YEARS OF DIVERSIFICATION (1960-1965)
Looking ahead to the year 2020, Alvin A. Burger, executive director of the Texas Research League, expects the state’s population to increase from 10,700,000 to 30,000,000, with 85 percent of the people living in 28 to 30 metropolitan areas. The 12-county area embracing Houston, Galveston, Beaumont and Port Arthur will have 8,500,000 people, he has estimated.
"The economic factors—strategic location, abundance of capital, and a vast supply of natural resources—which primarily account for Houston’s present fast rate of growth assure continuation of that growth in the future. The Port of Houston has provided deep-water access since 1915 to the seaports of the world and was undoubtedly instrumental in concentrating the area’s industrial dominance in Houston. With one of the nation’s three greatest ports and an increasingly active Houston International Airport, this city is a crossroads of trade and travel." Thus did Research Department Manager Howard N. Martin of the Chamber of Commerce sum up the importance of the Port of Houston as he testified before the Civil Aeronautics Board in a recent air-route case.
A number of interesting forecasts have been made in a Metropolitan Houston Long-Range Economic Study by the City Planning Department that endeavored to recognize and evaluate the known principal factors which determine population growth. This report suggests that Harris County will increase from its 1960 population of 1,243,158 to 2,383,000 in 1980 and 3,154,000 in 1990. The labor force of 592,181 is estimated to reach 973,392 in 1980, and 1,293,372 in 1990. The rate of population increase from 1960 to 1980 is indicated at 3.3 percent annually, and from 1960 to 1990 at 3.2 percent. The largest relative increase will be in the 75-and-over age group, with an increase of 276 percent by 1980 and 415 percent by 1990. The average annual net increase in population will climb from 52,446 in the 1965-1970 period to 68,154 in the 1985-1990 period.
In 1900, Harris County represented 2.092 percent of the population of Texas, but this had reached 12.977 percent in 1960 and is expected to reach 20.525 percent of the state’s population of 16,198,000 in 1990.
The Houston area’s population offers a distinctively young and vigorous as well as talented and trained pool of workers. Analysis of the 1960 census shows that the average age in the Houston area was 27.5 years, compared to 32.2 in Los Angeles, 32.4 in Chicago, and 35.1 in New York.
Houston and Baltimore had almost identical population totals in 1960, but further comparisons indicate some striking contrasts. The average Houstonian was four years younger, had a family income of $20 a month greater, and had 2.5 more years of formal education than his counterpart in Baltimore. In 1960, there were 54,000 college graduates in Houston, compared to 31,000 in Baltimore. Houston had 16,000 unemployed, while Baltimore had 25,000. Houston had 52,000 children under 18 not living with both parents, while Baltimore had 72,000. Houston had 62,000 in the professional and managerial groups while Baltimore had 41,000. It was not that the Baltimore totals compared so unfavorably, but rather that a higher ratio lived outside the city limits in the suburban areas. In 1960, the average central city of Texas contained 80 percent of the total metropolitan population, while the average for the nation was 51 percent. This is a result of the ease of municipal annexation in Texas.
It is generally recognized that the future of Houston is linked more with excellence in education than with perhaps any other single factor. The Texas Legislature in 1963 recognized that progress in the state in this age of science and technology demands dramatic changes in the quality and quantity of education, and set up a committee to study education beyond the high school. The cultural, scientific and sociological challenges of the ensuing decade were expected to exceed any experienced in the past, and new dimensions of the educational needs of the state were realized as being developed by the rapid industrialization and urbanization of Texas. The committee undertook its assignment with a realization that its responsibility was not only to prepare a blueprint of projections for the future, but also to recommend solutions to existing educational problems.
The committee found a system with many splendid characteristics, but one with less than the desired level of excellence, and one fragmented because of its origins. In the absence of effective over all planning, the system lacked the means to make the most efficient use of talents and resources in its pursuit of excellence. Steps are being taken to make the committee’s recommendations effective, and this has special significance for Houston.
In 1965, with a spring term enrollment of 216,571 students, the Houston Independent School District was the state’s largest and the nation’s sixth largest public school system. With an annual increase of from 10,000 to 15,000, it was also the second fastest growing of the nation’s larger school districts. Comparable and, in many instances, greater rates of growth were being experienced by the other smaller districts in Harris County. The 22 districts in the county enrolled 347,080 in the spring of 1965.
During this period of rapid growth, and with a higher ratio of the population in the public-school age groups, expenditures for schools in Harris County have continued to increase at a rapid rate. For the school year ending August 31, 1965, operating expenditures of the 22 public school districts in the county reached a total of $116,700,813, which together with a capital outlay of $38,843,521 and $17,103,533 for debt service, amounted to a total of $169,647,857. With the over-all increase in expenditures at a faster rate than the increase in the number of pupils, the average cost of educating a pupil in Harris County continues to rise. Property taxation produced 53.3 per cent of school district revenue, with revenue from state aid payments accounting for 43.1 percent. A wide range is found in local ability to support public education in the school districts of the county. This is reflected in assessed valuations per pupil in average daily attendance, ranging from $8,011 in the Channelview district to $57,470 in the Deer Park district.
The pursuit of academic excellence, and leading students to make the most of it in their work as well as their lives and in public service, has led Rice University to become one of the educational centers of distinction in the nation. As the University looked hack with satisfaction on its first half-century of operations and turned its attention to the future, it eagerly greeted the challenge which faced higher education everywhere. Recent years have seen many changes and advancements on the campus. New construction continues to add to the facilities, as new departments, expansion of graduate work, and an increased student body are matched by progress in the field of research. The Rice University plan is designed to accomplish two objectives: to continue to provide the best students, both graduate and undergraduate, with superior educational opportunities; and to maintain a center of international leadership in education and research of the caliber required in an age of rapid social, economic and technological change.
The University of Houston is a young institution, but behind its limestone facade lies a unique history and a great potential. It was established in 1926 as a junior college and became a four-year institution in 1934, moving to the present campus in 1939. It became a fully state-supported institution September 1, 1963, and had an enrollment in 1965 of almost 20,000, with a projected enrollment of 28,000 in 1970. The University has a $33,500,000 debt-free physical plant on a 300-acre campus, and has almost $20,000,000 in buildings and additions under construction. This fine physical plant was contributed largely by Mr. and Mrs. Hugh Roy Cullen and their family, with substantial assistance from Houston Endowment, Inc., and the M. D. Anderson Foundation. The University operates from 7:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m., with classes the year around, assuring maximum efficient use of its physical plant.
Since its founding in 1947, Texas Southern University has undergone a revolutionary upsurge in physical facilities and educational advances. From a plant of one masonry building and a number of temporary frame structures, the University has developed a $20,300,000 plant, with a student body approaching 5,000. The University of St. Thomas started in 1947 with 60 freshmen and has grown steadily in enrollment and in physical plant. The University is under the direction of the Basilian Fathers. The Houston Baptist College was founded in 1963 by the Baptist General Convention of Texas to provide a strong four-year liberal arts education in a Christian atmosphere. Other institutions of higher learning include the Baylor University College of Medicine, the Institute of Religion, the Texas Chiropractic College, Texas Woman’s University College of Nursing, the M. D. Anderson Hospital and Tumor Institute, and the University of Texas Dental Branch.
Addressing the 125th anniversary banquet of the Houston Chamber of Commerce on December 14, 1965, Governor John Connally said: "Like most anniversaries, we look back tonight at the achievements of the first 125 years of the Houston Chamber of Commerce, but most of our attention is already directed toward the 126th year which now begins. No matter how eventful the past has been, it is the future which holds the brightest promise and the real excitement. Houston became a great city because its early leaders combined their talents and their resources to make their dream a reality. They gave you a heritage of courage and a dedication which is reflected in the work of this Chamber of Commerce and the city you serve... In this competitive, churning, uncertain world, no city and no region has a future if it is unprepared to plan and work for continued progress.
In its first years, although it was little more than a village of mud and tents, Houston was a place where statesmen in buckskin established the capital of a colorful empire, the Republic of Texas. Today, Houston is a different kind of capital and the center of a different sort of empire. Its rise in recent decades has drawn worldwide attention and people to this surging international city. It has world stature in industry and finance, in education and medical services, in port operations and sports, and is the command post for the Free World’s man-in-space program.
The "Marathon World" has said: "Every move that Houston has made thus far seems to have been the right one. But certainly not all of this has been a matter of luck. Careful analysis will show that Houston today is largely a planned product of ambitious people settled on a land rich in natural resources—people who have used their money and their imagination to improve their own situation. Their success in doing this has evoked a feeling of pride and confidence."
"Houston is the only metropolitan area in the Southwestern Region of the United States with a population exceeding 1.4 million and it is nearly 700 miles in any direction to another metropolitan area of more than 1.4 million," pointed out Research Department Manager Howard N. Martin of the Chamber of Commerce as he introduced the following key factor in testimony before the Civil Aeronautics Board in a recent air-route case. "The significance of these facts is that Houston is the major city for a vast area of the nation, and, therefore, plays a far larger part in the economy of the nation and the world than its relative size would justify. Houston is a dominant hub for manufacturing, finance, commerce, petroleum production and allied services, and transportation—and its stature as such is rapidly increasing."
Not all aspects of Houston’s progress can be indicated statistically, but comparative figures do provide impressive evidence of more general development. During twenty years, Texas has grown in population 67.4 percent, compared to a growth of 114.2 percent for Houston Standard Metropolitan Statistical Area, 122.2 percent increase for Harris County, and 158.7 percent increase for Houston. During this period, port tonnage has increased 147.6 percent, bank deposits have climbed 247.6 percent, automobile registrations have grown 335.5 percent, and construction has zoomed 683.1 percent. Air-passenger arrivals and departures rocketed from 136,059 to 2,174,008, or an increase of 1,497.8 percent.
The teamwork of Houston’s leadership has merged the efforts of individuals who are motivated by a common desire to serve the community welfare and to work above any personal or corporate ends. Prince Philip of Great Britain projected this spirit when he visited Houston. He said: "It is through voluntary organizations that people can put their Christianity into practical action. Voluntary service is one of the few things that brings all members of the community together without the constraint of job status or social standing."
Secretary Gardner of the U. S. Department of Health, Education and Welfare has said: "An organization runs on motivation, on conviction, on morale. Men have to believe that it really makes a difference whether they do well or badly. They have to care. They have to believe that their efforts as individuals will mean something for the whole organization, and will be recognized by the whole organization. Change is always risky, usually uncomfortable, often painful. It is not accomplished by apathetic men and women. It requires high motivation to break through the rigid ness of aging organizations." This provides a good summing-up of the dynamic role of the Chamber of Commerce in Houston’s decisive years, and an appropriate statement of its attitude as it looks to the future.
This chronological narration of challenge and response in the Houston area during the last twenty eventful years and the more sweeping story of the development of Houston during the last 171 years, we have seen the legend of the Allen brothers’ vision growing up. Surrounded by a land of myth and tall tale, Houston has become a place where truth seems at times as incredible as legend. Known at various times in the past as a "cow town", a "cotton town", and as an "oil town", and more recently as a "chemical capital" and currently as "Space City, U. S. A.", Houston has retained something of each of these implied qualities; this has meant diversity and contrast, but also promise and opportunity.
And thus we look to the future of this city that has come to symbolize the conquering of new frontiers through vision, enterprise and determination. As we contemplate this future, we find need to give confidence in an unspoken covenant between a city and the future.