This KHOU-TV news segment captures the grand opening of a Foley's department store in Houston on October 2, 1966. The location, officially known as Foley's Almeda-Genoa, was the retail chain's third satellite store and the anchor of the yet-to-be-constructed Almeda Mall. Mayor of Houston Louie Welch presides over the ceremony, delivering comments to the assembled crowd and cutting the ribbon. The Foley's department store chain started as Foley Brothers in Houston in 1900. As the company grew, it opened stores across Texas and the Southwest. In 2005, the chain was acquired by Federated Department Stores, after which all Foley's locations were renamed Macy's. This footage came to TAMI as part of the Patrick S. Coakley Jr. Collection. Coakley was a producer with KHOU-TV. Please note, there is no sound attached to this footage.
Politician Louie Welch was born in Lockney, Texas, on December 9, 1918. He received a degree in history from Abilene Christian College, now Abilene Christian University.
Welch began his political career in 1950, serving four terms on the Houston City Council. He unsuccessfully sought the Houston mayoral office three times before being elected to the position in 1963. Houston grew immensely during Welch's five terms as mayor, from the population topping one million people to the opening of the Astrodome in 1965 and the Houston Intercontinental Airport in 1969.
His tenure, however, was not without its controversy. A 1967 conflict between police and Texas Southern University students created a rift between the local administration and Houston's African-American community. Welch's reputation also came under fire during his last term over his relationship with well-known crime leaders, leading to suspicions about how his second mayoral bid was financed.
In 1985, Welch ran for mayor again, campaigning in opposition to the extension of job protection rights to homosexuals employed by the city government. He lost to incumbent Kathy Whitmore.
Welch died from lung cancer on January 27, 2008, in his Harris County residence. He was 89.