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Houston Buffalo Speedway road name origin


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The Houston Chronicle recently ran articles about a new book concerning the origin of Houston street names, including "Buffalo Speedway." Is the name based on a race track, or does it have some other origin?


"Why did the buffalo cross the speedway? 10/1/2007

"Looking at overpasses, one at a time" 10/15/2007


From the latter:

Several readers took issue with Marks Hinton, whose book Historic Houston Streets: The Stories Behind the Names says there probably never was a speedway where Buffalo Speedway is now. But only Bill Welch provided evidence for its existence.


A look at a U.S. Geological Survey map from 1921, courtesy of the Perry-Castañeda Library at the University of Texas at Austin, shows what looks very much like a speedway or racetrack where Buffalo Speedway would later be built.


Several readers, including Paul Mabry, also recall a speedway at the late, lamented Playland Park, which used to be on South Main at Murworth before moving farther out and eventually closing. Buffalo Speedway crosses South Main nearby.


Hinton said Thomas Anderson, an attorney and amateur historian, told him that rumors of a track near present-day Buffalo Speedway and Westheimer were probably urban legend.


Hinton said Anderson told him that the street "earned its name when a mile-long strip of concrete was laid" and "every boy with a hotrod wanted to see how fast he could go on this smooth, straight strip."


Anderson knew that part of the city, near River Oaks, very well, Hinton said. He died in June at 95 and would have been about 9 years old when the map was published.


Hinton was intrigued but not convinced by the mysterious object, which lies roughly inside a box formed by what are now Richmond, Alabama, Timmons and Audley streets. A search through old maps in the Texas Room of the Houston Public Library turned up no such thing.


"Who knows what this is?" he said. "I don't have a clue."


The Houston Architecture Forum has a thread on the topic as well (predating the Chronicle articles) including a picture of the 1921 map:

Buffalo Speedway thread


Perhaps someone in this forum knows the history?

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