|Houston Grand Opera
|Exploring Dinosaurs at Houston Museums
For a listing of upcoming Spring 2009 programs, visit our Houston Programs page.
History of Houston
Founded by brothers Augustus and John Allen, who paid $1.40 per
acre for 6,642 acres of land near Buffalo Bayou in 1838, Houston
was marketed to land-hungry citizens in the East and in Europe.
The growing town was the seat of the Republic of Texas for three
years. When the capital was moved to Austin, Houstonians who remained
were determined to keep the town alive, and hit upon the idea of
developing a port for shipping of livestock and crops.
The Houston Ship Channel opened in 1914, snaking its way to the
Gulf of Mexico just in time to help Houston profit from the war
in Europe. Houston now ranks as one of the world’s busiest
After oil was discovered in 1901 at Spindletop, just east of Houston
in Beaumont, the boom was on. By the time of the Depression, there
were 40 oil companies operating from Houston. In the late 70s, upheaval
in the Middle East drove up the price of oil and Houston’s
economy prospered. People began moving in at the rate of 1,000 a
week, and it seemed there would be no end to the new riches. But
in the 1980s, oil and real estate took a beating, and Houston’s
economy hit a low point.
Today, the city is benefiting from a concerted effort at diversification
in the business sector. Energy is still a major player, but technology,
healthcare and many other fields are now vital elements in Houston’s
prosperity. New landmarks for the city include Minute Maid Park
(home of the Houston Astros), the Hobby Center for the Performing
Arts, Reliant Stadium (home of the new Houston Texans football team),
the new 1,200-room downtown convention center hotel, and The Toyota
Center, a new downtown arena for the Houston Rockets, Comets and
Houston Fast Facts:
- Houston’s population is 1.9 million.
- Houston is centrally located on the Gulf coast and is easily
accessed via any of its three airports and using hometown carrier
- Houston’s weather is comfortable most of the year. The
average winter maximum temperature is 64°F, average summer
maximum temperature is 92°F, average spring maximum temperature
is 78°F and average fall maximum temperature is 81°F.
- Houston has the third largest population of working artists
in the U.S., and is one of the few American cities with permanent
ballet, opera, symphony, and theater companies performing year-round.
- Houston’s Texas Medical Center institutions are ranked
among the top hospitals in the country, and serve patients from
around the world.
- Houston’s diverse culture means that more than 90 languages
are spoken here.