Friday, March 23, 2012
While walking down Galveston's Strand District I heard head splitting noise disguised as music. At least that's how my parents used to describe the bands I spent my money and my 20s frequenting. I walked into the bar to see this. I felt like I was visiting myself 17 years ago, going to dive bars with people who look like they got served with restraining orders from a comic book convention. Those were my peeps back in the day. I watched one guy jumping up and down and banging his head. Sadly he got off the ground before I could hit the record button. I stood there watching the kids in dirty clothes, probably no direction in life at this point, doing what they love to do. Play those instruments like there was no tomorrow. After a few reminiscing moments with a smile on my face I walked out saying goodbye to 17 years ago.
This imposing structure was built in 1897 and served as the third county jail for Fort Bend, County, Texas.
In 1996 it was renovated and became the headquarters for the Richmond Police Department.
These are the gallows. Two people were hanged the same day at one point. One was hung here, the other from a tree in the back. It was also here that numerous persons sat in jail awaiting trial, sentence, extradition, execution, etc. People who work here say this place is haunted.
The combination has long been forgotten. Nobody knows what lies inside this safe (if anything).
Inmates were served food through this door. The food was usually prepared by the sheriff's wife who lived with her husband in an apartment on the first floor.
Compare this picture to the one I shot. See any difference between then and now?
People working here (usually the night shift) report strange noises primarily coming from the second floor where the old cells and gallows are. People also report feeling the presence of another person to find that nobody was there. Many people would find it cool to work in a century old former jail/gallows yet those who do have become accustomed to it. Nevertheless, people will come and go working out of this building yet those who died here will remain.
The Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo is a Houston institution drafted by seven men who met for lunch one day in 1931. The next year the very first rodeo was held in the Democratic Convention Hall.
In 1937 the Democratic Convention Hall was torn down and the rodeo was moved to the Sam Houston Coliseum in 1938. Four years later music entertainers were added to the program with Gene Autry being the first.
In 1966 the rodeo again changed homes into the newly built Astrodome, the 8th wonder of the world. It is here the rodeo becomes world famous and where I first went with my mother sometime in the early 1990s where I saw Charley Pride (my only time going to the Houston rodeo until 2012).
On February 27, 1970, Elvis Presley plays to over 43,000 people.
Fast forward 42 years later. I haven't been to the Houston rodeo in over 20 years. I grew up going to my hometown (Liberty, TX) rodeo every year when I was in junior and senior high school so I know what a rodeo is and quite frankly wasn't interested until now. My new girlfriend loves country music and rodeos and having just moved to Texas I thought she would love a night out at the rodeo. Actually we went on two different evenings but I'm compressing both days into one post. The first evening we parked across the South Loop. I meant to park there the second time however the rainy weather closed the lot so I had to find another lot about a mile from Reliant Arena and as you can see above had a hard time finding a parking spot. For some reason Houston drivers are rude and refuse to show consideration for other people.
The rodeo's former home, the Astrodome housing the ghosts of rodeos past.
I meant to stop here for a drink or few but didn't get around to it.
A new generation of rodeo goers.
Perfect spot to watch the sea of humanity below.
Crowd leaving the arena after Lady Antebellum.
All in all we had a good time. I watched my girlfriend's watching the show more than the show itself. I enjoyed her smile and the sparkle in her eyes. After all that's what it was all about for me.