See How Texas’ Big City Skylines Have Changed Over the Past Half Century

This article is part Texas Monthlyspecial issue commemorating the fiftieth anniversary. Read about other icons that have defined Texas since 1973.
Austin in 1982 and 2020.


Nothing reveals the radical transformation of this once-sleepy college town like looking north, up Congress Avenue. This once low-rise collection of hardware stores, ice cream parlors and department stores in the shadow of the Capitol dome now mimics New York’s Madison Avenue nicely.

San Antonio-Texas-Skyline-1970sSan Antonio-Texas-Skyline-2021
San Antonio in the 1970s and 2021.

San Antonio

Alamo City was the largest metropolitan area in Texas until oil boosted the wealth of Dallas and Houston. Development has picked up lately, thanks to tourism, the healthcare sector and the Eagle Ford shale, but San Antonio still boasts far fewer tall buildings than Austin, its smaller neighbor to the north.

Dallas in the 1970s and 2020.


Few cities were so eager to erect a building, tear it down and build something taller. As a result, while Dallas’ night skyline gleams spellbindingly in the distance, downtown can often seem like a province without a past that retains little of its 181-year history.

Houston in the 1970s and 2019.


Bayou City began as a port city but repositioned itself as the world’s energy capital after nearby Spindletop gushed forth in 1901. diversified economy.

This article first appeared in the February 2023 issue of the magazine. Texas Monthly with the title “Our Changing Horizons”. Subscribe today.

Image credits: Dallas then, Houston then, San Antonio then: WBAP-TV/NBC5/KXAS-TV/University of North Texas Libraries/Portal to Texas History; Dallas Now: Art Wager/Getty; Houston now: John Bilous/Alami; San Antonio Now: Joe Som/Visions of America/Getty; Austin Next: Scott Newton; Austin now: Al Argueta/Alami

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