Thursday, August 11, 2022

 Houston: City of Bayous + Huge Book Give Away 

by Martha Rogers

By the turn of the century had grown into a city that sat mainly on Buffalo Bayou, but it had spread out to include other bayous in its city limits. Those bayous gave a diverse landscape to the the city and it soon became known as Bayou City.

Allen's Landing, situated on the Buffalo Bayou became a hubbub of activity. This is the landing in the early years of the 20th century.  

Along with it being a port city now, Houston also built ships to provide shipping companies with larger and better vessels to transport goods. Below is the launching of one such ship.

The discovery of oil at Spindletop changed the entire face of Houston economy. Now, oil companies vied for space to build refineries along the ship channel. There would be safe from the hurricanes coming in from the Gulf of Mexico. One such storm in 1900 had all but demolished Galveston, and Houston became determined to keep that from happening and made sure these new refineries had as much protection as possible. Sinclair Oil built the first major refinery in 1918.

After that, more and more oil companies came, and by 1929, at least forty oil companies located offices here in Houston. Iincluded in those were Texas Company (now Texaco), Humble Oil and Refining (now Exxon) and Gulf Oil Corporation along with Sinclair. These oil fields and refineries changed the face of Houston. Below is a typical oil field in the early 20th century. This one is along Goose Creek in 1919.

By 1930, Houston had become the largest city in Texas with a population of around 292,000. Three newspapers had been established. The Houston Post, founded in 1880, Houston Chronicle in 1901 and the Houston Press in 1911 gave the citizens of Houston news from around the nation and kept people informed of things happening in the city. 

Four radio stations were also established to help bring news and entertainment to Houston. The first four were: KPRC in 1925, KTRH in 1930, and KXYZ in 1930. Urban living had already expanded to suburban Houston to include Pasadena in 1892, Houston Heights !892, Deer Park in 1892, Bellaire in 1911, and West University Pace in 1919. One of the most famous became so because of the wealth of those who lived there. Mike and William Clifford Hogg and Hugh Potter started River Oaks in 1922. Architect John F. Staub designed beautiful homes of mansion size on curved streets with large green lawns and trees. Even more have sprung up in the second half of the century and on into the 21st century. Here is one of the signs advertising River Oaks with a picture of a typical River Oaks home.

Automobiles caught on fast in the city and by 1911, 1,031 had been registered but that multiplied rapidly so that by 1930, 97,902 cars had been registered. Speed limits were fifteen miles per hour in 1907, one-way streets added in 1920, and traffic signals in 1921. Of course the growth of automobiles led to air pollution, urban sprawl, and traffic jams leading to the massive growth of freeways that never ceases to stop expanding and growing more complicated.

As the city grew, so did its diversity. The Houston Medical Center, NASA, and universities came into the mix with Rice, University of Houston, and Texas Southern University being the larges and most prominent. Houston became home to one of the largest rodeos in Texas with the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo as well as the center for sports with the baseball team the Houston Buffs around mid-century. That's expanded to include profession football (the Texans), and soccer (The Dynamo) as well as a major league baseball team the Astros. College and high school sports are well represented as well.

Skyscrapers changed the profile of the downtown area with more being added later in the century with shopping malls and business centers located all over the city. People new to the area sometimes have a difficult time figuring out exactly where the "downtown" portion of Houston is.

These two pictures show the difference between the first two skyscrapers and later in the century. 

Houston in 1927

      Later in the century:                   

Houston continues to grow both in area and population so that what once were towns near Houston abut the city limits and crossover into neighboring counties such as Fort Bend and Montgomery. 

I've lived in large cities all of my life, first in Dallas and then in Houston. I've heard good things about small towns, but I'm not sure I'd be able to live in one. How about you? City living or small town country living?

Great News for Readers:

To celebrate reaching 3 Million views, HHH is hosting a HUGE giveaway of over 60 books in 17 prizes, so there are many chances to win! One grand prize will consist of 10 books, two readers will win a second prize containing 5 books, and there will be 14 winners of a third prize containing 2 books each. There are several ways to earn entries, such as following, or commenting on the HHH blog each day. Thank you for being part of the HHH community, and best wishes in the giveaway!

My Give-Away Book for the contest.

After a life-threatening accident causes Joshua Thornton to rethink his life as a riverboat gambler, he has a chance encounter with the one man, a minister in is home town, whose unforgiving spirit chased Joshua away from his home after a foolish prank injured the minister and damaged the church. With the reverend is his daughter, Alicia, the one girl who captured Joshua’s heart years ago and has never left it. When Joshua learns his father’s shipping company may be in financial trouble, he decides to return to Havens Port in hopes of helping his father save the business. Alicia, who has always loved Joshua, is forbidden to have anything to do with Joshua because of his sinful past life. When tragedy strikes the town, Joshua proves himself to be a hero, but is it enough to transform the heart of the man Joshua scarred for life and allow two young people to follow their hearts.

Martha Rogers is a multi-published author and writes a weekly devotional for ACFW. Martha and her husband Rex live in Houston, Texas where they are active members of First Baptist Church. They are the parents of three sons and grandparents to eleven grandchildren and great-grandparents to six. Martha is a retired teacher with twenty-eight years teaching Home Economics and English at the secondary level and eight years teaching Freshman English at the college level. She is a member of ACFW, ACFW WOTS chapter in Houston, and serves as President of the writers’ group, Inspirational Writers Alive. 


  1. Thanks for posting today! Wow, it always boggles my mind to see aerial views of the highways within cities. To think we navigate through those cloverleafs!!! Just one of the reasons why I'm a country girl!

    1. When we watch the construction of these multi-level cloverleafs, I always wonder what nightmare the guy had to come with such a design. If you know where you're going and can read the signs, it's not a problem. Otherwise, it IS a nightmare. :) Thanks for stopping by.

  2. I have lived in big cities and smaller cities and small towns. I much prefer small towns.
    Thanks for an interesting and informative post.

    1. Most of my novels are set in small towns although I have used Houston as a setting in several of them. I enjoy visiting small towns. City life is what I grew up with so I'm used to it.

  3. I enjoyed reading this! I am originally from a bigger city - but now live in a small town in the deep south :)

  4. I have lived in cities of varying size all my life, but I would love to live in a small town with a slower pace.

  5. I grew up in Dallas and have lived in Houston 65 years, and I've often wondered what it would be like to live in a small town like where my in-laws lived. Thanks for stopping by.