Houston Ship Channel Celebrates 100 years
Blue skies and a cool breeze set the stage for a once-in-a-century event today: the 100th anniversary rededication of the opening of Houston's deep-water port.
International Longshoremen's Association, Houston Pilots, U.S. Coast Guard, current and former Port Commissioners, industry stakeholders and others, attended the Houston Ship Channel Rededication at Brady's Landing overlooking the Houston Ship Channel.
The event took place 100 years to the day of the original ceremony in 1914 when President Woodrow Wilson fired a cannon by remote control from his office in Washington D.C.
Katherine Lee Stacy, the great-great-granddaughter of Miss Sue Campbell, who took part in the original dedication ceremony by tossing a floral offering, reenacted the christening event. Miss Campbell was the daughter of then-Houston Mayor Ben Campbell. The tradition continued today, with Stacy tossing her own floral wreath from the bow of the M/V Sam Houston and expressing these words: "I christen thee Port of Houston, and hitherto the boats of all nations may come and receive hearty welcome." A cannon salute fired by members of the Sons of the Republic of Texas marked the beginning of a new century of opportunity for the Houston Ship Channel.
Former Port of Houston Authority Executive Director Tom Kornegay, who serves as chairman of the Promote Houston Ship Channel Centennial 2014 Board of Directors, gave welcoming remarks. Port Commission Chairman Janiece Longoria served as Master of Ceremony for this historic program and introduced the distinguished lineup of speakers: Congressman Gene Green, Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee, Congressman Al Green, Harris County Judge Ed Emmett, Harris County Precinct 2 Commissioner Jack Morman, Houston Mayor Annise Parker, Matt Aguiar, Senior Vice President, ExxonMobil Chemical Company, and Port Commission Chairman Emeritus Ned Holmes. Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee presented a flag, which flew over the U.S. Capitol in honor of this special day. Sen.
Sylvia Garcia was also present and presented a resolution in recognition of the occasion.
"This is a great day," Chairman Longoria said. "We gather to commemorate the 100-year anniversary of the opening of the Houston Ship Channel, a remarkable achievement that came into being from great visionaries that refused to be stopped by any obstacle. I have often observed that visionary thinking and partnership go hand in hand, and when a bold idea is powered with effective partnership, there is no limit to what can be accomplished. And the Houston Ship Channel and the Port of Houston are one of the great examples of this principle in action."
Chairman Longoria stated that as a direct result of great visionary thinking, coupled with effective partnership, the Port of Houston is now home to the largest petrochemical complex in the nation and the second largest in the world; Houston has grown to be the fourth largest city in the nation and the premier metropolitan exporting region in the nation; and Texas has been the leading state for exports for over a decade.
Today's event culminated three months of activities recognizing the Houston Ship Channel's Centennial. Promote Houston Ship Channel 2014 Board of Directors with ExxonMobil as title sponsor, in partnership with the Port of Houston Authority, industry stakeholders along the Houston Ship Channel and community partners, worked collaboratively to recognize the historic occasion.
The Houston Ship Channel is the subject of a long-awaited documentary, Houston Ship Channel: Deep Water Centennial, airing tonight on Houston Public Media TV 8, Houston's PBS affiliate. The film, produced by the Texas Foundation for the Arts, focuses on the project to dredge Buffalo Bayou 100 years ago.
Also this week, the Port of Houston Authority serves as the Host Port for the 103rd annual convention of the American Association of Port Authorities, which is being held in Houston. Chairman Janiece Longoria and Executive Director Roger Guenther are among speakers at the week-long event.