By Teresa Tomkins-Walsh
News of the impending demolition of the Macy’s née Foley’s downtown building flooded newspapers, internet, and television in August 2013. News of the decision reaffirmed for many citizens that Houston continues to be a city striding toward its future with little regard for preservation of its past.
Protests to the rather expeditious decision concentrated less on the business rationale and more on the significance of personal and collective memories. Clearly, it was not Macy’s that people remembered – it was the Foley’s that occupied two blocks at Main and Dallas. Many Houstonians fondly remembered the Christmas windows, the parades, the basement sales, the escalators, and the enveloping consumer experience. Other Houstonians remembered Foley’s as a significant symbol of segregation during the first half of the twentieth century and then the leader in the desegregation of downtown Houston during the early 1960s.
- Read Houston Business Journal’s 2008 article “UH bags Foley’s archives for historian’s paradise” on archivist Teresa Tomkins-Walsh and the Houston History Archives’ acquisition of the Foley’s collection.”
- Click here to read “Houston History Archives: Saving Stories of Region, Place, and People” by Teresa Tomkins-Walsh from Houston History Magazine, vol. 8 no. 2.
- Be sure to visit the Houston History Archives website and the UH Special Collections Facebook page.
- KHOU’s article and video on implosion: http://www.khou.com/news/editors-pick/Old-Macys-building-in-downtown-demolished-in-implosion-224774142.html
- ABC13’s article on implosion: http://abc13.com/archive/9257218/
- KPRC’s article and video on the evolution of Houston’s downtown (including their interview with Houston History Magazine Managing Editor, Debbie Harwell): http://www.click2houston.com/news/houstons-changing-skyline/21154708
- KUHF’s pre-implosion look at how METRO was preparing for the demolition: http://www.houstonpublicmedia.org/news/1376669419/
In her blog Sensing Place, Andrea Roberts champions the preservation and memory of African American history. Her entry, “Houston’s ‘Archaeology of Silence:’ Demolition of Downtown Houston Macy’s/Foley’s is the Destruction of Civil Rights History” laments the loss of the Foley’s building because of its important role in desegregating Houston.
Remember the cheese spreads that were sold in Foley’s deli? Blogger Sam Hoffer of My Carolina Kitchen has recreated the Foley’s Cheddar Cheese Spread and the Foley’s Blue Cheese Port Wine Spread. Get the recipes and read about her memories from working at the downtown store in the late sixties in her blog entry “Remembering Foley’s and Their Fabulous Cheese Spreads.”
Videos of building implosion (best viewed in Internet Explorer):