Best of Houston

The Changing Face of Houston - East Downtown

East Downtown is a neighborhood that has seen enormous changes occur over its many year history, and it is quickly emerging as a hip and vibrant community in Houston's central core, attracting new residents from many walks of life.

East Downtown, or "EaDo" as it has recently been named, started out its existence as part of the Third Ward, one of the four original wards established shortly after the founding of Houston in 1836. Throughout the 1800s, what is now present day East Downtown was a posh area of Victorian homes and well heeled residents, but eventually it saw changes that negatively affected it as a residential area. When nearby train lines were installed through downtown, the neighborhood began to transition from its former status into something else - More of a lower income area with commercial properties, warehouses, and other industrial developments.

The area changed again in the early half of the 20th century, when Chinese immigrants began to settle into the neighborhood, lured in by the inexpensive real estate prices, and Houston's first "Chinatown" began to develop. The Cantonese immigrants continued to open a variety of businesses there, and the community was a thriving ethnic neighborhood for years, eventually attracting Asians from many other countries who also set roots in the area.

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Chris Lane is a contributing writer who enjoys covering art, music, pop culture, and social issues.