The Battle Over Zoning by galvnews

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                 The"Battle"over"Zoning":""Galveston’s"Hot6Button"Issue"

                                            1927"6"1937"

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Throughout"the"1920s"local"issues,"especially"those"earlier"espoused"by"the"Women’s"Health"
Protective"Association"(WHPA)"became"fodder"for"the"League"of"Women"Voters"as"women"
learned"to"flex"their"political"muscle"and"take"on"Galveston’s"city"commissioners"who"found"
themselves"kowtowing"to"the"women’s"voting"strength.""Beautification,"sanitation"and"public"
health"required"constant"vigilance.""The"women"even"showed"that"city"finances"and"such"things"
as"gas"rates"mattered.""Perhaps"the"hottest"issue"the"women"faced"in"Galveston,"because"it"
embodied"beautification,"sanitation,"public"health"and"morality"was"zoning,"a"relatively"boring"
subject"dealing"with"land"use,"height"and"density"of"buildings."""

In"the"South,"zoning"became"a"tool"of"those"wishing"to"enforce"racial"segregation.""When"the"
ladies"of"the"League"of"Women"Voters"decided"in"1924"to"lobby"the"Texas"legislature"to"pass"
enabling"legislation"allowing"cities"to"pass"zoning"ordinances,"there"is"little"indication,"however,"
that"segregation"or"as"it"was"called"“Jim"Crow”"was"driving"the"bus.""Elizabeth"Hayes"Turner"
devotes"considerable"attention"to"the"role"or"position"of"African6American"women"in"Galveston"
during"the"Progressive"period"1880"to"1920.""She"and"Izola"Ethel"Fedford"Collins"who"wrote"
Island'of'Color:'Where'Juneteenth'Started,"noted"the"progress"made"by"the"African6American"
community,"men"and"women,"to"build"and"support"their"own"businesses,"and"educational,"
fraternal,"social,"civic"and"religious"institutions,"building"a"solid"middle"class"that"withstood"the"
separate"but"not"equal"status"forced"on"African6Americans"in"Galveston"from"1906,"when"the"
streetcars"were"segregated"against"city"commissioner"I."H."Kempner’s"wishes,"for"the"next"fifty"
years."

Turner"wrote"disturbingly:"

               No"doubt,"the"issue"of"race"and"ethnicity"could"have"entered"the"dialogue"
               between"the"WHPA"and"the"community.""But"it"did"not.""The"women"did"not"use"
               racist"rhetoric"to"underscore"the"need"for"improved"sanitation,"and"in"only"one"
               instance"did"they"mention"an"Italian"shopkeeper,"who"seemed"disgruntled"by"
               their"inspection."…Equally"interesting"is"the"fact"that"black"businesses"did"not"
               come"in"for"separate"criticism,"nor,"on"the"other"hand,"was"any"protest"racist"by"
               the"WHPA"against"the"segregating"of"public"transportation"that"began"in"
               Galveston"in"1906.""Was"there"some"code"of"decorum"that"simply"did"not"allow"
               white"women"to"mention"race"or"race"relations?""Was"it"their"way"of"drawing"the"

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               color"line,"treating"with"silence"a"segment"of"the"population"that"historically"had"
               always"been"among"the"residents?""The"answers"are"elusive.""

1927%

Thanks"to"strenuous"lobbying"efforts"of"the"League"of"Women"Voters,"the"40th"Texas"legislature"
in"1927"passed"enabling"legislation"allowing"local"governments"to"pass"zoning"ordinances.""
Galveston’s"population"was"growing,"noticeably"filling"alley"shanties.""Whole"new"businesses"
surrounding"the"fueling"and"servicing"of"automobiles"were"demanding"space"on"Broadway,"so"
zoning"had"become"a"hot"issue"pitting"private"property"rights"against"growing"concern"for"land"
use,"development,"and"an"awakening"awareness"of"public"interest"in"health,"sanitation,"social"
welfare"and"environmental"concerns.""A"Galveston"News"editorial"published"June"24,"1927"
provides"details:"

“GALVESTON"SHOULD"PROFIT"BY"THE"NEW"ZONING"ACT.”"

        Authority"long"and"earnestly"sought"by"a"number"of"our"rapidly"growing"Texas"cities"is"
        conferred"in"the"zoning"law"passed"by"the"regular"session"of"the"fortieth"legislature,"
        which"became"effective"a"few"days"ago.""If"the"law"stands"the"constitutional"test,"as"its"
        advocaters"confidently"believe"it"will,"it"bids"fair"to"become"the"magna"charta"of"city"
        planning"in"Texas.""."."."

        The"law"is"an"enabling"statute,"giving"cities"and"incorporated"villages"power"to"pass"
        ordinances"creating"districts"and"prescribing"the"character"of"development"to"be"
        permitted"in"such"districts.""Its"purpose"is"concisely"stated"in"section"3"of"the"law"itself:"

        Such"regulations"(regulations"passed"by"the"local"legislative"body)"shall"be"made"in"
        accordance"with"a"comprehensive"plan"and"designed"to"lessen"congestion"in"the"streets;"
        to"secure"safety"from"fire,"panic"and"other"dangers;"to"promote"health"and"the"general"
        welfare;"to"provide"adequate"light"and"air;"to"prevent"the"overcrowding"of"land;"to"avoid"
        undue"concentration"of"population;"to"facilitate"the"adequate"provision"of"
        transportation,"water,"sewage,"schools,"parks"and"other"public"requirements."."."."

        The"first"step"necessary"for"taking"advantage"of"the"act"is"for"the"local"legislative"body"to"
        appoint"a"zoning"commission,"to"which"shall"be"delegated"the"duty"of"recommending"
        the"boundaries"of"the"various"zoning"districts"and"promulgating"regulations"to"be"
        enforced"in"each.""The"board"must"make"a"preliminary"report"and"hold"public"hearings"
        before"submitting"its"final"report.""A"board"of"adjustment"is"also"provided"for,"with"the"
        power"to"make"special"exceptions"to"the"zoning"ordinance"where"conditions"justify"it.""
        The"entire"procedure,"in"fact,"is"carefully"outlined"with"a"view"of"carrying"out"the"


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        purpose"of"city"planning"without"violating"the"basic"rights"of"property"owners,"and"thus"
        running"foul"of"the"constitution."."."."

"

        ""

The"News"might"have"been"correct"in"its"historical"account,"but"not"in"its"expectation"that"“a"
commission"will"be"functioning"within"a"short"time.”""In"hundreds"of"American"cities"zoning"was"
readily"accepted.""But"not"in"Galveston.""Not"at"the"same"time"that"the"economy"was"sliding"into"
depression,"unemployment"was"mounting"and"economic"gains"made"by"working"and"middle"
class"whites"and"blacks"during"the"1920s"were"slipping"away.""Jim"Crow"still"had"some"crowing"
to"do"and"zoning"became"its"whipping"boy.""

By"the"time"zoning"had"finally"been"sanctioned"by"the"Texas"legislature,"it"had"already"been"
widely"adopted"in"other"states"as"a"method"of"segregating"the"races,"even"though"the"U.S."
Supreme"Court"in"1917,"in"Buchanan'v.'Worley,"unanimously"declared"unconstitutional"a"
Louisville,"Kentucky"zoning"ordinance"on"the"grounds"that"its"purpose"was"racial"segregation"
and"an"expression"of"racial"hostility.""Undeterred,"Southern"cities"found"ways"around"the"ruling.""
Galveston"was"late"to"the"game.""But"over"the"ten"year"period,"1927"–"1937,"it"perfected"a"
strategy"of"delay,"of"advance"and"retreat"that"resulted"in"further"urban"decay"and"civic"
demoralization."

Upon"the"urging"of"the"League"of"Women"Voters,"headed"at"the"time"by"Mrs."Brantly"Harris,"the"
board"of"city"commissioners,"at"their"last"meeting"of"the"year"on"December"29,"1927"passed"an"
ordinance"drawn"up"by"City"Attorney"Brian"F."Williams"providing"for"a"zoning"commission"made"
up"of"five"members,"serving"without"salary,"for"a"maximum"of"two"years.""It"was"understood"
that"Mrs."Brantly"Harris"would"be"one"of"those"members,"representative"of"the"League"of"
Women"Voters,"the"major"body"pushing"for"zoning"in"the"city"and"the"state."

1928"

The"New"Year"began"on"a"hopeful"note"for"the"women"who"had"sustained"their"efforts"to"
secure"zoning"for"Galveston.""But"it"soon"dawned"on"them"that"an"ordinance"allowing"for"a"
zoning"commission"to"be"formed"was"not"the"same"thing"as"actually"forming"or"naming"the"
commissioners"and"setting"them"to"work.""Word"spread"that"Mayor"J."E."Pearce"could"not"find"
five"worthy"citizens"willing"to"serve."

On"March"28,"1928"the"News"ran"an"editorial:""“Wanted:"Citizens"To"Serve"On"The"Zoning"
Commission”""Granting"that"the"duties"of"the"commission"would"be"time"consuming,"requiring"
“members"ot"assume"a"heavy"burden"of"work"and"responsibility"for"which"there"would"be"no"


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monetary"compensation”"the"News"insisted"“nothing"is"more"important"to"the"city’s"future"than"
the"application"of"scientific"zoning.”"

Like"whistling"into"the"wind,"the"News"on"November"13,"1928"ran"another"editorial"urging"the"
appointment"of"a"zoning"commission:""Recognizing"the"strength"of"the"women"and"their"civic"
organizations,"the"editorial""called"on"the"women’s"groups"to"come"up"with"a"slate"of"candidates"
to"serve,"even"if"it"turned"out"to"be"all"women.""Whatever"the"solution,"the"News"insisted"that"
“zoning"is"so"indispensable"to"the"orderly"development"of"a"modern"city"that"the"effort"to"
achieve"its"benefits"for"Galveston"can"not"be"given"up"until"every"resource"is"exhausted.”"

1929%

Jeane"Kempner"was"thrust"into""a""leading"role"in"Galveston’s"zoning""when"she"spoke"as"the"
State"President"of"the"League"to"a"citizen"luncheon"given"at"Gaido’s"sponsored"by"the"Women’s"
Civic"League"and"the"Galveston"Chamber"of"Commerce.""While"the"main"speaker"was"Mr."
Gardner"S."Rogers,"representing"the"United"States"Chamber"of"Commerce"who"was"to"speak"on"
“Architecture,"Landscaping"and"the"City"Beautiful,”"Jeane"Kempner"spoke"for"local"involvement.""
She"was"directly"quoted"extensively"in"the"News:"

        If"Galveston"is"to"continue"as"a"‘city"beautiful’"and"to"hold"its"foremost"rank"with"other"
        cities"of"the"South,"it"must"be"alert"and"progressive,"as"other"cities"which"have"adopted"
        broad6minded"and"well6studied"plans"and"zoning"ordinances.”"

        The"subject"of"zoning"is"not"without"deep"interest"to"us"in"Galveston"for"Galveston"was"
        one"of"the"very"first"cities"in"the"South"laid"out"and"built"with"a"definite"city"plan"by"one"
        of"its"founders,"Michael"B."Menard….The"beautiful"wide"streets,"parks"and"the"like"were"
        incorporated"in"the"simple"plan"for"Galveston"in"the"early"days."

The"News"concluded"its"article"with"her"remarks:"

        ‘Through"the"influence"of"the"League"of"Women"Voters,"an"ordinance"was"passed"in"
        Galveston"in"1928"permitting"zoning.”"She"said."“A"committee"representing"the"League"
        of"Women"Voters"appeared"before"the"city"commission"asking"that"a"zoning"commission"
        be"appointed"for"the"purpose"of"making"a"complete"study"and"survey"of"the"city"of"
        Galveston."

        This"is"where"the"matter"rests"today,"the"city"commission"having"failed"to"appoint"such"a"
        commission.”""She"continued.""“Our"mayor"tells"us"he"is"unable"to"find"a"sufficient"
        number"of"qualified"citizens"who"are"willing"to"serve"on"such"a"commission.""So"much"
        has"been"accomplished"in"Galveston"before"that"it"is"hard"to"believe"that"anything"so"
        important"as"this"is"impossible.”"


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       “We"have"not"lost"courage"but"we"do"need"the"weight"of"public"opinion"to"aid"us"in"
       having"the"commissioners"of"the"city"of"Galveston"realize"that"this"most"important"
       matter"is"necessary"for"the"protection"of"the"home,"for"no"property"owner"can"feel"safe"
       in"the"absence"of"proper"zoning"regulations,"and"no"regulations"are"possible"until"we"
       have"an"able"zoning"commission."""We"know"of"a"number"of"property"owners"who"today"
       must"stand"helplessly"by"and"submit"to"undesirable"encroachments.""We"cannot"
       eliminate"the"mistakes"of"the"past,"but"we"can"guard,"by"proper"zoning,"against"mistakes"
       in"the"future.""""

       if"Galveston"is"to"continue"as"a"“city"beautiful”""and"to"hold"its"foremost"rank"with"other"
       cities"of"the"South,"it"must"be"alert"and"progressive,"as"other"cities"which"have"adopted"
       broad6minded"and"well6studied"city"plans"and"zoning"ordinances.”""

%%

On"March"1,"1929,"The"Galveston"Daily"News"drew"a"line"in"the"sand"in"an"editorial"calling"for"a"
“Showdown"on"the"Zoning"Commission.”""It"bears"quoting:"

       Galveston"is"undergoing"a"revival"of"interest"in"the"subject"of"city"zoning.""Within"the"
       past"ten"days"the"citizenship"school"conducted"by"the"League"of"Women"Voters"and"the"
       address"of"Gardner"S."Rogers"have"sharply"focused"public"attention"on"Galveston’s"
       deplorable"backwardness"in"this"essential"of"modern"city"development.""Galveston"is"
       backward,"as"everyone"conversant"with"what"is"going"on"in"other"Texas"cities"must"
       realize.""Yet"there"is"scarcely"a"city"in"Texas"where"the"need"for"intelligent"city"planning"is"
       more"urgent"or"the"opportunity"more"promising.""What"is"happening"in"Galveston"
       through"the"absence"of"zoning"regulations"is"apparent"on"every"hand.""We"venture"to"
       say"that"every"well6informed"citizen"will"admit"that"Galveston"ultimately"will"be"obliged"
       to"adopt"such"regulations.""But"when?"

       Galveston"has"a"way"of"dallying"with"a"modern"idea"while"other"cities"are"proceeding"
       with"its"execution.""That"is"precisely"what"is"happening"in"the"case"of"zoning.""Possibly"
       this"would"not"be"true"if"the"citizenship"in"general"shared"the"lively"interest"of"the"
       women’s"organizations.""The"chief"and"almost"the"only"active"protagonists"of"zoning"
       have"been"a"group"of"progressive"women,"aided"by"the"Galveston"newspapers.""It"seems"
       we"must"rely"upon"these"women"to"carry"the"idea"forward."

       Fifteen"months"ago"the"city"commission"adopted"a"preliminary"zoning"ordinance"
       providing"for"the"creation"of"a"zoning"commission.""The"commission"has"not"been"
       appointed"and"there"is"nothing"to"indicate"when"it"will"be.""Until"it"is"appointed,"zoning"
       must"remain"at"a"standstill.""It"seems"to"the"News"that"patience"has"ceased"to"be"a"


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        virtue.""We"suggest"that"representatives"of"the"interested"organizations"appear"at"the"
        next"meeting"the"city"commission"and"call"for"a"showdown.""

%

1930%

Throughout"1930,"The"News"continued"to"prod"the"city"commission"to"act,"carrying"an"article"
reporting"progress"made"nationally"by"advocates"of"zoning.""Seventy6seven"municipalities"
passed"ordinances"in"1930,"but"Galveston"wasn’t"among"them.""It"stressed"that"smaller"
communities"were"passing"zoning"so"that"as"they"expand"they"could"avoid"incompatible"uses.%

1931"

The"Chamber"of"Commerce"in"a"full"page"advertisement"on"May"29,"1931"announced"its"
“United"Galveston"Expansion"Program.”""Among"items"called"for"were:""

        to"study"the"subject"of"city"zoning"looking"toward"the"eventual"solution"of"many"of"our"
        problems,"among"which"are:"segregation"of"the"races;"proper"location"of"and"method"
        for"a"garbage"disposal"plant;"ultimate"removal"of"unsightly"existing"buildings;"passing"of"
        an"ordinance"requiring"construction"of"sidewalks"on"all"paved"streets;"extension"of"our"
        city"limits;"modern"street"lighting"system;"equalization"of"taxable"values"on"real"estate.""
        To"consider"the"project"of"the"Seawall"Westward"to"protect"our"municipal"park"and"
        airport.""To"assist"in"all"wok"of"city"beautification"and"to"assist"in"the"securing"of"a"
        municipal"landscape"architect"and"an"experienced"park"superintendent."

Jeane"Kempner"and"her"allies"looked"to"the"Chamber"of"Commerce"to"provide"the"weight"of"
public"opinion"to"force"the"commission"to"appoint"a"committee"and"to"at"least"study"the"subject"
of"zoning.""

The"opponents"of"zoning"were"not"idle."Opposition"mounted"as"the"real"estate"interests"
gathered"their"wits"to"counter"attack"zoning"by"attaching"to"it"not"only"the"property"rights"red"
herring","but"also"the"highly"explosive"race"issue.""They"argued"that"if"Galveston"was"going"to"
have"any"zoning"ordinances,"those"ordinances"must"call"for"segregation"of"the"races.""The"
cruelly"ironic"twist"to"the"realtors’"argument"was"the"contention"that"zoning"without"attention"
to"segregating"the"races,"would"perpetuate"and"be"harmful"to"the"black"population"that"lived"in"
Galveston’s"alleys"who"would"be"better"served"by"being"provided"separate"parts"of"town"in"
which"they"could"reside"in"less"cramped"and"unsanitary"conditions."

Ellen"Beasley"has"done"a"masterful"study"of"Galveston"alleys"entitled"The'Alleys'and'Back'
Buildings'of'Galveston:'an'Architectural'and'Social'History.""She"portrays"the"quaintness"and"
dignity"that"many"alley"dwellers"displayed"as"they"made"a"hovel"into"a"home.""But"she"also""

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cited"the"findings"of"the"Report"made"by"Dr."James"Persons"Simonds,"chief"of"the"laboratory"of"
Preventive"Medicine"at"the"University"of"Texas"Medical"Branch,"in"1913"which"decried"the"filth,"
crime,"disease,"overcrowding"and"conditions"in"the"fifth"ward"that"were"“disgusting"beyond"
expression.”""The"city"commission"did"take"some"steps"to"enforce"some"sanitation"laws,"and"
conditions"undoubtedly"improved"during"the"1920s.""But"still,""beyond"the""quaint"there"was"the"
painful"and"the"poignant"truth"expressed"by"Gerald"Clouser"who"was"born"in"1927"and"
described"conditions"as"he"knew"them"to"be"in"the"l930s:"

       Here"is"how"we"lived.""I"mean,"it"was"so"far"below"standard"it"was"pitiful."".".".""

       During"the"Depression,"and"I’m"talking"about"all"the"way"up"to"1940"or"’41,"people"who"
       were"employed"and"had"a"little"education"and"a"little"clout"and"any"industrial"job,"could"
       have"black"servants"for"$2"a"week"and,"of"course,"many"of"them"did.""And,"of"course,"the"
       black"servants"used"to"say,"“Well,"I"got"to"stay"in"that"house"because"for"$2"a"week"I"
       can’t"live"anywhere"else"and"ride"the"trolley"or"walk"to"this"work.”""And"many"of"them"
       wanted"the"black"servants"to"be"what"you"call"live6in"servants,"on"call"all"the"time"and"
       everything"else.""So"the"black"servants"used"to"want"to"live"on"the"premises"and"be"
       connected"to"their"utilities.""And,"of"course,"some"of"these"back"houses"had"inside"
       toilets,"but"most"of"them"didn’t"have"a"bathtub"in"them."."."."

       There"was"a"lot"of"prostitution,"gambling"joints,"and"fish"fry"houses"–"just"any"kind"of"
       hustling"you"could"come"up"with"in"these"alleys.""Black"and"white,"and"transient"rooms,.".""
       I"can"remember"little"home"laundries"in"the"alleys."."."."They’d"have"about"five"tubs:""you"
       wash;"then"you"boil;"then"you"washed"and"rubbed;"then"you"went"to"this"one,"that’s"first"
       rinse;"second"rinse,"don’t"forget"bluing"was"used;"then,"finally,"the"last"one"was"clean"
       rinse.""Well,"that’s"the"biggest"problem"with"the"home"laundry"–where"to"throw"the"
       water.""So"many"of"those"yards"kind"of"looked"like"an""old"mud"slop"place,"but"some"of"
       the"people"built"trenches"and"channeled"it"all"out"to"a"drain."

       Everything"had"a"odor.""All"those"old"outhouses"had"a"odor.""And"the"sulphur.""And"
       people"used"to"burn"rags"and"sulphur"to"run"the"flies"and"mosquitoes"away.""And"they"
       was"always"cooking"with"hog"lard.""That"had"a"odor.""."."."."

       My"father"did"that"survey"trying"to"prove"to"the"world"that"Galveston,"one"of"the"oldest"
       entry"cities"of"the"Texas"coast"…"had"the"worst"slum"in"the"world"for"us.""He"was"trying"to"
       disprove"this"old"myth"you"could"hear"from"time"to"time,"people"say,"“Galveston"was"
       always"different"from"other"places.""We"got"along"good"here.""Blacks"did"fine"here.""Blah,"
       blah,"blah,"blah,"blah.”""Well,"we"didn’t"have"plantations"here"and,"of"course,"that"made"
       some"people"think"we"were"better"off."



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"
Texas"Governor"R."B."Sterling""in"October"1931"invited"Jeane"to"attend"a"meeting""to"be"held"in"
the"House"of"Representatives"at"the""Capitol"to"address"the"growing"unemployment"situation"in"
the"State.""The"next"month,"the"President"of"the"United"States"invited"Jeane"to"attend"the"
meeting"of"the"President’s"Conference"on"Home"Building"and"Home"Ownership"to"convene"in"
Washington"December"2nd"to"5th."."%

In"November"1931"the"State"League"of"Women"Voters"convention"was"held"in"Galveston.""Jeane""
Kempner"was"no"longer"president"but"did"serve"on"the"State"Board.""As"the"Depression"
deepened,"she"and"the"League"turned"their"attention"to"the"needs"of"the"unemployed"and"
exploitation"of"women"and"child"labor.""Closely"tied"to"these"issues"was"the"attendant"lack"of"
proper"sanitation"and"decent"housing"available"to"the"improvised.""On"November"10,"Jeane"
attended"a"meeting"of"the"mayor’s"committee"on"unemployment"chaired"by"Owen"D."Barker.""
Rabbi"Cohen"was"a"member"and"in"charge"of"compiling"a"list"and"situational"study"of"
Galveston’s"unemployed.""At"the"meeting,"a"call"for"was"made"for"“an"ordinance"prohibiting"
renting"of"unsanitary"residences"and"residences"not"equipped"with"toilet"and"bath.”""This"
ordinance"would"also"address"problems"of"unemployment,"since"work"would"be"had"bringing"
conditions"up"to"acceptable"standards.""This"was"an"approach"to"issues"that"bordered"on"zoning"
without"explicitly"igniting"the"race"issue."

The"two"explosive"forces,"zoning"and"segregation,"met"on"the"battlefield"now"known"as"Lasker"
Park.""The""Galveston"Daily"News"on"Friday,"November"13,"1931"carried"an"article"about"the"City"
Commission’s"decision"to"purchase"land"between"41st"and"43th"streets"between"O"1/2"and"Q"½"
for"the"purpose"of"locating"a"Negro"Park,"thus"catapulting"zoning"and"segregation"into"a"
struggle"that"had"been"simmering"for"months,"if"not"years,"between"white"citizens"protesting"
property"rights"and"black’s"seeking"human"rights."""

Proponents"of"Galveston’s"beautification"and"sanitation"requirements"represented"by"Jeane"
Kempner"found"themselves"in"the"middle"of"a"nasty,"emotionally"charged"battle"to"use"the"
zoning"ordinances"as"a"means"to"enforce"or"re6enforce"segregation.""Ironically,"before"the"land"
in"question"was"purchased"by"the"City"for"a"park,"it"was"being"considered"as"a"Negro"subdivision"
as"Dr."R"H."Stanton"owned"several"of"the"lots."Stanton"was"also"considered"by"political"insiders"
to"be"influential"with"the"City"Party"largely"influenced"by"I."H."Kempner"and"the"Sealy’s".""The"
opposition"charged"that"the"majority"on"the"commission"who"voted"to"purchase"the"property"
did"so"with"an"eye"to"shoring"up"black"voter"support.""This"could"not"have"sat"well"with"the"
white"citizens"who"occupied"the"majority"of"houses"which"were"located"to"the"east"of"the"
designated"park"area,"with"fifty"houses"occupied"by"whites"and"twenty6four"by"blacks."

Much"like"the"expansion"of"the"United"States"brought"about"the"clash"between"States"rights"
and"popular"sovereignty,"which"led"the"struggle"over"whether"Kansas"was"to"enter"the"union"as"
a"free"state"or"slave"state,"the"westward"movement"of"Galveston’s"population"brought"the"issue"

                                                                                               8"
"
of"land"use"and"segregation"to"the"boiling"point"over"the"question"of"whether"the"park"on"42nd"
and"P"was"going"to"be"for"negroes"or"whites.""Seeking"to"avoid"the"political"fall6out,"the"Mayor"
and"the"city"commission"had"stalled"for"almost"three"years,"Mayor"Jack"E."Pearce"claiming"he"
could"find"no"one"willing"to"serve"on"a"city"zoning"commission.""

The"Chamber"of"Commerce"grew"tired"of"waiting.""That"same"November,"Friday"13,"1931"paper"
included"a"short"article"on"page"9"announcing"that:"

       Judge"Charles"G."Dibrell"was"elected"chairman"of"the"zoning"committee"of"the"Galveston"
       Chamber"of"Commerce"at"an"organization"meeting"held"Thursday"afternoon."

       No"definite"action"toward"applying"the"recent"zoning"ordinance,"passed"by"the"City"
       commission,"in"Galveston"was"taken,"but"problems"and"aspects"of"the"proposed"
       improvement"were"discussed.""It"is"explained"that"the"committee"will"meet"weekly"
       hereafter."

       The"zoning"committee"is"a"recently"established"branch"of"the"civic"activities"committee"
       of"the"chamber,"of"which"Owen"D."Barker"is"chairman.""The"purpose"of"the"
       subcommittee"is"to"determine"on"the"advisability"of"applying"zoning"ordinances"in"
       Galveston"

Another"article"in"the"Friday"13th"issue"stirred"the"pot"even"more"with"news"that"the"popular"
and"influential"Galveston"Booster"Club"had"weighed"in"with"its"stand"against"the"negro"park"and"
for"zoning.""The"club"was"presented"two"approaches,"one"a"cool6headed"proposal"by"Ben"J."Peek"
and"the"other,""a"hot6headed"harangue"by"realtor"Valery"E."Austin"strongly"condemning"the"city"
commission’s"proposed"location"of"the"park,"stating"that"“The"time"has"come"when"negro"
domination"of"the"city"must"end.”""Mr."Austin"“"deplored"the"lack"of"systematic"zoning"and"race"
segregation.”"

Under"same"cover,"The"News"reported"that"opponents"of"the"park"had"formed"into"a"citizens"
committee"headed"by"attorney"H."H."Treaccar"with"A."J."Moseley"in"charge"of"a"petition"drive"to"
convince"the"Commission"to"select"another"site"for"the"negro"park"and"make"the"park"in"
question"one"for"the"whites.""Mass"meetings"were"held"and"the"decision"made"to"threaten"to"
“call"an"election"in"the"matter"if"the"Board"refused"to"act"favorably"on"the"petition.”"""

The"following"month,"on"December6,"1931"the"paper"displayed"a"zoning"plan"put"forth"by"Ben"
Peek,"providing"for"residential,"commercial"and"segregated"districts,"concentrating"blacks"to"the"
area"north"of"Broadway"and"west"of"25th"streets,"between"F"and"I"and"in"the"east"end,"A"to"C,"
from"13th"to"17th"streets.""The"paper"said"that"“referring"to"the"establishment"of"the"negro"park,"
Mr."Peek"declared"that"now"is"the"time"to"decide"on"its"location,"so"that"neither"race"infringes"
upon"the"other.”"

                                                                                                    9"
"
On"the"9th"of"December"the"News"reported"that"the"Women’s"Civic"League"under"the"leadership"
of"Mrs."Benno"Sproule"had"appointed"a"committee"“empowered"to"call"upon"the"zoning"
committee"of"the"Chamber"of"Commerce"and"other"organizations"to"confer"with"the"boards"in"
the"matter"of"zoning.”""Mrs."Sproule"declared"that"“The"Civic"League"should"be"forceful"in"
effecting"such"a"law.”""This"most"certainly"was"a"relief"to"Jeane"Kempner,"to"know"that"she"
would"have"the"strong"backing"of"Galveston’s"most"democratically"and"broadly"based"woman’s"
organization"supporting"her"and"the"League"of"Women"Voters.""Perhaps"as"a"return"favor,"Jeane"
accepted"appointment"to"the"Civic"League’s"finance"committee.""Another"item"of"business"they"
could"all"agree"on"was"the"placement"of"a"granite"tablet"on"a"bronze"base"in"memory"of"Miss"
Anna"Maxwell"Jones.""

As"the"temperature"grew"colder,"the"zoning/segregation"embroilment"grew"hotter,"when"on"
December"12th"the"Daily"News"carried"two"front"page"stories:"“Zoning"Law"Action"and"
Segregation"of"Races"Here"Sought,”"and"“People’s"Vote"on"Negro"Park"Site"Asked"in"Petition:"
Vote"is"Mandatory"Unless"City"Board"Changes"Negro"Playground"Location.”""The"die"had"been"
cast"and"the"issues"drawn."

The"Galveston"Booster’s"Club"approved"a"resolution"drawn"up"by"Valery"E."Austin,"chairman,"
with"Henry"W."Flagg"and"J.H."Yergan,"Jr.,"which"called"for"swifter"action"on"zoning"and"for"
“much"needed"zoning"laws"as"may"be"found"adoptable"and"needed,"which"laws"should"embrace"
lawful"and"equitable"segregation"of"the"races"in"their"social,"recreational"and"pleasure"activities"
and"otherwise.”"

Petition"signatures"were"easy"to"secure"with"3,684"registered"voters"calling"for"the"city"
commission"to"change"the"proposed"park"site"to"a"white"park"and"to"select"a"site"north"of"I"and"
west"of"29th"for"a"Negro"park"and"playground.""Citizens"were"reminded"that"“for"the"first"time"
since"the"charter"amendment"the"initiative"and"referendum"was"voted"in"May,"1920,"citizens"of"
Galveston"are"asserting"their"prerogative"of"direct"legislation."“"""

H."H."Treaccar,"president"of"the"Galveston"Taxpayers’"Association"and"A."J."Moseley,"chairman"
of"the"Citizens’"Petition"Committee"were"chiefly"responsible"for"securing"and"filing"the"
necessary"papers.""When"Mayor"Pearce"tried"to"refer"the"petition"to"the"City"Attorney"for"his"
perusal,"Treaccar"curtly"reminded"the"commission"that"the"citizens’"petition"does"not"belong"in"
the"hands"of"the"city"attorney,"but"goes"directly"to"the"city"secretary"for"certification.""Then"it"
must"be"acted"upon"in"a"timely"manner."

The"News"took"an"editorial"shot"at"the"Mayor"and"City"Commission"in"a"December"12,"1931"
criticizing"their"unwillingness"to"act"on"zoning"and"for"their"insensitivity"to"the"“principles"of"
zoning”"which"was"“evidenced"by"its"selection"of"a"negro"park"site"so"flagrantly"objectionable"



                                                                                                      10"
"
that"more"than"3,000"citizens"have"signed"petitions"demanding"a"change"of"plans"or"an"appeal"
to"the"electorate.”"

As"the"year"of"agitation"ended,"the"News"on"December"27th"presented"“Advantages"of"City"
Zoning"and"Widespread"Adoption"of"Plan,”"a"lengthy,"informative"discussion"by"E."A."Wood,"City"
Planning"and"Zoning"Engineer"for"Dallas"Texas,"presenting"the"fundamentals"of"zoning.""Zoning,"
he"said,"“deals"with"buildings"and"their"locations,"their"heights"and"their"areas.""It"does"not"have"
anything"to"do"with"the"style"of"architecture"or"the"color"of"its"inhabitants.”""He"conceded"that"
“It"regulates"the"number"of"occupants"and"therein"it"may"be"said"to"encroach"upon"the"subject"
of"housing.”""As"a"product"of"the"city’s"police"power"to"protect"the"health,"safety,"morals"and"
general"welfare"of"the"community,"he"explained,"zoning"often"might"interfere"with"an"
individual’s"freedom"for"the"good"of"the"whole.""This"latter"point"was"elaborated"further"in"
another"article"on"January"3,"1932,"by"the"same"authority"entitled,"“Legal"Side"of"City"Zoning"
and"Benefits"Derived"by"Systematic"Plan.”"

1932%

The"New"Year,"1932,"started"with"a"flurry"of"activity.""The"January"6th"paper"reported"that"the"
Civic"League"was"calling"for"“Immediate"Action”"on"zoning.""Its"committee"made"up"of"Jeane,"
Mrs."R."W."Rogers"and"Mrs."Charles"J."Stubbs"was"to"meet"with"the"League"of"Women"Voters"
and"The"Chamber"of"Commerce"committees.""Then"on"the"13th"the"News"announced"that"the"
Chamber"had"called"for"a"referendum"of"its"members"on"the"Chamber’s"Expansion"Program"
which"included"a"call"for"zoning.""On"January"21st"the"wording"of"the"Referendum"containing"the"
minority"report"by"Ben"Peck,"calling"for"segregation,"was"sent"through"the"mail"to"all"Chamber"
members"was"given"in"full":"

        “Referendum"Vote"of"C."of"C."Starts:""Zoning"and"Race"Segregation"Problems"Placed"
        Before"Membership.”""

        Owen"D."Barker,"chairman"of"the"civic"activities"committee"in"his"annual"report"stated:"
        ‘the"report"of"the"committee"on"zoning"covers"a"matter"of"extreme"importance"to"the"
        protection"of"property"values"and"the"future"development"of"our"city,"as"well"as"from"
        the"stand"point"of"public"health"and"safety,"and"the"recommendation"of"the"committee"
        should","therefore,"be"given"every"consideration.’"

        The"subcommittee"on"zoning"reports."

        ‘Our"investigation"leads"us"to"believe"that"zoning"is"not"only"an"expedient,"but"necessary"
        measure"to"insure"the"progress"and"prosperity"of"our"community"in"its"race"with"other"
        cities"of"Texas.""In"support"of"this"we"wish"to"call"attention"to"the"fact"that"Dallas,"Tex.,"
        has,"at"the"present"time"complete"zoning"ordinances"which"are"being"satisfactorily"

                                                                                                   11"
"
    enforced,"and"which"we"understand"have"received"the"sanction"of"our"highest"state"
    tribunal.’"

    ‘We"understand"that"other"cities"of"similar"size"and"importance"to"Galveston,"such"as"
    Waco,"Austin"and"Beaumont"at"the"present"time,"have"the"question"of"zoning"under"
    consideration"and"will"no"doubt"take"steps"to"place"same"in"effect"at"an"early"date."

    ‘We"further"find"that"the"City"of"Galveston"already"has"an"ordinance"providing"for"the"
    appointment"of"a"zoning"commission"which"is"the"first"step"forward"in"the"direction"of"
    ultimate"achievement"of"the"zoning"question."

    ‘In"view"of"the"above"your"subcommittee"recommends"as"follows:"

    1"""That"the"membership"of"the"Chamber"of"Commerce"take"such"immediate"action"by"
    the"adoption"of"resolutions"or"otherwise"to"expedite"and"encourage"the"immediate"
    appointment"of"an"active"zoning"commission"under"the"city"ordinance."

    2""""Owing"to"difficulty"having"been"encountered"in"the"past"in"securing"the"service"of"
    competent"personnel"to"serve"in"this"capacity,"we"urge"the"membership"of"the"Chamber"
    of"Commerce"to"pledge"itself"to"supply,"if"necessary"and"requested,"proper"persons,"
    qualified"and"competent,"to"serve"on"such"a"commission"under"appointment"by"the"
    proper"authority"or"authorities."

    3"""We"recommend"that"the"members"of"the"Chamber"of"Commerce""create"a"standing"
    committee"within"the"membership,"the"duties"of"which"will"be"to"investigate"all"matters"
    of"zoning,"to"make"recommendations"thereon"to"the"membership"and"in"emergency"to"
    take"such"steps"as"the"membership"may"see"fit"to"empower"said"committee"to"take."

    Minority"Report"

    1 “That"the"membership"of"the"Galveston"chamber"of"commerce"take"such"immediate"
      action"by"adoption"of"resolutions"or"otherwise"in"support"of"proper"‘segregation"of"
      races’"creating"a"standing"committee"within"the"membership,"the"duties"of"which"
      will"be"to"investigate"all"matters"pertaining"to"‘segregation"of"races,’"to"make"
      recommendations"to"the"membership"and"in"emergency"to"take"such"steps"as"the"
      membership"may"see"fit"to"empower"said"committee"to"take.”"

    2 “That"the"membership"of"the"Galveston"Chamber"of"Commerce"take"such"immediate"
      action"by"the"adoption"of"resolutions"or"otherwise"to"encourage"all"citizens"to"vote"
      Jan."27,"1932,"in"regard"to"the"referendum"ordinance"pertaining"to"the"‘proposed"
      negro"park.’”"


                                                                                             12"
"
       In"submitting"the"above"questions"to"the"membership"it"is"to"be"distinctly"understood"
       that"these"matters"are"presented"from"a"nonpartisan"and"nonpolitical"viewpoint"and"
       merely"to"secure"the"wishes"and"recommendations"of"the"membership,"as"the"majority"
       vote"will"definitely"commit"the"organization"as"to"its"stand"and"activities"on"these"
       questions."

       Members"may"vote"for"or"against"any"of"the"propositions."

The"News"provided"editorial"support"for"an"affirmative"vote"on"the"Chamber’s"referendum,"
stating"that"“In"our"opinion,"the"adoption"and"enforcement"of"intelligent,"reasonable"zoning"
regulations"is"among"Galveston’s"most"pressing"needs.""That"this"opinion"is"becoming"general"
among"progressive"citizens"is"attested"to"as"one"organization"after"another"takes"a"stand"for"
zoning.""The"Chamber"of"Commerce"can"add"powerfully"to"the"progressive"influence.”"

Another"News"article"under"the"same"date"contained"H.H."Treaccar’s"argument"against"the"
proposed"location"of"the"negro"park"“abutting"a"white"neighborhood.”""He"claimed:"

       We"are"trying"to"prevent"the"unwise"location"of"a"negro"park"in"a"predominately"white"
       area"and"at"the"same"time"provide"for"a"negro"park"that"will"be"adequately"equipped"
       and"where"they"can"really"enjoy"it.""If"the"negroes"see"fit"to"oppose"the"good"judgment"
       of"the"white"citizens"in"the"plan"to"avoid"ill"feeling"between"the"races,"then"they"are"to"
       blame"for"the"harm"they"will"do."

        We"ask"all"in"the"best"interest"of"the"City"of"Galveston"to"scratch"the"word"“Against”"on"
       the"ballot"Jan."27."

Tensions"and"tempers"mounted,"as"Treaccar"and"other"members"of"the"Citizens"Committee"
held"a"series"of"rallies"in"the"days"leading"up"to"the"city’s"first"referendum"vote."

Obviously"with"a"mayor"and"commission"unwilling"to"act"on"zoning"and"being"attacked"for"its"
proposed"park"plan,"the"highly"touted"”"Galveston"Plan”"or"commission"form"of"government","
the"model"of"which"had"swept"the"country"in"the"heyday"of"the"Progressive"Movement"earlier"
in"the"century"was"being"tested"as"never"before"by"its"own"citizens.""A"few"years"later,"in"the"
August"1937"issue"of"the"National'Municipal'Review,"an"article"by"I."H."Kempner,"titled"“The"
Drama"of"the"Commission"Plan,”"he"called"the"initiative,"referendum"and"recall"“populistic""
viruses,”"saying"that"they"were"“the"most"dangerous"and"seductive"brew"that"a"municipality"has"
ever"been"called"on"to"quaff.”""He"must"have"been"thinking"of"the"park6zoning6segregation"issue"
that"did"for"the"first"time"in"the"city’s"history"bring"usage"of"the"initiative"and"referendum"into"
play"involving"an"issue"so"explosive"that"tremors"are"still"being"felt."




                                                                                                 13"
"
The"Headline"for"Thursday,"December"28,"tells"the"story:""“Citizens"Veto"Negro"Park"Location/"
Area"Bought"by"City"Will"become"Park"for"Whites/"Two"–"to"–"One"Against"Park"for"Negroes"in"
White"Section.”"In"the"analysis"and"rehash"of"events,"the"paper"brought"out"the"salient"and"far6
reaching"6"point:"

       Proponents"of"the"ordinance"declared"that"its"passage"and"the"coincidental"defeat"of"
       negro"leaders’"attempts"to"dominate"city"affairs"was"the"first"step"toward"actual"
       segregation"of"the"races"here"and"inauguration"of"adequate"zoning."

%February"1932"marked"a"reprieve"in"the"heated"battles"over"zoning"and"segregation.""And"with"
good"reason.""It"being"Mardi"Gras,"a"season"for"frivolity."""%

In"early"March,"The"Chamber"of"Commerce"president"assigned"to"its"executive"committee"the"
task"of"selecting"the"five"member"slate"for"zoning"commission"to"be"submitted"to"the"Mayor"
and"City"Commission"for"their"approval"and"official"appointment"as"the"City’s"Zoning"
Commission,"according"to"the"earlier"ordinance"calling"for"a"commission"and"the"recent"
referendum"approving"the"Chamber’s"role"in"nominating"its"members.""""Although"it"received"
little"fanfare,"the"City"Commission"finally"on"March"17,"1932"voted"upon"the"recommendation"
of"Mayor"Pearce"to"appoint"the"Chamber’s"slate."

It"was"finally"official:""Jeane"Kempner"was"one"of"the"five"appointees.""The"others"were"John"
Hanna,"a"realtor"who"would"be"named"chairman,"Fred"M."Burton,"Maco"Stewart"and"Mrs."R."W."
Rogers,"Jeane’s"League"of"Women"Voters"sidekick.""Jeane"would"be"in"the"thick"of"it"–"a"nasty"
brew"picking"up"steam"as"frustrations"fermented"by"economic"woes"fed"the"racist"whites’"
hunger"for"a"victory."

"The"next"few"months,"the"zoning"commission"surveyed"the"city"and"studied"available"zoning"
plans"adopted"by"other"cities.""On"June"25,"1932"the"News"reported"that"the"zoning"commission"
had"requested"the"City"Commission"to"appropriate"$750.00"to"hire"E."A."Wood"the"Dallas"zoning"
and"city"planning"expert,"at"$50.00"a"day"and"travel"to"guide"the"zoning"commission"in"laying"
out"and"drawing""up"Galveston’s"zones.""The"services"of"a"city"engineer"would"also"be"required.""
Wood"outlined"for"the"City"Commission"a"simple"breakdown"of"zoning"into"three"districts,"1)"
residential,"restricted"to"houses"only,"2)"business,"which"could"also"include"residential,"3)"
industrial,"which"would"include"the"two"former"uses.""The"key"to"workability"and"enforcement"
would"rest"in"the"hands"of"a"board"of"adjustment"consisting"of"five"leading"citizens.""This"could"
be"achieved"by"passing"an"ordinance"in"accordance"with"state"statute"passed"in"1927.""There"
was"no"mention"of"segregation.""It"sounded"so"simple."

It"did"not"take"long"for"opposition"to"surface.""In"July,"Ben"Peek"who"had"drawn"up"his"own"
zoning"map"in"the"campaign"to"defeat"the"negro"park"and"who"had"inserted"the"Chamber"of""


                                                                                               14"
"
Commerce’s"minority"report"calling"for"segregation"that"passed"by"referendum"vote"of"the"
citizens,"called"upon"the"Chamber"to"again"take"a"stand"on"segregation."

Compounding"the"zoning"commission’s"progress,"the"Great"Depression"was"finally"taking"a"
significant"toll"on"the"citizens"and"the"city’s"coffers.""The"city"was"being"forced"to"cut"its"budget"
and"operating"costs.""It"could"only"squeeze"out"$300.00"for"zoning."

The"economy"became"so"shaky,"that"relief"for"the"growing"numbers"of"unemployed"citizens"
consumed"all"of"the"Kempner"family"members.""Still"involved"with"the"problems"of"
unemployment"and"relief"work,"in"November,"Jeane"spoke"in"favor"of"a"proposal"made"by""the"
Booster"Club"that"Galveston"employers"and"employees"“Share"–the6Work”"plan"of"“staggered"
employment.”"

Jeane"was"not"the"only"Kempner"involved"with"relief"and"unemployment.""Ike"had"been"
appointed,"along"with"George"Sealy,"W.L."Moody,"Jr."and"Fred"Catterall"to"a"national"relief"
committee"headed"by"Newton"D"Baker,"former"Secretary"of"War"under"President"Woodrow"
Wilson.""Hennie"had"her"hands"full"taking"a"lead"in"the"Community"Chest’s"efforts"to"help"
provide"relief"for"individuals"and"to"sustain"community"supports"citizens"urgently"needed.""

Meanwhile"H."H."Treaccar"wearing"his"Galveston"Taxpayer"Association"hat"issued"a"scathing"and"
unfounded"indictment"at"the"Kempners"claiming"they"had"avoided"paying"any"taxes"on"the"
United"States"National"Bank"Building"from"1923"through"1931,"calling"for"the"“county"
commissioners"court"and"the"county"tax"assessor"to"declare"delinquent"‘the"unassessed"and"
untaxed"valuation"of"$500,000"of"the"bondholders"of"the"United"States"National"Building"
Company.’”""Furthermore,"Treaccar"attacked"city"commissioner"of"finance"and"revenue,"A."J."
Peterson"on"several"accounts:""claiming"that"Peterson"was"“an"officer"of"the"United"States"
National"Bank"and"a"stockholder"in"it,"which"is"also"one"of"the"city"depositories,"and"that"
therefore"he"is"not"eligible"to"hold"city"office.”""In"Treaccar’s"claw"were"two"issues:"equalization"
and"reduction"of"taxes"and"unresolved"zoning.""In"particular,"The"News"stated:"

        Mr."Treaccar"referred"to"the"zoning"and"tax"equalization"committees"named"by"the"
        Chamber"of"Commerce.""He"doubted"the"‘sincerity"of"their"purpose’"and"declared"that"
        no"member"of"the"Taxpayers’"Association"had"been"invited"to"serve"on"the"committee,""
        despite"the"fact"that"they"had"given"thorough"study"to"tax"questions."

1933%

On"February"2,"1933"the"Daily"News"ran"an"editorial"that"slung"personal"aspersions,"stirred"the"
racial"pot,"and"muddied"the"political"waters.""Entitled"“Those"Signs"Around"Menard"Park,”"it"was"
a"subtle"reminder"that"Jim"Crow"by"written"word"on"a"sidewalk"or"by"deed"hidden"from"sight"
still"stalked"Galveston’s"neighborhoods"and"would"haunt"any"election"and"any"zoning"efforts.""

                                                                                                    15"
"
       On"the"curb"around"Menard"Park"some"rude,"or"perhaps"some"literal6minded,"person"
       has"painted"signs"reading:""“For"white"people"only.”"

       Who"did"it?"Since"the"park"is"in"custody"of"the"city,"inquiry"naturally"turned"to"city"
       officials.""But"Mayor"Pearce"hadn’t"even"heard"of"the"signs.""He"couldn’t"imagine"who"
       had"put"them"there.""Commissioner"Williamson"of"the"fire"and"police"department"
       likewise"was"in"the"dark,"referring"inquiries"to"Commissioner"Suderman"of"streets"and"
       public"property.""Mr."Suderman"also"lacked"information."

       In"view"of"persistent"reports"that"all"is"not"“peace"and"harmony”"between"Mr."
       Williamson"and"Mr."Suderman"we"seem"to"detect"a"trace"of"innuendo"in"the"former’s"
       statement"that"if"the"latter"ordered"the"signs"posted,"“he"had"no"right"to"do"it.”"

       The"question"of"right"might"bear"some"further"elucidation.""Mr."Williamson"will"hardly"
       deny"that"the"park"is"for"the"use"of"white"people.""As"to"the"occasion"for"the"signs,"that"is"
       another"matter.""But"right"or"wrong,"we"feel"safe"in"predicting"that"the"signs"will"soon"be"
       obliterated.""In"a"little"more"than"two"months"there"will"be"another"city"election,"and"the"
       city"party"isn’t"going"to"take"any"chance"of"alienating"negro"votes.""Despite"the"hard"
       times,"negroes"paid"their"poll"taxes"as"they"always"do"in"city"election"years."

       But"if"one"cared"to"be"legalistic"about"it,"the"“Jim"Crow”"signs"should"be"posted"around"
       Kempner"Park"if"anywhere.""The"deed"of"gift"conveying"Kempner"Park"to"the"city"
       specifically"states"that"it"is"for"the"use"of"white"people"only."

Trying"not"to"be"distracted"by"the"mud6slingers,"nay6sayers"and"nit6pickers,"the"newly"appointed"
zoning"commission"members"spent"days"and"nights"plying"through"a"growing"body"of"zoning""
material."""It"did"not"help"when"Ben"Peek"formally"announced"his"candidacy"for"mayor"as"an"
independent,"calling"for"“a"balance"of"interest”"in"local"government,"noting"that"the"two"
obvious"factions"required"someone"like"him"to"balance"governing.""It"went"without"saying,"that"
everyone"knew"his"stand"on"segregating"the"races."""

It"must"have"been"heartening"to"Jeane"Kempner"and"those"who"wanted"to"keep"segregation"
out"of"zoning"to"see"that"the"city"party"incumbents"swept"to"an"easy"victory"in"May.""But"what"
that"victory"meant"was"yet"to"be"determined."

A"month"later,"on"June"23,"1933,"the"News"announced"that"the"long6awaited"zoning"document"
with"maps"was"presented"to"the"city"commission"which"then"approved"the"“necessary"expense"
of"publishing"the"ordinance"in"the"official"journal"and"to"give"proper"notice"of"hearings"as"
required"by"law.”""Three"salient"features"stood"out:""“no"mention"of"segregation"of"races”"and"
the"stipulation"that"“no"effort"toward"disturbing"present"structures"is"included"in"the"


                                                                                                  16"
"
ordinance.”"Closest"to"Jeane"Kempner’s"criterion"for"success,"was"inclusion"of"a"five"member"
board"of"adjustment."

There"was"a"problem"with"the"document.""Perhaps"to"satisfy"the"various"civic,"social,"and"
business"interests"represented"among"themselves"on"the"zoning"commission,"they"created"a"
document"that"was"crammed"with"specifications"and"complicated"formulae.""Instead"of"the"
simple"36zone"plan,"it"emerged"with"five"district"classifications:"dwelling,"apartment,"retail,"
commercial"and"manufacturing."""

"""

Although"Jeane"Kempner"and"Maco"Stewart"were"missing,"the"commission"held"its"first"
obligatory"public"hearing"on"July"11,"1933.""H."H."Treaccar"of"the"Taxpayer"Association"was"there"
to"voice"his"opposition"along"with"a"number"of"local"realtors.""While"the"latter"claimed"the"
ordinance"“destroys"the"speculative"features"of"real"estate"and"is"tantamount"to"confiscation"of"
property,"Treaccar"pounded"away"on"the"independent"role"of"the"board"of"adjustment,"fearing"
that"it"was"given"too"much"power"and"could"easily"be"“swayed"by"passions"and"prejudice.”""That"
was"like"stepping"on"Jeane"Kempner’s"toes.""

The"Galveston"Sentinel,"a"newspaper"heralding"itself"as"representing"Galveston’s"14,000""
African6American"citizens"spoke"up"in"two"editorials"on"July"15,"1933.""Favoring"the"proposed"
ordinance,"the"paper"commented:"

       However"fair"the"ordinance"is;"it"is"hoped"that"when"this"“committee"of"adjustment”"is"
       appointed"that"the"14000"Negroes"in"this"city"who"are"intensely"interested"in"its"
       development"and"who"own"property"which"will"be"vitally"effected"by"the"ordinance"if"it"
       is"passed,"and"for"this"reason"justice"and"fair"play"demand"that"they"be"represented"in"
       this"body."

The"other"editorial"zeroed"in"on"the"relationship"between"“Negro"Housing"Conditions"and"the"
Zoning"Ordinance”"and"bears"a"reading:"

       While"the"ordinance"does"not"deal"with"anything"specifically"touching"races,"its"
       operation"will"effect"the"housing"conditions"of"the"14000"Negroes"in"the"city."

       In"the"first"place"it"will"restrict"the"building"of"a"large"number"of"houses"on"one"lot"in"
       certain"districts"and"will"in"the"long"run"improve"the"crowded"conditions"in"some"of"the"
       alleys"and"congested"places"of"habitation"of"our"people.""This"will"certainly"not"meet"the"
       approval"of"some"of"the"real"estate"dealers"and"rental"agencies"but"it"will"remove"the"
       possibility"of"some"of"the"distasteful"things"now"surrounding"the"housing"of"Negroes"in"
       Galveston."


                                                                                                   17"
"
        This"is"a"step"forward,"for"when"a"large"number"of"people"crowds"into"a"congested"area"
        without"sufficient"air"and"sunshine"there"lies"the"danger"of"an"epidemic"which"might"
        prove"a"menace"to"the"life"and"health"of"the"entire"city.""Disease"and"pestilence"have"no"
        respect"to"person"when"they"strike.""The"palatial"homes"on"broadway"and"in"Cedar"Lawn"
        are"just"as"susceptible"to"disease"and"epidemic"as"the"alley;"once"the"epidemic"gets"
        started"in"a"city.""Then"too"the"servants"in"the"best"white"homes"of"the"city"must"be"
        gotten"from"these"congested"quarters"among"Negroes.""Therefore,"the"white"people"of"
        Galveston"are"interested"in"the"kind"of"homes"from"which"their"servants"come."

        This"condition"reduces"this"matter"to"a"mutual"basis"and"as"remote"as"the"possibilities"
        may"seem"offhanded"the"possibilities"are"still"evident."

        It"is"the"hope"of"the"best"people"of"both"races"of"Galveston"that"the"Negro"citizens"of"
        Galveston"be"given"decent"living"quarters"and"by"so"doing,"contentment"and"happiness"
        will"be"the"rule"rather"than"the"exception."

The"zoning"commission"completed"its"hearings,"incorporated"a"few"amendments"and"presented"
its"Final"Report"to"the"Galveston"Board"of"Commissioners"on"December"7,"1933.""No"action"was"
taken"by"the"commissioners."""

Instead,"on"December"19th""it"was"announced"that"the"Galveston"Chamber"of"Commerce"
president,"G."G."Moore"had"appointed"a"three6member"committee"to"“further"study"“"the"
submitted"ordinance"and"“discuss"the"whole"zoning"question"with"the"zoning"commission"and"
submit"a"report"to"the"chamber"directors"at"the"next"meeting"Jan."5,"1934.”"

H.A."Black,"W.J."Aicklen"and"Henry"Runge"were"given"the"assignment"to"step"back"into"the"
kitchen"and"wrestle"another"round"with"the"hot"potato.""Well6respected"and"fair6minded,"these"
gentlemen"as"well"as"the"commissioners"would"have"preferred"spending"the"holidays"with"less"
weighty"subjects"on"their"minds.""""

Perhaps"to"assist"the"effort,"on"December"19th,"the"News"also"published"a"lengthy"synopsis"of"
the"ordinance"and"amendments.""It"explained"that"the"city"is"divided"into"a"residential"dwelling"
district,"apartment"district,"retail"district,"commercial"district,"and"manufacturing"district.""Race"
was"not"mentioned.""Each"district"would"have"rules"and"regulations"governing"height,"density,"
number"and"size"of"structures"to"a"lot."""A"detailed"accounting"of"the"contents"of"the"ordinance"
was"provided"and"the"method"of"enforcement"by"the"city"building"inspector"was"explained.""
Appeals"could"be"made"to"a"five6member"board"of"adjustment,"followed"if"necessary"by"appeal"
to"the"City"commission,"and"lastly"to"a"court"of"law."

1934%


                                                                                                    18"
"
January"came"and"went"with"no"report"to"the"Chamber.""In"early"February,"the"city"commission"
held"a"public"hearing"on"the"proposed"ordinance.""The"usual"arguments"and"heated"rhetoric"
came"from"the"realtors.""Mr."Hanna"presented"the"advantages"of"zoning,"especially"in"reducing"
lot"and"alley"crowding.""Alley"shacks"would"soon"disappear.""Jeane"Kempner"spoke"up"for"the"
protection"to"property"values,"noting"that"at"present"“we"realize"that"people"are"living"under"
terrible"conditions,"but"we"can’t"destroy"what"we"have.""We"can,"however,"prevent"other"
shacks"accruing"and"prevent"repairs"to"existing"alley"structures.”"

Mr."Treaccar"jumped"into"the"fray"at"that"point"stating"that"the"ordinance"had"defects,"was"too"
technical"and"had"some"bad"features"such"as,"in"his"estimation,"the"board"of"adjustment,"which"
he"argued"was"appointed"by"a"city"commission"that"is"subject"to"the"whim"of"the"voters."""

The"bulk"of"the"hearing"revolved"around"the"deplorable"condition"of"the"alleys.""A"Negro"
spokesman"asked"if"the"ordinance"meant"“"to"segregate"the"negroes"in"one"district.”""Mr."
Stewart"replied"that"“no"such"provision"was"intended.”""

No"sooner"had"tempers"cooled,"when"the"News"reported"that"the"issue"of"race"“popped"like"a"
bombshell”"into"the"hearing"at"the"hearing"of"the"Board"of"Commissioners"at"the"February"28th"
meeting"""The"newspaper"said"that"Mr."Valery"E."Austin"“started"the"fireworks"when"he"declared"
that"zoning"in"a"growing"city"would"not"be"possible"unless"segregation"of"the"races"was"used"as"
a"basis.”"""

An"all6"too6"familiar"second"refrain"followed"that"crescendo.""The"argument"was"made"that"first"
the"zoning"commission"had"used"an"outsider,"E."A."Woods"of"Dallas"as"advisor"and"then"it"had"
brought"in"Julian"Montgomery,"the"assistant"supervisor"of"planning"in"region"7"of"the"P.W.A."
(Public"Works"Administration)"to"assist"in"preparation"and"passage"of"the"ordinance.""The"
opinion"of"the"opponents"of"zoning"was"that"outsiders"weren’t"qualified"to"tell"Galvestonians"
how"to"govern"themselves.""The"News"simply"put"it:"""

       Opponents"of"the"measure"questioned"Mr."Montgomery’s"presence,"expressing"the"
       belief"that"his"unfamiliarity"with"conditions"in"Galveston"would"not"make"him"a"
       competent"judge"of"the"requirements"of"zoning"here."

Rounding"out"the"opposition,"a"group"of"realtors"had"written"a"letter"which"was"introduced"and"
read,"stating"the"various"reasons"they"called"for"the"city"commission"not"to"adopt"the"zoning"
ordinance.""It"was"signed"by"John"Adriance"&"Sons,"Charles"H."Kellner,"Schlanky"&"White,""and"V."
E."Austin.""These"were"companies"and"gentlemen"with"stature"in"the"community.""They"
suggested"that"the"ordinance"be"put"to"a"vote"of"the"citizens."""That"was"potentially"the"most"
explosive"element"of"all.""Another"vote.""Another"free6for6all.""More"time"lost."



                                                                                              19"
"
A"nagging"problem"with"the"ordinance"was"its"length:""28"pages,"plus"maps.""The"cost"of"
publication"was"considered"prohibitive,"so"few"copies"were"made"available"to"the"public"–"
except"at"city"hall"and"finally"at"the"Chamber"offices."

The"Daily"News"felt"obliged"to"step"in"again"with"an"editorial"opinion"that"the"ordinance"should"
be"adopted"even"though"it"would"not"please"everybody.""Stating"that"it"“was"drawn"up"by"a"
group"of"intelligent"citizens"who"we"believe"were"motivated"by"a"desire"to"be"fair,”"the"real"
question"was"“whether"we"want"to"avail"ourselves"of"the"present"and"potential"advantages"of"
zoning.”""It"followed"the"next"day"with"an"article"“Zoning"Editorial"is"Highly"Praised!"Commission"
Members"are"Pleased"with"Stand"of"Newspapers.”"""It"singled"out"Mrs."Kempner,"“long"a"zealous"
advocate"of"zoning,"”"who"expressed"her"appreciation"for"“the"positions"taken"by"The"News"and"
The"Tribune:"

       I"feel"that"with"the"papers"taking"an"active"interest,"it"will"be"a"great"step"forward"
       toward"procuring"zoning"for"Galveston.""So"interested"was"I"in"the"editorial"that"I"have"
       cut"it"out"to"preserve"it.""

Not"to"anyone’s"surprise,"within"a"month"H."H."Treaccar"unveiled"his"“simplified"zoning"
ordinance.”""The"April"17,"1934"Daily"News"printed"Treaccar’s"ordinance"which"it"noted"took"up"
only"two"pages"as"opposed"to"the"zoning"commission’s"multi6paged"version.""Treaccar"reduced"
the"types"of"districts"to"three,"combining"dwelling"and"apartment,"retail"and"commercial,"
manufacturing"and"industrial.""He"eliminated"height,"density"and"specifics"regarding"size"and"
number"of"structures"on"a"lot,"saying"that"these"prohibitions"“would"result"in"the"confiscation"of"
about"50"per"cent"of"the"property"in"Galveston.”""He"did"away"with"the"board"of"adjustment,"
sending"disputes"with"the"building"inspector"directly"to"the"city"commission.""He"also"included"a"
provision"the"zoning"commission"had"overlooked,"“Vested"Property"Rights"as"to"Use"and"Deed"
Restrictions."."."being"recognized"as"a"sanctioned"use"of"the"property"in"Galveston"and"such"
vested"interest"as"to"use"shall"continue"until"abandoned"by"the"holder.”""He"included"a"
provision"that"“Deed"restrictions"may"be"provided"for"further"protection"of"rights"providing"that"
such".".".shall"not"be"in"conflict.”"

When"the"city"commission"held"a"zoning"hearing"on"May"11,"1934,"Treaccar"was"there"to"
present"his"plan.""The"Boosters"Club"had"contributed"funds"to"print"50"copies"for"distribution.""
The"News"the"following"day"gave"a"full"rendering"of"Mr."Treaccar’s"presentation"and"then"
included"comments"from"the"zoning"commission"members,"realtors"and"others.""Realtor""A."H."
Hurst"carried"the"banner"for"segregation"as"a"necessary"component"of"any"zoning"ordinance.""
Mrs."Kempner"“was"of"the"opinion"that"the"board"of"adjustment"was"one"of"the"most"vital"
needs"of"zoning,"declaring"that"many"laws"are"not"being"enforced"and"that"the"measure,"as"
proposed,"has"teeth"in"it.""She"said"that"the"board"of"adjustment"would"be"the"buffer"between"
the"building"inspector"and"the"board"of"commissioners.""It"would"be"a"nonpolitical"body"

                                                                                                   20"
"
appointed"for"a"three6year"term.""She"contended"that"such"a"board"would"be"the"only"safeguard"
to"the"small"property"owner.""She"cited"that"in"cities"where"zoning"had"been"achieved"there"
were"better"housing"conditions.”"

V."E."Austin"argued"persuasively"that"“neither"one"of"the"ordinances"was"practical"for"
Galveston.”""He"said"There"are"other"things"that"can"be"tackled.""Eliminate"congestion"in"alleys"
where"people"are"living"in"hogpens"without"any"accommodations"and"are"paying"big"rents.”"

The"city"commission"closed"its"hearing"with"no"action"taken.""The"mayor"being"out"of"town,"A."J."
Peterson,"commissioner"of"finance"was"acting"mayor.""He"thanked"everyone"and"said"the"board"
would"take"the"matter"under"consideration."

Perhaps"it"was"the"influence"of"living"on"the"Gulf"of"Mexico"which"often"appeared"to"be"muddy"
or"possibly"it"was"the"special"ability"Galvestonians"possess"of"sensing"the"calm"before"the"storm.""
Whatever"it"was,"zoning"had"become"a"muddied,"often"tumultuous,"issue"invoking"deeply"felt"
emotions"on"all"sides.""It"was"time"to"take"a"break,"return"it"to"the"back"burner"and"let"tempers"
cool"if"possible"in"the"hot"summer"breeze.""Zoning"took"a"vacation"that"summer"in"1934."

Almost"as"an"afterthought,"and"reading"much"like"an"obituary,"an"article"appeared"in"the"
October"5,"1934"News:""“City"Commission"Rejects"Project"of"Zoning"Group.”"Years"of"work"were"
whisked"away"with"hardly"a"murmur:"

       Advocates"of"zoning"in"Galveston"were"given"a"keen"blow"yesterday"when"the"board"of"
       commissioners"denied"the"request"of"the"special"zoning"commission"to"adopt"an"
       ordinance"putting"into"effect"drastic"zoning"measures"here."

       The"question,"which"has"been"before"the"board"of"commissioners"for"a"number"of"years,"
       and"which"was"crystallized"into"definite"action"when"an"ordinance"was"submitted"to"the"
       board"in"June"1933,"apparently"has"been"settled"for"some"time"to"come,"officials"said."

       Acting"mayor,"A."J."Peterson"brought"up"the"matter"when"he"explained"that"the"board"as"
       a"whole"had"discussed"the"question"during"the"past"week.""The"ordinance"was"originally"
       referred"to"the"board"as"a"whole."

       Denial"of"the"ordinance"followed"the"motion"of"P."H."Wilson,"commissioner"of"streets"
       and"public"property,"which"was"seconded"by"R."P."Williamson,"commissioner"of"fire"an"
       police.""There"were"no"comments,"and"no"representative"of"the"special"zoning"
       commission"was"present."

       The"zoning"commission"was"appointed"by"Mayor"Jack"E."Pearce"at"the"request"of"the"
       Galveston"Chamber"of"Commerce"and"interested"citizens.""Members"of"the"commission"


                                                                                                21"
"
        included:""John"Hanna,"Mrs."D."W."Kempner,"Maco"Stewart,"Fred"M."Burton"and"Mrs."R."
        W."Rogers."

1935%

It"must"be"considered"as"a"possibility"that"Galvestonians"actually"enjoy"pitched"battles"with"
each"other.""No"sooner"did"zoning"take"a"hiatus"when"up"comes"the"question"of"allowing"Ball"
High"School"young"men"to"participate"in"the"federal"R."O."T."C."program"of"military"preparedness"
and"training.""Whatever"the"issue,"a"Kempner"family"member"or"two"usually"appeared"at"or"in"
the"hustings.""This"time,"it"was"Harris"representing"the"opponents"of"R.O."T."C.,"as"promoting"
militarism.""His"father,"I."H."Kempner"entered"the"fray"with"a"letter"to"the"“Pens"of"the"People”"
on"April"2,"1935"expressing"his"view:"

        Personally,"I"am"in"favor"of"R.O.T.C."in"the"schools"but"I"do"not"think"it"is"a"matter"that"
        can"properly"be"settled"by"public"meetings"or"popular"vote.""The"responsibility"is"up"to"
        the"school"board"and"they"should"have"the"courage"and"we"should"have"the"confidence"
        in"them"to"decide"the"question"and"vote"their"convictions"and"not"popular"estimates."

Ironically,"Fannie"Kempner""Adoue"whose"daughter"Frances"Louise"was"attending"school"at"Miss"
Baldwin’s"on"the"Eastern"seaboard,""decided"to"run"for"the"school"board"on"a"ticket"with"three"
gentlemen,all"of"them"having"signed"a"petition"regarding"the"issue"of"whether"to"install"a"
R.O.T.C."unit"in"the"high"schools"of"Galveston,"asking"that"the"question"be"included"on"the"April"
6,"1935"ballot"for"Board"members,.""The"petition"recommended"that"Harris"Kempner"be"
representative"of"the"opposing"view"and"that"Mr."Honorable"J.C."Canty,"President"of"the"Joint"
Committee"for"R.O."T."C."represent"the"proponents"in"the"preparation"of"the"ballot.""According"
to"school"board"minutes,"the"motion"was"made"to"put"the"question"on"the"ballot"but"to"have"it"
separate"from"the"candidate"list.""Mrs."Barthelme"and"Mr."Neethe"–"neither"of"whom"was"
running"for"re6election"having"served"on"the"board"for"ten"years"–"disagreed,"but"the"motion"
passed.""Hence"Fannie"ran"on"a"ticket"that"left"the"R.O.T.C."question"up"to"the"voters,"contrary"
to"both"I.H.’s"view"and"Harris’.""Her"slate"won"and"carried"out"the"voters’"mandate"which"was"
for"R.O.T.C.,"1033"for,"720"votes"against."

That"issue"settled,"Fannie"and"the"school"board"were"confronted"in"May,"1935"by"H."H."Treaccar"
representing"his"daughter,"Miss"Jane"Treaccar"who"“claimed"she"was"burned"by"a"radiator"
steam"pipe"at"Lovenberg.”""The"Board"turned"down"his"request"for"payment"of"a"medical"bill"
amounting"to"$63.""In"1936"when"a"football"player"was"injured"in"practice,"the"board"went"“on"
record"as"not"being"responsible"for"any"bill"for"medical"service"incurred"as"a"result"of"this"or"any"
other"injury.”"

Another"controvery"brewing"involved"Harris"with"Maco"Stewart.""Although"Mr."Stewart"was"his"
senior"and"a"man"of"considerable"means"and"clout"in"the"community"and"beyond,"Harris"stood"
                                                                                                  22"
"
up"to"him"on"the"principles"he"believed"strongly"in"and"the"principles"upon"which"the"Open"
Forum"had"originated"in"Galveston:""to"welcome"the"free"expression"of"opinion"and"ideas"with"
open"mind"and"respect"for"adversarial"opinion.""Their"brew"ha"ha"came"over"the"Forum’s"
invitation"to"Socialist"Norman"Thomas"to"speak.""Maco"Stewart"considered"Thomas"as"Godless""
and"un6American."

Although"the"Kempners"disagreed"with"V."E."Austin"on"his"stand"against"zoning"unless"it"
included"segregation,"I."H."did"agree"with"Austin’s"suggestion"to"the"press"that"Galveston"
needed"representation"in"Washington"to"look"after"the"city’s"interests,"especially"to"obtain"
government"aid"on"local"improvements.""Ever"the"booster"for"Galveston,"I."H."proposed"raising"a"
fund"of"about"$5,000"send"someone""to"secure"government"aid"in"preventing"erosion"in"front"of"
the"seawall,"filling"in"the"east"end"and"flats,"and"building"a"bay"shore"wall"and"west"dyke.""He"
stressed"that"“That"these"are"projects"that"come"within"the"provisions"made"for"federal"
appropriations"applicable"for"such"work.”""He"further"contended:""“It"is,"in"my"opinion,"
important"that"Galveston"should"send"on"a"special"representative"to"Washington"familiar"with"
these"projects"to"keep"constantly"behind"them"for"the"next"two"or"three"months.”""If"
Galvestonian"could"unite"behind"these"few"projects,"he"believed,"“We"may"possibly"bring"about"
a"restoration"of"the"Galveston"spirit"of"the"early"1900’s.”"

The"sputtering"economy"and"the"ever"darkening"clouds"over"Europe"as"Germany"remilitarized"
presented"such"looming"threats"to"American"hopes"and"dreams"that"Galvestonians"seemed"to"
forget"about"zoning.""It"simply"was"not"a"world6shaking"concern.""The"city"could"just"continue"to"
deteriorate"before"their"eyes,"it"seems."

1936%

About"a"year"and"a"half"later,"out"of"the"blue,"on"November"12,"1936"the"Daily"News"asked"in"an"
editorial,"“Can"Zoning"Be"Revived?”""The"answer"it"gave"was"that"it"would"require"“the"full"co6
operation"of"all"local"civic"clubs.”""But"would"it"get"anywhere"against"the"“quiet"through"
stubborn"opposition,"apparently"based"upon"the"theory"that"an"owner"should"be"permitted"to"
do"as"he"likes"with"his"property,"regardless"of"injury"to"the"owners"of"neighboring"property.”""
The"editorial"concluded:"

        We"are"unable"to"say"whether"that"opposition"has"abated"since"the"zoning"campaign"
        collapsed,"but"we"feel"sure"the"lack"of"protection"of"property"value"has"made"a"number"
        of"converts"to"zoning.""No"doubt"much"of"the"earlier"work"still"is"useful.""Galveston’s"
        acquisition"of"zoning"benefits"depends"now,"as"it"did"then,"on"enlistment"of"public"
        support."

Mrs."Benno"Sproule,"president"of"the"Women’s"Civic"League"and"tough"advocate"of"zoning"
shouldered"the"proverbial"Sisyphusian"boulder"back"up"the"hill.""Acknowledged"leaders"of"the"
                                                                                               23"
"
city"were"invited"to"attend"a"meeting"at"the"Chamber"of"Commerce"for"November"16,"1936"to"
plan"the"revival"of"the"campaign"for"zoning.""Jeane"Kempner,"along"with"Mrs."Charles"Stubbs"
and"Mrs."Emerson"Newell,"was"invited"as"a"member"of"a"special"League"of"Women"Voters"
Committee.""Mrs."Maco"Stewart,"Mrs."William"Sealy"and"Mrs."R."W."Goodman"would"represent"
the"Civic"League."

The"News"on"Tuesday,"November"17"reported"the"outcome"of"the"meeting.""Most"everyone"
there"spoke"positively"for"zoning.""Maco"Stewart"sounded"more"down6hearted:""“it’s"a"very"
desirable"thing,"but"it"can’t"be"accomplished.""Broadway"and"Tremont"have"already"been"ruined"
and"it"just"a"matter"of"time"before"each"of"us"has"a"filling"station"next"door.”"He"concluded"that"
“"it"seemed"to"be"purely"a"question"of"whether"or"not"the"city"commission"wanted"it.”"""

Jeane"Kempner"reviewed"for"the"attendees"the"work"of"the"original"committee"and"insisted"that"
“the"people"must"be"aroused"to"the"project.”""Mr."Treaccar"spoke"for"his"simplified"plan.""Mrs."
Sproule"ended"the"meeting"with"the"suggestion"“that"the"former"zoning"committee"be"asked"to"
continue"its"efforts”"and"that"speakers"be"sent"to"various"organizations"to"educate"the"citizens"
to"the"issue.""Lastly,"“systematic"canvas"of"the"city"was"discussed"briefly.”"

"A"small"article,"“Campaign"to"Advance"Zoning"Will"Be"Pushed”"appeared"in"the"News"on"
December"1,"1936.""Sophie"Sproule"had"become"the"spokeswoman"for"this"final"round"in"the"
long"ten"year"bout"for"zoning"in"Galveston.""Her"approach"was"more"common6sensical"and"
practical.""The"opposition"would"be"invited"to"express"their"views"before"the"campaign"would"
begin"in"the"New"Year,"and"“an"effort"to"meet"their"wishes”"will"be"made.""Mrs."Sproule"made"it"
clear:"

        It"is"our"thought"that"an"ordinance"can"be"drawn"to"meet"Galveston’s"particular"needs.""
        It"should"be"simple,"easily"understood,"and"should"not"contain"too"many"restrictions.""It"
        should"be"something"of"which"a"majority"of"property"owners"can"approve."

She"already"had"been"pledged"support"from"Louis"C."Elbert,"president"of"the"Rotary"Club;""W."R."
Roberts,"president"of"the"Kiwanis"Club;"W."H."Ford,"president"of"the"Exchange"Club;""Clark"W."
Thompson,"President"of"the"Chamber"of"Commerce,"Stephen"F."Hancock,"president"of"the"
Exchange"Club;"and"Robert"A."Lyons,"Jr."president"of"the"Commercial"association.""Missing"from"
that"list"were"the"Taxpayers"Association"and"the"Board"of"Realtors."

1937%

In"January"1937,"calling"for"a"concentration"on"local"issues,"Mrs."Emerson"Newell,"president"of"
the"Galveston"League"of"Women"Voters"cited"“the"need"for"greater"cooperation"and"unity"with"
our"city"government.""Galveston"is"far"behind"other"cities"in"having"supervisors"for"
beautification"projects,"recreational"centers,"zoning"and"in"social"legislation.”""These"words"

                                                                                                24"
"
could"have"come"from"the"months"of"any"of"the"Kempners,"men"and"women,"who"were"fighting"
in"the"trenches"for"exactly"these"objectives."""

At"the"same"time,"a"group"of"businessmen"in"the"city"organized"into"the"Galveston"Coordination"
Committee"under"Gus"A."Amundson,"Jr.,"with"intent"to"make"contacts"with"the"Real"Estate"
Board"in"order"to"push"for"more"modernized"housing"in"the"city,"while"at"the"same"time"
cooperating"with"the"Women’s"Civic"League"in"its"efforts"“to"provide"a"zoning"ordinance"for"
Galveston.”""Amundson"reported"the"results"of"a"survey"made"by"the"Board"of"Realtors"in"1936,"
showing"that"“while"there"were"11,000"living"or"residential"quarters"in"Galveston,”"not"counting"
alley"houses,"“there"were"approximately"600"vacancies"or"5"1/2"per"cent.”"

The"Women’s"Civic"League"as"of"January"began"referring"to"itself"as"the"Civic"League"and"
pledged"not"only"to"focus"on"beautification"and"zoning"but"also"to"work"with"the"promoters"of"
Mardi"Gras"and"other"events"as"a"means"of"attracting"visitors"to"the"island,"contribute"to"
charitable"causes,"and"to"provide"its"male"and"female"membership"and"friends"a"rousing"good"
time.""According"to"a"report"in"the"News,"January"14,"1937,"compilers"of"a"Galveston"“Blue"
Blood"Book”"considered,"even"in"those"depressed"times,"600"worthy"of"being"chosen.""One"of"
that"number,"City"Attorney"Bryan"F."Williams,"had"just"had"his"house"burglarized"and"his"car"
stolen."

Sophie"Sproule"was"still"the"Civic"League"President.""She"represented"the"League"at"the"
Coordinating"committee"and"announced"at"a"meeting"held"January"13th"that"“some"definite"
plan"for"carrying"on"the"zoning"fight"here"would"be"presented"to"the"committee"at"its"next"
meeting.”""She"took"pains"to"ask"for"the"cooperation"of"all"the"represented"organizations"and"
the"citizenry"in"“launching"this"one"worthwhile"activity"for"Galveston.”"

Mardi"Gras"brought"out"the"best"in"all"Galvestonians"as"witnessed"by"the"large"attendance"at"
the"City"Auditorium"“for"the"island’s"first"big"negro"Mardi"Gras"celebration”"held"February"3,"
1937.""Approximately"2500"Blacks"and"700"whites"attended"the"coronation"of"King"Zulu"and"his"
queen.""The"News"reported"the"next"day"that"“appreciation"was"expressed"for"the"white"
patronage"and"George"Sealy,"R."Lee"Kempner"and"Willie"Livingston,"who"were"present,"were"
given"recognition.”"

March"18,"1937"will"be"commemorated"in"Texas"history"as"the"day"the"New"London,"Texas"
Consolidated"School"exploded"into"smithereens"at"3:20"in"the"afternoon,"only"minutes"before"
dismissal.""Headlines"all"over"the"state"resembled"that"of"the"March"19th"Galveston"Daily"News:"""

       670"CHILDREN,"TEACHERS""FEARED""DEAD"IN"TERRIFIC"TEXAS"SCHOOL"EXPLOSION"

       214"BODIES"REMOVED"FROM"GNARLED"DEBRIS"OF"WRECKED"BUILDING"


                                                                                                 25"
"
       New"London"Scene"of"Tragedy;"Stricken"Parents"Join"Relief"Workers"in"Sorrow6
       Maddened"Search"

All"other"news"dwindled"in"comparison.""Little"note"was"made"of"the"action"taken"by"the"city"
commission"to"adopt"“an"ordinance"giving"notice"of"the"intention"of"the"board"to"submit"a"
charter"amendment"to"the"voters"in"the"May"election"providing"for"a"reasonable"zoning"
ordinance.”""One"is"reminded"that"the"path"to"heaven"is"paved"with"good"intentions.""Instead"of"
passing"a"zoning"ordinance"as"they"had"been"urged"to"do"for"going"on"ten"years,"the"city"fathers"
decided"to"call"for"a"charter"vote.""That"vote"would"not"be"on"a"specific"zoning"plan"but"on"
whether"the"citizens"even"wanted"zoning"at"all."""Here"it"was,"back"to"square"one."

Why"had"the"city"commission"resorted"to"a"charter"referendum?""It"had"acted"upon"receiving"a"
petition"presented"by"the"Chamber"of"Commerce,"the"Women’s"Civic"League"and"the"League"of"
Women"Voters"supporting"a"reasonable"zoning"ordinance,"not"a"charter"amendment.""The"
signers"composed"a"Who’s"Who"of"Galveston.""Since"Jeane"Kempner"always"insisted"that"the"
weight"of"public"opinion"must"prevail"for"such"an"ordinance,"these"names"of"members"of"
Galveston’s"most"influential"families"bear"repeating.""According"to"the"News"they"were:"

B.A."Gritta,"Constance"Sealy,"Eugenia"D."Harris,"Jeane"B."Kempner,"Anne"B."Renfert,"H."Renfert,"
Harris"Kempner,"Mart"H."Royston,"Fred"C."Hunter,"Edwin"Gouge,"Ella"Sealy"Newell,"George"
Sealy,"John"Adriance"&"Sons,"Fred"W."Catterall,"Edward"Randall,"Edwin"H."Gibson,"Henry"Cohen,"
Fred"M."Burton,"D."W."Kempner,"J."Seinsheimer,"Sophie"L."Sproule,""Louis"C."Elbert,"John"Hanna,"
W.L."Moody,III,"Fred"C."Pabst,"F."L."Biaggne,""Clark"W."Thompson,"R."W."Goodman,"Louis"O."Van"
Name,"P."M."Gengler,"M.S."Chataignon,"W.A."Johnson,"Owen"D."Barker,W."Noble"Carl,"Herman"
A."Bornefelf,"Charles"R."Crocker,"A."J."Moseley,"Robert"A."Lyons,"Jr.,"Hoskins"Foster,"Silas"B."
Ragsdale,"George"A."Seel,"J."S."Ibbotson,"Charles"H."Theobald,"E."L."Wall,"Lucius"R."Wilson,""Mrs."
Paul"Lobit,"Valery"E."Austin,"Brantley"Harris,"J."H."Langben,"W.J."Farnsworthy,"W.H."Calvert,"
George"D."Flood,"J."C."Canty,"D."A."Jung,"W."P."Sinnott,"L."M."Gernsbacher,"Mrs."Thomas"H."
Phillips,"Vernon"D."Fletcher"and"A."J."Dow."

The"ordinance"gave"notice"of"the"intention"of"the"board"to"adopt"an"ordinance"on"April"8"calling"
for"the"submission"of"the"zoning"amendment"after"it"had"been"published"ten"times"in"the"
official"journal."

Again,"when"the"race"issue"was"raised,"City"Attorney"Williams"stated"unequivocally"that"it"was"
constitutionally"untenable"to"include"segregation"of"races"in"any"future"zoning"ordinance"or"
amendment."

On"April"8"the"city"commission"ordered"an"election"to"take"place"on"May"11,"1937.""Besides"
electing"city"officials,"the"citizens"would"vote"on"the"zoning"and"three"other"charter"
amendments.""Mayor"Adrian"Levy"explained"that"the"election"would"decide"whether"the"people"
                                                                                                26"
"
desired"zoning"and"that"no"rules"or"regulations"could"“be"adopted"until"after"the"amendment"is"
passed.”"

Unlike"his"forebears,"W."L."Moody,"III"joined"with"the"Kempners"and"Sealys"and"supported"
zoning,"stating"“The"city"would"have"been"greatly"improved"had"we"had"zoning"here"more"than"
15"years"ago.”"

V."E."Austin"wrote"to"“Pens"of"the"People”"April"18,"1937,"reiterating"his"plea"for"segregation"of"
the"races"as"an"underlying"principle"governing"zoning"for"the"good"of"both"races.""The"Daily"
News"on"April"20th"tried"to"clear"up"the"question"of"what"exactly"the"voters"were"being"asked"to"
vote"on.""The"answer"given"was"put"simply:"

       The"proposal"to"be"voted"on"at"the"May"election"is"not"in"any"sense"a"zoning"ordinance.""
       In"form,"it"is"simply"a"general"authorization"for"the"board"of"commissioners"to"enact"an"
       ordinance"regulating"the"type"and"use"of"buildings"to"be"erected"hereafter"in"various"
       sections"of"the"city.”"

In"other"words,"this"election"was"a"referendum"on"the"question:""Do"you"or"don’t"you"want"
zoning?""The"editorial"pointed"out"that"the"earlier"failed"attempt"to"affect"a"zoning"ordinance"
was"not"preceded"by"a"public"referendum.""This"time"there"would"be"one.""Supposedly,"if"the"
people"voted"yes,"no"further"arguments"would"get"in"the"way."

Jeane"Kempner"was"quoted"extensively"in"the"News"on"April"25th:"

       It"is"indeed"gratifying"to"realize"that,"at"the"next"city"election,"the"citizens"of"Galveston"
       will"be"permitted"to"vote"on"an"enabling"act"for"city"zoning."

       It"is"a"pity"and"a"shame,"however,"that"this"privilege"was"not"granted"several"years"ago"
       before"the"beauty"of"so"many"of"our"residential"streets"was"marred"by"unsightly"
       structures."

       Statements"lately"have"been"made"rather"generally"that"it"is"now"too"late"to"pass"a"
       zoning"ordinance,"as"the"damage"has"already"been"done.""It"is"never"too"late"to"correct"a"
       mistake,"and"it"is"certainly"not"too"late"to"stop"further"encroachments"in"our"residential"
       districts.""A"proper"and"well"studied"zoning"plan,"free"from"politics,"in"the"hands"of"a"
       competent"zoning"commission"will"do"much"to"restore"the"original"and"natural"beauty"of"
       the"city.”"

Galveston"and"the"Kempners"had"other"things"on"their"minds"as"the"election"drew"closer.""
President"Roosevelt"was"coming"to"the"area"to"deep6sea6"fish"in"the"Gulf,"and"his"staff"and"press"
corps"set"up"a"temporary"White"House"for"the"nation"at"the"Galvez"Hotel.""Many"older"citizens"
were"saddened"by"the"death"of"Mrs."Charles"Fowler,"Sr."who"had"been"an"early"president"of"the"

                                                                                                    27"
"
Johanna"Runge"Free"Kindergarten"and"had"served"on"the"Board"of"Directors"of"the"Galveston"
Young"Women’s"Christian"Association"and"as"its"president"for"11"years,"encompassing"the"
acquisition"of"the"beautiful"building"on"21st"Street"across"from"Ball"High.""Ike"was"a"pall"bearer"
for"the"service"held"on"May"3rd"at"Trinity"Episcopal"Church.""So,"while"Roosevelt"enjoyed"his"11"
day"Gulf"fishing"cruise"aboard"his"presidential"yacht"“Potomac,”"citizens"mourned"and"debated"
issues"surrounding"the"election"and"the"merits"of"mayoral"candidates:""the"City"Party"incumbent"
mayor,""Adrian"Levy""opposed"by"the"Taxpayers"Association"head"and"zoning’s"persistent"
“simplifier,”""H."H."Treaccar."

The"News"on"April"7th"published"another"editorial"“Fallacies"concerning"Zoning”"in"which"it"
stressed"that"nothing"in"the"amendment"would"interfere"with"the"existing"use"of"property"and"
that"“the"authority"the"amendment"seeks"to"confer"could"not"be"used"to"segregate"races"or"to"
apply"any"zoning"regulation"retroactively.”"

Any"way"one"looks"at"it,"May"11,"1937"was"a"halcyon"day"in"Galveston,"Texas.""Citizens"went"to"
the"polls,"voted"overwhelmingly"for"the"City"Party"and"for"zoning,"and"then"lined"the"streets"to"
greet"the"first"President"of"the"United"States"to"visit"the"city"in"44"years"and"only"the"third"to"do"
so"in"the"city’s"history."

Following"the"victory,"Mayor"Levy"announced"at"the"Commission"meeting"on"May"20th"that"he"
would"appoint"a"new"zoning"commission,"and"that"“immediate"steps"will"be"taken"to"enact"a"
zoning"ordinance"in"accordance"with"the"charter"amendment"voted"by"the"citizens.”""The"mayor"
asserted:""“all"material"assembled"by"various"zoning"groups"in"the"past"will"be"turned"over"to"
the"new"zoning"commission"for"study.”""Once"the"ordinance"is"prepared,"Levy"assured"the"
public"that"a"hearing"would"be"held"for"citizen"opinion"and"protest.""To"insure"that"it"would"be"
in"safe,"constructive"hands,"the"new"commission"would"be"“composed"of"representatives"of"the"
various"organizations"which"sponsored"the"amendment"to"the"charter.”"

On"May"23rd"the"News"announced"the"names"of"the"new"commission.""They"were"businessman,"
H."Renfert;"Mrs."Charles"J."Stubbs,"League"of"Women"Voters;"Dr."L."R."Wilson,"the"Chamber"of"
Commerce;"R."R."Rapp,"architect;"and"Mrs."Benjamin"Sproule,"Women’s"Civic"League.""They"met"
on"the"25th"and"on"the"26th"the"News"reported"that"the"“Zoning"Board"TO"LAUNCH"STUDY"OF"
LOCAL"SITUATION.”""On"the"29th"the"paper"indicated"that"the"new"board"was"“using"a"former"
measure"prepared"three"years"ago"as"the"basis"of"their"study.”""Chairman"Renfert"explained"
that"“the"group"is"endeavoring"to"ascertain"if"the"former"ordinance"could"be"used"under"the"
new"zoning"law.”"

One"is"reminded"of"that"old"chant:""“Same"song,"second"verse"(or"third)."Could"be"better,"but"it"
could"be"worse!”"



                                                                                                   28"
"
This"time"around,"the"members"of"the"new"commission"did"not"have"to"do"the"spade"work.""
They"did"benefit"not"only"from"the"research"and"decision6making"that"went"into"the"original"
committee’s"full6blown"comprehensive"plan"and"zoning"regulations"drawn"up"with"the"aid"of"
specialists;"but"more"importantly,"they"saw"where"mistakes"were"made"and"where"
compromises"could"get"the"job"done.""They"aimed"to"be"open"to"members"of"opposing"groups"
such"as"realtors"and"to"listen"to"black"citizens"concerned"about"segregation"and"discrimination.""
They"were"a"plain6spoken"group"and"strove"to"use"simple,"clear"language"“understandable"to"
all.”"

On"June"19,"1937"the"News"reported"on"“a"committee"of"negro"citizens”"who"“sought"
information"as"to"the"effect"which"the"proposed"zoning"ordinance"might"have"on"the"housing"
conditions"of"the"negroes.”""They"were"assured"that"race"segregation"was"not"involved"and"that"
the"purpose"of"zoning"for"them"was"absolutely"the"same"as"for"the"white"people"as"stated"in"the"
amendment;"to"improve"the"health,"sanitary"and"moral"conditions"of"the"inhabitants."""Going"
into"greater"detail,"the"paper"continued:"

       With"these"aims"in"view,"it"is"contemplated"to"restrict"the"number"of"houses"on"a"regular"
       sized"lot"in"any"new"improvement"of"construction"to"a"maximum"of"three"one6family"
       dwellings,"where"there"are"now"as"many"as"five"and"six"in"some"parts"of"town.""The"
       negroes"explained"that"they"are"anxious"to"improve"conditions"in"sections"largely"
       occupied"by"negroes"and"it"was"suggested"to"them"that"they"submit"a"list"of"streets"or"
       blocks"now"predominantly"occupied"by"negroes"and"without"business"structures"on"
       them,"so"that"they"may"possibly"be"restricted"as"residential"zoning"under"the"new"
       ordinance.""The"negroes"appeared"to"be"well"pleased"with"the"result"of"the"meeting"

On"July"4,"1937"that"the"News"announced"the"results"of"the"new"commission’s"work,"complete"
with"maps"and"details.""It"must"have"felt"like"a"new"burst"of"freedom"for"those"who"had"worked"
so"long"66so"many"years"–"to"get"a"document"the"citizens"could"support"and"that"answered"their"
mandate"at"the"polls."

The"new"ordinance"divided"the"city"into"five"district"types"based"on"use:"1)"residential"only,"2)"
residential"and"apartment"houses,"3)"hospital"district,"4)"wholesale"and"retail"business,"5)"
industrial.""Parts"of"14th"Street,"from"D"to"G,"21st"from"gulf"to"bay,"29th"south"to"N,"21st"south"to"
N1/2,"35th"from"L"to"N1/2,""39th"from"G"to"S,"45th"fromO1/2"to"R1/2"and"a"small"section"of"Ave."S"
were"designated"as"business."

Two"key"elements"were"the"allowance"of"nonconforming"uses"to"continue"with"some"
restrictions"and,"closest"to"Jeane"Kempner’s"heart,"the"provision"for"a"board"of"adjustment."

The"last"hurdles"or"hearings"cleared"the"way"for"the"city"commission"to"finally"pass"into"law"at"
its"regular"meeting"on"August"6th,""a"zoning"ordinance"that"did"indeed"act"as"a"zoning"ordinance."""""""
                                                                                                   29"
"
Harris"Kempner"was"appointed"to"the"city’s"first"board"of"adjustment,"becoming"its"first"
chairman.""Other"members"appointed"to"the"board"were"William"Sealy,"R."A."Gritta,""Mrs."D."E."
Cone,"and"H."A."Wagner."

The"city"building"inspector,"Mr."Arthur"C."Naschke"undertook"the"important"task"of"educating"
the"board"of"adjustment,"the"public"and"builders"in"particular,"of"the"new"rules"and"regulations"
governing"building"permit"applications"and"certificates"of"occupancy"and"compliance."""

Putting"teeth"to"paper,"the"board"of"adjustment"denied"the"first"case"that"came"before"it.""On"
September"21,"1937,"the"News"gave"front"page"notice"that"the"“First"Petition"under"New"Zoning"
Measure"Refused.”"The"applicant"was"A."B."Mendel"who"wanted"to"build"a"grocery"store"on"the"
southwest"corner"of"31st"and"R1/2.""Thirty"citizens"had"signed"a"petition"opposing."""

"      "       "      "       "      Conclusion%

A"new"day"had"dawned"on"beautiful"Galveston"Island.""Not"since"before"the"1900"Storm"ripped"
Galveston"apart"and"destroyed"its"stately"forested"thoroughfares"could"a"generation"of"
Galvestonians"take"hope"that"the"city"could"save"itself"from"the"pitfalls"of"both"unregulated"
growth"and"decay.""The"beautification"of"the"city"and"the"health"and"welfare"of"its"citizens"were"
essential"values"motivating"each"Kempner"family"member.""The"long"ordeal"over"zoning"tested"
the"leadership"and"persistence"of"Jeane"and"then"of"Harris"as"they"played"key"roles"at"pivotal"
turning"points"in"zoning’s"history.""Yet"each"family"member"played"supporting"roles"in"leading"
their"various"boards"and"organizations"and"in"mobilizing"that"all"6"important""weight"of"public"
opinion"in"favor"of"doing"what"is"best"for"the"city"and"its"citizens."

The"birthing"of"zoning"in"Galveston"was"tortuous,"with"several"miscarriages,"because"of"the"
opposition"of"realtors"and"landlords.""They"formed"the"hard"core"nucleus"of"opponents,"many"
calling"themselves"taxpayers,"but"seeming"more"intent"on"segregation"of"the"races"and"
protecting"their"rental"properties"than"on"equalizing"the"tax"rate.""

The"zoning"war"began"in"Galveston’s"flush"tine"in"the"1920s"and"ended"in"a"time"of"depression"
and"mounting"anxiety"over"the"war"coming"ever6closer"to"our"shores.""Housing"had"become"a"
national"crisis"as"Roosevelt’s"New"Deal"programs"of"relief"combined"with"local"efforts"failed"to"
stem"rising"unemployment"and"meet"housing"needs."""

While"Galveston"was"commencing"zoning,"the"United"States"government"was"passing"the"
Housing"Act"of"1937,"establishing"the"United"States"Housing"Authority"within"the"Department"of"
the"Interior.""In"order"to"secure"its"passage"in"the"U."S."Senate,"Senator"Allen"Ellender"of"
Louisiana"and"other"Southern"Senators"insisted"that"the"provision"be"included"that"housing"
projects"be"segregated.""The"housing"bill"was"passed"and"gained"support"as"a"slum"clearance"
and"job"creation"bill:"two"powerful"motivations"to"help"northern"liberals"overlook"the"inclusion"

                                                                                                30"
"
of"segregation.""As"with"zoning,"the"Texas"legislature"had"to"pass"enabling"legislation,"which"it"
did."

Austin,"following"a"push"from"Congressman"Lyndon"Johnson"and"Austin’s"Mayor"Tom"Miller,"
became"the"nation’s"first"city"to"create"public"housing"under"the"New"Deal"Act.""The"precedent"
was"set"for"segregated"projects,"one"for"whites,"one"for"African"Americans"and"another"for"
Hispanics.""Dallas,"Corpus"Christi,"and"other"Texas"cities"followed"Austin’s"lead."

Galveston"was"soon"to"follow.""To"secure"the"federal"funds"certain"steps"had"to"be"taken.""
Mayor"Brantly"Harris"appointed"a"fact6finding"committee"made"up"of"the"zoning"board"of"
adjustment"members"and"Clark"W."Thompson"and"headed"by"Harris"Kempner"to"survey"and"
determine"whether"there"were"substandard"houses,"unsanitary"conditions,"and"obvious"need"
for"affordable"housing."

"

The"report"is"lengthy"but"important:"

       Dear"Mr."Mayor:"

       As"the"result"of"the"conference"with"you"the"undersigned"have"undertaken"to"make"a"
       preliminary"survey"to"determine"whether"there"were"in"Galveston"substandard"houses"
       which"would"make"it"desirable"to"establish"a"housing"authority"here"to"attempt"to"
       obtain"a"grant"from"the"national"housing"authority"for"slum"clearance.""After"some"
       discussion"we"decided"to"make"a"house"to"house"survey"of"the"area"from"the"west"side"
       of"26th"through"the"east"side"of"45th"from"I"north"to"the"tracks.""Since"it"was"impractical"
       to"make"a"survey"of"the"entire"city,"chose"a"district"which"we"thought"would"fairly"and"
       adequately"portray"the"living"conditions"of"those"people"who"might"be"expected"to"live"
       in"any"of"these"projects"that"may"be"established" "          "

       There"are"516"houses"in"this"area,"of"which"311"are"occupied"by"negroes,"136"by"
       Mexicans,"six"vacant,"and"the"balance"presumably"occupied"by"whites.""The"average"
       number"of"dwellers"per"house"is"5.3;"the"average"number"of"rooms"per"house"is"4.58,"so"
       that,"without"making"any"distinction"between"kitchens,"sleeping"or"other"rooms,"the"
       average"number"of"persons"living"in"a"room"is"1.16.""The"average"rental"of"these"houses"
       is"$11.75"per"month.""The"largest"group"of"houses"rent"for"$10"a"month,"and"the"great"
       bulk"of"the"rentals"come"between"$8"and"$14"a"month."

       The"average"wage"of"the"412"workers"interviewed"is"$12.80"a"week"($55.47"a"month)"or"
       nearly"five"times"the"average"rental.""The"wage"earnings"range"from"a"low"of"$2"a"week"
       to"a"high"of"$57.50"a"week."The"largest"class"is"the"$15,"a"week,"followed"by"the"$12"a"


                                                                                                 31"
"
    week"group"and"then"the"$10"a"week"group.""These"three"groups"account"for"just"about"
    half"of"all"the"workers.""The"great"bulk"of"these"houses"are"in"more"or"less"bad"repair,"are"
    unsightly,"unpainted."

    "      90"families"cook"with"gas."

    "      200"families"cook"with"wood."

    "      229"families"cook"with"oil."

    "      60""families"heat"with"gas."

    "      274"families"heat"with"wood."

    "      156"families"heat"with"oil."

    "      392"houses"use"electricity"for"lighting."

    "      106"houses"use"oil"for"lighting."

    (The"discrepancies"are"accounted"for"by"vacancies"and/or"two"or"more"families"
    occupying"one"house"using"different"methods"of"cooking,"heating"and"lighting.)"

    Only"173"of"these"houses"have"baths:""181"do"not"even"have"inside"water,"but"have"to"
    get"their"water"from"a"tap"outside,"which"outside"tap"probably"serves"a"number"of"
    houses;"305"of"these"houses"have"only"an"outside"toilet"and"of"this"number"145"houses"
    have"no"sewer"connection.6"

    We"set"out"to"be"a"fact6finding"body"for"this"information.""We"thought"we"knew"
    something"about"the"housing"conditions"in"Galveston,"but"we"are"distressed"to"see"the"
    conditions"prevailing.""Now"that"the"facts"are"before"us"we"can"not"refrain"from"urging"
    on"the"city"commission"the"desirability"of"appointing"a"housing"authority"and"doing"our"
    utmost"to"obtain"a"federal"grant"to"at"least"partially"remedy"these"conditions."

    Our"job"was"to"present"one"set"of"facts"and"not"to"make"an"exhaustive"study"of"all"the"
    pros"and"cons"of"the"situation.""We"are"therefore"not"weighing"in"this"report"the"loss"of"
    taxes"to"the"city"against"eventual"acquisition"by"the"city"of"the"properties;"nor"
    competition"by"government"subsidies"with"private"enterprise;"nor"the"effect"on"juvenile"
    delinquency"and"crime"of"overcrowded,"unsatisfactory"housing"conditions;"nor"the"
    effect"on"the"health"bill"of"the"city"of"unsanitary"conditions."

    We"are"restricting"ourselves"to"affirming"that"our"survey"shows"that"there"is"need"for"
    housing"projects"in"Galveston.""We"do"not"believe"this"point"admits"of"much"debate"


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"
             when"we"repeat"the"fact"that"over"one6fifth"of"the"houses"surveyed"do"not"even"have"
             sewer"connections."

             No"one"is"likely"to"know"the"existence"of"these"conditions"better"than"the"real"estate"
             board"and,"as"public"spirited"citizens"of"Galveston,"surely"they"are"as"anxious"as"the"rest"
             of"us"to"remedy"these"conditions,"which"must"have"existed"for"some"time.""We"feel,"if"
             the"real"estate"board,"who"apparently"are"opposed"to"the"housing"scheme,"have"a"
             better"method"for"curbing"these"conditions,"they"should"submit"their"ideas."

"            "      "       "       "      "       "       "       "     "        "     "        "
"            "      "       "       "      "       "       "       Respectfully"submitted,"

             Mrs."R."E."Cone,"Robert"I"Cohen,Jr.","Robert"Gritta,"William"Sealy,"Clark"W."Thompson,"

""           Harris"L."Kempner"

The"same"forces"that"fought"zoning"also"fought"the"establishment"of"public"housing"in"
Galveston.""They"sought"an"injunction,"which"was"denied;"they"appealed"and"lost.""But,"irony"of"
ironies,"the"segregated"housing"and"neighborhoods"they"fought"for"and"couldn’t"achieve"in"the"
zoning"war,"they"won"when"public"housing,"which"they"opposed,"took"root"in"the"city."

Is"it"a"pipedream"to"think"that"had"the"Galveston"City"Commission"established"a"zoning"law"with"
teeth"in"1927"that"enforcement"would"have"cleaned"up"and"cleared"out"the"overcrowded,"
unsanitary"conditions"that"were"allowed"to"grow"worse"over"ten"years"and"consequently"lead"to"
the"city"commission’s"authorization"for"a"city"housing"authority"and"request"for"federal"funds."

Is"this"city,"its"government"on"its"part,"and"its"citizens"on"their"part,"going"to"keep"delaying"and"
failing"to"meet"the"challenge"of"caring"for"all"of"our"citizens,"especially"for"our"children"whose"
birthright"it"is"to"grow"up"in"a"healthy,"educationally"supportive"environment?"

""

""

"

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