Houston received its official nickname of "Space
City" in 1967 because
it is home to NASA's Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center.
NASA's center in Houston has its
origins in legislation shepherded to enactment in 1958 by then-U.S. Senator Lyndon B. Johnson, who was from Texas. Then called simply the "Manned Spacecraft
Center," it was opened in 1961
was renamed the Lyndon
(JSC) in 1973, the year Johnson died. The control center coordinates and monitors all human spaceflight for the United States
and directs all Space Shuttle missions and activities aboard the International Space Station. The visitor's center of JSC is Space Center Houston.
The first words transmitted by Neil Armstrong from the moon, "Houston, Tranquility Base here. The Eagle has landed," are written in 15 languages on
bronze plaques placed along the main entrance of Tranquility Park in downtown Houston. A replica of one of the footprints left on the moon by Neil Armstrong is also on
display inside the park.
Houston is known popularly as The Bayou City (and less frequently as "Baghdad
on the Bayou") because it is home to ten winding waterways that flow through the surrounding area. Buffalo Bayou is the main waterway flowing through the city and has a significant place in Texas
history, not only due to the founding place of the City of Houston, but also because the final battle for Texas Independence was fought along its banks. Other major bayous in the city include White Oak Bayou, Brays Bayou and Sims Bayou.
a widely popular modern nickname for Houston.
It is commonly used in reference to the city both locally and internationally, especially within the entertainment community.
In addition, the H-Town Blues Festival is a music festival held each year in the city and the H-Town Arena Theatre has hosted a variety of performing artists from around the country
since the 1970s. H-Town (with the "H" standing for Houston) is also the name of an R&B hip hop band from Houston
that was formed in 1992.
Magnolia City is one of the earliest of Houston’s
many nicknames. The Texas World, a newspaper first published in 1900, is said to have labeled Houston "the Magnolia City,"
but the nickname had been in use among the locals since the 1870s. The nickname is still sometimes used in media stories about
Capital of the Sunbelt
The nickname Capital of the Sunbelt (also "Golden Buckle of the Sunbelt")
appeared during the boomtown years when the city experienced rapid growth. In the late 1970s, Houston was experiencing a population increase, as people from Rust Belt states moved en masse into Texas. The new residents mostly came for the numerous employment opportunities
in the petroleum industry, resulting from the Arab Oil Embargo.
The nickname of Clutch City
was given to the city of Houston after the Houston Rockets won the NBA championship after an unspectacular regular season in 1994-95. The moniker was adopted in response to
a front-page headline in the Houston Chronicle declaring Houston
to be "Choke
City." It was revived in 2005, as the Houston Astros had a late-season rally to win the pennant and clinch their first-ever World Series appearance, and again in 2006, when the Houston Dynamo won the MLS Cup in their inaugural season.
The Rockets' mascot, "Clutch the Bear," was named the 5th-most recognizable mascot in sports by USA Today in February 2005, and was inducted into the Mascot Hall of Fame in 2006.
The Big Heart is a nickname Houston earned in 2005-06 among many of the
evacuees from Louisiana and other areas who sought refuge there in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. Angelo Edwards, vice chair of the ACORN Katrina Survivors Association, said, "No other city really provided the resources and assistance Houston has."
Houston housed, fed and mended more than 150,000 survivors in an effort that won acclaim throughout the United States,
mounting what is believed to be the biggest shelter operation in the country's history, including MASH-like mega-clinics that took on problems ranging from emergency care to eyeglass prescriptions.
"This has been a real success story," said Houston Mayor Bill White. "So many Houstonians stepped up to help our neighbors from Louisiana. It was humbling, and it showed
the world the big heart and the incredible talent of our city."
Subculture and groups
is a popular modern nickname for the city of Houston.
Although it is not an official nickname, it is widely known by fans of hip-hop artist DJ Screw and his style of music, known as "chopped and screwed".
The nickname Hustletown, which originated from H-town, which
in turn is a contraction of Houston, is often
heard in the Houston hip hop culture. H-town was reformed to "Hustletown" by an unknown word evolution process.
City of Syrup
The City of Syrup
nickname (also "Syrup
City") refers to the abuse of codeine-laced cough syrup that was popular in Houston and associated with some rap artists. "Codeine Capital of the World" and "Codeineville" are also used in reference to the illicit use of cough syrup containing codeine.