Home History Legacy of ‘Mr. Houston’ Jesse H. Jones lives on

Legacy of ‘Mr. Houston’ Jesse H. Jones lives on

by Jan Schroder

Builder, banker, publisher and politician Jesse H. Jones was once known as Mr. Houston. An eighth-grade dropout, he arrived in Houston in 1898 and made his fortune as a developer and builder, constructing 35 skyscrapers.

A partner in the Houston Chronicle, he also started the National Bank of Commerce (now Chase Bank of Texas) and was secretary of commerce under Franklin D. Roosevelt.

Jones and his wife, Mary, established the Houston Endowment in 1920, one of the largest private foundations in the country, which gives away around $80 million a year to organizations in Houston.

Jones died in 1956.

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