Sunday, August 07, 2005

Houston Street History

from FIRST of all, we'll get Houston Street's derivation, and its unusual pronunciation, out of the way: The street from the Hudson River to Bedford had acquired its name by 1803, when Texas general, senator and governor Sam Houston (1793-1863) was ten years old. Couldn't be him. Other accounts have the name derived from the Dutch term huystujn ("garden house") from the Bleecker family gardens, on which the street was laid out.
Most likely, though, Houston Street is named for a congressman from Georgia, William Houstoun, who married Mary Bayard: her father Nicholas owned the land in Greenwich Village through which he cut the street in the early 1800s, naming it for his son-in-law. Houstoun spelled his name with that extra 'u' and likely pronounced his name Howstoon or Howston. Over time the extra letter fell out while the pronunciation remained.The picture shows two old images from Old Houston Street.
The attached pdf file comes from a Times article from early 2005 when discussions of the avenues' transformation was taking place.

No comments: