Saturday, February 11, 2012

The Malls of Houston Today

I know I haven't made much process in that Houston tourist guide I was scanning, but I've got something way more exciting. I recently checked out a rare book called Houston Today from the college library, a thick (less than a centimeter) 1974 guide to new development in a city which had helped send the U.S. to the Moon, and in a city riding high on oil while the rest of American cities were in steep decline. It contains a list of new development and upcoming things in and around Houston, including the tunnel system downtown, some futuristic renderings of the Houston Center complex (most of which were never implemented: even the mall planned is now little more than a food court), the Astrodomain (Astrohall+Astrodome+Astroworld+nearby hotels), Sugar Creek (one of the, if not the first subdivisions that transformed Sugar Land from a blue-collar factory town to a large, upscale suburb), LBJ Space Center, Greenway Plaza (a development of US-59 that demolished the last of the Lamar-Weslayan neighborhood) and even a prototype The Woodlands. Where Sawmill Park & Pool is (et. al.) at the corner of Sawmill Road and Grogans Mill Road), it was to be the Village Center (for that "village", a term for the neighborhoods of The Woodlands), which would include "The Wharf, a tri-level shopping area with theaters, restaurants, indoor ice rink, retail stores, boutiques, and a 1/2 acre 'ecological parking lot' paved with a pourous asphalt that allows rain water to seep through and return to the natural water table'". This never came to be, obviously, but it's still fun to look at that type of thing.

The book was in pretty poor condition (information on "Beekman Place" looked like the pages had been cut out), similar to other old books in that part of the library. A Sears catalog was torn and tattered. I found an old map of campus with the streets labeled in another book, but the other labels on the page (such as what it was, etc.) had been whited out!

I wish I could've scanned the entire thing but instead decided to focus on two cooler things: mall maps!

The first is the Galleria. Even though it was called "Galleria Post Oak" in 1970, it is stylized here as "theGalleria".

Here's a store list, with the stores long gone (except for maybe Motherhood Maternity and Tiffany's). Also note that there's a movie theater, and a side corridor featuring smaller stores like gift shops and art galleries (these mall-within-a-malls were very common at one time). I don't know the exact date of this, but I'm going to say early 1970s.

Because it's a bit cut off, here are the missing words that are a bit cut off/blurry for the scan. 64, 66, and 67 are "accessories", 68 is "clothes", 70 is "Parke-Bernet/", 72 is "Southwest", 75 is "service", 87 is "Creole", 89 is "-10 p.m.", 92 is "good food", 93 is "midnight", 94 is "great", 97 is "Mary See", 105 is "and", 109 is "planning;", 110 is "needs", 111 is "itineraries".

The second one is the late Town & Country Village. You see, even though there is a Town & Country Village today, the original Village from the late 1960s was demolished. The north part was razed (except for Joske's) and incorporated into Town & Country Mall (also gone), and the south part was demolished and converted into a strip mall bearing the Town & Country Village name.


  1. Nice find.... I remember going to the Ice Haus skating rink when i was child in the 70s. It was where the post office building is now. Interesting to see the old T&C floorplan before the indoor mall was built.

  2. I don't know where the "Galleria Post Oak" got in my head.