Macy's (Houston Downtown) in Houston

Photo of Macy's (Houston Downtown) in Houston, Texas
Photograph Wayne Lorentz
Photo of Macy's (Houston Downtown) in Houston, Texas
Photograph Wayne Lorentz
Royalty-free architecture stock photography

Macy's (Houston Downtown)
Formerly:Foley's

1110 Main Street, Houston, Texas, Downtown 77002
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The department store born in Houston has remained true to downtown even after all the others packed up and headed for the Galleria. When it opened, the Foley's store (now Macy's) was considered the most modern of its kind. There are no windows because the owners wanted to emphasize the fact that it was fully climate controlled. The escalators caused something of a sensation, too. When the building opened, people were stationed at the top and bottom of the moving stairs to help steady shoppers as they got on and off. To this day, the Foley's escalators are unusually speedy and take some getting used to.

The building was originally just six stories tall, but was expanded to ten in 1957. However, it's what's underneath that's the most fascinating. The Foley's building was one of the first buildings in downtown to have a tunnel. In this case, it allowed people to get to the Foley's parking garage without having to wait to cross the street. It was another 55 years before Foley's became part of the larger Houston tunnel system.

But dig even deeper and you find out that much like the building looks like a concrete bunker on the surface, it is also a concrete bunker below. In the 1960's, the city built a massive nuclear fallout shelter in case of attack by the Soviet Union. The cavernous shelter is big enough to hold 30,000 people and the supplies they need to survive.

Today, most of the supplies have been sold off to surplus dealers, and the shelter is closed. But a local television reporter went down there in 2002, and it looks perfectly serviceable if it's ever needed again.

Quick Facts
Notes
    > This building isn't only about shopping. There are two apartments in the building, too.
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