Gus and Lyndall Wortham Park
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This fabulous Gus and Lyndall Wortham Park with water features and shaded areas just a hop skip and a jump across from the Texas Medical Center did not exist when I lived and worked there. That was many years ago.
The Shamrock Hotel
Here is a little history going back to those days. The notable Shamrock Hotel built in the 1940s used to be in this same location. It had the distinction of being the largest hotel in the United States.
Glen McCarthy was a very successful oil prospector and entrepreneur. Furnished in an Art Deco style the hotel and furnishings were lavish!
What I remember most about it was the large swimming pool. I had never seen a larger one. Believe it or not, water skiing took place on it! According to Wikipedia the equivalent cost to build just the pool would have cost some 200 million dollars in the year 2007.
I had gotten to eat in the beautiful lounge overlooking the pool several times on different occasions. After my husband and I married, we went back to the Shamrock Hotel to eat at Trader Vic’s restaurant located there. My husband attended weekly Rotary Club meetings at that hotel for a time.
The hotel, as well as Glen McCarthy, was memorialized in the novel called Giant which was also later made into a movie.
Sadly the hotel was demolished in 1987 despite preservationist’s protests. I remember when items from the hotel were being auctioned off. There may be many mementos in people’s homes in and around Houston stemming back to those glory days.
The Texas Medical Center eventually received the land as a donation. On the northeast part of the former hotel grounds, is now where the Gus S. and Lyndell F. Wortham Park is situated. You can see this park from Main Street & Holcombe Blvd., Houston, Texas 77030.
Philanthropy by the Worthams
Gus and Lyndall Wortham are well known for their philanthropy in Houston. Many places bear the name Wortham. The Gus Wortham Memorial Fountain is another distinctive water feature in Houston.
Just north of the Texas Medical Center is the fabulous Hermann Park. It is a beautiful and expansive city park containing among other things a Japanese Garden, Miller Outdoor Theater, a miniature railroad, the Houston Zoo, a public golf course and so much more.
At the Houston Zoo, is the Wortham World of Primates. The Houston Museum of Natural Science is in the northwest corner of Hermann Park and inside is the Wortham IMAX theater as well as the Cockrell Butterfly Center. Those are just a few examples of many places stamped with the name Wortham in Houston.
John Burgee Architects was the architectural firm which created the Gus and Lyndall Wortham Park. That firm is also responsible for some notable buildings in Houston as well as elsewhere.
The distinctive Pennzoil Place in downtown Houston earned an AIA award back in 1978. Williams Tower (formerly the Transco Tower) is where to find the Williams Water Wall.
Location Near the Texas Medical Center
1991 was the year that the Gus and Lyndall Wortham Park was created and it is a refreshing escape from the everyday happenings that go on in the many hospitals and clinics of the large medical center.
I am speculating that it was primarily intended for the patients and patient’s families as well as the medical personnel who study and work there. The reason for my speculation is the lack of public parking near the park.
My husband stayed in the car while I walked through the park taking my photos. Many signs indicate towing of vehicles if left at nearby businesses. Of course one can pay to park in the garages at the medical center or nearby places, but that can get expensive.
Had this Wortham park existed when I lived in the nurse’s dorm of the Texas Medical Center, I would surely have spent some time there. The six-story nurse’s dorm no longer exists nor do surface free parking lots such as I got to use back in 1969 and the early 1970s.
Location of the Gus and Lyndall Wortham Park
Located at a busy intersection of the Texas Medical Center, this park is beautiful even if viewed from a moving vehicle. It is a gem of a park space that I am sure many people will enjoy for years to come.
It is undoubtedly a site often used by professional photographers when taking unique occasion photos.