Timeline of Houston

Timeline of historical events of Houston, Texas, United States:


  • August 26, 1836 - Elizabeth and T. F. L. Parrott sell the southern half of the eastern half of the John Austin Survey to the Allen brothers.[1]
  • August 30, 1836 - Augustus Chapman Allen and John Kirby Allen place their first advertisement for the proposed "Town of Houston".[2]
  • December 15, 1836 - Congress selects Houston as the provisional capitol; President Houston signs the bill.[3]
    • The Allen Brothers, John Kirby, and Augustus Chapman co-found Houston.
    • First cemetery is established as "City Cemetery". It stills stands today as Founders Memorial Cemetery.
  • January 1, 1837 - Twelve people live in town, and there is a single log cabin.[2]
  • Mid January, 1837 - Laura arrives, the first steamboat in Houston, sometime around January 21.[2][4]
  • April 16, 1837 - Thomas William Ward begins construction on the capitol building.[5]
  • April 26, 1837 - Sam Houston arrives at his namesake town. He estimates 1500 people and 100 houses were there when he arrived.[6]
  • Late April, 1837 - John James Audubon and his son John visit Houston.[7]
  • May 1, 1837 - Legislature meets in Houston.[2]
  • June 5, 1837 - The city gets a city charter from the Congress of the Republic of Texas[2] and James Holman becomes the first mayor of Houston.[2]
  • August 28, 1837 - James Holman sworn in as mayor of Houston.[8]
  • July, 1858 - Main Street is paved with shells.[12]
  • September, 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 person.
  • 1892 - First annual road race of the Magnolia Cycling Club was held on shelled roads in the Houston Heights.[14]
  • Mid February, 1895 - Houston is slammed by its heaviest snowfall on record in mid-February. Over 20 inches buries the city and does not melt for days.



  • 1950 - KPRC-TV (television) begins broadcasting.[20]
  • 1958 - Zapata Petroleum in business.[21]
  • 1961 - NASA selects Houston for the location for its Manned Spacecraft Center.[22]
  • September 14, 1961 - Sharpstown Mall opens 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. It enters 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, then the tallest building west of the Mississippi River.
  • April 9, 1965 - The Astrodome opens.[22] At the same time, the Houston Colt .45s are rechristened as the Houston Astros.
  • 1969 - Houston Intercontinental Airport, now named 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 migrate to Houston for jobs.
  • 1972 - Leonel Castillo is elected City Comptroller. First minority to hold a position in city government.
  • 1976 - Houston Metropolitan Research Center is established.[23]
  • May 11, 1976 - A tanker truck of ammonia crashes at Interstate 610 and U.S. Highway 59 in the Galleria area, resulting in the deaths of 7 people.[24][25]
  • 1977 - Houston Area Women's Center founded.[26]
  • 1978 - The headquarters of Continental Airlines moves to Houston after buying out Texas International.
  • 1978-1980 - Traffic signals 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. It is the tallest five-sided building in the world.
  • August 1983 - The University of Houston changes its name to "University of Houston–University Park" to separate its identity and rectify confusions with other universities in the University of Houston System.[27]
  • 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.
  • 1989 - Outer Belt Drive (a major thoroughfare that 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. In 2014, the section of Outer Belt Drive was renamed Cambridge Boulevard right after a viaduct was completed over Brays Bayou connecting the southern section of Cambridge Blvd to the Texas Medical Center.
  • 1990 - Population: 1,630,553.[15]
  • July 9–11, 1990 - Houston hosts the 16th G7 Summit.
  • August 1991 - The University of Houston–University Park reverts to its original name "University of Houston" after controversy and resistance within the university community regarding the name change.[28][29]
  • November 1991 - Elected positions within the City of Houston (the mayor, city council, and controller) were given 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 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.
  • October 1994 - Great Flood of 1994, highest waters recorded for the San Jacinto Watershed (higher levels than the later Allison storm), a 100-year flood from the remnants of Hurricane Rosa.
  • 1994 - Houston Rockets win the NBA Championship, and won 58 games, setting a franchise record.
  • 1995 - Houston Rockets win the NBA Championship again, back-to-back.
  • 1995 - City website online (approximate date).[30]
  • 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 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 in which public hearings are held. Attendance figures declined.



  • June 5-June 9, 2001 - Tropical Storm Allison devastates the Houston area. It floods 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 - 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. She becomes 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 as 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 Montrose because of declining attendance at another location.
  • 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. This encompasses 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 more than 125,000 displaced residents of Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. 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 open lesbian is elected to the Houston City Council. Houston is the only major city to have two elected officials who are openly lesbian.
  • 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.[31]
  • December 12, 2009 - Annise Parker wins the runoff election to become Houston's 61st mayor, and the first woman since Kathy Whitmire to hold the office in 1991. With this election, Houston became the largest American city with an openly gay mayor. At-large councilmember Ronald C. Green is also elected as Houston's first African American city controller alongside Aloysius Hoang, the first Vietnamese American elected to the Houston City Council.



  • September, 1900 - The Great Galveston Storm kills 6,000-8,000 citizens, causing widespread flooding throughout Harris County.
  • 1907 - Major storm floods much of Houston.
  • December, 1913 - A major Brazos River storm spread to Harris County, causing entire area to flood.
  • August, 1915 - The 1915 Galveston hurricane causes major damages throughout Harris County, which experienced heavy flooding.
  • April, 1929 - An enormous gulf storm lasts 14 hours over Harris County, floods nearly all of Houston.
  • May, 1929 - As the area is still recovering, another major storm hits Harris County, causing major flooding. San Jacinto River reported to be 30 feet higher than usual.
  • May, 1930 - A large rainstorm remains stationary over Harris County for 3 days. Rainfall amounts reach as high as 12.5 inches.
  • August, 1932 - 1932 Freeport hurricane takes 40 lives and floods Harris County
  • December 6–9, 1935 - A massive flood inundates Houston, killing eight people; this leads to the creation of the Harris County Flood Control District in 1937.
  • November, 1940 - Heavy rains last 5 days in northeast Harris County.
  • July, 1943 - 1943 Surprise Hurricane creates extensive flooding in Harris County
  • August, 1945 - 1945 Texas hurricane produces more than 15 inches of rainfall in 24 hours. Flooding reported on all bayous.
  • February, 1950 - A thunderstorm preceding a cold front floods Greens Bayou.
  • May, 1955 - Major thunderstorm floods northern Harris County
  • June, 1957 - Hurricane Audrey crosses the Louisiana/Texas coast, flooding Harris County
  • October, 1959 - A thunderstorm floods more than 100 structures throughout Harris County
  • June, 1960 - A thunderstorm inundates many areas throughout Harris County.
  • September 11, 1961 - Hurricane Carla struck the Texas Coast to the east of Port Lavaca, Texas, bringing heavy rainfall and wind damage to the Houston area.
  • February, 1969 - A thunderstorm preceding a cold front floods more than 250 structures.
  • March, 1972 - A thunderstorm preceding a cold front floods most of northern Harris County
  • June, 1973 - A major storm brings 10-15 inches of rain to Harris County, 10 lives are lost.
  • July, 1979 - Tropical Storm Claudette causes record amounts of rainfall to the area, reaching 43 inches of rain in 24 hours in Alvin
  • May, 1983 - A large thunderstorm floods several areas along bayous.
  • August 18, 1983 - Hurricane Alicia hits Houston and Galveston.
  • September, 1983 - Nine inches of rain flood the southern Downtown Houston
  • October, 1984 - A thunderstorm in north Harris County floods over 200 structures.
  • March, 1992 - A major storm floods more than 1,500 structures. Most of I-10 is flooded.
  • October 15–19, 1994 - The Great Flood of '94, Hurricane Rosa (1994) leaves a stalled tropical depression over north Houston for a week. With over 30 inches of rain recorded in some places of Harris County, 20 inches in a number of hours, and maximum recorded stream flow volume at all recorded stations in the history of the San Jacinto River. The result was the highest flood levels of the San Jacinto basin to the present day, devastating the north side of Houston and killing 22 people in Texas. Petroleum lines bursting and setting aflame injured another 540 people.
  • September, 1998 - Tropical Storm Frances causes extensive flooding along the White Oak Bayou, floods over 1,300 structures.
  • October-November, 1998 - Two major storms flood northern Harris County
  • 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.
  • 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 13, 2008 - Hurricane Ike passes through city causing flooding, wind damage and widespread power failures.
  • April 17–28, 2009 - Major flooding in West Houston, HCFCD Records one-hour rainfall of 6.9 inches at Clear Creek
  • July 9, 2012 - Flooding in northern Harris County, flooding more than 70 structures.
  • August, 2014 - Slow-moving rain causes flooding from 3.5 to 4.5 inches in Harris County
  • May 13–14, 2015 - Clear Lake Area May 13th, pre-Memorial Day Flood Devastating storms floods the south sector of the city. Within a nine-hour span from the night of May 13, 2015, to the morning of May 14, numerous homes in the region flooded and one man died.[33][34]
  • May 25–26, 2015 - Houston Memorial Day Flood Devastating storms floods most of the city. Within a nine-hour span from the night of May 25, 2015, to the morning of May 26, as much as 11 inches of rain fell on parts of the region. A local man died when his car was flooded. Numerous home flooded due to improper drainage system. [35] https://abc13.com/flood-flooding-clear-lake-hospital-webster/720147/
  • April 17–18, 2016 - The Houston Tax Day Flood took place in nine counties near the city, unleashing 12 to 16 inches of rain.[36][37]
  • August 2017 - Hurricane Harvey devastates the city, flooding homes and roads with over 50 inches of rain over 4 days, equivalent to 19 trillion gallons of water.[38]
  • July 4, 2018 - Heavy rain caused surface flooding on 04 July 2018, dampening Fourth of July celebrations in the city. At least 18 locations in Harris County recorded more than 7 inches of rain in 24 hours.[39]
  • September 19, 2019 - Remnants of Tropical Storm Imelda dumped over 9 inches of rain on parts of Houston, the wettest September day ever recorded in Houston.[40]
  • February 14, 2021 - The February 13–17, 2021 North American winter storm resulted in widespread power outages and water supply interruptions for several days.


  • September 25, 1970 - August 8, 1973 - "Houston Mass Murders" occur. 27 boys are killed by 3 men.
  • July 1978 - Race riots occur in the Moody Park section of the city (in response to the drowning of Jose Campos Torres by two Houston Police officers, and are documented by KPRC-TV, whose reporters are attacked and injured during their report.
  • June 24, 1993 - Jennifer Ertman and Elizabeth Pena, two teenagers were murdered at T.C. Jester Park during a gang initiation. Their murders changed laws in Texas, as family members of the victims were now allowed to make a victim's impact statement in court. In addition, the family members of the victims could view executions of the killers.
  • April 16, 1997 - Doris Angleton is murdered in her River Oaks home. Her husband, Robert, and his brother, Roger, would be suspected for the crime.
  • June 4, 1999 - Noemi Dominguez is shot dead in her home by Angel Maturino Resendiz, a serial killer. Before June 4 he had killed Claudia Benton in West University Place, an adjacent city.
  • June 20, 2001 - Andrea Yates drowns her five children in a bathtub. She was found to be suffering from postpartum depression.

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "Austin, John". Texas Handbook Online. Texas State Historical Association. September 2, 2016. Retrieved November 7, 2017.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g David G. McComb (February 15, 2017). "Houston, TX". Texas Handbook Online. Texas State Historical Association. Retrieved November 7, 2017.
  3. ^ Ernest William Winkler (1906). "The Seat of Government of Texas. I. Temporary Location of the Seat of Government". Texas State Historical Association Quarterly. 10 (2): 166. JSTOR 30243087.
  4. ^ Marilyn McAdams Sibley (1968). The Port of Houston: A History. Austin: University of Texas University Press. pp. 37–38.
  5. ^ Winkler (1906), p. 170.
  6. ^ David G. McComb (1981). Houston: A History. Austin: University of Texas Press. p. 15.
  7. ^ Ben W. Huseman (9 June 2010). "Audubon, John James". Texas Handbook Online. Texas State Historical Association. Retrieved 7 November 2017.
  8. ^ McComb (1981), p. 51.
  9. ^ McComb (1981), p. 25.
  10. ^ "Historical Sketches of Texas Libraries: Houston", Handbook of Texas Libraries, Austin: Texas Library Association, 1904, hdl:2027/uc1.b4221835
  11. ^ a b c d McComb (1981), p. 27.
  12. ^ Cushing, E. H. (1858-07-28). "The Weekly Telegraph (Houston, Tex.), Vol. 24, No. 19, Ed. 1 Wednesday, July 28, 1858". The Portal to Texas History. Retrieved 2020-04-24.
  13. ^ Cruz, Gilbert (June 18, 2008). "A Brief History of Juneteenth". Time magazine. Retrieved May 30, 2013.
  14. ^ McComb (1981), p. 71.
  15. ^ a b c d e f Population of the 100 Largest Cities and Other Urban Places in the United States: 1790 to 1990, U.S. Census Bureau, 1998
  16. ^ Davis, Stephen (1986). "Joseph Jay Pastoriza and the Single Tax in Houston, 1911–1917" (PDF). 8 (2). Houston Review: history and culture of the Gulf Coast.
  17. ^ McComb (1981), p. 72.
  18. ^ McComb (1981), p. 67.
  19. ^ Jack Alicoate, ed. (1939), "Standard Broadcasting Stations of the United States: Texas", Radio Annual, New York: Radio Daily, OCLC 2459636
  20. ^ Charles A. Alicoate, ed. (1960), "Television Stations: Texas", Radio Annual and Television Year Book, New York: Radio Daily Corp., OCLC 10512206
  21. ^ David J. Wishart (2004). Encyclopedia of the Great Plains. U of Nebraska Press. ISBN 0-8032-4787-7.
  22. ^ a b "Lone Star List: Twelve events, moments and places that make Texas Texas", New York Times, May 7, 2016
  23. ^ "Houston Metropolitan Research Center: About". Houston Public Library. Retrieved May 30, 2015.
  24. ^ "35 years later: Houston's deadly ammonia truck disaster". Houston Chronicle. 2011-05-26. Retrieved 2011-05-27.
  25. ^ "1976 ammonia truck disaster". Houston Chronicle. 2011-05-11. Retrieved 2011-05-26.
  26. ^ "Timeline". Women in Texas History. Austin: Ruthe Winegarten Memorial Foundation for Texas Women's History. Retrieved April 14, 2017.
  27. ^ Adair, Wendy (2001). The University of Houston: Our Time: Celebrating 75 Years of Learning and Leading. Donning Company Publishers. ISBN 978-1-57864-143-7.
  28. ^ "72(R) History for Senate Bill 755". Texas Legislature Online History. Texas Legislature. Retrieved 2010-03-28.
  29. ^ "72(R) History for House Bill 2299". Texas Legislature Online History. Texas Legislature. Retrieved 2010-03-28.
  30. ^ "City of Houston Home Page". Archived from the original on February 1997 – via Internet Archive, Wayback Machine.
  31. ^ Clear Lake spot sees most violators. Houston Chronicle. September 8, 2006. Last accessed September 13, 2006.
  32. ^ "Megaregions: Texas Triangle". America 2050. USA: Regional Plan Association. Retrieved September 12, 2016.
  33. ^ https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/capital-weather-gang/wp/2015/05/14/two-days-of-torrential-rain-creates-flooding-nightmare-in-south-texas//
  34. ^ https://abc13.com/flood-flooding-clear-lake-hospital-webster/720147/
  35. ^ https://www.click2houston.com/weather/2019/05/23/remembering-houstons-2015-memorial-day-flood/
  36. ^ "At least 5 deaths blamed on Houston flooding as hundreds rescued from homes". foxnews.com. 19 April 2016.
  37. ^ https://www.click2houston.com/weather/2019/04/16/look-back-at-houstons-2016-tax-day-flood/
  38. ^ https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/capital-weather-gang/wp/2017/08/30/harvey-has-unloaded-24-5-trillion-gallons-of-water-on-texas-and-louisiana/
  39. ^ http://floodlist.com/america/usa/flood-houston-04-july-2018
  40. ^ https://abcnews.go.com/US/imelda-dumps-feet-rain-parts-texas/story?id=65739994
  41. ^ Federal Writers' Project (1940), "Chronology", Texas: A Guide to the Lone Star State, American Guide Series, New York: Hastings House, hdl:2027/mdp.39015002677667 – via Hathi Trust

Further readingEdit

  • "Houston, Texas", Logan's Railway Business Directory from Saint Louis to Galveston, St. Louis, Mo.: A. L. Logan & Co., 1873, OL 23364875M
  • "Houston". Texas State Gazetteer and Business Directory. Detroit: R.L. Polk & Co. 1890 – via Internet Archive.
  • Complete guide to Houston, Texas, Houston: Dealy & Baker, 1895, OL 23290102M
  • Young, Samuel Oliver Dr. (1912), A thumb-nail history of the city of Houston, Texas, from its founding in 1836 to the year 1912, Houston, Tex: Press of Rein & sons company, OL 23348484M
  • Carroll, B. H. (1912), Standard history of Houston, Texas, Knoxville, Tenn: H. W. Crew, OCLC 8124408, OL 6540105M

External linksEdit