Scenic Heroes: Carroll Shaddock

Scenic Community Mourns the Loss of a Visionary Leader

Scenic America joins its colleagues at Scenic Texas, Scenic Houston, and throughout the nation in mourning the loss of Carroll Shaddock, a visionary leader and a true scenic hero, who passed away on December 4, 2022. A corporate attorney by profession, Carroll worked tirelessly to improve the scenic qualities of Houston, primarily by fighting billboards and planting trees, leaving behind a lasting legacy.

Born in Orange, Texas, Carroll attended Rice University and Yale Law School then clerked for a Houston justice in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Texas. He enlisted in the Texas Army National Guard and was commissioned as an officer in the Judge Advocate General Corps of the U.S. Navy.

After leaving the military, Carroll practiced law in Houston for 45 years, representing financial institutions and underwriters. At the same time, he grew concerned with how the scenic qualities of his adopted hometown were quickly degrading. In 1966, he formed the nonprofit group Billboards Limited to tackle the 15,000-some billboards then marring the Houston cityscape. Billboards Limited advocated for the city’s first-ever sign ordinance to create standards and regulations for billboards; as a result, Houston’s billboard count dropped to 1,500. Billboards Limited evolved to become Scenic Houston.

In addition to fighting against billboards, Carroll was an ardent proponent of trees. In 1983, he co-founded Trees for Houston, a nonprofit responsible for planting and caring for more than 215,000 trees throughout the city.

Beyond his impact in Houston, Carroll made a mark on the scenic conservation movement throughout Texas and across the country. He was instrumental in the establishment of Scenic Texas and served as the chair of Scenic America from 1991 to 1993.

In his obituary, Carroll is described as “a man of many interests. He was never satisfied with things the way he found them and tried to make things conform to the way he thought they should be.”

Beyond his commitment to preserving and enhancing Houston’s scenic qualities, Carroll was active in several community groups and associations in Houston. He and his wife, Dorry, also made significant contributions to the music programs at various Houston churches, including Christ the King Lutheran Church, where Carroll served as choir director.

Scenic America President Mark Falzone praised Carroll for his legacy of leadership and service, “Carroll Shaddock believed that Houston could be a more beautiful place to live and work if it had fewer billboards and more trees, and then he made it happen. Now his work in Houston serves as a model for other communities. We will sorely miss his talent, energy, and commitment to this important cause.”

Scenic Texas Executive Director Brenda Dees noted, “Carroll Shaddock was the founding father of Scenic Texas and instrumental in keeping our world beautiful.  It was a honor to have an advocate who exemplified such passion for our environment and communities.”

In announcing his passing, Scenic Houston stated, “Carroll was a scenic champion and hero, and his efforts forever changed the landscape of our great city.”