Comment of the Day: A 64-Story Holdout to Updating the Houston Vernacular

COMMENT OF THE DAY: A 64-STORY HOLDOUT TO UPDATING THE HOUSTON VERNACULAR Williams Tower, Uptown, Houston“I’ve wondered why this building has maintained its old name socially but other buildings in town haven’t. Many residents still refer to the building as Transco Tower instead of Williams Tower. The name change was in 1999. Why don’t folks in Houston call the JPMorgan Chase Tower the Texas Commerce Tower? The Bank of America Building is formerly known as the RepublicBank Center, the NCNB Center, and the NationsBank Center. Enterprise Plaza used to be called the Southwest Bank of Texas Building. Gulf Tower became Chevron Tower and is now the Fulbright Tower. I guess because the building is [one of] the tallest in Houston, and the most recognizable.” [Walker, commenting on Why the Williams Tower Beacon Was Off Last Fall] Photo: Russell Hancock

27 Comment

  • Boring. Who cares? We’re just talking about what old people call something among their group of friends. To 99.99% of people, all these towers are just numbers followed by street names to plug into google maps. Naming a tower is stuff prior generations cared about before the Internet.

  • Transco Tower is snappy. Williams Tower is not. Neither are those bank-du-jour names.

  • It’s because you can’t see them at night. The others don’t stand out.

    Light ’em up, like all the other big cities, and everyone will know the names of them!

  • Not the tallest, but I see your point.

  • Except it’s not the tallest in Houston, is it?

  • Transco isn’t actually the tallest in Houston.

  • Just like the Sears, er, Willis tower in Chicago. Some names just stick.

  • Completely relative. Only old snarks hold onto “Transco”, like it’s some applaudable accomplishment that you were around to know the name of the tallest building (*IN THE GALLERIA AREA), back before Y2K. Doesn’t grant you any more respect or admiration. If Williams Companies gets bought out in this low oil market, it will change names again.

    I’ve been around all age groups and never hear Transco anymore. Buildings change names with occupants (obviously), which is why it is now the Willis Tower, and not Sears Tower. Had the Williams Tower been given the name “Galleria Tower I” or something of that nature, it would still hold true today.

    Pennzoil Place deserves a mention here, as this one might truly last throughout the ages…

  • Commenter7 – Congratulations. You care the most…judging by the length of your response. Keep up relevant and interesting comments coming.

  • It’s the tallest building outside a CBD but not the tallest in Houston, or Texas. That would be Chase Tower.

  • Actually, Williams Cos. is in the midst of a merger with Energy Transfer Equity…so perhaps Energy Transfer Tower?

  • Yep! Added a bracketed note to the comment text to clarify that. Thanks, all!

  • I still call the Gulf Building the Gulf Building.

  • Isn’t that the building over there near San Fill-i-pee?

  • Too slow. It’s the Norton Rose Fulbright Tower now.

  • Uh, yeah Commenter7…. And I don’t tell people I’m staying at Luxor… I tell people I’m staying at “3900 S Las Vegas Blvd, Las Vegas, NV 89119”
    Just rolls off the tongue.
    (now get off my lawn! :)

  • Haha, I guess I’m old. Most of my peers still call it Transco, but then most of us still refer to that megachurch on 59 as the Summit.

  • I had no idea it used to be called Transco Tower. It’s always been Williams Tower to me. I’d bet a lot of folks would agree, especially those of us who have been in Houston less than 20 years.

  • @Cody – did not know they had blackjack tables at transco tower. Good to know. Try telling an uber driver “transco tower, please”

  • Well, it’s the first thing I can make out when approaching Houston from 180 to 270 degrees on the compass. It lets you know you’re back home. You say Williams I say Transco, let’s call the whole thing off.

  • Well,I still call TCB Tower and Republic Bank Building by their original names because it is stupid to have changed their names.

  • Ha! I was just getting on here to find an article about the cat hiding on the “Transco Tower.” Yes, that’s what I called it five minutes ago when I was telling my husband. That’s the name that sticks for me because that was it’s name when I went up to the observation deck as a kid.

  • For newcomers to Houston, it’s the Williams Tower. I haven’t known one individual that calls it the Transco tower, but hey…I’ve only been here 8 years.

  • commenter7: Try telling an uber driver “transco tower, please”
    I know you were trying to be funny and prove a point at the same time, but type “transco tower” into google maps and hit enter. Just for the heck of it, I opened up maps on my company iPhone and entered “transco tower” surprisingly, Apple Maps provided the same results.
    since uber drivers are just plugging your data into their preferred maps program, it’s a good bet they’d take you straight to the front door of the transco/williams/pipeline company dujour.

  • Toasty, you straight up schooled me dude. No excuses. I just got outplayed on that comment exchange.

  • I still fly into Intercontinental

  • Energy Transfer is buying Williams as a direct result of the downturn in Midstream. Get ready for ETP tower, folks.