1935: The Democratic Convention Hall was built in 1928, then used until 1937 as Sam Houston Hall for the city's largest events. It was replaced by the Sam Houston Coliseum, which lasted until 2000.
2015: The Hobby Center for the Performing Arts was opened in 2002.
To: Mr. And Mrs. Chas. Vrhel
355 [^]North Delaplain Rd.
Postmarked: Houston, Texas Apr 23, 1935
Stamp: 1c Deep Green Ben Franklin #552
Jsoucí tu polbromadē a mapïce se dobźe (jáko a Rulikiî) vepomíwáme clureaskjels a riverside skżce prãfel.
[From the Czech via Google Translator] There are semi-clusters [?] and maps with good (Iko and Ruliki) we remember clureaskjels [?] and riverside slopes.
Jennie Mae L Rulik
From: R. Jaronicz
Karel Frantisek Vrhel came from Budweis, Bohemia on the SS Rhein from Bremen in 1907 as a trained brewer. He was greeted in Chicago by his brother Adolf, and went right to work at various Chicago malt extract companies essential to the brewing industry. He married Camilla Hlavacek in 1910 and was naturalized in 1912. His family of two boys and two girls, extended at times with brothers Frank and Emil, grew up in Chicago suburbs. Charles, as he Americanized his name, was an expert in Hops and Malt and acquired patents on various labels of beer.
The postcard was mailed on Tuesday, 23 April 1935, and featured the Convention Hall for the 1928 Democratic Convention held seven years earlier. It was a group card, signed collectively by L. Rulik, Johanna Rulikova [the female gender ending of Rulikova) and Jennie Mae [apparently their daughter], and R. Jaronicz and Augusta Psenkovi, all apparently of Czech origin. Johanna and Louis Rulik were Houstonians of living at 820 Heights Blvd. (the house, built in 1930, is still standing). Louis was owner of the City Hall Delicatessen at Market Square, his daughter Jennie Mae, 14 at the time of the postcard, was a musical accompanist. Vhrel, a brewer, and Rulik, a delicatessen manager, may have been connected by beer culture.
The card was sent only about sixteen months after Prohibition ended on December 5, 1933. What brought the senders of the card to choose the Convention Hall as a subject may have been a random choice, or it may have had something to do with the political positions or religious affiliations of the parties at hand. A brewer anywhere in America in 1935 may have been expected to be a Democrat, as indeed also most Southerners at the time were. Likewise, a person of Czech origins was statistically far more likely to be a Roman Catholic than a Protestant.
The Democratic Convention in 1928 was the first in which a Roman Catholic was selected, Al Smith, who had been a favorite in 1924 in New York, but was defeated at what became called the Klanbake convention after the anti-Catholic KKK made its influence felt. Smith was also anti-prohibitionist, which may have made him doubly attractive to a person like Vrel, and possibly to Louis and Johanna Rulik as well. R. Jaronicz & Augusta Psenkovi have not been located, are apparently also be of Czech ancestry. They may have been locals like the Ruliks, or they may have been visitors to the city. A review of the newspapers of the day in search of an event that may have drawn them to Houston reveals only a convention of Rotarians of the 47th District of South Texas which met in the ballroom of the Rice Hotel. It was a time of almost gleeful Democratic ascendancy. The President of the United States was Franklin Delano Roosevelt, a Democrat; the Mayor of Houston, Oscar Holcombe, who spoke at the convention, a Democrat. Prohibition, largely a Republican and a Protestant movement, had only recently ended, and beer flowed in the bars and delicatessens all over town.
Charles Vhrel died in 1939 at the age of 56 and was buried in Chicago. Louis Rulik died in 1953 in San Diego, and Johanna died there in 1961.