It was first called Houston Municipal Airport in 1937. It was named Howard R. Hughes Airport in 1938, but because the person was alive at the time, the airport's name changed back to Houston Municipal.
Houston Intercontinental Airport (now known as George Bush Intercontinental Airport) was built in 1969 because of limitations on expansion to Hobby. All commercial aviation operations at Hobby were moved to Houston Intercontinental upon completion.
Hobby was reopened to commercial aviation in 1971.
Hobby has a lot of low-fare carrier operations, as opposed to Bush Airport's hub operation with Continental Airlines. Businessmen on shorter routes to Houston from within the United States tend to prefer Hobby over Bush Intercontinental.