March 19, 2014

Frontier Fiesta 2014

Do you know what time it is? Yes, it's that time again when our students and UH community ramp up for another great Frontier Fiesta! And with a University growing at the rate ours is, you know you can expect great things from the festival this year. But before we look into the future of this great UH tradition, let's take a trip down memory lane at some of the fun had at Frontier Fiesta throughout the years.

1949 Frontier Fiesta Program

Frontier Fiesta started in 1939 and was one of Houston's biggest annual events. In 1958, Life Magazine called Frontier Fiesta the “Greatest College Show on Earth”. The event actually became so large that it was too much to handle and was discontinued in 1959. In 1991, Frontier Fiesta returned to the University of Houston. The student led showcase is held annually every spring and continues to celebrate the legacy of U of H.

Fiesta City Sign

Frontier Fiesta

There are many more images capturing the great history of Frontier Fiesta in our University of Houston Frontier Fiesta collection and our University of Houston Campus Life collection here at the UH Digital Library!

March 4, 2014

Japanese Tea Garden - The "Hole" Story

The University of Houston Digital Library is not only home to items that are historically significant to Houston, it also contains items that are significant to the rest of Texas as well. Scanning through the Harry Walker Photographs you'll come across photos taken from all across the state. One of the sites you will come across is of a large gazebo that sits within a beautiful garden. This is actually the Japanese Tea Gardens in San Antonio, Texas. Once an abandoned limestone quarry, this site is now home to a beautifully landscaped garden with a variety of plant life native to Texas. It is a beautiful place to take photographs.

The ground in which the garden currently lies was broken by German masons in 1840 when the city of San Antonio was experiencing massive growth. Many of the buildings downtown including the historical Menger Hotel, were built from stones from this quarry. Limestone from the quarry was also used in the capitol building in Austin as well.

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In 1880 the Alamo Cement Company was incorporated and produced cement for 26 years in the kiln, which is the tall chimney structure that can be seen on the left. The site became home to Mexican-American workers and their families living on-site and became a popular spot for tourists who wished to buy pottery, hand woven baskets, and food.

Around 1917, San Antonio City Parks Commissioner Ray Lambert envisioned an oriental-style garden to occupy and beautify the quarry. A design was developed by Lambert's engineer, W.S. Delery, although plans did not commence until they received a considerable amount of funding by 1918. In order to establish a sense of authenticity, Mr. Lambert commissioned local Japanese-American artist Kimi Eizo Jingo to manage and maintain the site. Jingo moved in along with his family and developed a snack bar called the Bamboo Room that served light lunches and tea.

If you get the chance to visit the site, you may notice that the front entrance gate says "Chinese Tea Gardens" despite the fact that it is known today as the Japanese Tea Gardens. This was due to World War II and the anti-Japanese sentiment that was around during that time period. The Jingu family had to move out of the gardens, and Chinese-Americans Ted and Ester Wu were brought in to maintain the Bamboo Room. During this period, Mexican-American artist Dionicio Rodriguez, who was famous for his faux wood sculptures, constructed the "Chinese Torii Gate."

Dionicio Rodriguez's Chinese Torii Gate at the Japanese Tea Gardens in San Antonio
After a while the Wu family moved out, and the garden became known  as the Oriental Gardens or simply as the Sunken Gardens. In 1984, the city of San Antonio decided to rename the site back to the Japanese Tea Gardens to honor Mr. Jingo and his family for their early contributions. Despite the name change, the Chinese Torii gate still remains on the premises as a relic of a time gone by. 

Today the Sunken Gardens is designated as a Texas Civil Engineering Landmark, a Registered Texas Historic Landmark, and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

You can see more pictures from across the state in the Harry Walker Photographs collection of the University of Houston Digital Library.

February 14, 2014

The Return of Shasta

Groups love to implement a mascot as a rallying figure to unite its members and supporters in the shared desire for the group's prosperity.  The Houston Rockets claim "Clutch" known for his cake in the face antics as their representative while the Houston Astros have brought back "Orbit" a green furry alien with baseball antennas.  University of Houston also brought back a former mascot last year named "Shasta".

Shasta making her grand entrance
During the years of 1947 to 1989, five cougars have served as UH's mascot.  After the fifth Shasta died in 1989, cougar-costumed students have carried on the tradition.  That is until last year, when Shasta VI arrived at the Houston Zoo after his mother had been killed by a hunter and became the official live cougar mascot for UH.  The partnership between the UH Alumni Association and the Houston Zoo allows Shasta to make live appearances during UH events via webcam as well as guard UH senior class rings before the class ring ceremony takes place, all while he relaxes at his zoo home base.

Shasta V
Cougars have displayed school pride by flashing the "cougar sign", a gesture created by folding the right ring finger down toward the palm to imitate a cougar's paw since 1953.  The origins of this symbol started when Shasta the First lost her toe in a cage door on the way to a game.  The opposing team, the University of Texas, mocked UH by imitating the cougar's injury. The Cougars soon adopted that gesture as a symbol of pride.

Check out more pictures of Shasta hamming it up for the cameras in the University of Houston People Collection and the Houstonian Yearbook Collection at the UH Digital Library.

Playing Ball
Shasta V being held by UH President Barry Munitz
Shasta V being kissed by UH President Barry Munitz
Shasta III relaxing outside of the University Center

January 30, 2014

Attention UH Students -- We're hiring!

Are you a little low on cash? Looking for a career that will prepare you for the future? Or, maybe you want to work in a semi-secret underground lair? 

Well, look no further. UH Digital Services is hiring a student worker. We are looking for applicants that are available to work 20 hours per week. Applicants should be punctual and reliable. Applicants must have basic working knowledge of Windows. We are looking for someone who is a quick learner, is able to work independently, and is detail oriented. 

If that sounds like you, then we strongly encourage you to apply. 

We are a fun group and we work on exciting projects that make a difference for the library, the University and the Houston community. Your schedule can be flexible. 

We apologize, but due to the volume of applications we receive we will only be able to contact those candidates invited to interview. Please do not call about this position.

To view the full posting, log in to University Career Services Job Bank
 Job ID:  7586. 
Position Title:  Digitization Student Technician.  
Your username will be your myUH ID (PeopleSoft ID). The password will be your last name (Reset password).

We here, at the UH Digital Library, look forward to hearing from you!