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Houston Texas:  The city of Houston covers a land area of 1397.6 sq km (539.6 sq mi). Is the fourth largest city in America and Texas largest city in population and is the largest in the country without zoning laws, so businesses are allowed to operate within residential neighborhoods.  The City of Houston actually spreads over three counties: Harris, Fort Bend and Montgomery. The city is in southeastern Texas and the seat of Harris County. Located at the head of the Houston Ship Channel, which links the city to the Gulf of Mexico.
Houston is also home to the largest health care center in the world. More than 4.5 million patients are treated annually at the 42 nonprofit institutions that comprise the world famous Texas Medical Center.
Houston's population climbed from 1,630,553 in 1990 to 1,953,631 in 2000. The Houston Consolidated Metropolitan Statistical Area grew from 3,731,000 in 1990 to 4,670,000 in 2000.

1 Worlds largest medical center with 42 institutions.
2 Second largest port in the US in total tonnage.
3 Second largest theater district with four permanent resident ballet, opera, symphony and theater companies.
4 Third largest consular corps in the US with 79 consulates 90 languages are spoken in Houston.
5 Fourth largest Museum District in the US with 6 million annual vistors.
6 Fourth largest airport system in the US
7 Fifth largest shopping center in the world.
8 Only city to have two retractable roof sports stadiums.
9 Home of Johnson Space Center
10 Restaurants number 5000 not including fast food.


City of Houston
Mailing Address: P.O. Box 1562 • Houston, Texas 77251
City Switchboard: 713-247-1000
Physical Address: 900 Bagby • Houston, Texas 77002
City TDD:713-247-1940

Police Department: To request non-emergency police service for locations
within the city limits of  Houston, dial 713 222-3131.
Fire Department: The Houston Fire Department was established in 1838 with one station,  Protection Company No. 1. It grew to a volunteer fire department status with three stations by 1859. After having provided volunteer firefighting services for 57 years, the City of Houston Fire Department began paying its firefighters in 1895. HFD is the third largest fire department in the  United States and is responsible for preserving life and property to a population of 1.8 million in an  area totaling 617 square miles. phone Central Command 713 247-1837 EMS Division 713  865-4210 Fire Museum 2403 Milam Street 713 524-2526
Recruiting Office 1100 Elder Street   713 238-9661

Houston Public Libary Call (713) 236-1313 to ask a librarian the quick answer to a question. The  Telephone Reference service will help you during Central Library day hours  seven days a week.  Answers to some frequently asked questions are made available on recordings. For a list of  recordings, dial (713) 247-3592. see map to libraries.

The Houston Chronicle daily newspaper.
Monday - Tuesday - Wed - Thursday - Friday - Saturday - Sunday -
to subscribe call  713 220-7211 or 1-888-220-7211 during regular business hours.

The Arts

Lawndale Art & Performance Center
713-528-5858
Rice University Art Galleries
713-527-6069
October Gallery
244 W. 19th St. (Heights)
Large eclectic gallery featuring hundreds of artists from around the country.
713-861-3411
Portico
Art gallery & home accessories.
2426 Times Blvd. (in the Village)
713-524-0575
Project Row Houses
2500 Holman
Sally Sprout Gallery
713-526-6461
The Alley Theater
Houston's first real theater venue.
713-228-8421
DaCamera
Renowned for its creative and diverse programming of jazz and chamber music.
713-524-5050
Houston Ballet
Ongoing
713-227-ARTS
Houston Grand Opera
Ongoing
713-227-ARTS
Houston Symphony
713-224-7575
Theater Under the Stars
The largest non-profit producer of musical theater in America.
713-558-2600
Wortham Theater Center
713-277-ARTS

Museums

Battleship Texas

281 479 2431
The Art Car Museum
Located in the Houston Heights, a must see.
(713)861-5526
Bayou Bend
Newly restored home and gardens of famous Houston socialite Ima Hogg.
713-639-7750
Children's Museum of Houston
A place to take the kids
713-522-1138
Contempory Arts Museum
713-284-8250
Holocaust Museum
713-942-8000 (free)
The Menil Collection
Ongoing 713-525-9400
Museum of Fine Arts
www.mfah.org
1001 Bissonnet (at Main), Houston, Texas 77005
hours: Tuesday, Wednsady and Saturday 10 am to 7 pm
Thursday and Friday 10 am to 9 pm
Sunday 12:15 pm to 7 pm
713-526-1361 map to Museum of fine Arts   
Museum of Natural Science
713-639-IMAX
San Jacinto Monument & Museum

The San Jacinto Battleground State Historical Park is 20 miles east of downtown Houston. From Loop 610, take Texas Highway 225 East for eight miles. Exit on Battleground Road and turn left. Street Address: One Monument Circle, La Porte, Texas 77571-9744
(281) 479-2421 map to San Jacinto Monument

Places to go - things to see.

Astrodome
The world’s first domed stadium, known as "the eighth wonder of the world" 30 years ago, is now  home to the Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo and other special events. Daily tours. 8400 Kirby  at Loop 610, 713-799-9500.
Bayou Place
Downtown Houston’s new entertainment complex is the largest of its kind in Texas, with the Ariel  Theater, the Angelika Film Center, and several restaurants, including the Hard Rock Café, under  one roof. 502 Texas Avenue, 713-230-1600.
George Observatory
The drive out to Brazos Bend State Park is worth the effort just to check out the heavens on the  gigantic 36-inch research telescope, but be sure to call for reservations. Smaller telescopes are also  available anytime. 21901 FM 762, Needville, 409-553-3400.
Moody Gardens
Galveston has more than beaches to offer our visitors. This renowned attraction offers the new  Aquarium Pyramid, the Rainforest Pyramid, a stunning IMAX Theater and the Palm Beach Water  Park. One Hope Blvd., 800-582-4673
NASA’S Johnson Space Center and Space Center Houston
For far-out fun, see actual spacecraft, like Mercury, Gemini and Apollo capsules; watch astronauts  train for upcoming shuttle missions; touch a moon rock; or walk in space through state-of-the-art  simulators.
Space Center Houston is located at 1601 Nasa Rd, Houston, TX 77058, approximately 25 miles south of downtown Houston in the NASA/Clear Lake area.
281-244-2100 map to Houston Space Center
also see: NASA - www.nasa.gov
Port of Houston
Make a reservation well in advance to board the Sam Houston for a free 90-minute cruise around  the Port and Ship Channel. Tour information: Gate 8, Wharf 7, 7600 Clinton Drive, 713-670-2576.
The Tunnel System
An interesting jaunt for a bad-weather day, Houston’s sub-terranean tunnel system connects 55  office buildings with a plethora of shops and services. Discover Houston conducts private walking  tours of this mind-boggling maze. 713-222-9255.
Kemah Waterfront
This renovated development on the Kemah channel to Galveston Bay is loaded with family fun,  though peak times are over-crowded. Known for its long row of seafood eateries, it has now added  a nostalgic amusement park, complete with a classic Ferris wheel and carousel. #1 Kemah  Waterfront, 281-334-2513.
Six Flags Astro World Water World
Family fun is also the order of the day at this 75-acre amusement park just across Loop 610 from  the Astrodome. Thrill rides include Taz’s Texas Tornado and the terrifying Dungeon Drop. The cool  water park, conveniently situated next door to Astro World, includes a 30,000-square-foot wave  pool, a 900-foot lazy river and water slides galore. 9001 Kirby, 713-799-1234.
Splash Town

Catch a wave north of town with 45 acres of fun, including 35 rides with wave pools, water slides  and kiddy sensations. 21300 North Interstate 45, 281-355-3300.
River Oaks
Perhaps Houston's most prestigious neighborhood, native Houstonians especially will take notice of  an R.O. address. Characterized by wide, oak lined streets and beautiful mature landscape, River  Oaks Boulevard and Kirby Drive are the main thoroughfares and are graced with beautiful large  estates. Home of the Azalea Trail and the River Oaks Country Club, River Oaks is nestled between  the Galleria and Downtown. Memorial Park is just to the North. The upper Kirby Business District  and and West Gray areas provide many of Houston's trendiest restaurants and boutiques. For mall  shopping the mother of all malls - the Galleria is very nearby. Homes were built here back to the   20's but there are new homes available also. Prices range from $800,000 to multi-millions.


Houston history - events in time.

  • 1836--On Apr. 21, General Sam Houston's Texas army wins independence from Mexico in  the Battle of San Jacinto.  
  • 1836--Houston founded on Aug. 30 by brothers Augustus C. and John K. Allen, who pay  just over $1.40 per acre for 6,642 acres of land near the headwaters of Buffalo Bayou.  
  • 1836--Allen Brothers call on Gail Borden (publisher, surveyor, and originator of condensed  milk) and Thomas H. Borden to survey and map the site. Gail Borden laid out the town's  streets 80' wide, with the principal east-west thoroughfare (Texas Avenue) 100' wide. 
  • 1837--General Sam Houston, first president of the Republic of Texas, signs an act authorizing  Houston to incorporate. Houston was capital of the Republic from 1837 to 1840.
  • 1837--The Laura is the first steamship to visit Houston.
  • 1840--On Apr. 4, seven Houston businessmen form the Houston Chamber of Commerce. 
  • 1842--Texas' oldest newspaper, The Galveston Daily News, starts publication. 
  • 1846--Texas becomes 28th state. 
  • 1850--First census after Texas joins the Union counts 2,397 Houstonians. Galveston is the state's largest city. 
  • 1853--Houston's first railroad--the Buffalo Bayou, Brazos & Colorado Railroad--begins operations.
  • 1853--Texas Legislature appropriates $4,000 for Buffalo Bayou improvements. 
  • 1858--City pays $2,500 for land and "good buildings" for a municipal hospital. 
  • 1861--Houston and Harris County vote to secede from the Union. During the war, the closest fighting was at Galveston. 
  • 1866--First National Bank founded. 
  • 1868--First trolley cars (mule-drawn) appear; first gaslights installed. 
  • 1870--Texas readmitted to the Union. 1870 census shows Houston's
    population up to 9,332.  Harris County's has reached 17,375, ranking it second in the state. 
  • 1870--Congress designates Houston a port; first survey of Houston's proposed
    ship channel conducted. 
  • 1872--Congress makes its first appropriation--$10,000--for ship channel improvements. 
  • 1874--Houston Board of Trade and Cotton Exchange organized. 
  • 1875--First grain elevator built on Houston Ship Channel. 
  • 1877--Houston's first free public schools established. 
  • 1880--First telephone exchange created. 
  • 1880--Houston gets its first arc light. 
  • 1882--Houston Electric Light Co. organized. Houston and New York were the first
    cities to build electric power plants. 
  • 1897--Automobile first appears in Houston as an advertising gimmick. 
  • 1899--First city park opens. (This site--now Sam Houston Park--contains several of Houston's earliest buildings.) 
  • 1900--A devastating hurricane and tidal wave strikes Galveston, costing some 8,000 lives and untold property damage. 
  • 1901--Houston Left Hand Fishing Club purchases the city's first automobile. 
  • 1901--Oil discovered at Spindletop. Spindletop, and later discoveries of oil at Humble in 1905 and Goose Creek in 1906, put Houston in the center of new oil and oilfield equipment development. 
  • 1902--Congress appropriates $1 million for work on the Houston Ship Channel. 
  • 1905--Houston has 80 automobiles. 
  • 1910--A group of Houston businessmen headed by the Houston Chamber of Commerce proposes to Congress--and Congress accepts--a novel plan to split ship channel development costs between Houston and the federal government. 
  • 1912--Rice Institute (now Rice University, one of the nation's premier universities) begins classes. 
  • 1913--Houston Symphony established. 
  • 1914--25' deep Houston Ship Channel completed and formally dedicated. 
  • 1915--First deep water vessel, the S.S. Satilla, docks in Houston. 
  • 1920s-1930s--Oil refineries proliferate along Ship Channel, taking advantage of inexpensive waterborne shipping. 
  • 1921--Houston adopts ordinance dedicating tax monies to its library system. 
  • 1923--Second National Bank becomes Houston's first air-conditioned building. 
  • 1924--The Museum of Fine Arts of Houston, the first in Texas, opens. 
  • 1926--Natural gas first piped into Houston. 
  • 1927--Houston Junior College (now the University of Houston) established. 
  • 1928--National Democratic Convention held in Houston. 
  • 1929--City Planning Commission recommends that Houston adopt a zoning ordinance, but finds scant support. 
  • 1930--Census ranks Harris County as state's most populous at 292,352. 
  • 1932--First Houston Fat Stock Show & Rodeo (now Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo) held. 
  • 1934--Intracoastal Canal links Houston to Mississippi River navigation system. 
  • 1935--Braniff International inaugurates air service to Houston. 
  • 1940s--Petrochemical complex develops, taking feedstocks from nearby refineries. 
  • 1941--New master plan for Houston thoroughfares emphasizes a loop system. 
  • 1943--Texas Medical Center founded. 
  • 1947--Legislature establishes Texas State University for Negroes (now Texas Southern University). 
  • 1947--Alley Theatre established. 
  • 1947--Engineering begins on Gulf Freeway, Texas' first freeway. 
  • 1948--Houston voters reject proposed zoning ordinance. 
  • 1948--Dec. 31 annexation expands Houston's area from 74.4 to 216 sq.mi. 
  • 1948--Port of Houston ranks second nationally in total tonnage. 
  • 1949--KLEE-TV broadcasts first Houston commercial TV program. 
  • 1953--KUHT-TV, the nation's first public broadcast TV station, goes on the air. 
  • 1955--Houston Grand Opera Association and Houston Ballet founded.
  • 1955--Houston metro area population reaches 1,000,000. 
  • 1962--NASA's Manned Spacecraft Center moves to Houston. 
  • 1962--Houston voters reject proposed zoning ordinance. 
  • 1965--First event held in Astrodome. 
  • 1969--Houston Intercontinental Airport begins operations. 
  • 1969--"Houston" is the first word spoken from the lunar surface. 
  • 1971--Shell Oil Co. relocates corporate headquarters to Houston. More than 200 major firms moved headquarters, subsidiaries, and divisions here in the 1970s. 
  • 1973--Arab oil embargo quadruples oil prices in 90 days, fueling Houston's 1973-1981 economic boom. 
  • 1978--Voters approve and fund MTA. 
  • 1982--Employment peaks at 1,583,400 in Mar. before onset of recession. 
  • 1983--155 office buildings completed. 
  • 1987--Trough of recession in Jan., with net recession loss of 221,900 jobs. 
  • 1990--Houston recovery complete, with May job count above Mar. 1982 level. 
  • 1990--Houston hosts 16th annual Economic Summit of Industrialized Nations. 
  • 1991--Houston City Council mandates development of first zoning regulations. 
  • 1992--Republican National Convention held in Houston.

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