Traversing Houston's Street History

Monday, May 3, 2010

With a mix of fact, history and humor, Mark Hinton has high expectations for his lecture in the IMAX theatre of the Houston Museum of Natural Sciences on June 6. Hinton plans to offer the histories behind some of Houston's biggest street names.

"I thought, well wouldn't that be fun," Hinton said, "I'll just entertain myself with the history of the streets."

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Hinton plans to cover 20 different street names in the lecture and answer additional questions afterwards. He has spent ten years reading through everything from articles to obituaries, researching over a thousand street names after retiring as an investment banker. He also anticipates the same mix of historians and everyday people who have attended his lectures in the past.

While the information will not be too different from his book, Hinton said that he will focus primarily on Houston street names his audience will be more familiar with like Westheimer Road and Kirby Drive.

"I hope people enjoy [the lecture], I hope they learn something," Hinton said, "I hope they'll find it entertaining and if it meets those criteria, I'll be happy."

Hinton said there are many interesting aspects to Houston street names, ranging from historic, to quirky, to tragic.

For example. La Rue Street in Freedman's Town was named for La Rue Saks after she was killed in a streetcar accident. Another example is Rue St. Cyr Street, named after Hollywood stripper St. Cyr. The name was a tongue-in-cheek play on the word "Saint."

As for his next book? Hinton does not plan on talking about it too much even though it might come up in the ending questions and answers with the audience. His next book is about the Houston cemeteries. Right now, Hinton is a third of the way through finishing the book, which he expects to be published in 2015.

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