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HISTORICALLY HOUSTON
History in Motion


A 1920s studio set design for American Maid Flour Company — one of Houston’s largest employers during the Great Depression.

A 1920s studio set design for American Maid Flour Company — one of Houston’s largest employers during the Great Depression.

By Story Sloane III

It is hard to say when the first moving film was made in Houston. The film Thomas Edison produced from Galveston after the 1900 storm is certainly one of the oldest made in the state of Texas.

My efforts to preserve our community’s visual history are not limited to still film. Part of my collection is vintage 35 millimeter movie film. The earliest moving portal to our past in my collection dates from 1915 and shows a Shriners parade in downtown Houston. Most of the movies I have are dated in the 1920s, and the subject matter is diverse. There is very dramatic night time footage of an oil well fire burning out of control. Footage from the Houston Ship Channel, Freeport Harbor and the American Maid Flour company expose an industrial side of historic Houston that has never been by most of us. These rare films not only capture the business growth of our community during the early 20th century but also showcase the fun aspects of life.

During Splash Days each year,  Galveston would produce a beauty pageant and revue that drew contestants from all over the world. Very soon, we will have the ability to see a part of the 1925 pageant with contestants twirling for the camera and riding down the seawall in style — chauffeured by eager male volunteers. Those films are in the process of being converted to a digital format for all to see online by the Texas Archive of the Moving Image. I am including a few stills from these priceless films as a sneak peek into our moving past. To see more about the history of the moving image in Texas go to www.texasarchive.org.

 

Shriners parade in downtown Houston, 1915

Shriners parade in downtown Houston, 1915

Galveston bathing revue, 1925

Galveston bathing revue, 1925

Lions Club women making lampshades, mid-1920s

Lions Club women making lampshades, mid-1920s

Photos courtesy of Story Sloane’s Gallery
www.sloanegallery.com
sponsored-by-rug-mart


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