Organized as a Texas Militia unit on April 21, 1873, the Houston Light Guard originally participated in parades, ceremonies, and competitive drills, and served as guard of honor for visiting dignitaries. The first commander was Capt. Edwin Fairfax Gray (1829-1884), then the city engineer of Houston. During the 1880s The Guard, dressed in uniforms of red coats and red-plumed helmets, became known as a leader in drill competitions throughout the United States. Prize money funded their first armory in 1891.
In 1898 The Guard was activated for service with United States troops in the Spanish-American War. After participating in the punitive expedition against Mexico, 1916-1917, the unit joined U. S. forces fighting in Europe during World War I.
The Guard built a new armory at this site in 1925 and deeded it to the State of Texas in 1939. The next year the unit was again activated and during World War II saw action in seven campaigns in Africa and Europe. As part of the 36th Infantry Division, Guard members were among the first American troops in Europe during the war. Now part of the National Guard, the Houston Light Guard represents a proud heritage of distinguished military service.