Allen's Landing - Maud Gentle
23 January 1911: The year 1911 saw the beginning of construction on the Main Street Viaduct bridge. When opened on 2 May 1913, the bridge became the largest single-arch concrete span in Texas, and linked ldowntown to an area of rail yards cotton warehouses, factories, and modest homes of workers. Prior to the viaduct, the streetcar lines crossed the Buffalo Bayou to the north at the San Jacinto bridge, but the viaduct permitted more direct routes along Montgomery Street, which was renamed North Main, and streetcars more directly traversed the 5th Ward and to the newly developed Woodland Heights area and Highland Park (now Woodland Park).
What brought these crowds to Allen's Landing is not specified on the postcard, but it could have been Houston’s Carnival, No-Tsu-Oh [Houston spelled backwards], in which King Nottoc [cotton spelled backwards] emerges from Buffalo Bayou to rule over the Court of Mirth in the city of the capitol city of Tekram [Market spelled backwards]. [See another postcard in this series for another reference to No-Tsu-Oh.]
15 May 2019: The vantage point from which this photograph was taken once offered a commanding perspective of Buffalo Bayou and Allen's Landing, but after the bridge was built most of the view is now obstructed by the arch of the bridge and its supporting columns, with only a snippet of the downtown skyline visible on through the bridge: 1. Still visible more than a century later the Sunset Coffee Building was completed in 1910 as Wm D. Cleveland & Sons Wholesale Grocery building. It was renovated in 2014-2016 as the capstone of a revitalization of the Allen's Landing Park; 2. The tall building on the left is the Harris County Civil Justice Center, a 13 story government building completed in 2005; 3. The white grid building above Sunset Coffee is another civil institution, the seven-story Harris County Family Law Center, finished in 1969; 4. Above that is Catalyst (Marquette Place), a 28 floor structure completed in 2017; 5. In the distance just to the left is the 30-story Mariott Marquis Houston, an upscale hotel with its famous Texas-shaped rooftop pool, completed in 2016.
Postmarked 23 January 1911; Houston, Tex
Stamp: 1c Green Ben Franklin #374
To: Mr W. E. Jones
Message: We are having a fine trip the weather is real summer time, we are in love with Texas.
Maude M Gentle
Maude Magness married John William Gentle on 7 January 1911, so when she mailed this postcard she was a newlywed of 2 weeks and 2 days. Their trip to Houston was a honeymoon for them, and apparently a pleasant relief from cold Missouri weather. She directed the card to William E. Jones, editor and newspaper publisher, so she may have hoped he would enter a note on their travels in the Frankford local paper.
John Gentle was a druggist and farmer, 57 years old when he married for the second time. His first wife by whom he had raised his family of three children, Mary “Mollie” died in 1908, so when he remarried he had been a widower for more than two years.
Maude Magness was 32 when she married John Gentle, having spent the previous 11 years after the death of her father in the household of her sister Florence and brother-in-law Enos Hostetter in Frankford. Her father Alexander Magness died in 1900, a downtown merchant in the small town of 700 citizens, as were Enoch Hostetter and John Gentle. Maude was the 8th child in a large family of four boys and four girls, one sister living only 15 months until 1874, a brother dying in 1895 at 27 years.
After 14 years of marriage James Gentle died in 1925 and is buried in Fairview Cemetery in Frankford. Forty six years a widow without children of her own, Maude died in 1971 at 92 years of age. She is buried in the same cemetery as her husband and most of her Magness family members.
From Dowling 6179675694
“The Carnival” was a typical cotton carnival similar to those held in many Southern cities of the day. In Houston it was held every November from 1899 until 1915 as an opening ceremony for The Gulf Coast Industrial Exposition highlighting agricultural and horticultural products manufactured in Texas. The week-long event was similar to Mardi Gras in New Orleans, with activities centered on the fantasy that King Nottoc [cotton spelled backwards] emerged from Buffalo Bayou to rule over the Court of Mirth in the city of No-Tsu-Oh [Houston spelled backwards], the capitol city of Tekram [Market spelled backwards]. The festival was highly anticipated, especially by young people, whose quiet small-town lives were interrupted by parades down Main Street and various balls, dinners, and church events designed to safely bring youths together.