Flooding, Sea-Arama and country legends highlight life in Houston area in May 1989

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What was going on 30 years ago this month in Houston?

Well, torrential rains flooded the city and Buffalo Bayou came out of its banks and swamped the Milam Street approach to downtown Houston. (How often has that street flooded through the years?)

Country legends Willie Nelson, Dolly Parton and Kenny Rogers played a concert at NASA to help promote Rogers’ then-new album. The Chronicle dropped in on the staff at Galveston’s aging Sea-Arama, which was facing tough times against the newly opened Sea World in San Antonio.

MISSED APRIL? Art cars, AstroWorld, Reeking Regatta show life in Houston in April 1989

Of note is the photo showing Astros fans advocating for free speech in the Astrodome.

The whole thing stemmed from the Astros letting Nolan Ryan go after the 1988 season and releasing Alan Ashby early into the 1989 season. A couple of sign-carrying fans let it be known how much they didn’t like Astros owner John McMullen and were promptly ejected.

The May 20, 1989, Astros-Pirates game was nationally televised on NBC. According to the Chronicle, the president of the area’s largest Astros fan club warned the Houston Sports Association that it could expect a spate of signs protesting the ejection of those fans. The photos you see here are from that May 20th game.

J.R. Gonzales, a third-generation Houstonian, covers local history with an eye toward the people and events that have mostly been forgotten to time. Follow him through Bayou City History on Facebook and Twitter. He can be reached at 713-362-6163 or john.gonzales@chron.com.