Charlotte Marie Baldwin Allen, a native of New York, is often referred to as the “Mother of Houston,” becoming a prominent leader in the city in the 1800s alongside her husband Augustus Chapman Allen. In 1836, her husband and his brother John Kirby Allen, purchased land on Buffalo Bayou. The brothers were soon advertising the land as a “prosperous new city” called Houston.
Charlotte and her husband eventually lived right next door to Sam Houston, an American general and statesman, at Prairie and Caroline streets. Mary Austin Holley also drew the first sketches of the capitol, when the state capitol was in Houston, from the Allens’ home. John Kirby Allen died in 1838, bringing Charlotte to the forefront of business dealings. She registered her own cattle brand and also oversaw plenty of real estate development projects.
Charlotte and her husband eventually separated in 1850. He moved out of Texas, but Charlotte continued to be known as a prominent businesswoman in the city for the next forty five years. She deeded property to the city for a city hall and markethouse and also sold the capitol site, which became home to the Capitol Hotel. The same area of land would later house the historic Rice hotel. Charlotte passed away at 90-years-old in August 1895. An elementary school was named after her in 1907 — making her the first woman in Houston to have a public school named for them.