Day 448 - Houston
Swedish-born architect Olle J. Lorehn (1864-1939) came to Houston to design buildings. Houston Fire Station No. 7 at 2403 Milam Street near downtown has a plaque reading: “Houston’s oldest fire house … was designed by Olle J. Lorehn and was completed in January 1899. The two-story brick structure features rusticated stone details, a five-bay front with central arched entry flanked by two apparatus bay entries, and unique parapet details. Updated in the 1920s to change from horse-drawn to motorized equipment, the station remained in active service until 1968.” Today it is the Houston Fire Museum (713-524-2526; www.houstonfiremuseum.org).
Lorehn was most known for the Binz Building, 513-519 Main, reportedly Houston’s first office building, completed in 1895 and demolished in 1950. Lorehn also designed the Sacred Heart Co-Cathedral, 1111 Pierce Avenue, a cruciform, neo-Gothic church in buff brick and limestone dedicated in 1912. It is threatened with demolition.
Lorehn also designed the lames Bute Company Warehouse, 711 William Street, listed on the National Register of Historic Places, as well as several Houston homes, including at least one in the Courtlandt Place Historic District on the National Register of Historic Places.
Another local architect of Swedish background was Gustaf M. Borgstrom. His Queen Anne-style house at 1401 Cortlandt Street is on the National Register.
There are currently 37 IKEA stores in the U.S., including one in Houston (at 7810 Katy Freeway at Antoine). IKEA Houston offers the same wide range of home furnishings and accessories of good design and function, at the “low prices so the majority of the people can afford them”, as all the other stores. But there is actually one difference. IKEA Houston as well as IKEA San Diego are actually franchised stores which means that they can do things outside the box.
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