As you tool around the streets of Humble, do you notice the names on the street signs? I usually note each one as memories dance around in my head. Many of the streets are named to honor someone who came before us. Many people who settled in the Humble area saw a dream they worked for come true.
Humble’s Main Street began as a dirt street with wooden buildings on each side. Those buildings burned and were rebuilt a couple of times. Our forefathers struggled to keep their community growing and to make it better. Each time there was a disaster, our forefathers built better buildings, streets and sidewalks. They were building better for us.
Each time I drive down Whitaker Drive, I can see Tommy Whitaker taking care of his service-station business. Tommy had a stocky build and a smile on his face. He was pleasant as he put gasoline in the vehicles, cleaned the windshields, and checked the level of the oil. He was preparing the way for future generations.
J. M Hester Road is just a short street from the feeder road of U.S. Hwy. 59 to McKay Drive. Hester served the city of Humble as a councilman. While I don’t remember Mr. Hester, I do recall Mrs. Hester. She was a tall, slender woman with a warm smile. She served others as she volunteered in the church and helped to pave the way of the future for the children she taught.
McKay Drive ends at Will Clayton Parkway. If you look at some maps and/or the internet, you will find Jetero Street, not Will Clayton. I tried to find out who Will Clayton was so I could understand why we have a street named for him. I found that he was a businessman in another state. Perhaps he came to Houston and was influential with the airport. However, I have no idea where the name Jetero came from. My guess is that someone made it up because it was the street going to the airport which would have jets landing on the tarmac. As far as I know, the Jetero R.C. Airplane Club is the only use of the name now.
McKay Drive was mentioned earlier. This short street is located west of Northeast Hospital and is named for Dr. Haden McKay, Jr. who was a beloved doctor in Humble and served as mayor of Humble for many years. There are now other streets off McKay Drive, such as McKay Center, that bear his name.
Before Dr. Haden McKay, Jr. we had “Old” Dr. McKay, who was my doctor for the first few years of my life. He was the only doctor in the area and the only way to cross the San Jacinto River was a “low-water” bridge. It was a wooden bridge that was usually covered with water. I remember my parents driving through the water as they crossed the bridge. Reiminscing, one of my cousins laughed and said, “Daddy would always stop and let us play in the water when he drove across the bridge.”
“Old” Dr. McKay lobbied the officials for a safer bridge across the water. Therefore, the bridges which now provide safe passage for us are named for Dr. Haden McKay, Sr. who cared for his patients and for the City of Humble.
The last name I see is Wilson Road, which I suppose was named for Wilson Archer. He was a businessman in Humble and served as mayor for a few years. Archer was a quiet man with a big smile who owned two Wilson Superettes and a strip center on Wilson Road. In the 1960s and ‘70s, his businesses and the Humble Funeral Home were about the only establishments along Wilson Road.
As you navigate your way around town, my hope is that as you see names on street signs that you will recall those who came before us; those who helped to build a better community for the future and are now honored with streets bearing their names. We must always remember those who came before and prepared the way for us.