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Historic Gulf building hosts traditional Christmas event

Home of downtown Christmas event since 1945
Home of downtown Christmas event since 1945
Blair Pittman

Sixty-five years ago this month, a group of downtown Houston bank employees surprised their boss by singing carols in the lobby of their building. The boss was Jesse Jones, the bank was the National Bank of Commerce and the lobby was in the Gulf Building.

This year, several local choral groups will keep the tradition alive by providing lunchtime entertainment in that same gracious Art Deco lobby at 712 Main Street. Concerts begin at noon, Monday through Friday, December 20th through 27th. Performances will be staged by the Johnston Middle School Choir, St. Paul’s Choral Scholars, Houston Boychoir, Houston Children’s Chorus and the HSPVA Madrigal Singers.

The historic Gulf building is now known as the JPMorgan Chase Bank, but many Houstonians will remember it as the Texas Bank of Commerce in the 1960s, and Texas Commerce Bank throughout the 1970s and 80s. Whatever the name has been, the wonderful sounds of Christmas music have filled the lobby each December.

Happy holidays from your Houston History Examiner.


  • johnnie haltom 4 years ago

    the first caroling took place 3 mos before i was born! Very interesting to read about this event in Houston history. Wonder if my parents saw this event? Thanks Marie Brannon!!!

  • Kendra Guajardo 2 years ago

    My granny, Winifred Byrne, was an elevator operator in the Gulf building when she was a teenager.

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