One of Houston’s most notable Black neighborhoods, Dowling Street is always worth a visit for its historical importance. It is the hub of the Third Ward. There are many blocks of sturdy brick houses that recall days when the area was home to a solid base of middleclass and working-class homeowners. It was also the prosperous business center of the Third Ward.
A number of historic sites remain. Emancipation Park is located on this street. The El Dorado Building on Dowling and Elgin used to jump to the sounds of big bands in the first half of the 20th Century. It was a regular venue on the Chitlin Circuit. In the 1950s and 60s, when the city was a hotbed of Civil Rights activity, this area was the locus of activity.
Eldrewey Stearns, George Washington, Jr., Hamah King and others plotted civil rights strategy that successfully desegregated the most of the city. Their base of operations was 2106 Dowling Street. Wesley Chapel AME Church at 2209 Dowling Street was designed by one of the countries first African American architects, William Sidney Pittman.
Today, Dowling Street is dowdy, but still home to a number of Black churches, business and a youth boxing center and a very good restaurant, Soul on the Bayeaux. Given its proximity to downtown, anticpate more redevelopment on Historic Dowling Street. From Downtown, Dowling Street begins just south of I-45 Freeway and extends to Wheeler Street.