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About Houston

Houston is the city where no one cares who your daddy is.

Bob Lanier, Mayor of Houston 1991 – 1997

The smoke from the Battle of San Jacinto, where Texas won its independence, had hardly cleared when the Allen brothers, two land speculators from New York, purchased half a league of prairie swamp just west of the battle site from a widow.  Shrewdly naming their planned development after the victorious general and first president of the Republic of Texas, they hawked its proximity to coastal and interior waterways, abundant fresh water supply, fertile soil, and inexhaustible sources of lumber and stone, predicting it would soon become an international hub. Through well-placed gifts of land and promises of credit, they convinced the legislature to make their town the capital of the fledgling Republic of Texas.  The puffery and graft worked, and the rush was on.  In the late 1830s, Houston was one of the hottest real estate markets in North America.

 It did not last.

Fatigued by the tropical climate and plagued by yellow fever, it took the waterlogged legislators less than two years to move the capital to Austin.  For the next sixty years, Houston was just another East Texas town dependent on the cotton trade.  It almost certainly would have remained that but for the deadliest natural disaster in North American history and the largest gusher the world had ever seen.

PORT OF HOUSTON

PORT OF HOUSTON

On September 9, 1900, a Category 4 hurricane made landfall on Galveston Island, killing one-fifth of its inhabitants. Galveston had been one of the wealthiest cities and busiest ports in the nation, but it never recovered. Seizing the tremendous opportunity and led by legendary Houston businessman and visionary Jesse H. Jones, the citizens of Harris County approved the issuance of bonds to construct the Houston Ship Channel, which has since grown into one of the largest ports in the world.
ENERGY CAPITAL OF THE WORLD

ENERGY CAPITAL OF THE WORLD

Four months after the Great Storm of 1900, a group of wildcatters embarked on a drilling program on Spindletop Hill, near Beaumont. Desperate to appease their investors, who had long since tired of pouring money into dry holes, they drilled one last well. And what a well it was! Their find, along with refinements to the internal combustion engine, the development of the gas turbine engine, and the founding of the Ford Motor Company in the subsequent years, would launch a global energy revolution, as the discovery would drive interest in oil far beyond the days when Cleveland was the nation’s oil capital. Houston, only 90 miles east and with rail and sea access, was naturally positioned to lead Texas through the gusher age. It has since become the energy capital of the world.
TEXAS MEDICAL CENTER

TEXAS MEDICAL CENTER

During the Great Depression, a successful cotton trader used his substantial wealth to fund an endowment. Realizing the extraordinary benefit that a regional medical center would bring, his trustees located an undeveloped tract three miles south of downtown, near Hermann Hospital and Rice University, that had been designated as a city park. The Texas legislature had just appropriated funds for a cancer research hospital. Seeing the connection, the trustees offered to match the state’s funds if the cancer hospital and research center were located in the medical center. The legislature agreed, the City of Houston voters approved the sale, and the Texas Medical Center was officially born.
THE POST-WAR ECONOMIC EXPANSION & AIR CONDITIONING

THE POST-WAR ECONOMIC EXPANSION & AIR CONDITIONING

Along with much of the rest of the world, the economic boom following World War II brought rapid growth to Houston. The invention of the portable, window air conditioner helped tame Houston’s otherwise unbearably hot and humid climate, making it attractive to businesses looking to relocate to benefit from its lower wages.
SPACE CITY

SPACE CITY

In 1961, eager to establish American superiority over the Soviets in space, President Kennedy launched the ambitious Apollo program with the explicit goal of landing a man on the moon. Such an undertaking required a new space center with access to water transport by large barges, all-weather commercial jet service, and proximity to an institute of higher learning. Two years later, the Johnson Space Center opened. The Astrodome, the world’s first indoor domed sports stadium nicknamed the “Eighth Wonder of the World,” opened in 1965.
TODAY

TODAY

Today, Houston is the most diverse metropolitan area in the United States. Almost one-third of its residents speak a language other than English in their homes, including Spanish; Vietnamese; Chinese (including Mandarin and Cantonese); Tagalog; German; French (including Cajun French); Hindi; Urdu; Korean; Arabic; and Russian. Politically, the city has historically been conservative on economic issues and liberal on social issues, having elected Kathy Whitmire (a woman) as mayor in 1982, Lee Brown (an African-American) as mayor in 1998, and Annise Parker (openly gay) as mayor in 2010. Due to its high number of immigrants, Houston has no natural aristocracy. People from all over the world thrive here.

It is ironic that Houston was formed by two New Yorkers, because the cities are opposites. New York is the place where, if you can make it there, you can make it anywhere. If you can’t make it in Houston…

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19 Briar Hollow Lane Suite 110 Houston, TX 77027

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