The Storied Shamrock Hotel: UH Opens Its Digital Vaults

Keep Houston Press Free
I Support
  • Local
  • Community
  • Journalism
  • logo

Support the independent voice of Houston and help keep the future of Houston Press free.

The University of Houston's Digital Library has put together a collection of menus, programs and other material from the legendary Shamrock Hotel, which stood near where the Medical Center is today and was a little bit of Vegas in Space City.

The library worked with the school's Hospitality Industry Archives to put it together, and it's just now gone up, Michelle Reilly, the head of digital services for the UH Libraries, tells Hair Balls.

The entire exhibit is here, but let's look at some highlights.

You couldn't buy any hard liquor at the bar, but an "ice and rainwater" set-up for your discreetly brown-bagged Scotch was only 40 cents. Schlitz or Bud for 55 cents, a Guinness for 75 cents and Sparkling Champale was available if your were feeling really romantic.

The (semi-) stars come out at night for a big baseball dinner. We've heard of some of these guys!!

A classy ball for a classy guy: LBJ.

Fancy it up all you want, it's still steak and potatoes, with some veggies and ice cream thrown in.

From a program for the evening's entertainment sometime in the `50s: Apparently they had "You just might be a redneck" jokes back then, too. Lum & Abner: Gone, but forgotten.

The in-house newsletter is abuzz about a presidential visit, even if that president is Jerry Ford.

Room service in 1949 -- You could blow four bucks on the caviar, but you'll probably opt for the $1.25 shrimp cocktail instead.

More `70s opulence.

Note: Both the dress shop and the beauty salon are "exclusive." So keep on walking, riffraff.

The St. Patrick's Day festivities in 1950 included Dinah Shore and "Pineapple Surprise au Kirsch."

A napkin from a dinner honoring General Douglas MacArthur, presumably after he'd gotten fired by President Harry Truman for trying to start World War III.

The Shamrock, all dolled up for Christmas 1950.

Sadly, nattily behatted and bowtied sir, we can't.

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.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.


Join the Press community and help support independent local journalism in Houston.


Join the Press community and help support independent local journalism in Houston.