comments by classmates
Historic Photos:  Houston


Historic Photos of Houston
One of the more entertaining aspects of today's Internet is the ability to share the past.  Clicking on the number in the Index below (e.g., 004) will take you to some of the photos described of historic Houston sites during the 50s and 60s, during our childhood and school days - how many do you recall?   [Please note:  This page is slowly being reconstructed following the death of our classmate Jack Drummond in 2012, when we lost access to his personal website: - thus we rely on our classmates to hunt for many of these images.  Perhaps Jack's site can be recovered with the WayBack Machine?  Some we have recovered to date are 014 and 018 - you knew we'd track KiTiRiK down, right?  Can you find others?  Other individual photos you can locate courtesy of]  This page allows classmates the opportunity to record their memories of any of these historic sites we grew up with - and identify some of those we aren't sure about.  Send your memories for any numbered photo, or additional photos, to: 
Index to Photos, with comments
001 .  Garden Oaks Pharmacy and Theatre (c. 1950)
002.  Gaido's Seafood Restaurant.  Still in Galveston.
003.  The Astrodome
I attended the 2/28/70 Elvis concert in the Astrodome! [Jeremy Wicker]
004.  Esquire Ballroom
Patsy Cline performed here shortly before her tragic death at age 30. 
005.  Houston development (c. 1950)
006.  Houston skyline (c. 1968)
1966 was the year the Gulf "lollypop" was put up so we know this photo is at least 1966 and no later than 1974 when the "lollypop" was removed.  (Jon Hugh Fleming) 
007.  Christie's Restaurant (postcard)
008.  Captain John's Restaurant (c. 1960)
009.  Cadet Don
See this blog on Kitirik and Cadet Don memories.  See this specific blog on Cadet Don.
010.  The Triangle Shopping Center (featuring Madding's Drugstore)
011.  George Herman "Babe" Ruth  (1930, Houston City Auditorium)
[thanks to classmate Jon Hugh Fleming for correctly identifying this photo - see this page for the story behind the photo]. 
012.  The Alabama Theatre (7/30/1960)
The Alabama Theatre with its art deco style opened in November 1939 at 2922 S. Shepherd Drive in Houston, and played movies throughout the 40s, 50s, and 60s after they had played at the 'premiere' theatres downtown (e.g., Loew's State, Metropolitan).  See some history here
013.  Astroworld
014.  Bill Williams Chicken House (featuring Savage Style)
Bill Williams Chicken House  - savage style - 6500 Main - this blog gives some history - Remember the old One's A Meal? You'll enjoy this true Houston success story, in which Bill Williams left home with $1.40 in his pocket - and eventually found a Houston oilman who believed in him, and peeled off five $100 bills to get him started in the restaurant business. 
015.  Safety barrier construction on the Gulf Freeway (c. 1953)
for a related site, which has some 20 photos, including the 'safety barrier construction gulf Freeway" shot - and some dates - click here.
016.  Harris County Mounted Posse
017.  Astrowheel (c. 1970)
1968 - 1990:  Astrowheel (a Double Ferris Wheel) featured dual loading of eight cages per arm.  The Astrowheel served as an AstroWorld park landmark in its formulative years.  See here for more information.
018.  KTRK-TV's Mascot:  Kitirik (c. 1958)
   I remember when KTRK and the Houston Chronicle had the contest to name their new "mascat" and the winner was KiTiRiK - I thought she was so sexy in that black cat outfit!   [Mike Blackledge]
this blog on Kitirik and Cadet Don memories.
019.  Metropolitan Theatre Lobby (see 034 for another interior shot of this magnificent downtown theatre)
Houston's Metropolitan Theatre at 1018 Main Street between McKinney and Lamar was a lavish representation of its Egyptian themed decor. Millions of pieces of ceramic tile were inlaid to form floor and wall mosaic murals of the pharaohs and ancient Egyptian symbols. A sphinx guarded the temple-like balcony approaches.  The same architect, Alfred Charles Finn, who designed Loew's State next door created this theatre for Jesse H. Jones.  Built at the cost of $2M, it opened on Christmas in 1926 and was demolished in 1973.  More on this lost theatre can be found here as well as here
020.  Amusement Park
021.  SeaArama (August 1966)
022.  Shamrock Hilton  (scroll through slideshow, including Corkettes!)
The Shamrock later became the Shamrock-Hilton - my sisters and I would walk over there, me for swimming, and they for their job of lifeguards.  I remember the big water beetles (with pincers yet) that would be in the pool side-drains early in the morning ... where did those come from?  [Mike Blackledge]
I think I remember one could get a summer membership to the pool.  I was a big underwater swimmer back then.  Parents would throw quarters, dimes, etc. for their kids to fetch but few could manage the 15 foot depth.  Some days I collected 4 - 5 bucks, which was a short ton!  Last month, I ran into a man that was one of the last skiers that did ski demos in the pool  (boats and all)!!!    [Jack Drummond]
Remember the Corkettes synchronized swim team at the Shamrock?  My wife Patti was on the team!  [Larry Hitt]
I think my sister Patti plus Penny were on the Corkettes also! 
 I also remember the 'clown diving', the funny clowns (maybe Reed Robinson was one?) who did trick dives/stunts/pratfalls in between events at swim meets, or perhaps at Corkette shows ... 
[Mike Blackledge]
I, too, lived within walking distance when I was young. My sister and I would stroll to the Shamrock on Saturday mornings and watch the stars (e.g., Doris Day, Jack Carson, Gabby Hayes) perform on a live nationwide radio broadcast in the Cork Club. Also, Wesley Sokolosky's family belonged to the swimming club, so I enjoyed many a summer's day swimming there. We'd always order hamburgers, fries and a shake for lunch. Yummmmmmy!  [Jeremy Wicker]
023.  Sunbeam Bread
See this Wikipedia entry for the history of Little Miss Sunbeam
024.  TV Tube Check at 7-11   I wish I had a nickel for everytime I had to pull all the tubes out of my Zenith Trans-Oceanic, put them in a paper bag and pedal down to the 7-11 to test them. Before these do it yourself things became available, the only option was to leave your set at a radio repair shop and then wait a week or two for them to get around to testing them and charging you for the labor.
"Test TV tubes here" ... man, I had forgotten that ...  [Mike Blackledge]
Funny, but "Test TV tubes here" caught my eye also.  And I did it often!    [Jack Drummond]
025.  Toddle House
026.  Jimmy Menutis:  the Houston Heart of Rock and Roll
See here for more info (and this same photo) on Jimmy Menutis' dream. 
027.  Slender*bolic Health Studios
028.  Sharpstown
030.  San Jacinto Inn
For us, the original All You Can Eat!   See this Postcard From Texas on the San Jacinto Inn in the shadow of the monument and the Battleship Texas.  Biscuits and jam!
031.  Prince's Fried Chicken
032.  The Astrodome, the 8th Wonder of the World
033.  Meyerland Plaza (October 1957)
   See this Wikipedia entry
034.  Theatre interior (see also 019 for another interior photo of the long-lost downtown Metropolitan Theatre)
More on this lost theatre can be found here as well as here.
035.  Marvin Zindler, Consumer Affairs, Action 13 News
See this humorous article on Marvin Zindler vs. the Best Little Whorehouse in Texas
036.  Col. Sanders:  the original Kentucky Fried Chicken (c. 1950)
037.  Joske's
038.  JFK at Rice Stadium (September 1962)
   See this video of the President's historic speech on space exploration - using a 50-year scale for man's history.
"Why does Rice play Texas?  We choose to go to the moon!"  Some of the text of the speech is available below the video window.  The speech introduced the Manned Spacecraft Center, to be located nearby thanks largely to the influence of Congressman Albert Thomas, Chairman of the Armed Services Committee.
039.  Houston skyline
Compare with 041 and 006. 
040.  Humble Oil Station:   Full Service 24 hours a day (c. 1950)
041.  Aerial view of Houston looking north (1958)
The Sam Houston Coliseum (Lamar Graduation) and Music Hall are mid left border.  The Southern Pacific Station (Sunbeam, Sunset Limited, etc )  is toward the top and Union Station (Zephyr, Rocket, Eagle, Texas Chief,etc.) is a little past mid line to the right (Minute Maid Park now). 
The Gulf Building is "the tallest building WEST of the Mississippi" (and has yet to have the big orange sign added)  The Rice Hotel (senior prom) is clearly visible - three towers - a bit north of the Gulf Building (which is at Main and Rusk).  Sakowitz and Foley's are seen clearly facing each other across Main Street.  The Texas National Bank (the "weather ball" building) has tucked in it's lee - at the corner of Main and Clay the First Methodist Church where we had our baccalaureate worship service.  The squarish building north of the Texas National Bank and on the south side of the street facing Foley's is the Headquarters of The Humble Oil and Refining Company later to become Exxon.  (Jon Hugh Fleming) 
The weather ball "words" :
White Light - Cooler Weather            Red Light - Warmer Weather               Green Light - No Change in View            Blinking Light - Rain is Due
See if you can pick out the Lowe's, Metropolitan, Kirby and Majestic Theaters.   (Jon Hugh Fleming) 
042.  Southern Pacific Station (c. 1937)
The SP Station circa 1937.  Wyatt C. Hedrick was the architect.  It was torn down to make room for the main Houston Post Office.  You can spot this on the "big picture"  [041] as just below the long white rectangle 3/4's up the picture toward the top.  If you went to College Station on the train...this is from whence you left and to which you returned.  And if you went to San Antonio and points west .. or to New Orleans ...this is where it started and ended.   (Jon Hugh Fleming) 
043.  Sidney Lanier Junior High School
To see another set of transportation-related historic photos of Houston, click here
To see the Sloane Gallery collection of historic photos, click here
Lamar Entrance

               Being reconstructed!  This page of Index and Comments on Historic Photos:  updated as of:  12 April 2015
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