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1978 Houston on Google Earth


IronTiger

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If you've played with the latest version of Google Earth, Houston's vintage aerial photography has been updated to include 1978. Although it's a bit low-res, there's lots of goodies I saw...you can see this railroad spur near 290 here, in addition, you can see LOTS of undeveloped areas (sorry, it was before Hanna-Barbera Land was built) where lots of homes exist nowadays. You can also check out Town & Country Village, where you can see that a section of outdoor mall existed north of Joske's (shocker!) It's fun to explore around 1978...check it out today and report what you find!

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I discovered the 1978 imagery earlier this week while fooling around on Google Earth. Seeing 288 under construction is cool. I also looked at Hobby Airport and it appears that back in 78, they were using a portion of the terminal apron for automobile parking. This was a few years before they constructed the current parking garage.

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historicaerials.com goes back to the 1960s...there was a subdivision where Greenway Plaza is now.

What most amazes me about the images from 1957 are the changes to Midtown/Third Ward. What is now the east side of Midtown in particular had an abundance of single-family homes in 1957 (mostly Victorian according to Midtown Management District, although they look like bungalows from overhead). The area clearly declines by 1964, and then most of the homes disappear completely by 1973, especially near where 59 construction was tearing a path right through the middle of the Third Ward. You can even watch as well-kept sidewalks begin to fade into oblivion from one decade to the next, and random warehouses pop up where homes once stood.

It makes sense that an area on the edge of downtown would eventually densify, although in this neighborhood the population declined first before densification took hold in the late '90's. It'd be interesting to know what was lost from it's heyday as a supposed prime residential neighborhood, something that's hard to imagine when so few original houses remain. The overhead images provide some insight, but it'd be really cool if someone could put them into context.

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Wow. Like others said, 288. But there's also the construction of ramps at 610 and Highway 59 that are being built. The Greenspoint area is radically different and it looks like they just finished the feeder roads for the Beltway up there! Veeeeery veeeery cool.

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I find it odd that nearly every highway has added at least four lanes (two in each direction) since 1978. Katy Freeway has the biggest "improvement" overall. Watch the ol' MKT right of way disappear!

Also: The Woodlands had more trees than it does now. Easy to say when EVERYTHING was REAL woods.

Edited by IronTiger
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I find it odd that nearly every highway has added at least four lanes (two in each direction) since 1978. Katy Freeway has the biggest "improvement" overall. Watch the ol' MKT right of way disappear!

Also: The Woodlands had more trees than it does now. Easy to say when EVERYTHING was REAL woods.

When I moved here in 1979, my dad bought me a street map. The key was to the left of Gessner. That was as far west as Houston went! There was literally NOTHING past Gessner! I spent my birthday that year driving up and down Highway 6 looking for Bellaire. Unbeknown to me, they didn't intersect at the time. Not funny then, but VERY funny now.

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When I moved here in 1979, my dad bought me a street map. The key was to the left of Gessner. That was as far west as Houston went! There was literally NOTHING past Gessner! I spent my birthday that year driving up and down Highway 6 looking for Bellaire. Unbeknown to me, they didn't intersect at the time. Not funny then, but VERY funny now.

Depends what part of Gessner.

My second trip to Houston (first was on a Super Constellation with my mother; I was 3 and wearing saddle oxfords and a sailor suit...Mother had her Jackie Kennedy pillbox and wore heels, pearls, and a suit) was in 1973; my aunt had a brand new 73 Lincoln Mark IV and I had a learners' permit; she handed me the keys and let me drive all the way! Her friend had taken a job as an apartment manager and we all went to see her; she was managing these apartments waaaaaaaaaaay out in the west part of town---Gessner and IH 10.

When I moved to Houston in 1979, I lived southwest (where all the other young single people lived) in a brand-new Harold Farb apartment that I had to lease pre-construction (so as to get an apartment at all). It was on Bissonnet (my gf's family lived in Missouri City; I thought it would be a good compromise). It backed up to this great greenbelt; they were going to build a freeway on it at some point in the distant future (Beltway 8). All of that was west of Gessner---but just barely. There were a few strip centers on Gessner (mostly in the middle of empty fields). They built the brand-new Hilton Westchase---standing all by itself---and I remember thinking, "Who on earth would stay all the way out here? How will they keep it going?"

I remember driving around the neighborhood where I now live. It was out in the middle of the rice fields north of Andrau Airpark. The houses were "beautiful" to me; I remember thinking, "I wish I could afford to live there some day." Well, here I am. This seemed like "halfway to San Antonio" then; now it's right in town. While I no longer think the houses are "beautiful" :), I do still love the neighborhood (I always have liked the "Houston/Cal-contempo" style, and I still do). It looks better now with mature trees; "civilized".

I've lived all over the US since then, and wound up back here. I maintain this is the friendliest big city to which I've ever been; I love the architecture here and the big freeways and all the great diversity.

To the OP: thanks for the tip, I'd never heard of historical maps being available on Google Earth, either.

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quote name='IronTiger' date='Wednesday, December 23, 2009 at 8:59 AM' timestamp='1261580395' post='352756']

There's a structure in front of the Astrodome which I read was called the "Astrohall". It was torn down around 2004, based on aerials. What was it?

Here are a couple of shots of the Astrohall taken from Astroworld (the amusment south of 610 that closed in 2005). The 1st shot was taken in July 1968 by my father and the 2nd was taken by be in August 1989.

post-1265-12628098375569_thumb.jpg

post-1265-1262809886539_thumb.jpg

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  • 3 weeks later...
  • 2 months later...

Also, Google Earth has updated Galveston recently as well with a 1974 pic. And I haven't seen the Galveston pic on Historic Aerials.

While not nearly dramatic as Houston I did find the swampy area north of Harborside Rd. was some sort of warehouse area. The Pelican Island rail spur is also fully intact.

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Also, Google Earth has updated Galveston recently as well with a 1974 pic. And I haven't seen the Galveston pic on Historic Aerials.

While not nearly dramatic as Houston I did find the swampy area north of Harborside Rd. was some sort of warehouse area. The Pelican Island rail spur is also fully intact.

What swampy area north of Harborside? It's all industrial now, but didn't used to be. The biggest change is that Harborside Drive is paved now, whereas back in the 70's it was reputed to be of such poor quality that it was barely-passable, particularly after a rainfall.

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What swampy area north of Harborside? It's all industrial now, but didn't used to be. The biggest change is that Harborside Drive is paved now, whereas back in the 70's it was reputed to be of such poor quality that it was barely-passable, particularly after a rainfall.

According to 1974, this section was completely different. In 1974, if you were looking east from the Pelican Island Causeway, instead of a lake near some industrial areas, it was all completely different warehouses and stuff. The swampy lake area happened AFTER 1974...

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According to 1974, this section was completely different. In 1974, if you were looking east from the Pelican Island Causeway, instead of a lake near some industrial areas, it was all completely different warehouses and stuff. The swampy lake area happened AFTER 1974...

Those are some kind of above-grade holding ponds contained by earthen berms. Don't drive over the viaduct with open windows; it reeks. I'm thinking that it may be related to the WWTP located right near there.

Edited by TheNiche
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