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Culture / Newsy

Book Talk

James Glassman’s “The Houstorian Dictionary” Hits Shelves

BY Angela Shah // 07.09.15
james-glassman
This man can tell you everything there is to know about Houston. Portrait by Max Burkhalter.

The pace of change in Houston is warp speed. All the more reason to pause and reflect … So says author James Glassman, a fifth-generation Houstonian and project manager at a local architecture firm. The Bayou City “has a history problem,” he explains, and now there’s a guide for us all: The Houstorian Dictionary: An Insider’s Index to Houston. Glassman’s book catalogs notable Houstonians from frontier days to the present, shares historical tidbits of architectural treasures still here and those lost, and shares quirky references to Houston’s highways, neighborhoods and alleyways. (Did you know that Steven Spielberg’s first feature film was called Sugarland Express, shot in … yes, Sugarland?)

other fun facts:
The Lost Ward: The portion of the Third Ward cut off geographically and emotionally from the rest of the ward by the Gulf Freeway.

Orange Popsicle: The nickname for a Houston Astros uniform with horizontal, mid-torso orange stripes, which was worn by players from 1975 to 1986.

Glassman’s journey into Houstoniana began to take shape when he founded the Houstorian.org website in 2006. His plan was to catalog Houston’s disappearing landmarks and “celebrate the misfit tinkerers” that make Houston unique.

It’s not that Glassman doesn’t appreciate Houston’s eager embrace of the future — and he welcomes those he calls “Newstonians” with open arms. He just wants us to appreciate the past as well.

“I’m hoping the book allows us to be more connected,” he says.

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