| Features | Books
by James Glassman
An Insider's Index to Houston
(Charleston, S. C.: History Press, 2015)
192 pages. Paperback, $21.99.
Review by Dr.
up, H-Town enthusiasts! Bayou City historian and preservationist James
Glassman has recently published this informative, entertaining, and
wide-ranging study, an A-Z guide to all things Houston
(and surrounding communities). To get a good idea of what this engaging
index offers, consider eight of Glassman's entries.
Adair, Red (1915-2004): Native Houstonian and world-renowned
oil well firefighter and offshore oil rig blowout capping specialist
from 1959 to 1993. John Wayne played him in the 1968 movie Hellfighters
with all of the requisite Houston
Astros, The: Houston's Major League Baseball team since 1965.
Originally named the Colt .45s. The name was derived from "astronaut."
Their first home was the Astrodome, but they moved to Downtown's Minute
Maid Park in 2000. Made it all the way to the World Series in 2005
but were swept by the Chicago White Sox.
Hobby, Oveta Culp (1905-1995): Wife of Governor William P.
Hobby and mother of Lieutenant Governor Bill Hobby. Former president
and publisher of the Houston Post. The first commanding officer of
World War II's
Army Auxiliary Corps. Appointed by President Eisenhower as the
first secretary of the Department of Health, Education and Welfare
(renamed Health and Human Services). The first Houstonian to be featured
on a U.S. postage stamp.
Annual June 19 holiday commemorating the announcement of the abolition
of slavery, when news of the Emancipation Proclamation was read in
by Union general Gordon Granger in 1865, nearly two years after it
was issued. Houston's first
celebrations were held in Emancipation Park. Juneteenth
celebrations have since spread beyond Texas's borders.
McCarthy, Glenn (1907-1988): Wildcatter turned oilman. Built
the landmark Shamrock Hotel and hosted "Houston's biggest party" when
it opened in 1949. Known as the "King of the Wildcatters" and "Diamond
Glenn." Widely considered to be the inspiration for Jett Rink in the
McMurtry, Larry (1936-present): Pulitzer Prize-winning author
of Lonesome Dove who earned an MA at Rice University in 1960
and then lived in Houston
in the 1960s while teaching at Rice. Set the novels Moving On,
All My Friends Are Going to Be Strangers, Terms of Endearment and
The Evening Star in Houston. Opened his famous bookstore Booked
Up in Houston.
Osteen, Joel (1963-present): Self-taught pastor of Lakewood
Church, TV evangelist and best-selling author. Famous for his positive
message and prosperity theology.
Rice Stadium: Houston's
first large-scale football stadium, built in 1950. Besides Rice Owls
football, it was home to the Houston Oilers before the Astrodome,
hosted University of Houston football from 1951 to 1965 and welcomed
rock concerts, many college bowl games, the Super Bowl in 1974 and
President Kennedy's "We Choose to Go to the Moon" speech in 1962.
State history buffs, especially those interested in urban studies
(and Houston in particular),
will want to add this handy reference guide to their collection. The
Houstorian Dictionary would also make a wonderful stocking stuffer!
Hopefully, Lone Star historians, prompted by Glassman's example, will
assemble similar dictionaries for San
Antonio, Dallas, Austin,
Fort Worth, and other