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TIMELINE 1930 - 1940


With a population of 292,352, Houston was the largest city in Texas and the twenty-sixth most populous city in the nation. Its population had increased 111.4 percent since 1920. Blacks remained the largest minority, numbering 63,337, but their percentage of the city's population had fallen from 39 percent in 1880 to 22 percent in 1930

Houston's Port ranked third nationally in foreign exports. Ship arrivals numbered 2,108, and combined barge and ship freight reached 15,057,360 tons valued at $500,000,000

Industries along the ship channel numbered over forty below the Turning Basin and more than twenty-five above it. They included eight oil refineries capable of processing 194,000 barrels of crude oil daily and representing a $200,000,000 investment

Mayor Monteith's committee to study local unemployment problems set up headquarters at the Hampshaw Building where emergency relief was dispensed

Lyndon Baines Johnson taught school in Houston for two years (1930-1932)


Bond issues totaling $13,270,000 are passed

July 4

Balloon races at the Bellaire Speedway draw a crowd of 300,000 people

September 8

"Dad" Joiner brings in the Daisy Bradford # 3, the first producing well in the massive East Texas Oil Field near Henderson


The Cruiser Houston ties up at Pier 14


First Texas Prison Rodeo at Huntsville Penitentiary


The Port of Houston earned $467,670.16 during 1930 according to figures released by the County Auditor


McKee Street bridge across Buffalo Bayou will be 290 feet long--the largest reinforced concrete bridge ever constructed over a Houston Stream


A new ferry to serve traffic across the Ship Channel at Pasadena was launched at Buffalo Bayou and Avenue V


The San Jacinto Hotel formally opened

May 29

The Custodian and the Tatsuha Maur raced on the waterway leading to the Turning Basin for the honor of carrying Houston's two-millionth bale of cotton


Dizzy Dean pitched the Houston Buffaloes to a 7 to 4 victory over the Shreveport sports


Houston's Baptist Hospital has the only baby respirator and the only iron lung in Texas. Both were presented to the hospital by a philanthropist


The Houston Symphony Orchestra under the direction of Uriel Nespoli makes its debut



Benjamin A. Riesner, Sr. dies in Houston at the age of 76

U.S. Treasury Secretary Andrew Mellon resigns rather than face impeachment charges brought by Rep. Wright Patman of Texas

U.S. engineers approved a project to increase the ship channel's depth to 32 feet and its width to 400 feet

The Port recorded 2,153 ship arrivals with a combined barge and ship freight of 13,296,246 tons

Adverse business conditions brought the auction sale of the Esperson Building, the Post-Dispatch Building, and the Sam Houston and Warwick Hotels

The value of building permits issued dropped to $2,900,000

February 25

The recondition U.S. Frigate Constitution arrived in Houston for a 4 1/2 day visit at the Turning Basin, where 110,406 went aboard


Hundreds of Houstonians were on hand at the Turning Basin on the Ship Channel to see the arrival of four submarines of the U.S. Navy


Houston held its first "Fat Stock Show" at the old Sam Houston Hall


State legislature passes a law prohibiting "Caucasians" and "Africans" from boxing and wrestling against each other

Oscar F. Holcombe again Houston's mayor

Alongside the ship channel the giant grain elevator stood empty in mute testimony to depression conditions. It handled 2,967,981 bushels in 1932, but Houston would not again export grain until 1938

With the beginning of the "bank holiday," Houston stores offered their own checks as "change." the streetcar company opened a credit department, and theaters accepted I. O. U.s

March 16

The Equalization Agreement was signed, settling a long dispute over freight rates between Houston and Galveston


Under the impact of the depression, charter changes reduced the city council to an approval body and concentrated power in the mayor's hands


City authorities rejected plans for a Southern Pacific Station because blacks and whites would have used the same ramps to reach trains


The Houston offices of the Home Owner's Loan Corporation opened


County Judge Ward, besieged by applicants for permits for beer licenses, said he will be unable to issue any permits before Friday, September 1st

September 29

Houston's first legally-produced beer in fifteen years came form the new Gulf Brewing Company plant

October 16

A series of thirty-two channel lights was put into use, permitting twenty-four hour use of the waterway. Night navigation increased from 110 ships in 1930 to 943 ships in 1936


Epsom Downs, Houston's $600,000 racing plant, is unveiled to the public


Houston's own beer "Grand Prize" is back on the market after a hiatus of 14 years

December 11

Registration of the jobless began at the City Auditorium, while the National Reemployment Office had already assigned 7,500 to Civil Works Administration projects and had 6,000 more applicants on file

December 15

By this date, the Harris County Board of Welfare and Employment had provided jobs for 8,000 men


Outlaws Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow slain in Louisiana by Dallas County sheriffs and Texas Rangers

The Intracoastal Canal is completed in the Houston area

Efforts to relieve unemployment were hindered by striking oil field, textile, and packing house workers

The Public Works Administration allotted $250,000 for county road work and $403,000 for sewers

Ship arrivals at the city's Port reached 2,489, and the combined barge and ship freight was 19,292,629 tons

Houston Colored Junior College became Houston College for Negroes


Houston is recognized as the oil refining capitol of the world

April 30

Houston's Junior College officially becomes the University of Houston


Work has started on the $184,000 improvement program for Memorial Park. The improvements include a golf course and club house, picnic grounds, and play grounds


A $1,219,000 loan from the Public Works Administration for building a new city hall was approved

September 15

The new $3,000,000 Southern Pacific Railroad Terminal, Grand Central Station was officially dedicated


Oscar Holcombe was re-elected mayor for his sixth term

Gene Autry of Tioga makes his first film as a singing cowboy


James V. Allred inaugurate as governor


The first eighty-three families took up residence in Houston Gardens, a federal subsistence project north of the city

By mid-year, depression relief amounted to $400,000 from local agencies, $1,215,000 from state agencies, and $6,648,000 from the federal government. Houston was not hurt by the fact that one of her most extraordinary citizens, Jesse H. Jones, was chairman of the Reconstruction finance Corporation (1933-1939)

The Senate approved $3.4 million for deepening the ship channel to thirty-four feet


The first graduating class of the University of Houston received its degrees in a ceremony at Miller Memorial Theatre. 75 students wee awarded diplomas.


Houston's first exclusive air mail collection box has been installed at Main and Rusk


Houston's Jesse Jones was honored at the House of Representatives with the unveiling of a life size portrait of Jones which will hang in the Capitol

October 11

Houston's longest and ugliest depression strike began when longshoremen went out with a general Gulf ports stoppage. Strikebreakers kept the port operative until the strike ended on December 13, 1935


Construction began on a new City-County Hospital funded by the Public Works Administration

First Week

Heavy rains sent Buffalo Bayou over its banks, causing perhaps the worst flood on record with 36 feet of water higher than normal

Houston ship channel dredged to admit seagoing traffic


April 21

In a statewide observance, the centennial of the Battle of San Jacinto is celebrated at the battlefield

The Port recorded 2,732 ship arrivals with a combined ship and barge freight of 23,800,415 tons

The M.D. Anderson Foundation, a trust to benefit public, advance knowledge and alleviate human suffering, is established by Monroe D. Anderson of Anderson Clayton Company, an international cotton brokerage. Upon his death in 1939, the trust received nearly $20,000,000

Ben Taub and Julius Settigast donated a total of 110 acres for a new Houston University campus southeast of downtown Houston

Building permits worth $18,500 were issued

City officials began discussing flood control measure with U.S. Army Engineers


Houston's first parking meter is installed in front of the city hall for demonstration purposes

June 1

The Port's solicitation agency became the Houston Port and traffic Bureau, as the Port commissioners sought new business

June 11

President Roosevelt visits Houston and receives a tumultuous reception when he delivered an address at the San Jacinto Battlefield


The new elementary school in Pecan Park bears the name of Joanna Kent Southmayd, organizer and teacher of the first school in the Houston district in 1834


R. H. Fonville took office as mayor

April 21

The Memorial Shaft was dedicated at San Jacinto Battlefield as Jesse Jones sealed the corner stone


During the first half of the year, Houston moved to eighth in the nation in new building, with completed construction valued at $11,844, 385

June 1

William Walcott Strong, a representative of organized labor, was appointed as a member of the five-man Port Commission


Buffalo Bayou's downtown "bottleneck" is cleared of debris in the first step of an extensive flood control program

October 28

The new Jefferson Davis charity hospital for blacks was completed


Houston's magnificent $2,000,000 Sam Houston Coliseum is dedicated


The new Jefferson Davis Hospital is opened to the public


Houston ranked fourth among the nation's ocean ports, registering 3,077 ship arrivals with a combined ship and barge freight of 26,737,394 tons

Building permits were issued valued at $25,000,000


The new Music Hall in the Sam Houston Coliseum is dedicated

July 30

Howard Hughes, Houston's globe-circling aviator, landed in Houston. On Saturday, around 10,000 people watched his 12:35 p.m. arrival at the Houston Municipal Airport. KPRC and KTRH radio broadcasted the landing around the world. Around 200 officers and a small group of Boy Scouts provided security to honor Howard Hughes and his around-the-world flying feat. The highlight of the 30-minute ceremony was to rename the airport, now William P. Hobby Airport, after the aviator, The Howard Hughes Airport (the name was changed back after people objected to naming the airport after a living person)

The local heroes welcome continued in a 10-mile parade that proceeded along Telephone, Leeland, Main, Congress, Fannin and Texas, and completing at the Rice Hotel. The size of the crowd was estimated at 200,000 on Main Street, which was similar in scope to the parade down Broadway when New York staged its own festivities for Hughes and his crew. That night he spent some time with family and friends at his boyhood home off Yoakum. The following day, Hughes left Houston en route to his second home in Los Angeles


Capt. Eddie Rickenbacker flew Mayor Fonville and five Eastern Airlines officials on the inaugural flight of the new passenger and mail service connecting Houston, New Orleans, and San Antonio


Houston becomes the first port in the South and the third in the nation

Houston ranked first in Texas in, among other things, population, new and total car registration, telephone connections, number of electric meters and appliances, number of gas meters, school enrollment, and newspaper circulation

Houston's Port recorded 3,078 ship arrivals, along with a combined barge and ship freight of 28,174,710 tons

A WPA survey showed that almost 80 percent of the vehicles entering the downtown area were private cars carrying 72 percent of the people entering. Buses and streetcars represented 2 percent of the vehicles, but carried only 15 percent of the people

January 2

Oscar Holcombe took office for his seventh term as mayor


Harris County voters approved a $500,000 bond issue for a flood control and drainage program that would ultimately cost $23,000,000


Formal dedication of Houston's first municipal swimming pool is held at Stude Park

May 27

The University of Houston moved to its new campus, occupying its first building on the St. Bernard Street and received a WPA grant of $553,284 to fund a heating plant and other improvements

A ruling: Houston wins the right to control a 25,000 foot wide strip of land along the ship channel for 20 miles from the city limits coupled with state laws granting surrounding cities nearly unrestricted authority to annex

The City Hall was built by the WPA


Houston ranked twenty-first in the nation with population of 384,514. It was a 31.5 percent increase over 1930, and the black population was now 86,302. Houston also had registered 170,000 motor vehicles

Ship arrivals fell to 2,809, but freight tonnage remained near the 1939 level with 27,385,589 tons

Five steamship lines discontinued service to Houston, as the war disrupted shipping

Building permits worth $24,253,888 were issued

The city possessed a $22,000,000 public school system with 2,250 teachers, 74,000 students, and 115 buildings. All facilities were segregated

February 20

A board of army engineers and Federal representatives announced approval of a $32,000,000 Harris County's flood control plan


The first diesel locomotive of the Houston Belt and Terminal Railroad is placed in service


The bus system replaces a 60-year tradition of street cars. An agreement was reached between the city and the Houston Electric Company for abandoning streetcar lines and inaugurating an all-bus transit system

June 9

The last electric streetcar to operate in Houston completed its final run

July 21

With all appropriation of $585,000 from the U.S. Housing Authority, local authorities began a second low-rent project in Houston, San Felipe Courts. It was inspired by a survey which revealed 25,680 families living in substandard housing

October 16

The nation's first peacetime draft called 77,177 Harris County men to registration offices



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