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Johnny Goyen Papers

Identifier: MSS 0198

Scope and Contents

This Collection consists primarily of correspondence, copies of charters, ordinances, City Council meeting minutes, proposals, assorted city documents, scrapbooks, and maps created between 1959 and 1981.

All materials in this collection came directly from Houston City Hall, where Goyen held office from 1956-1981. While most materials in this collection pertain to city affairs, Series 9 includes materials from Goyen’s alma mater, the University of Houston, and Series 12 includes personal Christmas cards addressed to Goyen. Series 11 contains materials regarding the re-election of Congressman Bob Eckhardt in 1976 and 1978.


  • 1955-1983
  • Majority of material found within 1964-1972

Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Permission to publish or reproduce materials from the Councilman Johnny Goyen Papers must be obtained from the Houston Metropolitan Research Center or the appropriate copyright holder.

Biographical / Historical

Johnny Goyen was born on August 4, 1925 in Houston as John Parker Goyen Jr. He attended the University of Houston, where, in 1938, he met Jack Valenti, who would later become an aid to Lyndon B. Johnson. With Valenti, Goyen created a petition that spurred the creation of a football team at UH in 1941. Goyen took a brief hiatus from his education to serve in World War II as a P-47 pilot and gunnery instructor in the U.S. Army Air Corps. Following his return to Houston and graduation from UH, Goyen maintained an active interest in university affairs, eventually becoming the first executive director of the UH Alumni Association. The University honored his dedication in 1981 by inducting Goyen into the UH Hall of Honor.

In 1957, alongside business partners Earl Galceran, Bill Sherrill, Welcome Wilson, and Jack Valenti, Goyen helped create the Jamaica Corporation to develop Jamaica Beach, a 2000-lot resort subdivision on Galveston Island. The subdivision was built upon a burial ground of the Karankawa People, prompting Goyen to create historical programs to preserve their memory and draw public attention. Jamaica Beach was officially incorporated on May 12, 1975, with most lots having already sold.

Goyen served on Houston City Council in At Large Position #3 from 1956-1981. He returned in 1982 to fill in the At Large Position #4 after the death of Homer L. Ford. During his time on Council, Goyen acted as an avid proponent of air pollution control and anti-billboard legislations. As a non-smoker, he advocated heavily for a Houston non-smoking ordinance to be implemented in public spaces. In perhaps the most notable moment of his career, Goyen aided Phyllis Frye, who would later become the first openly transgender judge to serve in Houston, in repealing the anti-crossdressing ordinance. On August 12, 1980, with Goyen acting as Mayor Pro-Tem due to Mayor Jim McConn being out of town, Goyen called for a vote on the repeal of this ordinance. The vote went through, and the ordinance has never been reinstated.

Goyen died on March 14, 1990 at the age of seventy one from complications of heart disease. His legacy lives on in Johnny Goyen Park, located on the University of Houston campus at Main and Buffalo Bayou. This park was dedicated in 1987.


37 Linear Feet (6 record storage boxes, 2 document boxes, 14 scrapbooks, 5 maps)

Language of Materials



This collection is organized by subject matter, material type, and date.

Series 1 Houston Sports Arena; 1971-1973

Series 2 Livingston Dam and Reservoir; 1964-1972

Series 3 Mass Transit; 1961-1974

Series 4 Air Pollution; 1966-1979

Series 5 Waste Disposal and Compost Plants; 1961-1969

Series 6 Ship Channel Pollution; 1965-1970

Series 7 Billboards and Traffic; 1955-1973

Series 8 Non-Smoking Ordinance and Fluoridation; 1971-1978

Series 9 University of Houston; 1958-1969

Series 10 Assorted City Documents; 1962-1979

Series 11 City and Congressional Elections; 1976-1979

Series 12 Assorted Correspondence; 1970-1980

Series 13 Scrapbooks; 1953-1983

Series 14 Maps; 1958-1974

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Donated by Johnny Goyen in 1982 and 1984.

Processing Information

Elizabeth Alden Eckman, July 2019

July 2019
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Houston History Research Center Repository


African American History Research Center
Houston Public Library
1300 Victor Street
Houston, Texas 77019
Houston History Research Center
Houston Public Library
550 McKinney St.
Houston, Texas 77002