Houston Matters

Bus Tour Combines Holiday Lights And Houston History

Mister McKinney’s Historic Houston takes riders on an open-air converted school bus through River Oaks, teaching local history along the way.

River Oaks Holiday Lights
Emmalee Cochrane
Holiday lights on a home in River Oaks.


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During this time of year you can see a number of Christmas light displays around Greater Houston. And some of the most extravagant ones can be found around the River Oaks neighborhood.

If you prefer to drive through yourself and just have a look, that's all good and well. But there's one person in town who adds a little bit of history to his holiday light tour.

R.W. McKinney runs Mister McKinney's Historic Houston, which takes people on his open-air, retro-fitted yellow school bus around different areas of the city teaching guests about history.

Houston History Bus
Emmalee Cochrane
The open-air yellow school bus that shepherds people on tours with Mister McKinney’s Historic Houston.

His holiday-themed tour of River Oaks combines a look at the holiday wonder with historical information about some of the most notable figures in Houston history (some of whom would’ve lived in the upscale neighborhood), such as Hugh Roy Cullen, noted oilman and philanthropist with important connections to the University of Houston.

McKinney grew up in Houston in the 1980s and started giving tours in 2002. In 2017, he added the bus tours via his “mobile classroom.”

In the audio above, Houston Matters producer Joshua Zinn takes Mr. McKinney's tour and tells us all about it.

Joshua Zinn and Mr. McKinney
Emmalee Cochrane
Houston Matters producer Joshua Zinn with R.W. McKinney of Mister McKinney’s Historic Houston.

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Michael Hagerty

Michael Hagerty

Senior Producer, Houston Matters

Michael Hagerty is the senior producer for Houston Matters. He's spent more than 20 years in public radio and television and dabbled in minor league baseball, spending four seasons as the public address announcer for the Reno Aces, the Triple-A affiliate of the Arizona Diamondbacks.

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