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The Funeral of George H. Hermann of Houston, Texas

October, 1914 - citizens of Houston pay their respects to George H. Hermann
October, 1914 - citizens of Houston pay their respects to George H. Hermann
HAM-TMC Libraries

There are only two miles between his birthplace and his final resting place. He was born in a two-story house in downtown Houston, where City Hall’s reflecting pool now sits. His final resting place is Glenwood Cemetery, within walking distance out Washington Avenue.

Father of Hermann Park and Hermann Hospital in Houston
HAM-TMC Libraries

George Henry Hermann left such a trail of generosity all over his hometown that thousands gathered for his funeral. It was October, 1914. World War I was underway, Babe Ruth had just made his major league debut, Woodrow Wilson was President and Texas boasted 800,000 residents as well as 20,000 miles of main line railroads.

Houston’s Ship Channel had recently been completed and opened, Ben Campbell was Mayor of the city, and the Houston Buffaloes were co-champions of the Texas League; they played baseball at the West End Ball Park in downtown Houston.

George H. Hermann had been spending quite a bit of his time in Baltimore, Maryland being treated for stomach cancer, and passed away there. His home in Houston was 117 San Felipe Road, where he lived for decades with Thomas J. Ewing and his family (One Allen Center sits on the property today).

For the trip from Baltimore to Houston by train, Hermann’s body had been placed in a simple wooden coffin and a broad-brimmed cowboy hat was put in his hands. The day of the funeral, flags flew at half-staff, schools and businesses were closed, the bell in City Hall tolled 71 times to mark the number of years Mr. Hermann lived, and the funeral procession gathered along Main Street near Texas Avenue. After a short eulogy and prayers by Rev. William States Jacobs, thousands walked the route down Main to Franklin, turned left on Washington Avenue and proceeded to Glenwood Cemetery.

The procession was at least one mile long, according to an article in the Galveston Daily News. After the dignitaries and five mounted police officers, a military band led the way. According to the article, “just behind the funeral car came Leo, Mr. Hermann’s faithful horse, led by an old Negro servant who had been in the employ of the deceased for many years”.

Several organized groups, including the Red Roosters, Boy Scouts, Rotarians, Dick Dowling Camp of Confederate Veterans and the choir of First Presbyterian Church, marched in the procession. It was a fitting tribute to honor the memory of the man who gave Houston so much.