I picked this 1910 issue of The Railroad Echo magazine out of a folder because I’m always interested in anything about the ship channel, which has been from its creation the beating heart of the Houston economy. I especially enjoyed the photo caption: “Houston’s pleasure loving people own over two hundred pleasure boats.” Try this today and I don’t expect you’d last too long:
Surprises abound everywhere in the archives and the most interesting thing in this magazine proved to be on the inside: an enthusiastic endorsement of the fledgling home for Houston’s newsboys by the new Rice President Edgar Odell Lovett. I was really not expecting this. During the years before the Institute opened (and afterwards too) Lovett tirelessly talked all over the state, apparently to any group that wanted to hear him from the Texas Lumberman’s Association to the Houston Woman’s Club but I can’t recall ever seeing anything quite like this:
The Emma R. Newsboys’ Home was established at 1600 Washington Street by the publisher of the Railroad Echo to provide shelter and training for homeless boys. Despite what seems to have been good support from Houston’s philanthropic families it shuttered sometime in 1919.
The Emma R. Newsboys Home seemed to move to the “foot of Texas Avenue” in the late 1920s. Apparently it was also at the Dow School in the Sixth Ward later than that, and after the war it was on Galveston Bay. There was also a Newsboys Home planned by the YMCA for downtown near City Hall and City Council vetoed that. There were City Council donations to some Newsboys home listed up until 1943. There seems to be more to the story…
Dr. Lovett’s endorsements of the channel were consistent with Rice’s actions as a citizen:
“Since commerce was all-important to Houston, it was inevitable that merchants, such as [Wm.M.] Rice and [Thomas W.] House, would be interested in the improvement of transportation facilities. The businessmen thus invested in roads, railways, and the clearing of Buffalo Bayou as a necessary part of successful enterprise.” – p. 27, McComb, David G. Houston the Bayou City. Austin: University of Texas Press, 1969.
Newsboys’ Home is a 1938 film that starred Jackie Cooper. Apparently that profession was associated with a lot of crime, violence, and drama.
Yes. Newspaper accounts mention protests by nearby residents when a Newsboys’ Home was proposed in the area.