As many of you know, the GHWCC is proud to have influenced the naming of the C Baldwin Hotel, after Charlotte Baldwin Allen, one of Houston’s founders. Kudos to Brookfield Companies for finally giving Charlotte her rightful place in history. Several of the GHWCC’s leadership and board members were treated to the exclusive launch of the C Baldwin and experienced an evening of fine dining in the Rosalie Restaurant, named for the highly celebrated chef, Chris Cosentino’s grandmother Rosalie. In fact, we were the first to dine in the restaurant! The GHWCC leaders were hosted on a private tour of the gorgeous hotel.
Charlotte Baldwin was born on July 14th, 1895 upstate New York. Charlotte could have easily remained up north where she grew up and lived nicely from her inheritance. But, In 1831, Charlotte marries Augustus Chapman Allen and in 1832, she, her husband and his brother (John Allen) leave New York and head to the state of Texas. Ultimately, Charlotte’s inheritance helped fund the purchase of land in the Buffalo Bayou which then lead to several additional and noteworthy investments.
The initial land they purchased attracted further investment and settlement in to the area. A notable accomplishment is their funding of the first state house. Charlotte and Augustus were even Sam Houston’s neighbor. In 1831, John Allen passed away and Charlotte had a disagreement over the estate with her husband, Augustus. In 1850, they separate over this disagreement and Augustus moves away to Mexico and Washington DC – and Charlotte remains in Houston. The caveat was that back in those days, married women could not own property.
Charlotte was a prominent member of their collective families throughout all of their business dealings. She even registered her own cattle brand and negotiated numerous real estate and development projects. She helped create what is the city of Houston today.
Charlotte becomes one of the most well-known citizens in Houston for the next 45 years. After the civil war, her home became the headquarters for the commanding general of federal troops in Houston. She deeded various parcels of property to the city, some of which were used for a city hall and market house.
The Allen Brothers received much of the credit for developing Houston. But, if it wasn’t for Charlotte – none of it would have happened. Charlotte is considered ‘the mother of Houston’ and is one of the unsung heroes among Texas history. She was a leader in Houston when women had few rights and even fewer opportunities. She was an accomplished business woman and her decisions and actions mattered, they made a difference for others.