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E.::D’Axam Houston greets Howard Hughes in 1938 after his record round-the-world flight BOORS & TUE CULTURE Bright Lights, Big Cities BY STAYTON BONNER Historic Photos of Dallas Historic Photos of Houston Historic Photos of Austin Turner Publishing Co. 113 efore glass-sheathed towers began domi nating their skylines, before Wal-Marts and Taco Bells blurred their boundaries, Texas cities were feasts of local architecture and character. The urban landscapes of Dallas, Houston, and Austin were exemplars of the unique; today’s booming cities effloresced around their cores. These three cities are included in a series of coffee-table books being churned out by Turner Publishing, a Nashville-based house specializing in history and Southern literature. With identical approaches and formats, it would be easy to dismiss the volumes as vapid commercial fare suitable for airport gift shops and chambers of commerce. But the books are well done, their historic photos offering readers visual timelines on how the cities came to be. As publisher Todd Bottorff explains in the prefaces: “Utilizing this work, longtime residents will learn something new and…new residents will gain a perspective on where [each city] has been, so that each can contribute to its future.” The books divide each city’s history into four eras: pre-Civil War through the end of the 19th century; the beginning of the 20th century through World War I; post-World War I up to World War II; and, finally, World War II through the 1970s. Large fullpage photos, all starkly reproduced in black and white with succinct captions, afford the reader a visual urban history JUNE 1, 2007 THE TEXAS OBSERVER 27