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Greetings from the Chair

At the Chamber we are so excited and honored to participate in the ever changing landscape of Houston’s East End.  And boy is it changing, from the Dynamo’s BBVA Compass Stadium to the rapidly expanding progress on METRO’s East End Line, the Greater East End Management District’s Livable Centers Initiative which is bringing new sidewalks, lighting and landscaping to our major thoroughfares, completion and connection of all of the East End hike and bike trails, and now a new Houston Maritime Museum.  These changes are even more amazing when you look back 186 years!

John Harris founded Harrisburg in what is now Houston’s East End in 1826 at the junction of Buffalo and Brays Bayou, and by 1829 Harris had established the first industry in today’s Houston area, a steam-operated saw mill.  Together with his brother David they purchased schooners, one of which carried the first Texas cotton to market in New Orleans. But disaster struck in August of that same year when Harris was struck by yellow fever. He died in 1829, but the town survived under his brother and widow’s leadership.  Sympathetic with her husband’s wishes, Mrs. Harris built her house at the site he had selected for their future home and in 1836, she welcomed the Provisional Government of Texas into her home, and her home became the capitol of the new Republic of Texas.  Harrisburg was annexed to Houston in 1926.

I tell this story because the story of the old town of Harrisburg is the story of the East End today.  It is a story of perseverance, industry, hard work, and imagination.  Today’s East End is no different as it still benefits from all these assets while it continues to grow and change.  Today we are seeing new retail development and new restaurants arriving.  Right now we eagerly await El Tiempo in their new home on Navigation. And we expect more growth after METRO’s light rail opens on Harrisburg and Southwest Airlines expands at Hobby Airport.  But this is still only the beginning!  At the same time that business is growing the East End is also becoming a hip new place to live that brings together students and artists with the backbone of the East End – families that have lived here for generations.

The Chamber continues working to make sure the East End is even better for future generations.  With the partnership of our members we are supporting local schools to help prepare our students for successful careers in local industry. In 2012 alone approximately $34,000 in scholarships were given to local graduating students along with 55 laptop computers. 2012 also kicked off the new STEM Town USA program in the East End, an initiative to increase exposure of third grade girls to math and science careers.

This rich history, diversity, and continuing growth make the East End a unique and wonderful place to LIVE, WORK, and DO BUSINESS!  If you are not a member yet, please join us today!

We’ve achieved a lot in the past 22 years.  Come be a part of the changing landscape of the East End!

Rachel de Cordova
Board Chair
Royston, Raysor, Vickery & Williams, L.L.P.


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