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Around Town During The Late 70's & Early 80s


ChannelTwoNews

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This is a collection of photos from an excellent period-piece book from 1980 called Houston: City of Destiny. I know that a number of people have wanted to see photos of the city and the ongoing construction from the time and this is a start.

I also have a copy of the first edition of Ray Miller's Houston, which also has some interesting shots as well and I can dig that one up in time.

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Great old photos.

It would be interesting to see a photo taken at the same angle today, so we could see all of the differences. Anybody got a helicopter?

Tried to find KCGridlocks thread on Houston on SSP but that forum is having tech difficulties right now. Once it's up and running again I check to see if KC had any shots that show the same perspective as some of these.

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Great pics :)

Great photos! In the first photo, upper right, what is that thing that looks like a big black hole?

It probably has something to do with the pic being 25+ years old.

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In the first shot I think you can see the big globe that was at the entrance to Astroworld. There is another thread here that says that it is the old weather ball from downtown. I've been looking for a photo of that.

Theres a picture of it here, post #23

http://www.houstonarchitecture.info/haif/i...c=1667&st=0

Edited by Marty
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Every time I see Houston photos from the '70s, I realize that must have been the best time ever to be in this city. I remember as a kid from Nacogdoches at that time, I would visit my uncle and he'd take me up in the Hyatt Regency or over the 610 bridge and tell me how one day, downtown was going to stretch from the Galleria to Interstate 45. I really think there was a sense of awe throughout the city at how quickly it was becoming a "world city". I think we may have lost that today...at least some of it.

The media attention, building boom, population explosion, riches and growth all made people feel like they were part of the next Manhattan or LA. I sensed that, even as a kid. I used to remark to my parents how much I liked the fast pace and how exciting the city seemed to a kid from the sticks. Houston was going strong at all levels while most of the rest of the country was mired in a sluggish economy. Houstonians, the media and even a movie or two loved the dichotomy of a redneck town growing into a cosmopolitan city. They also loved to show off the skyline and the expanse of the sprawl.

Most of all, at about 2,000,000 people in the metro area, Houston just seemed to work a lot better. It was kinda cool to burn up 75-cent gas to drive across fields of construction cranes on pristine, grey freeways.

The early '80s were cool, too. Radio stations here were great and billboard advertising for them made them seem larger than life. I remember being amazed that there were so many to choose from and they were all so different. I also remember tuning in at about Livingston and listening the whole way down at "professional" radio shows, where the DJs were real performers -- not like the yokels in East Texas. When I was in 7th grade, the cable system in Nacogdoches added KPRC to its lineup, as we had no local NBC affiliate. I actually watched their news, to see big-time reporters doing their thing!

I also remember every time we would leave to go home. I'd stay perched in the back window of our big GM car and watch until I couldn't see the top of the antenna of One Shell Plaza anymore. That's when I knew I had left. By the time I was a senior in high school, around '86-'87 I used to enjoy picking up a copy of the Houston Post on days I got out of school early to work at a Nacogdoches radio station. I used to listen to tapes of KKBQ FM and pay close attention to John Lander's reports to the Gavin Report (a radio trade mag) for ways to improve my show.

That year, I made a trip down here with my girlfriend to go to Astroworld. We were 16 and this was the first time we had been out of town together, alone. We spent the day riding rollercoasters, then found a cheap motel on South Main (yikes!) to do what 16-year-olds do when they're not supervised. I remember the clerk smiling at me when I asked if he had an hourly rate available, because I just wanted to rest and take a shower to wake up before driving home to Nacogdoches. I thought I was being pretty smooth. He made me pay for the whole night -- about $20, if I remember right.

Good times.

Edited by dalparadise
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Hey, Ch2News, what magazine did the picture of the Republic Bank model and the steelworker walking on top come from? I remember reading that article 25 years ago! I distinctly recall the photo of the steelworker.

I'm thinking it was done by someone with Hines since they're credited with the work on that page and the one w/ the Transco Tower construction one over.

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Hey, Ch2News, what magazine did the picture of the Republic Bank model and the steelworker walking on top come from? I remember reading that article 25 years ago! I distinctly recall the photo of the steelworker.

In "A Place of Dreams" or whatever that book is called, there are several really cool photos of workers on the Heritage Plaza skeleton, if I remember correctly.

Really nice photos. I especially like the one with the lunar eclipse.

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Every time I see Houston photos from the '70s, I realize that must have been the best time ever to be in this city. (snip)

Yes. Precisely. I'm a little older than you (I started at Rice in 1980) and I was from the south (Lake Jackson) instead of the north. I'm with you on most of what you posted (except my high school girlfriend and I came straight home from Astroworld!) Great post. Yes, I would gladly trade the Houston of today for the Houston of 1985.

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  • 1 month later...
Nice photos; but as always they manage to not capture one good shot of a Metro bus. Interesting look at a city in transition though

I have some 16mm footage of a Houston bus barreling through downtown in a cloud of exhaust. I guess it's from the late 60's or early 70's. Also shots of airplanes taking off and gridlocked freeways, all through a thick haze. No way to convert it to video, though.

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Yes. Precisely. I'm a little older than you (I started at Rice in 1980) and I was from the south (Lake Jackson) instead of the north. I'm with you on most of what you posted (except my high school girlfriend and I came straight home from Astroworld!) Great post. Yes, I would gladly trade the Houston of today for the Houston of 1985.

I wouldn't trade today's Houston for 1985's, but I have very fond memories of Houston in the late 70s and early 80s. One of my favorites is going to work with my dad at The Summit to watch Gordie Howe play with the Aeros. He worked up in the sound booth, up near the "Summit Suites", where the "rich people" sat. I remember taking the elevator down to the backstage area and walking over to Greenway Plaza to pick up some burgers from "Hamburgers by Gourmet". That was back when Greenway Plaza was a happening place to be at night.

I also remember going downtown at night in the late 80s to skate. The place was totally deserted (except for other skaters). We'd spend hours skating down parking garages and right down the middle of all the streets. No cars, no people. It was like the world has ended and we were the only survivors.

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  • 2 weeks later...
I wouldn't trade today's Houston for 1985's, but I have very fond memories of Houston in the late 70s and early 80s. One of my favorites is going to work with my dad at The Summit to watch Gordie Howe play with the Aeros. He worked up in the sound booth, up near the "Summit Suites", where the "rich people" sat. I remember taking the elevator down to the backstage area and walking over to Greenway Plaza to pick up some burgers from "Hamburgers by Gourmet". That was back when Greenway Plaza was a happening place to be at night.I also remember going downtown at night in the late 80s to skate. The place was totally deserted (except for other skaters). We'd spend hours skating down parking garages and right down the middle of all the streets. No cars, no people. It was like the world has ended and we were the only survivors.
I too used to skate in DT in the late 80's to early 90's. So much construction now, back then, to me anyway, the streets were relative smooth, the sidewalks, etc. Not a a super experienced skater gal, but went down a few parking garages, usually with an Urban Animal with me... this Steve guy I remember helped me.. Yes, skating in the middle of the street. Skated from Blythe Spirits to La Carafe and/or Warrens at least 3 times, Blythe Spirits to Last Concert once to see Hightailers, Blythe to La Carafe to that bar in the neighborhood off Washington that had live music.. the neighborhood was west of the Police station.. wish I could remember name of club. I hear it burnt down. One Also got ticketed for skating.. on the way to Carafe from Blythe. Usually took one particular street that there was a mean dog so just once took this other stuff and that Officer Babineaux popped me and another skater gal. Tried to appeal it, but at court.. there was Babineaux. Also participated in the "peaceful demonstration" they had that was televised. Fun memories!
I wouldn't trade today's Houston for 1985's, but I have very fond memories of Houston in the late 70s and early 80s. One of my favorites is going to work with my dad at The Summit to watch Gordie Howe play with the Aeros. He worked up in the sound booth, up near the "Summit Suites", where the "rich people" sat. I remember taking the elevator down to the backstage area and walking over to Greenway Plaza to pick up some burgers from "Hamburgers by Gourmet". That was back when Greenway Plaza was a happening place to be at night.I also remember going downtown at night in the late 80s to skate. The place was totally deserted (except for other skaters). We'd spend hours skating down parking garages and right down the middle of all the streets. No cars, no people. It was like the world has ended and we were the only survivors.
I too used to skate in DT in the late 80's to early 90's. So much construction now, back then, to me anyway, the streets were relative smooth, the sidewalks, etc. Not a a super experienced skater gal, but went down a few parking garages, usually with an Urban Animal with me... this Steve guy I remember helped me.. Yes, skating in the middle of the street. Skated from Blythe Spirits to La Carafe and/or Warren's at least 3 times, Blythe Spirits to Last Concert once to see Hightailers, Blythe to La Carafe to that bar in the neighborhood off Washington that had live music.. the neighborhood was west of the Police station.. wish I could remember name of club. I hear it burnt down. One skate from Blythe, skated with some friends to Allen's Landing at nite. DT was so much fun at nite! Also got ticketed for skating.. on the way to Carafe from Blythe. Usually took one particular street that there was a mean dog so just once took this other stuff and that Officer Babineaux popped me and another skater gal. Tried to appeal it, but at court.. there was Babineaux. Also participated in the "peaceful demonstration" they had that was televised. Fun memories!
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