Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
Thomas E. Bell

State of the old Hobby Terminal

Recommended Posts

I am one of those hundreds (thousands?) of Houston artists, in my case a playwright/novelist, who unfortunately like all the others had to flee a city that has no use for its prodigious homegrown talent. Having got that jab in, now to the point:

Something like 20 years ago, when I was the aviation writer for the Chronicle, I was given a tip that the Houston Department of Aviation, with the blessing of the FAA, was planning to put the wrecking ball to the beautiful, though decaying, Art Deco/Streamline Moderne edifice that was the old air terminal at Hobby, dating back to the mid-1930s. The building was/is a stunning example of its kind, and the idea of knocking it down unthinkable.

So I used the power of my position to do a Sunday feature on the old building, and the plans to level it, and we got a small but powerful grassroots group going to save the terminal (by coincidence, not long after I moved to NYC, a similar fight was successfully waged to save the seaplane terminal at La Guardia, which was built in the same style at the same time). Preservation groups have to keep an eye on the Federal Aviation Administration, because none of these beautiful buildings can, in most cases, be destroyed without their blessing, which is always forthcoming.

Anyway, can someone fill this transplanted and homesick Houstonian in on what happened to "my" terminal and, since I think I saw it while taxiing in to Hobby last month, how it was saved and what is being done with it?

I miss all you Houstonians,

T.E. "Tom" Bell

New York City

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Let not your heart be troubled.................as the post shows above, the old terminal is alive and kicking. My kids and I go there at least 4-5 times a year. The displays are limited in number at this time (but they have a lot of new stuff coming), but chock full of memories. On our most recent visit, they were getting the middle part or "main lobby" in shape. I have had the privelege of going up into the old control tower. The place is filled with nostalgia. I'm quite sure that your next visit to Houston will have a visit to the old terminal on the schedule. It is worth a lot more than the $2 admission (should be more IMO).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Let not your heart be troubled.................as the post shows above, the old terminal is alive and kicking. My kids and I go there at least 4-5 times a year. The displays are limited in number at this time (but they have a lot of new stuff coming), but chock full of memories. On our most recent visit, they were getting the middle part or "main lobby" in shape. I have had the privelege of going up into the old control tower. The place is filled with nostalgia. I'm quite sure that your next visit to Houston will have a visit to the old terminal on the schedule. It is worth a lot more than the $2 admission (should be more IMO).

You have all filled this old Houstonian's heart with joy. And yes, the next time I come, I will visit the old terminal. It's roof was caving in last time I was in it. Also, given my current job, I may be able to help find some exhibits for the museum. I will get to work on that. Does anyone know who the contact is at the museum?

Also, it crossed my mind, what with the film business picking up in Houston (or so I hear up in this cold, hard city), methinks that terminal would make a perfect spot for a period airport location.

Thanks to you both for giving me this information. So a building can be saved in Houston! That alone is enough for celebration.

Best wishes,

T.E. Bell

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
You have all filled this old Houstonian's heart with joy. And yes, the next time I come, I will visit the old terminal. It's roof was caving in last time I was in it. Also, given my current job, I may be able to help find some exhibits for the museum. I will get to work on that. Does anyone know who the contact is at the museum?

Also, it crossed my mind, what with the film business picking up in Houston (or so I hear up in this cold, hard city), methinks that terminal would make a perfect spot for a period airport location.

Thanks to you both for giving me this information. So a building can be saved in Houston! That alone is enough for celebration.

Best wishes,

T.E. Bell

Just email or call the museum. They have volunteers there every day they are open. You can also sign up to be a member. They are always looking for exhibit "stuff". I'm just as happy as you are they are preserving this landmark.

Edited by Mikeytex

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Let not your heart be troubled.................as the post shows above, the old terminal is alive and kicking. My kids and I go there at least 4-5 times a year. The displays are limited in number at this time (but they have a lot of new stuff coming), but chock full of memories. On our most recent visit, they were getting the middle part or "main lobby" in shape. I have had the privelege of going up into the old control tower. The place is filled with nostalgia. I'm quite sure that your next visit to Houston will have a visit to the old terminal on the schedule. It is worth a lot more than the $2 admission (should be more IMO).

For those that don't make it over to the museum, there are a couple of display cases inside the current Hobby Terminal near the food court that have interesting period artifacts.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
For those that don't make it over to the museum, there are a couple of display cases inside the current Hobby Terminal near the food court that have interesting period artifacts.

There is also a small display of the old Hobby Terminal memorabilia at the Hobby Hilton. One thing that caught my eye was a book that had the word Dogpatch in it. Failed to get the title & author.

Edited by NenaE

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I may have missed out on part of this topic but the other morning on NPR they were discussing some serious damage to this museum hangar or terminal from the recent storm. :o

Mentioned some garage or hangers door actually crushed a 1945 plane of some kind. I did not have time to hear the rest but maybe NPR has more info on the website?

HoustonAirTerminalMuseumHanger906JT.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Maybe NPR has more info on the website?

Ask and ye shall receive. The damage isn't all that bad. Both the terminal's hangars have damage. One hangar door collapsed and damaged one of the antique airplanes, but it's not major. And the control tower bubble on the terminal roof had the plate glass windows blown out. Here's a link to the KUHF story you mention.

http://app1.kuhf.org/houston_public_radio-...s_id=1222361929

Edited by FilioScotia

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

There is also a small display of the old Hobby Terminal memorabilia at the Hobby Hilton. One thing that caught my eye was a book that had the word Dogpatch in it. Failed to get the title & author.

Was this the book about the WAF that were stationed at Hobby during WWII? I know they used to call the area at the far end of the field the dogpatch, or dogpound... can't remember which. The author may have been the lady that was at the air terminal museum on a Wings & Wheels Day. If so, buy the book, it's facinating what those gals could do with any airplane.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Was this the book about the WAF that were stationed at Hobby during WWII? I know they used to call the area at the far end of the field the dogpatch, or dogpound... can't remember which. The author may have been the lady that was at the air terminal museum on a Wings & Wheels Day. If so, buy the book, it's facinating what those gals could do with any airplane.

I don't know, wasn't able to pick it up and look at it, was in a glass case, locked up. It's probably at the old terminal museum, though. Yeah, would be an interesting read.

One of my first jobs was located right by that Art Deco terminal. When the old planes (I remember a huge bomber, in particular) flew in to Hobby for the air show (at Ellington), the sound was unbelievable. I love those old planes.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
Sign in to follow this  

×
×
  • Create New...