The Deutsche Gesellschaft von Houston, founded in 1875, established the German Society Cemetery here in 1887, offering family lots and single spaces to the public. By the time the traditionally German cemetery was renamed Washington Cemetery in 1918, immigrants from 17 countries were laid to rest here.
A founding member of the Texas Society of Architects, Eugene Heiner was known as the first professional architect in the city of Houston. Many of Texas’s Victorian town squares were shaped by the architectural genius of Heiner, the son of German immigrants. His career took off with construction of the Galveston County Jail in 1878. With almost 40 Texas jails and courthouses credited to him, he is best known for his courthouse designs — pristinely restored examples of which survive in Colorado, Lavaca, and Wharton counties.
Heiner designed a number of important buildings in downtown Houston including the 1882 Henry Brashear Building and the 1884 Cotton Exchange, which are all within the Main Street Market Square Historic District. His designs incorporated styles ranging from Italianate to Romanesque to American High Victorian. Heiner died in 1901 and is buried in Washington Cemetery.
Watch our The First Texas Germans video to learn more about German Texan cultural heritage in Texas. This video was produced for inclusion in our German Texans mobile tour.