Book Cover
Book Data
Author Erik Slotboom
Released September 15, 2003
Updates Corrections and updates
Out-of-print December 12, 2004
eBook released June 5, 2005
Free download
Pages 416 (380 main text)
Quantity 5000 printed
Size 8.5 x 11"
Format   Hard cover, full color throughout
Illustrations   526 total
215 historical
143 modern
62 maps and graphics
106 photo location maps
ISBN 0-9741605-3-9
Price List: $34.95
Actual sales price:
$23 to $24
Used copies are normally available
On September 30, 1948, a crowd of Houstonians gathered on a Gulf Freeway overpass to witness the dedication of Houston's first freeway. Houston's freeway journey began. Houston Freeways traces the history and influence of the freeway system with extensive photography, fascinating stories, remarkable people and time capsules from the past.
Freeway and Highway Photos Houston freeway photos, mostly construction in progress; also roadtrip photos from around Texas and the USA
Used Books on Amazon Usually in the $50-100 price range. The ebook available on this page is free.
Analysis of North Houston Highway Improvement Project My analysis of the iterations of the plan, last updated for the final plan for the EIS in 2019.
West Loop History Presentation For the Bellaire Historical Society, September 10, 2015
Five Year Retrospective This report, posted on the fifth anniversary of the release of Houston Freeways in 2008, summarizes Houston's freeway accomplishments in the construction boom from 2003 to 2008
Links Site for my second book, Dallas-Fort Worth Freeways, Texas-Sized Ambition, released in 2014 My web site to plot the position of the sun, mainly for photography The web site I launched in July 2000, managed by Ron Jackson between 2004 and 2020, and now managed by Tony Gilbert Brian Purcell's excellent site covering San Antonio
South Belt History
Related Content
Sharpstown History Frank Sharp's efforts to bring the original seven astronauts to Sharpstown in 1962, and the 1962 Parade of Homes.
Sharpstown High School Demolition April and May 2018
Identify the location of these historical and aerial photos.
Each challenge has 15 photos


Pages Low Res
Size, MB
High Res
Size, MB
Complete book
413 42 93
Cover and Introduction
10 0.8 1.7 View
Chapter 1
Building the System
92 13 16 View
Chapter 2
Freeway Metropolis
64 4 9.4 View
Chapter 3
Downtown Freeways
26 5 14 View
Chapter 4
The Spokes
130 19 50 View
Chapter 5
The Loops
50 6.6 18 View
Chapter 6
Freeway Mass Transit
18 2.8 6.5 View
Chapter 7
Bridges and Tunnels
36 3.4 9.6 View
Chapter 8
The Freeway Journey
4 0.3 0.5 View
Notes and Index
27 2.4 3.9 View
Freeway Excerpts
Gulf Freeway
Interstate 45 South
23 3.1 8.3
Southwest Freeway
US 59 South
18 2.5 7.5
Katy Freeway
Interstate 10 West
12 1.8 4.2
The Loop
Interstate 610
20 3.5 8.6
Sam Houston Tollway/Parkway
Beltway 8
19 2.4 6.8
North Freeway
Interstate 45 North
9 1.5 3.9
South Freeway
State Highway 288
10 1.8 4.2
Eastex Freeway
US 59/Interstate 69 North
9 1.7 4.0
LaPorte Freeway
State Highway 225
11 1.5 3.8



Oscar 'Erik' Slotboom      2003 photo

I'm a native Houstonian, born and raised in Sharpstown near the Southwest Freeway and a 1985 graduate of Sharpstown High School. The history of the Southwest Freeway (US 59) and Sharpstown is the quintessential 1950s-1960s story of the rise of freeways and freeway suburbia, and is covered in detail in the "Spokes" chapter and the Southwest Freeway excerpt.

I grew up always wanting to know more about the history of Houston's freeways but there was no comprehensive history, only occasional news reports and project-specific documents from TxDOT. In the 1980s I came across L.A. Freeway, a 1981 book which documented the history of Los Angeles freeways, and I thought to myself, "Someone needs to write the freeway history book for Houston."

I received a BSME from Texas A&M in 1989 and an MSME from UT-Austin in 1990, and I worked in the energy industry at the Schlumberger Sugar Land campus in the 1990s until I switched to the technology industry in 1998. When the high-tech bust hit in 2001-2002 I was indefinitely unemployed and I realized that I was the person to write the book.

Houston Freeways, A Historical and Visual Journey was published in September 2003. Response to the book exceeded expectations, with all 5000 copies distributed by November 2004. Used book prices have always been well above the original retail price for the new book ($35).

The free download eBook was placed online in 2005 and in 2013 the book is still steadily viewed. In fact, interest in Houston Freeways remains much higher than my 2012 effort, Dallas-Fort Worth Freeways, Texas-Sized Ambition. Yes, Houston loves its freeways and I was glad to be able to document the history for everyone with interest in the subject, now and in the future.

Erik Slotboom, January 2013