HOUSTON – Preston Street Bridge – once the main artery over Buffalo Bayou that early farmers used to bring produce and other wares into a bustling young city more than 150 years ago – was renamed in honor of the late Robert A. Mosbacher Sr. Wednesday in a ceremony next to Wortham Theater Center.
Former President and Mrs. George H. W. Bush and former Secretary of State and Mrs. James A. Baker III joined the family, friends and colleagues of the former U.S. Commerce Secretary in the rededication ceremony. City Councilman Robert Gallegos led a delegation of Houston officials and accepted the project on the City’s behalf.
Mosbacher Bridge, as it is now called, features two bas-reliefs by Houston artist Willy Wang as well as plaques detailing Mosbacher’s life and career. The plaques are mounted to two lighted pylons that complement the large luminaires adjacent to Wortham Center in the downtown Theater District. The $450,000 public-private project was funded almost entirely through private donations.
Mosbacher Bridge links the George Bush Monument to the west and Baker Common to the east — important symbolically as the three close friends and Houstonians worked together during the first Bush administration. Houston First manages and maintains both Bush Monument and Baker Common and will do the same for the property upon which the Mosbacher pylons stand.
“We are proud of our role in upholding the Bush and Baker legacies and we stand ready to assist as necessary with Mosbacher Bridge,” said Dawn Ullrich, president and CEO of Houston First. “On behalf of the entire corporation, we say, ‘Welcome to the neighborhood!’”
Mosbacher launched Mosbacher Energy and turned it into one of the most successful privately held energy exploration firms in the world. Bush nominated him as Commerce Secretary in December 1988, and, among other achievements, Mosbacher went on to lay the groundwork for the North American Free Trade Agreement that President Clinton signed into law in 1993. Mosbacher died in 2010.
In December 2014, Houston City Council voted unanimously to name the former Preston Street Bridge for Mosbacher. Design firm Gensler and construction firm Linbeck implemented the project with direction from an advisory board comprised of Houstonians Charles Foster, David Jones, John Williams and Jim McGrath.