This block front of ten identical shotgun cottages, built at intervals over an eight-year period, has survived one of the most profound cultural tragedies to afflict Houston in the 1990s, the destruction of Fourth Ward, Houston's most historic African American neighborhood. One of the distinctive qualities of the ninety-block neighborhood was the rich diversity of its vernacular architecture. The shotgun cottage, a house type that began to be built in Houston in the 1880s, was the architectural symbol of Fourth Ward. The unusually narrow streets of Fourth Ward and the closely packed wood cottages along them preserved traditional lifeways that Fourth Ward residents performed in the shadows of the skyscrapers of central Houston. By the early twenty-first century, these shotgun cottages on Victor Street, identical despite their construction over a span of years, were rare survivors among proliferating town house complexes and bulky lofts.
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