How Much Do You Know About Houston’s History?

September 26, 2017

Sam Houston, circa 1850, Wikipedia

In anticipation of Professor Jim Blackburn’s class about the economic and ecological future of Houston we put together a quiz on little-known facts about our great city!




1. The first air-conditioned room in Houston was installed in 1922. It was located in:

A. The Rice Hotel.
B. The Second National Bank.
C. Rice University.

2. The Rice Military area near Memorial Park is named for an army training camp during:

A. World War II.
B. World War I.
C. Civil War.

3. Houston is larger than which of the following?

A. Maryland.
B. New Jersey.
C. New York City+Boston+San Francisco combined.

4. In Houston, you cannot sell the following on Sunday?

A. Limburger cheese.
B. Alcohol.
C. Caviar.

5. Houston was founded by:

A. Sam Houston.
B. John Kirby.
C. Augustus & John Allen.

6. Which of these is true about Sam Houston?

A. Beat a US congressman with a cane.
B. Opposed secession.
C. Honorary member of the Cherokee nation.


1. A. It used to be that large blocks of ice were placed in front of fans to try and keep cool air moving throughout a room. With the advent of air-conditioning, Houston installed a system first in the cafeteria of the Rice Hotel in 1922. The next year, the Second National Bank took it one step further by becoming the first completely air-conditioned building in Houston.

2. B. Rice Military area near Memorial Park was named for Camp Logan, an Army training camp from World War I. In fact, many streets are named for hometown heroes who lost their lives fighting in the war.  Dunlavy in the Montrose area is named for Herbert Dunlavy, a Marine and the first Houstonian killed in the war after an artillery shell landed in a trench near him.

3. A, B, and C. Houston is larger as a city than the entire state of Maryland and New Jersey. The total area of Houston is so large, it could contain the cities of New York, Boston, and San Francisco at the same time.

4. A. An old existing Houston law forbids the sale of Limburger cheese on Sunday.

5. C. Houston was founded by  Augustus Chapman Allen and John Kirby Allen, who honored Sam Houston by naming the city after him. Near the center of Houston where Interstates 45 and 10 intersect is almost the exact spot that Houston’s founders, the Allen brothers, settled.

6. A, B, and C. Houston is named after Sam Houston, the military commander who led the battle for the independence of Texas from Mexico. He was the first president of the Texas republic, and as he became more of a politician, he became more and more colorful as a personality. For instance he opposed secession, was an honorary member of the Cherokee nation, and once caned a U.S. congressman after being insulted.