The city of Houston is 175, and the paper printed special sections detailing some of the history and highlights along the way. My mind went to Longfellow’s Psalm of Life. Remember this?
Lives of great men all remind us,
We can make our lives sublime,
And departing, leave behind us,
Footprints on the sands of time.
Footprints, that perhaps another,
Sailing o’er life’s solemn main
A forlorn and shipwrecked brother,
Seeing, shall take heart again.
That sort of epitomizes the culture. A sort of ‘can-do’ attitude. The history is full of events like that. When Galveston was destroyed by a hurricane in 1900, people were afraid to ship goods to Galveston, so the people of Houston deepened and widened a bayou to make the ship channel, making Houston a deep water port. This is one of the busiest ports in the country today. 2,000 trains move goods to and from ships.
The city has also benefited from major gifts from its citizens. One Texas Governor was a man named Hogg. He had three children. The third, a girl, he named Ima. The children’s legacy was property simply awash in oil, and their gifts to the city of lands, parks, and buildings is outstanding.
The Wortham family, among other things, gave Houston the Wortham Center for the arts. The Center was completed five months ahead of schedule and 5 million under budget.
William Marsh Rice, whose fortune founded what is now Rice University, was murdered by his valet who was conspiring with one of the lawyers to get that fortune. They were caught before they could change the will.
The playing floor of the Toyota Center, the basketball venue, is 32 feet below street level. Constrution of the center resulted in 315,000 yards of excavated soil, the most ever.
There are nearly 6 miles of tunnel system under the city, and the Galleria gets about 24 million visitors each year.
I started with Longfellow, I end with this from Robert Frost.
“The woods are lovely, dark and deep,
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.”
In such history, as in any history, we find reminders of great deeds as well as underhanded stuff in plenty. So for a Christian, it also reminds me of this word. “The Lord is my light and my salvation, whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life, of whom shall I be afraid”. Which always puts things in perspective.