Today at 9 am, near the corner of Main & Holcombe, a small group of dedicated fans will once again pour out some Irish whiskey and toast the demise of the Shamrock Hotel.
Today marks the 60th anniversary of the legendary hotel's opening. The dream of Texas oilman Glenn McCarthy, the place epitomized swanky, sexy, slightly-sleazy Las Vegas glamor in its heyday. The Texas Medical Center knocked it down in 1987.
The Hilton College at UH, which of course specializes in the hotel industry, has a collection of photos that helps explain the Shamrock charm.
This is bow-tie level of service, son. A white jacket with colored cuffs, a snappy salute and the kind of smile that tells a new arrival that, yes, in fact I can get two beehived hookers up to your room within the hour. Welcome to Houston!!
Perhaps the most famous feature of the Shamrock was the swimming pool, so legendarily Texas-sized large that you could water-ski in it!! (Exclamation points mandatory.) So, ummm, people would get out of the pool to sit around and watch a guy water-ski in small circles. Life was simpler then.
Bigger boat, now with dames!! And acrobatics!! And, well, still in a small, enclosed area. Try to remember -- there was no cable TV at the time. Meanwhile, in the picture on the right, we see the world's worst ratio of bikini top to bikini bottom. The top can barely hold the boys in, while the bottom would be acceptable at an Amish barn-raising.
Dine in elegance, amidst the splendors of a checkerboard ceiling, while discovering the mysteries of exotic ethnic groups as portrayed upon deeply researched wallpaper. Sup, weary traveler, not only from the space-age sterno-heated food warmer but from the Cup of Knowledge.
Okay, we'll grant you -- that is one serious diving board. Be sure to check for any water-skiiers before attempting your swan dive, please.
Keep the Houston Press Free... Since we started the Houston Press, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Houston, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Houston with no paywalls.