invest $400,000 in the timbered lands East Texas and build a railroad to the outs world. Kirby eventually became a tim baron and controlled 1.1 million acres East Texas. He built important brid between east coast banks and Te enterprises, bringing east coast capital Gulf Coast enterprises and there establishing a tradition of investment i then risky frontier area. Having ma $300,000 in three years in East Texas, 1890 Kirby moved to Houston; from :city he directed his lumber, railroad, a real estate investments. By the early 1900 Kirby; senior partner of the Houston 1 firm of Kirby, Martin, and Eagle, was al president of the important Planter’s a Mechanics National Bank. Kirby became active in the Houst power structure in the 1890s; he was se by the older business leaders to Washingto D.C., to secure government help in deali with a navigation problem on Buffa Bayou. In the next decade Kirby’s rise economic prominence was accompanied rising power in the local business elite. Li some of his predecessors he was active local and national politics as well, servi two terms in the Texas legislature; in 191 he was urged to become governor of Texa During World War I, at the request Woodrow Wilson’s adviser Bernard Baruc Kirby served on the Raw Materia Committee of the Council of Nation Defense in Washington, D.C. Kirb provided yet another personal link betwee Washington and the Houston business elite One of the sons of William M. Rice wa a business associate of Kirby. Joe Ric became head of the Kirby Lumber Co., th Great Southern Life Insurance Co., and th Union Bank. He was part of the group o merchants, often called “our crowd,” tha selected gubernatorial candidates an generally controlled Texas politics betwee 1895 and 1905. This wealthy lumber an finance capitalist was well integrated int the important social networks, clubs, an corporate boards in the city. Also linke to Kirby was H. Baldwin Rice, a nephew of William M. Rice and another membe of the inner circle; Rice was a vice-presiden of a bank and also of Kirby-owned timbe and oil ventures. It is important to note particular busines actors linking different factions of capital Specific business leaders provide the concrete, everyday links. For example, Baker was a principle lawyer and directly involved in utility and banking businesses. Baker, Lovett, and Kirby illustrate the importance of the conscious actions of indigenous capitalists in establishing the character of local political-economic structures and the connections between the abstract institutional structures of local and national economies and local and national states. This type of agent linkage has remained central to the coordination and function of Houston’s business sector for of more than a century. Economic and political ide structures are very importani -to an analysis ber of urban development, but it is also clear of that the evolution of a specific city in a ges particular historical period involves a xas distinctive web of relationships. Often to powerful individuals tie together formally by and informally the “state” of the n a “economy.” These entrepreneurs and de investors are individuals who built a city, in but they are also part of the wider social this order. They not only act as individuals nd limited by that larger political-economic s, order, but they also change and shape that aw wider social order for subsequent so generations. nd By the 1890s the business community had grown to such a size that integrative on organizations of a formal nature became nt essential. The Business League, created in n, 1895, was renamed Chamber of Commerce ng in 1910. Earlier business organizations, lo including one called a “Chamber of to Commerce,” had come and gone, but the by Business League was the first with staying ke power. In the 1890s the league pressed for in a professional fire department, gave out a ng million pieces of booster advertising on the 4 city at the Atlanta Exposition, prepared s. research reports on sewage and water of problems, and organized local protests h, against a railroad tariff. The league became Is a primary vehicle of local business action; al by the early 1900s the league was y coordinating major business groups the n Cotton Exchange, the Banker’s Clearing . House, and the Manufacturer’s Association s and local political campaigns. By 1905 e it included most of the city’s business and e professional elite. At the heart of the League e were men like H. Baldwin Rice, John f Kirby. T. W. House, Jr., and James Baker. t In 1911 the organization had 1,200 members d and an income of $17,000. Among other n actions, Kirby and several Business League d members became active in economic support o actions such as organizing pipeline d companies to bring newly discovered oil to d Houston as a cheap source of fuel and directing the decisions of city government. These organized business leaders publicly t delineated their growth-oriented vision of r a “Greater Houston.” They discussed the requirements necessary for Houston to s become a major metropolis; commercial and industrial development became a top priority. One business booster’s view was typical: “[more] cooperation among the un businessmen and property owners, more the thought, more getting together. . . . 18 Industrial development is the important pre factor in citybuilding. . . . The world is now ma a neighborhood, made so by rapid transit and competition in the carrying trade by rail Ho and water.” The world context was ser explicitly recognized. H. Since its founding, leading business bac figures have, with few exceptions, directly in or indirectly dominated mayoral and city bot council positions in Houston. The inner bus circle of the business elite has, on occasion, provided mayors. This was the case in the 1860s when T. W. House, Sr., served as mayor; and it was true again in the 1880s when William R. Baker served three terms as mayor. In the 1880s Baker joined with other notables serving in the city administration including merchant T. W. House, Jr. , and Cotton Exchange head William D. Cleveland. Together the business-oriented council members worked to resolve credit problems facing the city government. In the 1880s this business dominance was, for a brief period, challenged by a growing working-class population. In 1886 Houston politics became ward-based and thus more democratic. Several candidates ran for most government positions; there was extensive organizing and campaigning at the neighborhood level. The old business elite was forced to share power with skilled workers. In 1886 Mayor William Baker was challenged by Dan C. Smith, a railroad mechanic and union member who represented the blue-collar population. Working in coalition with a group of lawyers and executives opposed to the old leadership, Smith won by only four votes. Under the previous mayor eight of the ten council members had been business leaders, but under Mayor Smith the members included a painter, two railroad superintendents, a yardmaster, a saloon keeper, and a grocer. Smith and his council succeeded in resolving the controversy over the municipal debt which had raged for more than a decade; and public works projects for all areas of the city were expanded. In this period much utility growth in American cities was often in private hands. In the late 1880s a Chicago capitalist bought Houston’s street railway monopoly. However, the newly elected and more democratic city council granted another firm a franchise to put up a competing system. The Chicago entrepreneur was so angry that he cancelled a half-million dollar modernization plan. Yet the council-fostered competition did stimulate an expansion of transit services into neighborhoods formerly excluded. The representative city council managed to exact tax and regulatory concessions from private utility entrepreneurs. For a time council actions scared some northern investors out of a city which had gained the reputation of being friendly to private utility monopolies, but business elite soon regained control. In 90 they succeeded in getting their ferred choice, Henry Scherffius, elected yor. n the mid-1890s growing numbers of ustonians were pressing for improved vices to neighborhoods. Banker Baldwin Rice, elected as a businessked mayor in 1896, faced a challenge 1898 from Samuel H. Brashear. While h candidates were members of the iness elite, Brashear opposed Mayor 14 AUGUST 19, 1988
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