The Houston Portal
Houston is the fourth-largest city in the United States of America and the largest city in the state of Texas. As of the 2009 U.S. Census estimate, the city had a population of 2.3 million within an area of 600 square miles (1,600 km2). Houston is the seat of Harris County and the economic center of the Houston–Sugar Land–Baytown metropolitan area—the sixth-largest metropolitan area in the U.S. with a population of 5.9 million.
Houston was founded on August 30, 1836, by brothers Augustus Chapman Allen and John Kirby Allen on land near the banks of Buffalo Bayou. The city was incorporated on June 5, 1837, and named after then-President of the Republic of Texas—former General Sam Houston—who had commanded at the Battle of San Jacinto, which took place 25 miles (40 km) east of where the city was established. The burgeoning port and railroad industry, combined with oil discovery in 1901, has induced continual surges in the city's population. In the mid-twentieth century, Houston became the home of the Texas Medical Center—the world's largest concentration of healthcare and research institutions—and NASA's Johnson Space Center, where the Mission Control Center is located.
Rated as a beta world city, Houston's economy has a broad industrial base in the energy, manufacturing, aeronautics, transportation, and health care sectors and is a leading center for building oilfield equipment; only New York City is home to more Fortune 500 headquarters in the city limits. The city has a population from various ethnic and religious backgrounds and a large and growing international community. It is home to many cultural institutions and exhibits—attracting more than 7 million visitors a year to the Houston Museum District. Houston has an active visual and performing arts scene in the Theater District and is one of few U.S. cities that offer year-round resident companies in all major performing arts.
Photo credit: JW1805
Spectators watch the reenactment of the Battle of San Jacinto at the 2006 San Jacinto Day Festival.
The Texas City Disaster of April 16, 1947, started with the mid-morning fire and detonation of approximately 2,300 tons of ammonium nitrate on board the French-registered vessel SS Grandcamp in the port at Texas City, Texas, killing 581 people. It also triggered the first ever class action lawsuit against the United States government, under the then-recently enacted Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA), on behalf of 8,485 victims.
The Texas City Disaster is generally considered the worst industrial accident in American history. Witnesses compared the scene to the fairly recent images of the 1943 German bombing of ammunition ships in the harbor at Bari and the much larger devastation at Nagasaki. The official death toll was 581. Of the dead, 405 were identified and 63 were never identified. The remaining 113 people were classified as missing, for no identifiable parts were ever found. This figure includes all 28 firefighters who were aboard Grandchamp when it exploded. There is some speculation that there may have been hundreds more killed but uncounted, including visiting seamen, non-census laborers and their families, and an untold numbers of travelers. However, there were some survivors as close as 70 feet (21 m) from the dock. The victims' bodies quickly filled the local morgue, and several bodies were laid out in the local high school's gymnasium for identification by loved ones.
Ronald Ernest Paul (born August 20, 1935) is a Republican United States Congressman from Lake Jackson, Texas, a physician, a bestselling author, and the last Republican candidate to withdraw from the 2008 U.S. presidential election.
Originally from the Green Tree suburb of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, he graduated from Gettysburg College in 1957, then studied at Duke University School of Medicine; after his 1961 graduation and a residency in obstetrics and gynecology, he became a U.S. Air Force flight surgeon, serving outside the Vietnam War zone. He later represented Texas districts in the U.S. House of Representatives (1976–1977, 1979–1985, and 1997–present). He entered the 1988 presidential election, running as the Libertarian nominee while remaining a registered Republican, and placed a distant third.
Music, arts and culture
Houston is a multicultural city with a thriving international community supported by the nation’s third largest concentration of consular offices representing 77 nations. Officially, Houston is nicknamed the "Space City" as it is home to NASA's Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center, where Mission Control Center is located. Because of this, "Houston" was the first word spoken on the moon. Many locals, however, prefer to call it the "Bayou City." Other nicknames include "H-Town," "Clutch City," and "Magnolia City."
About 90 languages are frequently spoken in the Houston area. Some neighborhoods with high populations of Vietnamese and Chinese residents have Chinese and Vietnamese street signs in addition to English ones. Houston has two Chinatowns—the original located in Downtown and the recent developed is along Bellaire Boulevard in the southwest area of the city. The city also has a Little Saigon in Midtown and Vietnamese businesses located in the southwest Houston Chinatown.
Did you know...
- ... that construction of the 610 Loop began in 1950 but was not completed until 1976?
- ... that Howard Hughes died en route to the The Methodist Hospital on April 5, 1976 on an airplane that departed Mexico?
- ... that Kathryn J. Whitmire former Mayor of the city of Houston, Texas, from 1982 to 1991, is now living in Hawaii where she is in the real estate business?
"Houston, Tranquility Base here, the Eagle has landed."
- Neil Armstrong, the first words spoken from the Moon
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