Monday, March 13, 2017

Nostalgia Is A Helluva Drug

I worked at the Houston Post newspaper from about 1971 or 1972 until 1991. I left to do other things during that time but I kept coming back, working part-time or full. Sometimes just as a summer fill-in and sometimes as a second job. I loved the Post. Especially during the years the paper was owned by the Hobby family, one of Texas' most distinguished. The Hobbys sold the paper in 1983 and it was never the same.

The Post passed on to the Great Press Room In The Sky in 1995 leaving behind a quirky building and a lot of upset employees who had been given no warning of the closure. But I digress.

I have a few mementos of my time there....some pencils, stationary and this comic-sized booklet intended to be used in schools through the Post's Newspaper in the Classroom Program. It was printed in 1972-ish and features a two page spread on each U.S. President through Richard Nixon. I'd forgotten all about it until I was clearing my work desk drawers last week. It's printed on stock that is about one step up from standard newsprint. 

It's discolored over the years but it's not fragile like a regular 45+ year-old newspaper would be, I was reluctant at first to scan the thing because I figured that folding back the pages and pressing it to the platen would damage it. But It seems none the worse for wear now that I'm done.

The cover:

The graphic wraps around to the back cover:

The Presidential Seal is awesome. Makes me wish we still had a president.

I stuck GW's portrait up at the top. Appears to be the same portrait as is seen on the dollar bill.  I took a photo of the JFK spread for perspective.

Here is GW's 'fact page'/bio. It's funny how a some pages have aged differently than others. The discoloration is slight with some but others have turned a much darker shade of orange/brown. I'd guess that two different qualities of newsprint were used to print this and combined in the collating process.

Honest Abe. He lost the popular vote and yet went on to become arguably our greatest President. Sigh.

I don't think any President has led a more diverse and entertaining life than Teddy Roosevelt. Public Service Announcement: Read This Book.

My man, LBJ:

The last President in the publication is Richard Milhous Nixon. Another fascinating and complex character. A few years ago I watched a lecture on the 1968 election and how George Wallace's presence siphoned off votes that likely would have put Hubert Humphrey in the White House. How would Viet Nam have played out? No Watergate? It was pretty interesting.

Back to the Post. This is the building as seen in my time there:

The building inside was as interesting as it appeared from the outside. We called it the 'Castle'. The Houston Chronicle bought the Post properties many years ago. They immediately began using the presses but it wasn't until a few years ago that they moved their main offices from their downtown Houston location to the Post building southwest of town. They then put their name on the outside. I drive by often but I can't even look at it now. In the 70's there was a real rivalry between the two papers, the Chronicle was our 'enemy'. I've been reading the Chronicle since the Post died but I've never gotten over that. LOL

Lastly a note about a memorable day at work. In May of 1976 a tanker truck fillied with liquid ammonia was speeding through the elevated interchange of US 59 and the 610 Loop right outside the Post building. It crashed thru the guardrail on the upper ramp and crashed. I'll never forget being herded upstairs to the third floor but not before telling my drivers (I was Ad Services dispatcher then) not to return to the building. I had them take their company-owned delivery vehicles and head home.

Here are a few pics I found and following them is a video done by my late friend Judd McIlvain who was a reporter at KHOU back then.

You can't see our building in the first one but it's behind the elevated freeway ramps.

The Pearl distributor was across the Loop and a block south from us. The Post would be just off to the right.

It was a hell of an explosion. Shook the building something fierce and broke this concrete pillar.

There's the Post  between the pillars in these next two pics.

Here's the KHOU video. If you've read this far thanks for indulging me on my trip down memory lane.


  1. Love the Presidential Booklet. Very interesting post

  2. I never get tired of posts like this! And it's you who should be thanked for letting us come along on your trip down memory lane.

  3. Love the nostalgia. Thanks for sharing!

  4. Wow, awful accident. The Gilbert Stuart Washington is the most reproduced piece of art in history if I'm not mistaken (for obvious reasons). I think that Lincoln portrait based on a photograph (Anthony Berger) was on a version of the $5 bill. Cool thing to hold on to. I also worry about scanning things like that. You really want to share it but not at the expense of damaging it. Thanks for sharing your story.

  5. Thank you for taking us with you down memory lane. I love reading posts like these.