more than forty years
after this date that a waterworks company became a real factor
among Houston enterprises.
In the founding of the city much stress had been laid upon
its being at the head of navigation, and its citizens from the be-
ginning strove faithfully to make this true. They fully realized
that it would require great efforts, and the ball then set in motion
has not ceased to roll with increasing momentum up to the present
time. Harrisburg had heretofore been regarded as the head of
navigation on Buffalo Bayou, and it required a great deal of labor
and time, expended in cutting away logs, brush and trees, before a
yawl boat could be rowed up to Houston. Four days were con-
sumed in its passage from Harrisburg to that city. On January
26, 1837, the first steamboat, called the Laura, Thomas Granger,
served; it remained practically unchanged for many years, except for
additions at the back. In 1882 the wooden structure was entirely demol-
ished and A. Groesbeck erected on its site a handsome brick hostelry, and
named it the "New Capitol Hotel." This eventually passed into the hands
of Wm. M. Rice, and as part of the property bequeathed by him to the
Rice Institute, was, through its Board of Managers, replaced by a splendid
building, eighteen stories high, called the "Rice Hotel." Thus did the
best known landmark of Houston lose its historic title, and receive in its
stead that of an old citizen, who laid the foundation of his fortune in the
first years of its settlement.
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 19, July 1915 - April, 1916, periodical, 1916; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101067/m1/51/: accessed June 26, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.