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Downtown Houston- Christmas 1958


jb4647

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I think it is Fannin St.  The 10 story building looks like one on Fannin, and the canopy looks like the Montagu Hotel.  Remember, the one way streets are a relatively recent phenomenon, since the 70s, I believe.

Red:

Check out the left hand side of pic #1-it's Foleys. [the building with the canopy, unfortunatly is gone] Pics 2 & 3 show the Gulf building on the left-lit up in red on top- [currently Chase Bank}.

A piece of trivia: the building on the extreme right in pics 2 & 3 is the original downtown Neimans-then it was a Palais Royal and now it has a CVS on the ground floor.

B)

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Red:

Check out the left hand side of pic #1-it's Foleys. [the building with the canopy, unfortunatly is gone] Pics 2 & 3 show the Gulf building on the left-lit up in red on top- [currently Chase Bank}.

A piece of trivia: the building on the extreme right in pics 2 & 3 is the original downtown Neimans-then it was a Palais Royal and now it has a CVS on the ground floor.

B)

In Pic #2, I spotted the Battlesteins sign , on the left, where my dad worked in 55-56, so I called him and he said ....

Battlesteins was on the West side of main, with South Coast Life next to it (you can see the sign for that too). Also, Krupp & Tuffley and Bond clothing stores have signs on the right, which were at the SE corner of Main @ Walker.

So, that would mean this is a picture taken looking North down Main Street, taken from South of Walker (as Battlesteins occupied space between Walker and Rusk).

Great pictures !! Got any more? ;)

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Thanks for sharing these great photos jb. I don't mean to nit-pick but, by the looks of those cars, the date would be more like early 60s. Gotta love those old street lights.

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The only street they decorated downtown was Main Street. The ones shown in the above photos were the "new" decorations, and the last to be used. The previous ones were green garlands. I think they were lighted, and I think there was a smaller star in the center, but I'm not for sure.

They also used to have street decorations like that along W 19th in "downtown" Heights.

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Thanks for sharing these great photos jb. I don't mean to nit-pick but, by the looks of those cars, the date would be more like early 60s. Gotta love those old street lights.

I agree. I can't place the car in the first photo but I'd guess early 60s GM; the car almost out of the pic in #3 is early 60s Ford, I think.

Is that Oshman's on the corner at the left behind the cars?

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The building on the far left in pics 2 and 3, with what looks like an Oshman's, was the Lamar Hotel. It is gone. The next building was the San Jacinto Hotel - also gone. Then Battelstein's, then South Coast Life (originally Carter Bldg., Houston's first skyscraper), which has been modernized, then Gulf, then the Great Jones Bldg., and in the distance you can see the Rice Hotel. The building on the extreme right, which nmainguy tells us housed Neiman Marcus, was originally the Kirby Bldg., here with its second facade (it is currently on #3).

The building on the far right in the first picture has been destroyed, and is hopefully soon to be replaced by Houston Pavilions. The one on the left is Humble Oil. The shorter one next to it has been destroyed, and then you have Foley's.

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Any ideas on what streets these are in the photos?

I'm pretty sure that is Main st. The big Miller High Life sign is a giveaway. The same sign. is in one of your father's other pictures you posted here. These are wonderful , wonderful pictures, BTW, the cars I am seeing in them are just too great for words. Please post more. :D

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Thanks for sharing these great photos jb. I don't mean to nit-pick but, by the looks of those cars, the date would be more like early 60s. Gotta love those old street lights.

I am pretty sure that even though, the pics say christmas 1958, I think it might be '59, if you look in the first photo, the license plate on the back of that car is a 1960 YOM plate, which the owner would have recieved sometime in the year prior.

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The building on the far left in pics 2 and 3, with what looks like an Oshman's, was the Lamar Hotel.

OK...I'm going to jump in with my $.02 worth. I think everything that has been said about the location of these pictures is pretty accurate except for the above.

Since Krupp & Tuffly was at 901 Main at Walker, it appears that Oshman's was right across the street on the southwest corner of Main and Walker. The Lamar Hotel was on the northwest corner of Main and Lamar, right across Lamar from Foley's. If you look closely at the stoplight at the right side of the #2 or #3 picture, there is a street sign below it with the letter M, which would be McKinney. So, these photos were taken at the intersection of Main and McKinney looking north.

Photo #1 must have been taken just south of the intersection of Main and Polk, since that is part of the Humble building with the canopy over the sidewalk. That entrance was to a kind of customer service area where you could go in and get maps, travel information, football schedules, etc. Lane Bryant was right across the street on the northeast corner of Main and Polk.

I'm pretty sure the back of the car in #1 is a 1960 Oldsmobile. It looks like one a good friend of mine had at that time.

I've included a cropped picture of a previous aerial shot of downtown taken in 1958 I had posted earlier that might offer some perspective on these locations. Note the "Life" sign on the top of the building in both this picture and picture #1.

Houston1958-III.JPG

Edited by 57Tbird
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I wanted to state that the car in question was a 1959 oldsmobile, it is a "bubble top" which is kind of rare for that model olds in 1959, alot of them were either 4door or had the straighter back window for more headroom. You have to take into account the time of year also. A 1960 oldsmobile would have a 1961 plate ( which are white plates with black numbers)on it, not a 1960,(black plate with white numbers) even if the car was bought the first of September, when the new models came out. I am not saying that you are wrong, it's just that the time line doesn't fit.ok, we are really off subject now,and I am really over analyzing this whole thing, I just love the friggin cars I keep seeing in these old photos. Oh yeah, nice buildings also. :lol:

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I wanted to state that the car in question was a 1959 oldsmobile, it is a "bubble top" which is kind of rare for that model olds in 1959, alot of them were either 4door or had the straighter back window for more headroom. You have to take into account the time of year also. A 1960 oldsmobile would have a 1961 plate ( which are white plates with black numbers)on it, not a 1960,(black plate with white numbers) even if the car was bought the first of September, when the new models came out. I am not saying that you are wrong, it's just that the time line doesn't fit.ok, we are really off subject now,and I am really over analyzing this whole thing, I just love the friggin cars I keep seeing in these old photos. Oh yeah, nice buildings also. :lol:

My dad was pretty accurate with dates and the date in question is Christmas 1958. He wrote that on the box and the slide has an imprint of Jan -1959

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OK...I'm going to jump in with my $.02 worth.  I think everything that has been said about the location of these pictures is pretty accurate except for the above.

Since Krupp & Tuffly was at 901 Main at Walker, it appears that Oshman's was right across the street on the southwest corner of Main and Walker.  The Lamar Hotel was on the northwest corner of Main and Lamar, right across Lamar from Foley's.  If you look closely at the stoplight at the right side of the #1 or #2 picture, there is a street sign below it with the letter M, which would be McKinney.  So, these photos were taken at the intersection of Main and McKinney looking north.

Photo #3 must have been taken just south of the intersection of Main and Dallas, since that is part of the Humble building with the canopy over the sidewalk.  That entrance was to a kind of customer service area where you could go in and get maps, travel information, football schedules, etc.  Lane Bryant was right across the street on the northeast corner of Main and Dallas.

I'm pretty sure the back of the car in #3 is a 1960 Oldsmobile.  It looks like one a good friend of mine had at that time.

I've included a cropped picture of a previous aerial shot of downtown taken in 1958 I had posted earlier that might offer some perspective on these locations.  Note the "Life" sign on the top of the building in both this picture and picture #3.

Photo #1 was taken south of Foley's. You can clearly see Foley's on the west side of the street with Lane Bryant on the NE corner of Polk and Main. I have some freakish-plate-in-my-head memory about this part of downtown.

B)

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My dad was pretty accurate with dates and the date in question is Christmas 1958.  He wrote that on the box and the slide has an imprint of Jan -1959

Well that settles it for me, except I'm still not sure that's an Olds. We had a 1958 98 (a real lemon). The body style changed quite a bit in 59; I was thinking that change came a couple of years later.

olds5901a.JPG

1959 Olds 98. As mentioned, would have been on the market by about September 58.

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Photo #1 was taken south of Foley's. You can clearly see Foley's on the west side of the street with Lane Bryant on the NE corner of Polk and Main. I have some freakish-plate-in-my-head memory about this part of downtown.

B)

Main and Polk it is! You're right, of course. I edited my original post to reflect that.

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The "Polk" sign is also visible in the photo as well. It would make sense that this would be Main and Polk because that is alos the intersection of the original Humble Oil bld. Most likely my father took the photo because my grandfather worked for Humble. He was probably waiting for him to get out of the office and took this as an opportunity to take a few night shots.

Yesterday, I took the liberty of taking a few up-to-date photos of the same areas.

Main and Polk

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JB, I have some bad news, that is definately a 1960 Olds 98, I dug up a few searches on ebay, and got some really good views and matched em up to your Dad's pic. That car is without a doubt a 1960 model. 1958, it would have still had small fins on top of those tail lights, and 59 as well, but the reverse lights, are not the same on the bottom, and the fins are gone off of that car. I promise I'm not trying to argue with anyone, I just know you are probably chronicling all those photos I'd bet, and I know you want them right.

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Heeeeeeeeeyyyyyyyyyy, wait a second here ! Where are all the christmas lights ? They are probably gonna blaim all the missing lights on George Bush also.

TJones:

Nah. I wouldn't "blaim" the missing lights on President Bush.

I might, however, "blaim" the incredible incompetence in spelling so many of the Bush supporters in these forums display on Bush's dumbing down of our educational system.

I mean, can you "blaim" me?

B)

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JB, I have some bad news, that is definately a 1960 Olds 98, I dug up a few searches on ebay, and got some really good views and matched em up to your Dad's pic. That car is without a doubt a 1960 model. 1958, it would have still had  small fins on top of those tail lights, and 59 as well, but the reverse lights, are not the same on the bottom, and the fins are gone off of that car. I promise I'm not trying to argue with anyone, I just know you are probably chronicling all those photos I'd bet, and I know you want them right.

But if you look at the same set of slides from above, there is a Billboard in the photo of the old Humble Oil Building with an ad for a 1959 Buick. In the same cube of slides is a photo of my Grandfather and his mother. She died in the sprint of 1959.

5812116th.th.jpg

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TJones:

Nah. I wouldn't "blaim" the missing lights on President Bush.

I might, however, "blaim" the incredible incompetence in spelling so many of the Bush supporters in these forums display on Bush's dumbing down of our educational system.

I mean, can you "blaim" me?

B)

"D'oh!", damn spellcheck broke again. :P I'll bet dollars to doughnuts you looked at your post for about an hour before putting it up there, just to make sure your spelling was right. ;)

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But if you look at the same set of slides from above, there is a Billboard in the photo of the old Humble Oil Building with an ad for a 1959 Buick.  In the same cube of slides is a photo of my Grandfather and his mother.  She died in the sprint of 1959.

5812116th.th.jpg

I saw that picture also, that is indeed a '59 Buick in that ad. I double checked though, (like I should have done my spelling for some people.)That car in the Christmas photo is a 1960 Oldsmobile.There is one being sold on ebay right now, and I looked around for some archive photos on the web, they all match up. Perhaps he had arranged the photos for all the pictures he had taken of downtown, or maybe just those few were misplaced. I'm sorry JB, none of this stuff really matters about when the pic was taken, what matters to me is that all these pictures he took are just simply spectacular. If you love this city of ours, seeing some of the photos just brings back some wonderful memories. I am enjoying every single one of them.

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  • 3 weeks later...

The 1958 Christmas pics are great. Thank you so much. I was 21 months old when these were taken and mom had probably taken me to that very same Battelsteins that very same years. Thanks again.

Edited by EastEnd Susan
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  • 3 weeks later...
  • 1 year later...
My Dad took these slides:

5812127zj.th.jpg

5812145ww.th.jpg

5812153pg.th.jpg

5812137ee.th.jpg

These are grrrrrreat!

The only photos we have are all indoors in various Dept stores with Santa at Grant's, Penney's, Foley's.

All date from 1964-1971. They are neat because you can see the transiton of mid-60's mod backgrounds/attire to late 60's hippie psychedelic/fashions/scenery.

Funny how camp it seems now while things like Woodstock, Vietnam and war protests were raging on. Love American pop-culture. :wub:

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