Oliver B. Street Papers
A Inventory of the Collection
Oliver B. Street was born on February 22, 1910 in Austin, Texas to Andrew Street and Bessie Rose Ann Roberts Street. He attended Anderson High School, Sam Huston College in Austin and later Tuskegee College in Atlanta. In 1941, he married Maery Lou Young of Miami, Florida. In 1946, their son, Oliver B. Street II was born.
After graduating from Tuskegee College, Street opened his first shop in a rented space in one-half a building in the 1100 block of East 11th Street. Later he rented space at the corner of Curve and E. 11th Street. As business expanded he rented a building at the rear of the lot. The last location for Oliver B. Street Construction Company was at 924 E.11th Street.
During his 40 years as a builder and general contractor, he built a variety of structures including residences, churches, nursing homes, lodge halls, funeral homes, service stations and mini strip malls. He helped many low income families, who could not meet requirements of financial institutions, by building low-income homes. He also helped unskilled men to gain the experience needed to become successful in the building and general contracting trade. Street worked with architects such as John S. Chase, the first African American to graduate with a degree in architecture from the University of Texas. Finally, during a time when very few African Americans were known as business leaders, his work was recognized nationally and he was consulted on building projects outside the state of Texas.
Street was dedicated to community service and was an active member of the Better Business Bureau, The National Business League, The Capital City Lions Club, The NAACP, The East Austin Chamber of Commerce and numerous other community organizations.
In 2004, the Austin Revitalization Association, completed and opened two new retail and commercial buildings on East 11th Street, right across the street from where Mr. Street's offices once stood. In honor of his civic and business leadership, one of the two buildings was named after Mr. Street and another business, civic and church leader, Deacon Walter J. Jones.
Maery L. Street was born in Miami Florida. She attended Dunbar Elementary, and Booker T. Washington High School in Florida. She later attended Tuskegee Institute in Georgia, where she received a Bachelor's of Science in Business. In 1957, she returned to school and earned a Master's degree in Education from the University of Texas. After the Streets were married, they settled into a home built by Mr. Street for the Street family. In this house, they raised one son, Oliver B. Street II. During the early years, Mrs. Street worked as an assistant for her husbands company. She later built a career in the education field working for Tillotson College teaching Business Education. After Tillotson College, she worked for AISD for more than 20 years as an English teacher at the segregated Old Anderson High School and later at Lanier High School. After she retired from AISD, she volunteered for various organizations, including her church, sorority and the City of Austin volunteer board. Over the years she has been recognized for her dedication to community service with various awards and honors.
This collection highlights the business activities, community service activities, family events, social activities, and awards and achievements of Oliver B. and Maery Lou Street. The collection was donated in two parts, divided into two boxes. The first box contains information about Oliver B. Street.The second box contains information about both Mr. and Mrs. Street, with the primary focus on Mrs. Street. Biographical Information (1978-1981) contains background material and an early resume for Mr. Street. Correspondence (1960-1987) contains general correspondence regarding his business and organizational involvement. Of specific interest is a thank you letter from Lady Bird Johnson about a reception held in her honor, given by Street; a letter from John Chase, the first African American licensed to practice architecture in the state of Texas, congratulating him on being awarded a building contract in Longview, Texas; and a letter written by Dr. Joseph Houchins regarding economic statistics on Negros for the Department of Commerce. Advertisements (undated) consist of advertisements used by Mr. Street in promoting his company. Honors and Awards (1972-2004, undated) contains various examples of awards bestowed on Mr. Street. Clippings (1940-2004, undated) consists of articles regarding Mr. Street's construction company and his involvement in organizations and clubs. Family Images (undated) contains photocopies and documents showing personal and business related items, civic engagements, and the dedication of the Street-Jones building. Construction Projects (1958-1993, undated) shows images of construction projects that were completed by Oliver B. Street. Street-Jones and Snell Building Dedication (2004) contains photographs and other scrapbook material related to the dedication of the building. Biographical Information (1930-1940) includes photocopied scrapbook images of Mrs. Street's early life in Florida, her life as a student at Tuskegee Institute, and her family life in Austin. It also includes photocopied scrapbook information (1942-1981) about Mrs. Street's life and employment. Of interest is an invitation to Azie Taylor Morton's Oath Ceremony to become the Treasure of the United States. General Family Material (1943-2013) includes photocopies of scrapbook information relating to their life during WWII, the early years of the business, the death of Mr. Street, information on the dedication of the Street-Jones Building, as well as Mr. Streets inclusion on the wall of honor at the African American Cultural Heritage District Facility. Folders 12 and 13, The Awards and Honors folders (1959-2013) contain images of Mrs. Street accepting awards, photocopies of award letters, as well as articles about her volunteer work and the dedication of the Street-Jones building.
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Maery L. Street
Oliver B. Street Papers (AR 2012.003). Austin History Center, Austin Public Library, Texas.
Donor #: DO/2012/005
Donation Date: January, 2012
Finding Aid created and encoded by Cynthia Evans in 2012. Updates by Cynthia Evans and Susan Rittereiser, 2014.
Detailed Description of the Collection