Houston’s impressive architectural landscape didn’t happen overnight. Check out these 14 photos to see how the process unfolded.

Physical laboratory for the William M. Rice Institute, Houston, Texas. 1913-1914.

HC1Photo: Internet Archive Book Images/Flickr

The Physical Laboratory at the Rice Institute was completed in 1914 by contractors James Stewart & Co., Inc. Born in Springfield, Massachusetts in 1816, William March Rice was the businessman who founded Rice University in 1891. He was later killed by his valet who, along with a lawyer named Albert Patrick, forged his will to receive his money.

Shamrock Hotel, ca. 1947

Shamrock HotelPhoto: SMU Central University Libraries/Flickr

Fittingly, the Shamrock Hotel held a grand opening party on St. Patrick’s Day, 1949. The 18-story building hosted hundreds of guests and about 175 celebrities, including Lana Turner and Dorothy Lamour.

Harris County Courthouse, ca. 1910

Harris County CourthousePhoto: University of Houston Digital Library

The Harris County Courthouse was built in 1910 at a cost of half a million dollars. Designed by architecture firm Lang & Witchell, the courthouse underwent a renovation in the 1950s to install air conditioning, upgrade electrical and plumbing and add new courtrooms and elevators.

Main Street from Lamar Avenue, ca. 1927

1927Photo: University of Houston Digital Libraries

This photo showcases the massive construction boom of 1927 in Houston. Just a few of the buildings underway in the photo include the Lamar Hotel, the Rice Hotel, the Neils Esperon Building, the Kirby Building and the Second National Bank building.

Conrad N. Hilton College of Hotel and Restaurant Management Building, ca. 1974

Hilton CollegePhoto: University of Houston Digital Libraries

Construction on the Conrad N. Hilton College of Hotel and Restaurant Management building wrapped up in 1974. Designed by architecture firm Pierce & Pierce, the building houses the Conrad N. Hilton College of Hotel and Restaurant Management, the Hilton University of Houston Hotel and Conference Center and the Continuing Education Center. The South Wing of the building opened in 1989 after the Hilton Foundation donated $21.3 million.

Philip G. Hoffman Hall, ca. 1974

Hoffman HallPhoto: University of Houston Digital Libraries

This building was named for the fifth president of the University of Houston, Philip Guthrie Hoffman. Designed by architects Kenneth Bentsen and Associates, the hall opened its doors in 1974, but it wasn’t dedicated to Hoffman until 1980.

Washburn Tunnel, ca. 1949

Washburn TunnelPhoto: University of Houston Digital Libraries

Washburn Tunnel connects two Houston suburbs, Galena Park and Pasadena. Completed in 1950, the tunnel was named after Harry L. Washburn, an auditor from Harris County, TeXxas.

Southern Pacific Station, ca. 1934

Southern Pacific StationPhoto: University of Houston Digital Libraries

The Southern Pacific Transportation Company was founded in 1865, and by the turn of the century, it had built a large system of railroads across the US. The trains traveled all around California, Utah, Portland, Nevada, Oregon as well as through New Orleans, Texas and more.

Astrodome, ca. 1964

AstrodomePhoto: University of Houston Digital Libraries

The Houston Astrodome was the first multi-purpose, domed stadium in the world. Home to the Houston Astros until 1999 and the Houston Oilers NFL team until 1997, the Astrodome has been shuttered since 2008, with a number of proposals to renovate the structure failing to stick.

San Jacinto Hotel, ca. 1926

San Jacinto HotelPhoto: University of Houston Digital Libraries

The San Jacinto Hotel, or the Texas State Hotel, was designed by architect Joseph Finger in the 1920s. The building showcases a Spanish Plateresque style and the technological advancements that were happening in architecture during the 20th century to allow taller buildings to be constructed using steel frames.

Democratic Convention Hall, ca. 1928

Democratic Convention HallPhoto: University of Houston Digital Libraries

The Democratic National Convention Hall, or Sam Houston Hall, was built in 1928 to serve as the venue for the Democratic convention. The building only took 64 days to build and cost a cool $200,000.

San Jacinto Monument, date unknown

San Jacinto MonumentPhoto: University of Houston Digital Libraries

Construction of the San Jacinto Monument took three years from 1936 to 1939. The structure measures 570 feet and the American Society of Civil Engineers recognizes it as a National Historic Civil Engineering Landmark.

San Jacinto Monument Star, date unknown

San Jacinto StarPhoto: University of Houston Digital Libraries

The nine-pointed star on top of the San Jacinto Monument measures 34 feet and weighs 220 tons. Symbolizing the Lone Star Republic, the star took 20 days to construct.

Central Library, ca. 1970s

Houston LibraryPhoto: University of Houston Digital Libraries

The Houston Public Library has a total of 44 units including 31 neighborhood libraries, four regional libraries, three special collection libraries and four express libraries.The flagship building is located in downtown Houston and serves as an anchor for the many facilities in the city.

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