We often pay attention to beautiful buildings in the city, historical monuments and places associated with history. This allows us to be inspired, admire architecture and reflect on how many extraordinary elements there are in the world. More at houston-future.
The Heights Clock Tower in Houston is called the city’s historical gem. It is not only the city’s first clock tower but also one of the oldest industrial buildings.
When did this tower appear in Houston? What does it look like today? Has it been altered for such a long time?
Mattress production factory
The building belonged to a different era: it was built in 1894 and dates back to 1893. The Clock Tower Heights was originally a mattress factory located on the corner of 22nd Street and Lawrence Street in the Upper East Side.
The corner building stood out from the crowd, as there were very few buildings like it in Houston. The five-story building with a clock inside resembles an antique house that has been well-preserved and looks perfect until now.
The floor is made of maple wood, the ceilings are quite high, the thick brick walls and narrow corridors create a unique flavor of the past.
In 1983, this building was listed in the National Register of Historic Places as the Eastern Textile Factory.
As mentioned earlier, the building was originally reserved as a mattress factory in 1894 and since 1900 it has been a textile factory.
After a few decades, the building did not look good and was subsequently renovated. Before that, the campus consisted of rather primitive, factory-like elements, which made it both modest and iconic.
After the renovation
In the 21st century, the building was renovated: although the exterior and especially the interior of the building underwent some changes, the architects still tried to maintain its original appearance and atmosphere.
After the renovation, the building was transferred to a new owner. It was Capital, a Houston-based developer. Upon receiving the clock tower and the surrounding area, the owner immediately indicated that he wanted to maintain a combination of historicity and modernity in the tower.
The building has been transformed into a so-called mixed-use commercial real estate, which houses office space, retail space for advertising, architectural, technology firms and tenants.
The upper fifth floor remained untouched, and the staircase leading to the restored clock remained intact.
In addition to office space, a bakery was opened in the building. The smell of fresh bread and aromatic espresso wafts up in the morning not only to the fifth floor of the clock tower but also to neighboring buildings in the Heights district.
The Heights neighborhood is considered one of the first in the entire state of Texas. Today, it is a residential area equipped to modern standards, with landscaped grounds, private parking and numerous offices, business centers, etc. The Clock Tower is one of these buildings, as it fits perfectly into the context of the area.
Perhaps if the tower were located in a different place, such as a tourist destination or in the city center, its original purpose and appearance would be preserved so that people would remember the city’s history and landmarks.
In 2015, the clock tower building took part in the Design for Excellence competition and was shortlisted for the finalist prize. The aim of the competition was to recognize development and growth in the areas of construction and design, economic efficiency, marketing and healthcare.
City officials believe that ancient buildings can and should be restored and given a second chance at life. In their view, the historic warehouses have been transformed into office space and have started to generate income for the city and entrepreneurs. In the search for modernity and a beautiful look, the Heights Clock Tower became more of a collection of buildings and business centers than a historical landmark. An updated building type, the interior modern spaces no longer carry the old Houston atmosphere of the old clock tower.