Heritage Society at Sam Houston Park

Independence Trail Region
1100 Bagby Houston, TX 77002 (713) 655-1912

In the shadows of some of Houston’s tallest skyscrapers stands a reminder of the city’s German heritage: St. John Church. Built in 1891 on Mangum Road by Harris County farmers from Germany and Switzerland, St. John offered Lutheran services in German until the 1930s.

In 1968, the church was moved eight miles southeast to its current location in Sam Houston Park. Take note of the cypress altar and pulpit, which is believed to predate the building itself. Also located in Sam Houston Park is the 1868 San Felipe Cottage, a great example of German vernacular architecture.

Houston’s first city park, established in 1900 by then-Mayor Sam Brashear, provided an idyllic respite for Houstonians at the turn of a prosperous century. Christened “Sam Houston Park” and once serving as the estate of Houston family Kellum-Noble, the new city park featured Victorian landscaping, meandering pathways, a small stream, and the plantation-style Kellum-Noble house, built in 1847 and now considered the oldest surviving masonry residence in Houston.

The Heritage Society, a coalition of citizens who believed that the preservation of history is an important responsibility of civic leaders, has since made Sam Houston Park its home and has rescued a number of the city’s other historic structures, relocating them to the park’s nineteen-acre museum complex. Among the museum complex’s holdings are the 1850 Nichols-Rice-Cherry House, a two-story Greek Revival home once located on Houston’s courthouse square, the 1891 vernacular Gothic Revival St. John Church, built by German farmers and featuring handmade cypress pews, and a Fourth Ward cottage, believed to be approximately one hundred and fifty years old and home to an African American family in Houston’s historic Freedmen’s Town. The complex features ten structures total as well as permanent exhibits and changing exhibitions throughout the year that provide insight into many aspects of the region’s striking legacy. Docent-led and cell phone tours are available to enjoy the park at comfortable pace.

Heritage Society at Sam Houston Park

1100 Bagby Houston, TX 77002