Texas February 10, 2018
10 Places In Texas You’d Barely Recognize 30 Years Ago
With changing times come renovations, restorations, and rebuilding of structures and landmarks. Although we recognize this as a necessary process to keep our favorite places in working condition so we can continue to enjoy them, we still mourn the loss of the original buildings that housed so many cherished memories. This article is a tribute to those places in Texas that are hardly recognizable anymore.
1. Astrodome (Houston)
The first photo was taken in the 1970s, shortly after the dome first opened. It was the first multi-purpose domed stadium on earth, a record that earned it the title, "Eighth Wonder of the World." The venue hosted everything from baseball to football to basketball and even the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo before being declared non-compliant with the fire code in 2008. It earned a spot on the National Register of Historic Places in 2014 and became a State Antiquities Landmark last year.
2. The Alamo (San Antonio)
One of the state's most iconic landmarks has definitely changed over the years. It has been restored just enough over the years to remain in working condition, but not so much that it's unrecognizable - although it is essentially a whole new building. Nevertheless, we'll still keep visiting and paying homage to those who fought and died for us as long as we're able to.
3. Texas State Capitol (Austin)
At the time of its construction, the Capitol was named "The Seventh Largest Building in the World" - and it's even bigger now! A $75 million underground extension was completed in 1993 as well as an interior and exterior restoration in 1995. The building is on the National Register of Historic Places and is recognized as a National Historic Landmark.
4. Downtown El Paso
El Paso is one of our state's major cities, and boy, has it changed quite a bit over the years. No matter how crucial it is to keep building and expanding, there's something about old-fashioned Main Streets that will be greatly missed.
5. Magnolia Refinery (Beaumont)
The Magnolia Petroleum Company was an early 20th century petroleum company founded by a Galveston family. It eventually merged with Vacuum Oil Company before being fully incorporated into the Mobil division in 1959 and, changing its name to Mobil Oil and ultimately ExxonMobil, which is a currently-operating refinery in Beaumont. Did you have any family members who worked for Magnolia?
6. Congress Ave Bridge (Austin)
This bridge is one of the most iconic in Texas, known for the millions of Mexican Free-Tailed bats that emerge from underneath it nightly during the summer. The bridge was rehabilitated in 1980 and currently contains three southbound and northbound lanes as well as sidewalks on either side.
7. San Antonio
It's hard to believe this is even the same city! So much open land back then compared to today. The population has nearly doubled in the past 30 years, going from ~785,000 in 1980 to ~1,500,000 today.
The same goes for Houston, the most populated city in Texas and the fourth-most populated in the country. The population of Houston and its surrounding areas has nearly multiplied by a factor of 5, going from ~1,500,000 in 1980 to almost 7,000,000 today. That's a crazy statistic to think about if you ask me.
9. University of Texas Tower (Austin)
One of the most easily recognizable symbols of UT and Austin in general, this tower has seen a lot of bloodshed since the first picture was taken. The infamous shooting in 1966 as well as nine suicide jumps caused the observation deck to be closed off for a number of years. It was finally opened again in 1999 with added security, only to be closed again in 2002 after 9/11. It was reopened for good in 2004 and is more secure than ever before.
10. Town Lake (Austin)
Wow, if this isn't the most incredible transformation on the list...I personally think Town Lake looks much better with city lights reflecting off of its surface at night, don't you? Maybe turning our downtowns into concrete jungles has a hidden perk, after all.
Did any of these photos bring back memories for you? If so, we’d love for you to share them with us! What other places in Texas look completely different now than they did in the past?