600 Building & La Retama LibraryI went to school at Corpus Christi Cathedral 6 years in 1960s, and used to go into the 600 building and ride the elevator as high up as possible, then could look out to west and actually see our house just over the crosstown-I-37 changeover and to the east, well, boats in the bay and small part of downtown. I NEVER put soap in the fountain there but DO know dozens of friends who did, quite funny except to those who had to clean it out. Not shown but in front of fountain was Lantana library. It had a big woo horn on top for emergencies, and needless to say we had to DUCK AND COVER in Cathedral (which bet many of you didn't know was a radiation bomb shelter too) but when the large yellow woo horn went off everyone knew to duck and cover under desks not that would have saved us from nuclear bomb. At the Lantana library (was nuke shelter too!) I used to check out UFO books as kid. Always take back on time. To the side of library was The Fun Shop, which had all sorts of practical jokes, black soap, farting whoopie cushions, and stuff like that. Can't go wrong there. Not shown here is creepy as hell (for us kids) tunnel that ran from side of Wilson Tower, to 600 building it is still there, and turns into a "Y" underground and would come out at back of library. When I was a kid in 1960s, and use tunnel, I would poke head around corner to make sure no bad guys (drunks) in there, if was, would run back way I came and take street curve down to library. I think the tunnel is not blocked off due to the homeless in area. Chances are almost 40 years later though someone...is STILL dumping laundry soap or dish soap in the fountian ha ha...go ahead, admit it....
We also took "field trips" to this place Cathedral was only few blocks away, so whole class would walk over under watchful eye of Sister Berchman, Miss Francis, Miss Rodriguez or whoever was teacher, and class would check out books! For those of ya'll with kiddies, this still happens, was at a Barnes & Nobles in Houston, place got invaded with hundred kids from a Lutheran school 1/2 mile down, they were BUYING books, not checking them out, some kids had huge Harry Potter book that was big as Ivanhoe & War & Peace, needed help carrying it back to school, but great to see the kiddies reading
If you follow these steps, right in front of you is the tunnel that went up to Broadway next to 600 building & across street to Wilson tower. In the 1960s, this was neat way to go from Catherdral to Library. However at the "Y" underground, as kids we often stopped to look around corner to see if any bad guys lurking. Usually winos and drunks. If anyone there, would rush back up, to 600 building side and cross above ground down hill! Sharp eyed viewers will recognize the red neon left of the FUN HOUSE, which sold all sorts of magic tricks, costumes, and fun stuff like hand buzzers, whoopie cushions. To Humberto Ramos & Danny Castro from my 4th grade class at Cathedral: you must have been nuts if you think I would have put one of these on Sister Berchmann's chair.Sister Berchmann was 6.5" old German nun in here 60s/maybe early 70s, and seemed to glide along when walking in her habit like she was a jedi gliding. She had a good sense of humor though, but not that much to sit on whoopie cushion. She is probably still teaching at 157 years old too.
There was small Greek owner sandwich shop (next to white van & small white Datsun on left ) called G & T Sandwich shop, open just during day, closed about 3pm. Nice older couple owned it, 99% of their business was from the big buildings up on hill. In far background with orange trim roof was La Quinta hotel, I worked there for about year before getting fired. I do not know why there are no damned seagulls or pigeons in the photo, they are still everywhere downtown. Note by this time the large building on right was now name change Corpus Christi National. And Something going on at Peoples Street look at crowd down there. The busses were made by AMC at this time, American Motors General, which also supplied a lot of cars to the navy base there too!
Photo #1 there was good Greek deli shown where fron of bus is, next to it was The Fun Shop mentioned above, behind the bus is the now gone La Retama Public Library. Photo #2 & #3 is the La Retama Library downtown Corpus Christi. Since we didn't have electricity, on cold days, my dad would go drop momma off at this place. She loved to read, it was warm, quiet and well, no one ever bothered her. Ironically she never had a library card. Sometimes she would catch Saxet Heights or Calallen bus home to Doss (& Antelope Street) since could not walk well. Was about 25 cents, but would cheer her up...for a little while but going back to old crappy house, and reality only lasts a little while. Sometimes I call this old library Retama, other times Lantana, not sure why. Photo #4 shows view from up on Broadway at 600 building, the glowing red neon on left busines is The Fun Shop! Photo #5 shows the fountian people have been dumping laundry detergent in since built, 600 building looming on left, Dricoll on right, the tunnel from Broadway above, comes out about where photo taken.