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in Texas - Ugly is Beautiful |
The Grotesque Brothers of Houston's Market Square
Here's leering at you, Kid.
by John Troesser
Unusual Marker in Market Square|
are the black sheep in the family tree of statuary. They usually lack the nobility
- or at least the posture of their cousins - the military statues and they have
absolutely none of the innocence of cherubim. They usually sneer, leer and glare
- but occasionally they just blandly stare. It may be that architects placed their
ugly mugs on skyscrapers to tone down the high and mighty arrogance of the buildings.
It's sometimes comforting for people to look up and spot someone who resembles
a family member.
In Houston's downtown Market Square, we're given an
opportunity to go up and look gargoyles in the eye. Here is a whole fraternity
of gargoyles - heads mounted like deer.
plaque gives a detailed chronology of this particular city block that dates back
to 1836. Houston (or Harrisburg as it was then known) was the hastily designated
Capital of the Republic in March of that year. The marker is a short distance
from the former Rice Hotel, the site of the first Texas capitol.
visit was brief, since we were double-parked; so we don't know if information
was given as to what building (if any) these stone triplets came from. Maybe they
aren't gargoyles at all, but those hapless men of urban legend - the ones that
somehow manage to get buried in wet concrete on construction projects.
Or perhaps they are faces from Houston's steamboat era - passengers who were gazing
out through portholes on the wrong side of a capsized steamboat who later had
their muddy facial imprints filled like the casts from Pompeii.
is a familial resemblance between the three of them and one looks a little like
Art Carney. Their arched eyebrows are Vulcanesque while the tops of their ears
are rounded. It's not known if the cracked smiles are the result of vandals, the
wrecking ball, or merely a fall from high places.
If anyone has additional information on the Gargoyle Brothers, please contact
© John Troesser