Behind every good city is a good material, a fact that is often overlooked by tourists and residents alike. To a city like Houston, which sports tone of the tallest skylines north of the Mexican border, one material takes precedence, and that’s steel. There is nothing more American, after all, than Steel Houston TX, a basic construction material that is, literally, far from the spotlight. But under all the bluster and behind all the lights–at the threshold of this fourth largest American city is this metallic basic building block of the skyscraper and industrial world.
Prime quality Steel Houston TX is often taken for granted. Having been mass produced for about 150 years in the United States, Steel in Houston usually works without much fanfare. Ironically, Houston once housed the Nationwide Steel company, which was a massive steel manufacturing plant that spanned 25 acres. Although the plant closed in the 1980s, Texas Iron and Metal still manufactures what it calls, on its website, “Prime Steel.” A huge inventory and Texas-style free and fast delivery help keep Texas Iron and Metal at the front of the industry.
Steel itself is actually a combination of iron and carbon, in varying ratios and is used in the construction of industrial products such as tools, cars, knives, guns, coffee makers, computers, buses, metros, boats, and ships–and also in buildings, predominantly in skyscrapers. Without steel, the production of modern products–and that imposing Houston skyline–would not exist. Like Houston, steel is stable–and resilient–and withstands high temperatures, with the melting point coming in at about 2,507 degrees Fahrenheit.
With more than 360 high-rises, Houston is home to some of the tallest buildings in the United States. Thirty one of the city’s skyscrapers are almost 500 feet tall, each holding its own, creating a dramatic stretching toward the sometimes steel colored skies. Dramatic sunsets reward visitors and residents alike, with the tallest building, the J.P. Morgan Chase Tower, exceeding 1,000 feet in height. To Texans, this building is the tallest in the state, with the second tallest, the Wells Fargo Plaza, also calling Houston home and coming in at a startling 992 feet high.
Houston began its ascent toward being one of the most dramatic skylines in North America in 1904, when the Lomas and Nettleton Building was constructed, the first steel-framed building to grace the west in general, with none existing at that time west of the Mississippi. From there, height and grace seemed to unfold naturally until present day, leading to its breath-taking stature: a skyline ranked fourth in the U.S. and 13th in the world. Only New York, Chicago, and Los Angeles can boast of more skyscrapers–and Houston has become, as such, a magnet for those seeking an urban setting with an upswing atmosphere.
As much as steel is needed for all the activity above-ground, and for the skyward feel of the city, a complex 7-mile long underground tunnel system beneath the city, spans 95 blocks and provides more than its touch of steely whimsy. Above-ground skywalks connect the underground passages to create an otherworldly shopping experience, and on rainy or windy days, shoppers and commuters can choose to take refuge in the stands of flowers, restaurants, gift stores, dry cleaners, or food malls beneath the city while they walk from the theater back to their hotel, all the while beneath the city and dry.