Known as the Original Borden Map of the City of Houston, measuring 18 inches by 29 inches, this map was created in 1836 by mapmakers Gail and Tom Borden and Moses Lapham for city founders J.K. and A.C. Allen, brothers from New York who had come to Texas as land speculators.
After the Texas Revolution, they sited their fledgling city at the confluence of the White and Buffalo bayous, the spot where steamboats could travel and turn around. The Allen brothers, Houston’s founders, used the Borden map, the oldest known plan of the city, to illustrate for sale the size and location of the lots, blocks and streets of the proposed municipality.
Tom Borden and Moses Lapham began surveying the future town site on October 1, 1836. The town plan angled into the prairie from Buffalo Bayou instead of following a direct north-south axis. There’s an inset of an early Stephen F. Austin map of the state and boxes of text that tout the city’s virtues, since the Allen brothers used them to sell property to Easterners wanting to move West.
The Allen brothers gave one of the 62 blocks of the city to Sam Houston and handed him this map as well. Sam Houston hung the map in his office for years