Platted 1836 by surveyors Gail Borden, Jr., and Moses Lapham as "Congress Square." It was intention of city fathers Augustus C. and John K. Allen to have permanent Capitol of Republic of Texas located here. However, this was never realized and almost immediately it became center of commerce for the flourishing city.
Residents, farmers, peddlers and Indians all crowded here daily with wagon loads of goods to trade. Soon merchants were vying for permanent sites for stores. One early observer noted "reason for its popularity was that the municipal government was conducted in Kesler's Arcade, a saloon only a half block away."
In 1840 Houston's first municipal market house was built here. Before it was completed, city officials voted to enlarge it and include a city hall also. For 30 years building served dual role — the market overflowing till it reached the streets. Many items, including household and farm goods, were sold here.
It was here that Houston Independent Light Guard mobilized after Texas decided to invade Mexico, 1842.
Several municipal buildings occupied the site following original market-city hall. However, the seat of city government was eventually moved to a new location and this became a park.