My first husband, two young children and I moved to Houston in August of 1975. Is that right? Does anyone remember for sure. We lived for 4 years in an apartment south of the I-10 and west of Wilcrest. In 1979, we moved into our first home, north of 4 lane I-10 freeway and east of the two country lane road called highway 8. I took my 8 & 9 year old for ice skating lessons at an ice-house that was surrounded by a large parking lot and empty fields just south of this intersection. Barely more than thirty years has passed but this area has gone through massive changes.
During the years living in this area, the I-10 was widened, lengthened, and widened again. Highway eight became a divided 4 lane road, then the toll road was completed up the center and opened in 88 or 89. And then it was widened again, and taken all the way around Houston. The ice rink was torn down and a mall built, Town & Country Mall. It had a Lord & Taylor, a JC Penny’s, and I think, a Macy’s and Dillard's - despite these big name stores the mall never took hold. In the mid 90s, south of the mall a new ‘outside’ shopping was put in. It thrived. About 5 years ago (or more?) there was talk about making the mall a medical office park,, then that idea stalled.
This trip home Camillo and I were invited several times to the ‘city center’.
The old empty mall has been torn down. They left all the parking garages, and built a few more. City Center is now where the mall stood. There are apartments, and high end townhomes, a conference center Hotel, and restaurants, many with outside seating, and clothing stores of the artsy kind. In less then 40 years what was my section of hometown Houston no longer exists. I can’t say that this is not all improvements. The city center is where people can live, and like in a small town, walk out of their apartment to have a glass of wine, or a beer while listening to music. They can eat in fine restaurants or sit with a coffee and a sweet, or go to a movie, then walk back home again. Practically in the center of the metropolis of Houston is now a small hometown. I think the idea / concept is a great one. What we love about Ipanema is that we can walk out our door to see a movie or to eat a great meal. The government in Houston hasn’t built a dependable mass transit to get to work, but they have begun to make it possible to live and play in the same place. This is no longer my Hometown, but is a hometown none the less.