Shamrock Hotel, We Hardly Knew Ye

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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.

The `70s arrive -- in style!! Clockwise from the upper left: a) The cast of The Love Boat settles in for cocktails, and no lapel is too wide; b) Tennis anyone? Why sure! Pay no attention to the 98-degree temps and total lack of shade!; c) You just know there's a fondue set on that table somewhere; d) Looks like the wind was blowing in from Pasadena on this particular black-tie night; and e) The world's loneliest boat putters around aimlessly, wondering why no one is awed by it anymore.

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