The Texas icehouse that defines convenience turns 90 this year. And the one true dog day of summer is upon us: the Fourth of July.
Convenience Catches On
From Snyder to Palacios, 7-Elevens have dotted Texas’ highway exits for 90 years. The pioneering convenience stores known best for their long hours and Slurpees got their start in the Lone Star State in 1927 when Southland Ice Company started offering milk, bread and eggs at its Dallas icehouse.
First all-nighter: One Saturday after a Longhorns home game in 1963, the year the football team earned its first national championship, an Austin location near campus stayed open past the traditional 11 p.m. closing time, keeping its doors open all night to satisfy raucous fans. The precedent spread.
Tote’m takes off: The first-of-its kind stores were called Tote’m until 1946; now, there are more than 56,600 7-Elevens, originally named to reflect their 7 a.m.–11 p.m. business hours, in 18 countries.
Oh thank heaven: 7-Elevens offer free Slurpees every July 11 (7/11).
Relish the Idea
July is National Hot Dog Month. On Independence Day, Americans will down 150 million hot dogs, enough to encircle Texas more than 4 1/2 times.
Rodeo Raises the Roof
It wasn’t Lucille Mulhall’s first rodeo, but for her and the spectators at Cowtown Coliseum in Fort Worth 100 years ago, it was the first indoor rodeo anyone had ever seen.
The Oklahoma trick roper in 1917 organized what she called a “week of frontier sports” at the Fort Worth Stock Show. More than 50 cowpokes competed in roping, riding and bronc busting with legendary “Foghorn” Clancy on the call. Now, indoor rodeos are a staple of stock shows across the state.
Find out what stock shows are doing for youths today in Raising the Stakes, featured this month.
Itchin’ for Something Fun?
The buzz in Clute this month centers on, of all things, the mosquito. While the rest of us curse, spray and flail at the annoying, biting insects, the Brazoria County town devotes three days—July 27–29 this year—to the Great Texas Mosquito Festival. The event even features mosquito-calling contests.
The organizers, called the Swat Team, promise a carnival, games, contests and food (for humans of all blood types). One of the main attractions is Willie-Man-Chew, the 26-foot-tall mosquito mascot.
More Than Goodenough
His 1980 discovery impacts our lives every day; now, University of Texas at Austin professor and solid-state physicist John Goodenough, who turns 95 this month, is on to an improvement in rechargeable battery technology that could revolutionize our electronics again.
A team of UT engineers led by Goodenough has developed a faster-charging, longer-lasting and safer, noncombustible battery that could someday make its way into our handheld devices, computers and cars.
The new cells use electrodes encapsulated in nanotubes that improve on the performance of lithium-ion batteries with solid-state lithium-sulfur. (Translation: They won’t explode.)
“The genius of the American system is that through freedom we have created extraordinary results from plain old ordinary people.”
—Former U.S. Sen. Phil Gramm of Texas, who turns 75 on July 8