[MAP]. [HOUSTON, TEXAS]. KOSSE, Theo[dore], Hu[bert?] T. Scott, et al. Theo. Kosse Civil Engineer. Hu T. Scott, Real Estate, Broker, Kosse & Scott’s. Map of the City of Houston and Environs according to the records and the oldest and latest Surveys compiled and drawn by Th. Kosse; with advising assistance of Mess. Will. Powers, Geo. H. Bringhurst, W.R. Baker & others. A.D. 1867. Scale...; [5 wards indicated and numbered]; [11 vignettes, 10 illustrations of architecture and portrait of Sam Houston; 5 above map; 6 below map]:  Morris Building (8 x 11 cm);  Old Capitol (8.1 x 11 cm);  Sam Houston (7 x 6.3 cm);  Court House (8 x 11.3 cm);  Cor. Main & Commerce St. (8 x 11.5 cm);  Wm. J. Hutchins Residence (8 x 11.2 cm);  Hutchins Corner (8 x 11 cm);  Houston Academy (8 x 11.3 cm);  Christs Church, Episcopal (8 x 11.2 cm);  Perkins Corner (7.8 x 11 cm);  E.H. Cushing’s Residence (8 x 11.2 cm); [table at lower right setting out points of interest with lot and block numbers]: References...; large ornate border with lone star at each corner and 8 oval portraits set within left and right borders, each approximately 5.5 x 4.5 cm:  A.C. Allen;  T.M. Bagby;  H.S. Holman;  F.R. Lubbock;  Sam. L. Allen;  W.R. Baker;  T.W. House;  W.J. Hutchins. Engraved map (possibly transferred to stone for printing) on very thin paper, original hand-coloring of blocks, ward borders, bodies of water, etc. Border to border: 125 x 91 cm; overall sheet size: 127 x 93 cm. Professionally stabilized by Green Dragon Bindery. Very good copy with a few very minor voids where previously folded, backed with acid-free tissue. Very rare.
First edition of an early printed map of Houston.
The sequence of printed maps of Houston (as opposed to views or bird’s-eye views) is not set in stone. According to Streeter and others, the earliest printed map of Houston is the Plan of the City of Houston, made in 1836 as a real estate promotional for Houston, based on the surveys by Gail & Thomas H. Borden. The map was announced in the Telegraph (Streeter 1208 & Adele B. Looscan, “Harris County, 1822-1825” in SWHQ, Vol. 19, p. 38). The idea of Houston was the brainchild of the ambitious Allen brothers (Augustus Chapman and John Kirby Allen). Before the dust and smoke of the Texas Revolution had settled, the Allen brothers, who were New York real estate promoters, made their way to Texas to establish a “great center of government and commerce,” enlisting the Borden brothers to assist. Streeter (1499.1) lists the next map of Houston, as the ca. 1844 lithograph map of Houston based on the original 1839 manuscript map by A. Girard, “Late Engineer of the Texas Army” (1839 original manuscript held by Houston Public Library). The next printed map of Houston, a rather mundane affair, was published with the 1866 Houston City Directory. The present map appears to be next in the sequence, and it surpasses all previous Houston maps in its scale, detail, decoration, and splendor factor. Of course, the 1836 map of Houston from the Borden survey will always trump any subsequent Houston maps.
The present map presents an entirely new phase of Houston, coming through strong after the challenges of violent pre-Houston (Harrisburg) in the Texas Revolution, the dangerous Republic period, and the intense Civil War-Reconstruction era. Despite unrest and many problems during the Reconstruction period, migrants flocked to Houston for new opportunities, and Texas businessmen joined together to expand the railroad network and create the Houston Ship Channel, which contributed to Houston’s primacy. This magnificent illustrated map documents the time period when Houston entered an entirely new phase of perpetual growth that seemingly has never ceased.
The present map divides Houston, which had a population near 8,000 in 1867, into five wards (Houston abandoned the ward system around 1900). Each ward is further divided into numbered lots, each brightly hand-colored pink or green. Labeled are the city’s bayous (Buffalo and White Oak), four railroads (Texas & New Orleans; Houston & Texas Central; Galveston, Houston & Henderson; Houston & Brazoria Tap), and streets (Congress Street and Main Street intersect in the center). Beyond the city lots are larger tracts of land identified by their owners. Inside the maps decorative borders are steel engravings of individuals and structures important to post-Civil War Houston and various architecture. A portrait of Houston’s namesake, Sam Houston, is centered at the top. References provide locations of homes, churches, fire station, cemeteries, etc.
Theodore Kosse (1812 Germany-1881 Houston) lived in Houston as early as 1846 and was engineer for the Houston and Texas Central Railway. The town of Kosse, Texas, was named for him. (He surveyed the town when the railroad arrived in 1869, and the town was the end of the line for the HTCRR.)