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Pictures from Downtown

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Here are the pictures again

1940 Main at Lamar

40-1_MainLamar.jpg

1994 Main at Lamar

94-1_MainLamar.jpg

1940 Main at McKinney

40-2_MainMcKinney.jpg

1994 Main at McKinney

94-2_MainMcKinney.jpg

1940 Main at Walker

40-3_MainWalker.jpg

1994 Main at Walker

94-3_MainWalker.jpg

1940 Main at Rusk

40-4_MainRusk.jpg

1994 Main at Rusk

94-4_MainRusk.jpg

1940 Main at Capitol

40-5_MainCapitol.jpg

1994 Main at Capitol

94-5_MainCapitol.jpg

Edited by Alpha

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Im just as astonished at the difference 12 years makes.

What replaced the Woolworth's building. I use that building tunnel entrance when I get off the train but I never even bothered to look at what building I was walking into. It's not 1001 McKinnely

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Im just as astonished at the difference 12 years makes.

What replaced the Woolworth's building. I use that building tunnel entrance when I get off the train but I never even bothered to look at what building I was walking into. It's not 1001 McKinnely

It is a parking garage with some shops on street level.

Great photos btw. "Then and now" shots are always interesting.

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In 1994, we decided to travel the same route and take pictures at the same intersections.

I'm probably in the minority on this, but I prefer Main Street's aesthetic before LRT. Now, it just kind of seems cluttered.

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There was a Jack In The Box downtown?!? That would have been great.

Heh. My friends and I used to avoid that one and just go to one outside downtown.

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I'm probably in the minority on this, but I prefer Main Street's aesthetic before LRT. Now, it just kind of seems cluttered.

I agree. This area look better 12 years ago.

94-2_main@mckinney.jpg

Interesting photos Alpha.

Edited by WesternGulf

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Trust me, it wasn't better.

I worked for the Houston Volunteer Lawyers Program located at 806 Main Street right after college (1993) until I went to grad school in 1995.

The streets were very sketch. The old Rice Hotel, which I had to walk by daily on the way to the courts, was literally a public urinal. During the hotter months, it STUNK badly.

The Jack in the Box was beyond nasty and I used to love me some drunken monster tacos at 3 a.m. back in the day. You wanted to shower if you touched anything there.

The Woolworth's was a cool building. Wish that could have been saved and turned into something nice.

Oh, and I am not sure when these 1994 photos were taken, but I don't ever seem to recall a time when bus fumes weren't completely fouling the air. At 5 p.m., the commuter buses would be lined up and running for blocks it seemed.

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Oh, and I am not sure when these 1994 photos were taken, but I don't ever seem to recall a time when bus fumes weren't completely fouling the air. At 5 p.m., the commuter buses would be lined up and running for blocks it seemed.

We took the pictures early on a Sunday morning in January of 94. It's the only time we would even attempt to drive downtown. That's why everything looks so quiet. My dad wants to take a ride down there again to see the place where he lived as a small child. If we do, we'll also drive down Main Street and take pictures again at the same intersections.

Krupp and Tuffly shoe store used to be on Main at Walker, where Jack in the Box is in the picture. It was really sad to see everying look so seedy and run down. My parents both grew up here and spent a lot of time downtown because back in the 30s and 40s that's where all the stores and movie theaters were. It depressed them to see how bad it looked.

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I'm an H-Town latebloomer cuz I came here later than some of you but....

***looks at Main Street photos, and thinks about today's Main Street***

....unless this isn't on the minds of many, but why were the streetlights on Main replaced twice?? First there were those lights in the pics, then there were the cobra-style street lights, then the current nostalgic ones catering to the LRT line. Sumthin' just ain't rite bout dat. I had to ask cuz I came to Houston much later; I wish I could see those original Main streetlights today. ****waaaah****

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The streets were very sketch. The old Rice Hotel, which I had to walk by daily on the way to the courts, was literally a public urinal. During the hotter months, it STUNK badly.

I used to work downtown on weekends back in the 1990s. Walking along the Texas Avenue side of the old Rice Hotel seemed daring in those days.

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Anyone who thinks Main Street during the 1980s and 1990s was anything other than Skid Row, is dreaming or lying. Hundreds of busses daily coated the buildings with diesel soot. Derelicts hanging out, buying cheap wine from the corner markets. It was a hellhole. No period photograph can do justice to how ugly, dirty and dangerous it was.

The METRO light rail conversion on this street was a godsend. A good way to judge a person's anti-rail bias is to listen to them describe Main Street before and after the construction. There is no comparison. Even if the trains were empty, it was a success for Main Street. A person describing Main Street today as anything other than a vast improvement either did not live here prior to 1998, never went downtown prior to 1998, or is so anti-rail as to be incapable of admitting the truth.

It is THAT BIG of a difference.

BTW, Da Train, I don't think the lights were replaced twice. The old-style lights were placed in the historic section of Main Street when METRO redid the street. The modern lights were placed everywhere else at the same time.

Edited by RedScare

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hmmm. Sounds like Main Street was one big Main and Walker back then. Maybe that's on my conscious while I am looking at these pictures. That intersection is one huge eyesore safe for the Commerce Towers that sits at the southwest corner. Has anyone taken the time just to people watch while drinking bubble tea at Tropioca? That area needs help. Maybe it will look better when the garage is built at the northwest corner and that Beatty-West Building shows some progress as far as preservation.

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I'm probably in the minority on this, but I prefer Main Street's aesthetic before LRT. Now, it just kind of seems cluttered.

From 6 vehicular lanes to 2......Good luck Richmond!

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Here are some historical pics of Main Street. Unsure about the dates unless specified.

TX-Houston04a.jpg

Appears this photo is about 1950 vintage, as Sakowitz is under construction across from Foley's.

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Me, too.

I think we have taken a giant step backwards.

Are you kidding. The entirety of downtown back in the early 90's was a let down even from a ten year olds perspective. It looked like downtown Odessa with homeless people everywhere.

Edited by CE_ugh

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Are you kidding. The entirety of downtown back in the early 90's was a let down even from a ten year olds perspective. It looked like downtown Odessa with homeless people everywhere.

I'll grant that I wasn't living here back in 1994 and that I didn't do much walking downtown.

Conveniently, though, I am in a position to yield a 10-year-old's perspective on downtown Houston in the early 90's. I was one. And I visited several times per year, always begging to go and see the big buildings. At that time, I always wanted to live in the biggest shiniest glass tower of all. Although unrealistic, I'd still like to, quite frankly. But urine and bums weren't even on the radar. Only the magnificence of it all...even a visit to NYC didn't have that effect on me.

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I'll grant that I wasn't living here back in 1994 and that I didn't do much walking downtown.

Conveniently, though, I am in a position to yield a 10-year-old's perspective on downtown Houston in the early 90's. I was one. And I visited several times per year, always begging to go and see the big buildings. At that time, I always wanted to live in the biggest shiniest glass tower of all. Although unrealistic, I'd still like to, quite frankly. But urine and bums weren't even on the radar. Only the magnificence of it all...even a visit to NYC didn't have that effect on me.

Being called the antichrist by some random homeless guy dampened any awe i had of the towers. :(

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TX-Houston04a.jpg

I like how so many of the older buildings downtown had that sandstone color. To me, it looks "southwestern" and gave downtown somewhat of a cohesive look.

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I like how so many of the older buildings downtown had that sandstone color. To me, it looks "southwestern" and gave downtown somewhat of a cohesive look.

Perhaps it was just the old photography? I don't think all those buildings had that color, or maybe acid rain has taken its tole?

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I worked downtown from 1983 until 1986. I moved to New York in 1986 and came back to Houston in 2000. I used to walk on Main Street daily from '83 until '86. While I do agree the block of Main on the then abandoned Rice Hotel was pretty disgusting, the rest of Main Street was still not bad at all. Upon my return in 2000, I was dissapointed and shocked at the transformation! The once prestgious Sakowitz store was now gutted and used as a garage?? :o The small jewlery stores (Main at Lamar for example) were now convenience stores where "undesirables" can buy their beer and then loiter the streets?? :o While, yes I do agree the light rail has helped some, there is still a long ways to go! I'm sorry, but Main Street is still seedy and disgusting, I'm sad to say. I'm hoping with the completion of the garage on the former site of the old San Jacinto Building (hopefully there will be ground floor retail), the consturction of the Pavilions, and American Aparel coming to the old Sakowitz building, Main Street may once again thrive the way it did 50 years ago.

Edited by EspersonBuildings

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Pictures deleted

i am sad that i finally see this thread and the photos have been removed. :(

Edited by torvald

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While, yes I do agree the light rail has helped some, there is still a long ways to go! I'm sorry, but Main Street is still seedy and disgusting, I'm sad to say.

My grandma use to live on Nance in the 40's and 50's and worked at the Chronicle until the 70's. She is 95 now and really doesn't venture out much due to her age. I took her and my mom out to look at the old neighborhood recently including the rail and my grandma was sure surprised just as you were. She said back then you wouldn't be scared to bring your kids. Now even if she were younger, she would feel uncomfortable.

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I put the pictures back in the original post. When I first posted them, they were on my personal web page. I deleted them because I changed providers. Now they are on photobucket.

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Guest Marty

Great pics. past and present shot's are always my favorite. :)

Edited by Marty

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