Houston, Texas-The annual “Buffalo Soldiers Ride”, will take place this year on Saturday, June 18th at 7am. Help us Honor the legacy of America’s veterans by participating in the Annual Buffalo Soldiers Bicycle Ride. The Buffalo Soldier Bicycle Ride will support the renovation of the Houston Light Guard Armory, the future home of the Buffalo Soldiers Museum.
This year’s Bike Ride is expected to raise money, bring awareness to the Museum and assist with the Chapter programs. Photo and Interview opportunities are available with Captain Matthews, Riders, Volunteers, Sponsors and the Buffalo Bike Ride. The Buffalo Soldier Ride starts at the Houston Community College South Campus, located at 1990 Airport and SH 288 and the turnaround will be at Hwy36 and FM1994.
There are several ride options available from a 10 Mile Family Ride to an 80 Mile Seasoned Cyclist Ride with rest points and turnaround options throughout the Route.
WHO & WHY
The event is aimed at Preserving the Historic Houston Light Guard Armory and by also drawing attention to the 20 black soldiers who in 1897 embarked on a military mission to see if man and machine could hold up to the rigors of a ride from Fort Missoula, Mont., to St. Louis. On June 14 that year, Lt. James Moss of the U.S. Army set out with his bicycle corps of the 25th infantry.
They rode wagon trails and practically nonexistent paths through the Rocky Mountains and Midwestern plains of the United States, arriving in St. Louis just over a month later, on July 16. An 1894 prediction had predicted that soon the United States would have an army of 50,000 on bicycles, stationed throughout the country.
About the Historic Houston Light Guard Armory
The name Houston Light Guard may mean little to most Houstonians today, but at one time it attracted a great deal of attention in our city. In fact, members of the Light Guard often put on thebest show in town. The Light Guard was actually a militia unit organized in 1873 by a group of prominent Houstonians. Militia groups, prevalent in Texas in the latter part of the 19th century, were formed to quell any lawlessness in the community.
The Light Guard agreed to fill this role, but members relished even more their activities as a drill unit. They practiced until their marching became a fine art. They criss-crossed the country entering drill competitions, bringing back so many medals and trophies that they were finally banned from the contests.
Local military units in the 1880s were required to furnish their own uniforms. The Houston men wore a dress uniform with a bright red coat cut with tails, white cross-belts and an abundance of gold trim. Topping the outfit was a white helmet festooned with red and white feathers. Unfortunately, the Light Guard marched and dressed better than it soldiered. In a state camp in 1891, the Houston unit placed 50th in discipline and cleanliness. And when the federal government began to require local units to serve in the regular army for two years, the Light Guard soldiers dissented and were forced to disband.
About The Buffalo Soldier National Museum Vision
Here is one of the finest buildings in Houston, Texas falling into disrepair. Completed in 1925, the Houston Light Guard Armory building has been abandoned hurt by vagrants, vandals, and Hurricane Ike. Behind a corner gas station and in the shadow of luxury apartments of Midtown Houston sits one of the finest buildings in Houston, falling into disrepair. Designed by Alfred C. Finn and completed in 1925, the Houston Light Guard Armory building has been abandoned for quite sometime.
The Buffalo Soldiers National Museum has a real vision to restore the Armory and give it a purpose that relates to its original use. Their goal is to see history brought up to date, that these soldiers are given “recognition not [yet] received.” Both building and soldier have a past that has been shamefully neglected. In the establishment of this new vision, I can think of no more fitting pair.
Renovations of the Houston Light Guard Armory are estimated at upwards of $4 million dollars. Though initial clean-up and minor demolition is getting underway, the Buffalo Soldier National Museum and friends tell others that “This Place Matters,” and asks all veterans and others to help in reaching their goal. You can make your contribution to the reconstruction effort at:
www.buffalosoldiermuseum.com by leaving a memorial brick or granite paver to honor someone in your family, club, business, or other organization.
The Buffalo Soldier National Museum is a 501(c) (3) charitable organization. Currently located at 1834 Southmore Blvd., Houston, TX 77004, the museum is opened daily from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m., Saturdays from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m., closed on Sundays. The museum also does private tours by appointment, as well as hosts receptions in the evenings.
CONTACT: Mary or Captain Matthews 713-942-8920