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This post turns the tables on Ricochet’s intrepid book reviewer, @seawriter, who is known to the outside world as Mark Lardas. He wrote an engaging, enjoyable book called “Vanished Houston Landmarks“, available for the Kindle, and it’s a skillful job that deserves your attention.
When I grew up, people didn’t hate Californians (yet). New Yorkers and Texans regularly topped polls of who our fellow Americans found most annoying, and despite vast differences between Gothamites and Texians, we have this in common: we are apt to boast a great deal. I’ll be the first to admit that I’ve only passed through Texas and I ought to know more about its history, but I can understand the boasting: it really is a remarkable place with wonderful people.
Vanished Houston Landmarks covers these lost images and places with an entertaining focus on how Houstonians shaped the modern world. As grand as that sounds, Mark backs it up with anecdotes few of us have ever heard, such as how a Boris Yeltsin visit to Randall’s, a supermarket, helped inspire the end of Communism in the USSR. Familiar associations with Houston, such as the Astrodome and the space program, are well covered too. It’s hard for us to imagine that there was a time when big Texas ever had to fight to prove it belonged in the major leagues, literally and metaphorically.
Naturally, I skipped right to some of my own hobby interests, like the light rail interurban streetcars that once connected Houston and Galveston. Like everywhere else, Houston progressed by getting rid of the streetcars and then progressed by bringing them back. Funny how that works.
Maybe my favorite part of the book was (no surprise) about early television. Houston had the first educational TV station in the whole country, becoming the envied model for New York, L.A., and Washington. It’s still on the air.
Reading Mark’s book, I was reminded how much I like Texans. But don’t tell them; their heads are swelled enough! Remember, Vanished Houston Landmarks is available on Kindle. Do yourself a favor and buy it!Published in