Howdy y’all! Welcome to official newsletter of Grand Texas; where you’ll receive updates, announcements, and news straight from The Horse’s Mouth. As a follower of this newsletter, you will be the first to know about grand openings, ticket sales, sneak previews and more. Each monthly issue will feature a story of Houston’s cherished theme park, AstroWorld, as told by their former Director of Facilities, Kent Maulsby. We are eager to share activities happening throughout all of Grand Texas.
Almost a year to the day since construction began, Grand Texas RV Resort welcomed its first guests this past weekend. The unprecedented rainfall this past year significantly delayed our opening, but the time and energy devoted to engineering and implementing our drainage system—which is tied into Grand Texas' extensive drainage and detention infrastructure—have really paid off: our guests were happy and dry on their all-concrete sites during this past week’s rain. We love that our guests can stream Netflix on our fast, free WiFi even while it’s pouring buckets outside, and can’t wait to welcome all the new ones who have been reserving their spaces.
Progress on the site will continue as landscaping and trees are installed. Future plans for the RV Resort include the addition of a pool, spa, and fenced dog park. Anyone is welcome to stop by for a tour. A GRAND opening will be announced in the upcoming weeks.
The RV Resort is open Monday - Saturday from 8:30 am to 5:30 pm and Sunday 9:00 am to 1:00 pm. Reservations can be made online at grandtxrv.com or over the phone at 281-806-3036
SpeedsportZ Racing Park is making significant progress this month. The Kart Shop building is now visible from Highway 242 and construction on the main building began last week.
"The Houston area has a long history with amusement parks and attractions. During the city’s history, there have been several major parks located in or around Houston. The early history does not seem to be very well documented (at least on the internet); although Wikipedia and Google Earth do supply some basic information and a few aerial views back to 1944. A lot of information on the older parks is available on the Houstorian.org website. Bits and pieces can also be found on many other sites. Many of these parks shared some interesting connections and similarities.
The earliest large park I can find information on opened in 1903 and was located just north of White Oak Bayou and was called Highland Park. It appears to have been a “Trolley Park”, a destination opened by a trolley company to promote weekend travel on their lines. It featured a small lake, a Shoot-the-Chutes ride, and also electric lighting. It is unclear exactly when it closed, but it appears to have been closed by the early twenties. The location is still a public park, although little trace of the lake or amusement ride remains.
In 1924 a new Park opened just across the bayou from where Highland Park had been – this time right on the southern banks of White Oak. It was called Luna Park. The Park featured a very large wooden roller coaster called The Skyrocket along with a variety of other amusement rides and operated at White Oak Bayou and Houston Avenue until about 1934. Late in its history it changed names to Venice Park. This location is now mostly occupied by the intersection of 45N and I-10. Luna Park closed sometime in the mid-30s. It appears to have been only loosely related to parks with similar names in many other cities.
The Skyrocket coaster was purchased and relocated to a new park along South Main street (at Murworth) called Playland Park. Playland Park was opened by Louis Slusky and family in 1940 and operated until about 1967. The Park featured the Skyrocket coaster, a Carousel, an Eyerly Monster ride along with kiddie rides and several other rides. They also had a beautiful set of Alan Herschel miniature trains. The park also featured a racetrack that hosted auto races in the summer and on weekends. The Sluskys also operated the miniature train concession at Hermann Park for many years after Playland Park closed.
In 1968, AstroWorld opened just a short distance away, at the intersection of Kirby and 610. AstroWorld was owned and built by Judge Roy Hofheinz, a part-owner of the Houston Astros and creator of the Astrodome. AstroWorld also featured an Eyerly Monster ride, which they named the Black Dragon (later the Razzmatazz). I do not know if this was the same ride that operated at Playland Park, but it seems possible, given the timing and location of Playland’s closure. During its first eight years, AstroWorld gradually grew to become a major theme park. The Park was bought by Six Flags in 1975, who added the Texas Cyclone rollercoaster in 1976. The Park did very well throughout the 1970s, 80s and mid-90s, until Six Flags began to turn its attention to expansion elsewhere and reduced its annual reinvestments in the Houston park. In spite of still making modest profits each year, the Park was closed after the 2005 season. In 2006 the rides and buildings were removed or demolished, and the land was sold. This was part of a major selloff of assets undertaken by Six Flags Theme Parks from 2004 until its bankruptcy in 2009. Now under new management, Six Flags operates far fewer parks today than it did at its peak in 2003.
Over the years, many smaller amusement venues operated in Houston, sometime right alongside larger parks -- Peppermint Park, Kiddie Wonderland, Fame City, Games People Play… many have come and gone over the years.
A few entertainment venues come close -- The Downtown Aquarium, the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo, Traders Village, the Texas Renaissance Festival, and others offer small-scale amusement choices, but Houston has now gone longer without a major amusement destination than it has since 1903. Time for that to change!"
On this day in 1824, the Mexican Congress passed a national colonization law. This law, and the state law of Coahuila and Texas passed the following year, became the basis of all colonization contracts affecting Texas, with the exception of that of Stephen F. Austin. Among the members of the congressional committee that drafted the legislation was Erasmo Seguín, the father of Juan N. Seguín. In effect, the national law surrendered to the states authority to set up regulations to dispose of unappropriated lands within their limits for colonization, subject to certain limitations but reserved the right to stop immigration from particular nations in the interest of national security. Six years later the federal government invoked this reservation in forbidding the settlement in Texas of emigrants from the United States; the resulting Law of April 6, 1830, helped touch off the Texas Revolution.