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 Houston, Texas



Book Introduction

     In 1837, the Allen brothers, Augustus and John, said in their ad: “This town will become the great, interior, commercial emporium of Texas…ships from New York and Paris will sail to our door. They’ll be continual sea breezes from the Gulf.”

     Well, the ships didn’t sail. The breezes didn’t blow. And the swamps backed up. That same year, the Houston census was twelve people huddled in one log cabin. It is history, however, that usually decides who had a vision of the future and who had an aversion to it. The Allen brothers had a vision, and they named it Houston.

     When the Lucas Gusher blew at Spindletop in 1901, Texas changed forever. By 1929, forty oil companies had offices in Houston and refineries along the Houston Ship Channel, safe from Gulf storms. The oil gushed for eighty years and transformed Houston into one of the richest cities in the world.     

     Throughout the pages of this “Photographic Portrait," award-winning photographer Jim Olive presents powerful images of this culturally vibrant city on the bayou, where history is now being made in the fields of medicine, cancer research, higher education, space exploration, cargo shipping, agriculture and environmental awareness.

     The vast wealth from petroleum, cattle and shipping that has made Houston the fourth largest city in America is remaking Houston today. Houston is not just a wealthy city; it’s a wiser one. A city of which the Allen brothers would be proud.


This aging downtown park recently enjoyed a $2.3 million makeover with the hope that it would become a popular venue for top-shelf street basketball. Surrounded by sculptures and lovely gardens, the new court provides tiered seating that is shaded by oak trees.

Covering two city blocks, the performing arts center hosts the Houston Ballet, Houston Grand Opera and Theater Under the Stars. It is a stunning building with high ceilings, a grandiose, multi-terraced foyer and spectacular city views.


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