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Houston-Timeline of Historical Events

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1836 - The Allen Brothers, John Kirby, and Augustus Chapman co-founded Houston.

June 5, 1837 - The city gets a city charter from the Congress of the Republic of Texas. It became the provisional capital of Texas.

1839 - The capital of the Republic moves to Austin. The dispute over where the state records should go would cause a conflict.

1863 - Houston saloon keeper Dick Dowling leads 44 Houston dockworkers to a stunning victory over 5,000 troops at the battle of Sabine Pass. Dowling becomes the city's first nationally known personality.

1900s - Oil is discovered in Texas. A new industry will start.

1902 - President Theodore Roosevelt approves a one-million dollar fund for the construction of the Houston Ship Channel.

1904 - Houston Lyceum and Carnegie Library opens, later known as Houston Public Library.

1912 - The Rice Institute opens, later known as Rice University.

1914 - President Woodrow Wilson opens the Houston Ship Channel, part of the Port of Houston on November 10, 1914.

1920s - The Texas oil boom causes people to move into the city, causing its first growth spurt.

1927 - Houston Junior College opens its doors as part of Houston Independent School District.

1934 - Houston Junior College becomes a four-year institution and changes its name to the University of Houston.

1937 - Houston Municipal Airport, which would later become William P. Hobby Airport, is opened.

1939 - The University of Houston moves to its permanent location, southeast of Downtown.

1940 - Houston dismantled the last of its streetcar system.

1945 - The University of Houston separates from HISD and becomes a private university.

1947 - Houston voters defeat the first-ever referendum for citywide zoning.

1947 - The predecessor to Texas Southern University, Texas State College for Negroes, is the first state university in the Houston area. Its name changed took place in 1951.

1948 - The Gulf, Texas' first freeway opens as U.S. Highway 75, signalling the beginning of freeway construction in the city.

1961 - Sharpstown Mall opens on September 14 and is the first indoor air-conditioned mall in the world.

1962 - Houston voters defeat a referendum for zoning for a second-time

1963 - The University of Houston ends its status as a private institution and becomes a state university by entering into the Texas State System of Higher Education after a long battle with opponents from other state universities blocking the change.

1963 - The Manned Spacecraft Center, which would become the Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center opens on land donated by Rice University.

1963 - The Humble Building is completed, the tallest building west of the Mississippi River at the time.

April 9, 1965 - The Astrodome opens. At the same time, the Houston Colt .45s are rechristened as the Houston Astros.

1969 - Houston Intercontinental Airport, currently George Bush Intercontinental Airport, is opened to the public.

July 20, 1969 - "Houston" becomes the first word spoken from the moon, by astronaut Neil Armstrong of the Apollo 11 mission.

1970s - The Arab Oil Embargo causes demand for Texas oil to boom. People from the "Rust Belt" states such as New York and Pennsylvania move into Houston.

1977 - The University of Houston celebrates its 50th anniversary as the Texas Legislature establishes the University of Houston System, a state system of higher education that includes three other universities.

1978 - The headquarters of Continental Airlines move to Houston after buying out Texas International.

1978-1980 - Traffic signal signage at major intersections were improved. Houston is the first in the nation to modernize their signage, which is still done to this present day.

1979 - a portion of the master-planned community of "Clear Lake City" that is in Houston's extraterritorial jurisdiction (ETJ) and an area east of Missouri City in Fort Bend County are annexed into the corporate limits of Houston.

1980s - The end of the Embargo causes the Houston growth bubble to burst.

1981 - Kathryn J. Whitmire is elected as the first woman mayor. She would appoint Lee P. Brown as the first African American police chief.

1982 - Texas Commerce Bank Tower is completed in Downtown Houston, making it the tallest building west of the Mississippi until the late 1980s, and presently the tallest five-sided building in the world.

1985 - The University of Houston changes its name to the University of Houston-University Park to separate its identity and confusion with the other three universities within the UH System.

April 5, 1986 - City takes part in celebration of Texas' Sesquicentennial, 25th Anniversary of NASA, and the Houston International Festival with Rendez-vous Houston concert. At the time it is the largest outdoor concert in history, and is entered into the Guinness Book of World Records.

June 1, 1987 - The former Shamrock Hilton hotel is demolished as part of the Texas Medical Center expansion efforts despite protests from historical preservationists.

1988 - The University of Houston-University Park reverts its name back to the University of Houston after much controversy with the name change.

1989 - Outer Belt Drive (a major thoroughfare which serves Hermann Park and Ben Taub Hospital in the Texas Medical Center is renamed North MacGregor Way; a section of North MacGregor between Outer Belt and Holcombe Boulevard is renamed North Braeswood.

July 9-11, 1990 - Houston hosts the 16th G7 Summit

November 1991 - Elected officials within the City of Houston (the mayor, city council, and controller) were imposed with term limits, which passed by a referendum vote. The term limit referendum amended the current city charter.

April 1993 - The Westheimer Colony Art Festival is held on a stretch of Calhoun Road (now St. Joseph Parkway) in Downtown Houston; it was the first time the art festival was not held in the Montrose. After 1996, the festival was renamed the Bayou City Art Festival.

November 1993 - Houston voters defeated a zoning referendum for the third time in almost 50 years.

1996 - The master-planned community of Kingwood is annexed by the city of Houston.

November 1997 - Former Houston Police Chief Lee P. Brown is elected as Houston's first African American mayor; at the same time, Annise Parker is the first openly gay or lesbian city council member.

May 6-May 7, 2000 - After 27 years of holding the Westheimer Street Festival in the Montrose, the festival was held in Eleanor Tinsley Park west of Downtown Houston. Promoters of the festival were denied a street closure permit back in January 2000 under a revised festival ordinance where public hearings are held. Attendance figures declined.

June 5-June 9, 2001 - Tropical Storm Allison devastates the Houston area flooding much of the city including the Central Business District, several cultural institutions and major hospitals and research facilities in the Texas Medical Center. The storm is called a 500-year event.

November 2001 - Enron is found to have accounting scandals. The company goes bankrupt.

2002 - The University of Houston celebrates its 75th anniversary with an enrollment of 34,443 that fall semester. At the same time, the University of Houston System celebrates its 25th anniversary with an enrollment of over 54,000.

November 5, 2002 - Houston City Controller Sylvia R. Garcia (in her third term) successfully campaigns for Harris County Commissioner Precinct 2, making her the first Hispanic female to hold office in the Harris County Commissioners Court. After Garcia's victory, the Houston City Council appoints Judy Gray Johnson to fill her unexpired term until the November 2003 elections.

May 2003 - For the first time, the Houston Art Car Parade is not held on the same weekend with the Houston International Festival.

June 28-June 29, 2003 - The Westheimer Street Festival staged their homecoming on Westheimer during Gay Pride Weekend after promoters decided to move the festival back to the Montrose because of it declining attendance when the festival was on Allen Parkway since May 2000.

Fall 2003 - Halliburton's headquarters move from Dallas to Houston.

December 6, 2003 - Annise Parker defeats fellow council member Bruce Tatro to become Houston's first openly lesbian city controller. Both Parker and Tatro are term-limited in their current seats. At the same time, Pakistani-American realtor Masur Javed "M.J." Khan is elected as a district councilmember in District F, encompassing most of West and parts of Southwest Houston in the Sharpstown area where incumbent Mark Ellis won his final term as an at-large member of the Houston City Council.

January 1, 2004 - METRORail is opened to the public at 1 p.m. CST - this marks the reintroduction of rail service, the city's first since June 1940.

July 30, 2004 - The Houston City Council unanimously votes for a change in the curbside parking ordinance where Saturday metered parking is enforced. The original proposal for paid curbside parking between 6 p.m. to 2 a.m. was not popular with Downtown-area restaurant owners. (Before the 1980s, metered parking was enforced 24 hours a day - seven days a week, including holidays.) The ordinance took effect on October 22, 2004.

2004 - Houston hosts the Super Bowl as well as the MLB All-Star Game.

2004 - Citgo's headquarters move from Tulsa to Houston.

December 24, 2004 - Freak snowstorm hits, causing record Christmas snowfall in the region.

2005 - The Parking Management division of the City of Houston Municipal Courts Administration is incorporated into the Greater Houston Convention and Visitors Bureau.

September 1, 2005 - Houston welcomes displaced residents of Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, who number more than 125,000. The Reliant Astrodome was converted to provide food and shelter. The Governor of Texas reaffirmed his state's commitment to provide basic needs and education for victims of Katrina.

December 10, 2005 - Sue Lovell is elected as an at-large member of the Houston City Council, replacing term-limited councilmember Gordon Quan. This marks the second time an out lesbian is elected to the Houston City Council, making Lovell and Houston City Controller Annise Parker the only two openly-GLBT elected officials within a major metropolitan city.

June 19, 2006 - Major flooding in Southeast Houston causes homes and roads to fill up with water. This was the most rain since Tropical Storm Allison in 2001

September 1, 2006 - Red light cameras ten major intersections within the Houston City Limits (three of the first ten intersections are located in the Downtown/Midtown area). The red light camera measure passed by a majority vote on the Houston City Council in December 2004. Motorists who run a red light face $75 civil fines ($150 for subsequent violations) instead of a $220 moving violation when cited by a police officer.

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