City of Houston

Houston’s City Council chamber named after former secretary who served for nearly 7 decades

Anna Russell, who served the city for nearly 70 years, passed away on February 3, 2020, and now has a council chamber named in her honor.


City Council named its council chamber after Anna Adams Russell who served for nearly seven decades.

The City of Houston's Council Chamber is now named after former City Secretary Anna Russell who served the city for nearly 70 years.

Russell is known as Houston's longest-serving employee. Over her time spent as secretary of the city, she was part of the term of 9 Houston mayors.

Anna Russell's voice was unmistakable during Houston city council meetings. She always sat next to the Mayor and kept the agenda moving as City Secretary starting in 1972, a job she held until 2018. She died in 2020 at 88.

Council Member Martha Castex-Tatum said Russell was an iconic fixture at city hall and knew exactly where to find any file.

"When you walked into the city secretary's office, any document that you needed in the City of Houston, she knew where it was, she was the computer," Castex-Tatum said.

Council Member Castex-Tatum felt having Russell's name at city hall was right for the time she dedicated to the city.

"We are so honored to be able to have her name on this chamber because her influence on the city of Houston will last forever," she said.

"Houston will have other city secretaries, but there will never be another Anna Adams Russell," Mayor Sylvester Turner said in a statement emailed to news media shortly after Anna's death.

When Russell passed away two years ago, the family requested donations be made to the renovation of Hermann Square at City Hall in lieu of flowers. Some of that money was used for a park bench made in Russell's honor as well. The bench will be added at Hermann Square.

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