Joey Sanchez was riding his bike one day in 2015 when he began to notice tiny blue and white tiles on the curbs labeling the names of Houston streets. Installed in the early twentieth century, the square tiles were laid one at a time, serving as mosaic road maps before elevated metal street signs were the norm. Over the years, many of the tile signs have weathered or disappeared, but thousands still remain.
On that 2015 bike ride, Sanchez began photographing the signs. He shared them on social media, quickly capturing the attention of other Houstonians like Eric Maier.
Together, Sanchez and Maier are behind the efforts of the the Blue Tile Project, which locates, preserves, and, when necessary, reinstalls the iconic street artifacts. Sanchez manages an ambitious online presence as well as a map showcasing the locations of more than four thousand remaining blue tile creations. Maier oversees the restoration and installation of new tiles.
In this video from Texas Country Reporter, Sanchez and Maier explain what this project means for Houston residents.