Houston History
Decades   LegacyCitizensPreservationCommunityHouston Voices
The Decades
a chronology from 1836
Our Legacy
stories of our past
Great Citizens
making a difference
historical landmarks
Our Community
join us
Houston Voices

TIMELINE 1970 - 1980


Houston's population stood at 1,213,064, which was an increase of 29.3 percent over 1960. The population figure for the five-county metropolitan area was 1,958,491, an increase of 38.1 percent over 1960

Houston recorded 287 murders

Over 8,500,000 square feet of floor space was either under construction or projected, not including two announced redevelopment projects

Rothko Chapel was opened as an ecumenical chapel to house the last great works of Mark Rothko


Arman Yramategui, conservationist and head of the Burke Baker Planetarium, is shot to death

January 18

After a federal pollution panel inspected the ship channel, one of its members termed the waters "too thick to drink and too thin to plow"

February 28

The school board voted four to three to institute voluntary integration measures which would meet federal court recommendations. Angry parents formed two organizations to oppose the board's action, and economic reprisals were taken against board members Drs. Robbins and Oser

April 17

Apollo 13 astronauts Jim Lovell, John Swigert and Fred Haise return safely days after an explosion 200,000 miles from Earth crippled their spacecraft and nearly cost them their lives

April 25

The Texas Eastern Transmission Corporation announced the purchase of the major portion of thirty-two city blocks in the downtown area for over $55,000,000. The corporation planned to spend about $1.5 billion to develop the area

June 1

The Federal District Court ordered Houston to drop its freedom-of-choice integration plan and adopt a zoning system. Complete faculty integration was ordered as well


One Shell Plaza, the tallest building in Houston, is opened.

July 11

President Richard M. Nixon proposed to Congress a sophisticated traffic control system for the ship channel, which had an average of three to four minor collisions a month

July 19

The Justice Department asked the U.S. Appeals Court to order Houston to pair and group 101 schools to achieve greater desegregation

July 26

One white SDS member and three blacks were wounded in a gun battle with police after a rally by People's Party 2, a Black Panther-like organization. Party Chairman C. Hampton died of his wounds the following day


Houston received a Model Cities grant of $13 million for the first five years of the Model Cities program

August 7

The Justice Department filed suit against the state education agency, the State Education Commissioner, and twenty-six school districts including Houston's, charging that they were continuing to operate segregated facilities. The suit contended that segregation involved Mexican-Americans as well as blacks

August 8

The Navigation District announced plans to build at Morgan's Point a new container port and turning basin which could accommodate ships of 800 feet or larger

September 5

Mexican-Americans opened a boycott of Houston's public schools and set up all-Mexican-American "hulga" schools. They demanded to be treated as a separate ethnic minority with special problems and not to be grouped with blacks or any other group

September 23

The grand jury cleared the police in the shooting death of C. Hampton, chairman of People's Party 2

October 4

Death of singer Janis Joplin of Port Arthur

November 2

A coalition of twelve liberal and radical groups accused the Houston Police Department of shielding two "night rider" members of the Ku Klux Klan who allegedly committed acts of terrorism and vandalism

The Texas legislature legalizes the sale of liquor by the drink



Texan astronaut Edgar D. Mitchell walks on the moon

The Houston Oaks Hotel in the Galleria is opened

January 18

The Sharpstown Bank Stock Fraud scandal is brought to light and rocks state government

Barbara Jordan is the first black elected to the U.S. House of Representatives from the South

Shell Oil Co. relocates corporate headquarters to Houston. More than 200 major firms move headquarters, subsidiaries and divisions here in the 1970's

One Shell Plaza opens

Gilbert Shelton of Houston publishes The Collected Freak Brothers cartoons

Houston Rockets professional basketball team formed


Hurricane Fern hits Houston, but does little damage


The Galleria opens

One Allen Center opens

The Hyatt Regency Hotel opens

Larry Blyden of Houston wins Tony Award for A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum


The first Annual Lunar Landing Festival and Ball are held

September 1

La Raza Unida holds its first national convention

Frances "Sissy" Farenthold moves to Houston and teaches at TSU Law School after losing her bid for the governor's seat.

December 14

Americans astronauts Eugene Cernan and Harrison Schmitt blast off from the moon, the last humans to visit the lunar surface


January 23

Death of Lyndon Baines Johnson

1100 Milam Building opens

Constitutional Convention writes new organic law, which is rejected by the voters

Texas Monthly begins publication

January 22

George Foreman, 1968 Olympic gold medallist from Houston, knocks out Joe Frazier in the second round to become world heavyweight boxing champion


Luidmila Turischeva and Olga Korbut, Russian Olympic Gold meadalists, visit Houston

May 12

NASA launches Skylab, the third stage of a massive Saturn moon rocket converted into an orbital living space and laboratory. Skylab was occupied by three crews for a total of 171 days

Leon Jaworski of Houston appointed special prosecutor in the Watergate hearings that force the resignation of President Richard M. Nixon


Twenty-seven young boys are found to have been murdered by three Houston men in what will become know as the "Houston Mass Murders"

August 2

The Famed Chicken Ranch at La Grange ceases operations, thanks to Channel 13 reporter Marvin Zindler's Investigative Report

September 20

In their so-called "battle of the sexes,'' tennis star Billie Jean King beat Bobby Riggs in straight sets, 6-4, 6-3, 6-3, at the Houston Astrodome


Voters of Houston reaffirmed their preference for the automobile by defeating a referendum to create the Houston Mass Transit Authority. Only 3 percent of the city's residents rode buses and the proposal went down by a three to one vote



Fred Hofheinz, son of the former county judge and mayor, moved into the mayor's office. He was the first mayor in the city's history to deal with affirmative action requirements, and he appointed the first women's advocate, Dr. Nikki Van Hightower. Among his accomplishments were construction of an international air terminal at Houston Intercontinental Airport, and completion of the Central Library

Former Mayor Louie Welch becomes President of The Houston Chamber of Commerce

The Super Bowl is held at Rice Stadium between the Miami Dolphins and the Minnesota Vikings


President Nixon visits Houston


The Houston Aeros Hockey team wins the W. H. A. championship


Elmer Wayne Henley is convicted of slaying six of the Mass Murder victims

July 25

Congresswoman Barbara Jordan of Houston delivers her famous " We the People" speech on the U.S. Constitution and impeachment

Two Houston Center opens

August 3

A prison siege at Huntsville comes to a bloody conclusion

Big Thicket National Preserve established

November 1

Halloween changed forever in a deadly treat case that left a mark on the nation when Ronald Clark O'Bryan of Pasadena kills his 8-year old son with cyanide-laced candy after a night of trick-or-treating, for $20,000 in insurance money earning the nickname the "Candy Man"


First Texas Public Utilities Commission established

The Houston Public Library opens

Houston became the fifth largest city, and by some estimates the fastest growing city, in the nation

The city had six television stations, 30 radio stations, and two daily papers and five major weekly publications, about 1,750 churches, 260 municipal parks, 142 banks, hotel rooms for 24,000 guests, 32 interstate truck lines, six major railroads and two switching lines, 1,350 miles of industrial pipeline between some 140 major chemical and petroleum plants, and 1,634,942 motor vehicle registrations--of which 1,149,362 were automobiles

The Pennzoil Towers were nearing completion. Developer for the project--and for One and Two Shell Plaza-- was Gerald Hines

The Rice Hotel closed and reopen, for a short time, as the Rice Rittenhouse Hotel

First performance of Scott Joplin opera Treemonisha by the Houston Grand Opera and Ballet

Death of "Poppa" Don Robey, music producer from Houston

Death of W. O. "Lefty" Frizzell, singer from Corsicana


President Ford comes to Houston


Henry Kissinger visits Houston

May 13

Death of Bob Wills, musician from Turkey, Texas

July 15th to 24th

Cold war tensions between the U.S. and Soviet Union thaw long enough for the two super-powers to meet in Earth orbit. Apollo and Soyuz spacecraft dock for two days. Visions of new cooperation soon dissolve as hostilities between the two nuclear powers resume


Miss Ima Hogg, premier patronness of the Arts and daughter of the late Governor James Stephen Hogg, dies at the age of 93 while on a trip to London


Yugoslavian President Tito and his wife visit the Manned Spacecraft Center and the Texas Medical Center


Egyptian President Anwar Sadat visits Houston

The Summit Sports Arena opens


Houston issued 28,251 building permits with a total value of $777,556,034. partly because the greater metropolitan area led the nation in total housing starts: 47,254

Retail sales in the area were also the highest in the south and southwest parts of the nation; banks had resources of over 16 billion dollars; foreign trade was over nine billion dollars in value; 43 nations maintained consular offices in the city; and eight banks had international exchange departments

Some 120 steamship lines and 90 tanker lines serve Port Houston, third largest in the U.S. in tonnage and second in terms of both value and foreign shipments. The port moved 90 million short tons of cargo, half of it to nearly 250 foreign ports from a local facility of over 100 wharves. In an average year 45,000 ships visit the port

One Houston Center opens

Pennzoil Place opens

First national tour of ZZ Top, Houston rock band

Charlie's Angels debuts on TV, produced by Aaron Spelling of Dallas and starring Farrah Fawcett of Corpus Christi and Jacklyn Smith of Houston

Death of Hondo Crouch, mayor of Luckenbach, Texas


The Houston Public Library moves into its new $11 million building in downtown Houston


The Goodpasture Grain Elevator explodes and burns at the Houston Ship Channel

An election is held to fill the Congressional seat of Bob Casey who was appointed to the Federal Maritime Commission


$35,000 is paid for the Grand Champion Steer at the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo


Famed billionaire Howard Hughes, Jr. dies enroute to Houston

The plans to renovate and restore the Esperson Building to its original beauty are announced

The Westheimer Independent School District starts proceedings to break away from the Houston Independent School District


French President Valery Giscard d'Estaing visits Houston

Ronald Reagan and Jimmy Carter win Texas' first Presidential primaries

An Ammonia tank truck explodes at the Loop 610-U. S. Highway 59 interchange killing four people and sending scores to the hospital


Chamizal agreement creates undisputed boundary between Texas and Mexico

CitiCorp Center (Two Allen Center) opens

Hofheinz left office as mayor

A plainspoken real estate developer/builder, Jim McConn left his city council slot to run for mayor. He served two terms and generally is credited for the initial conceptualization of the George R. Brown Convention Center. During his tenure, voters approved a referendum creating the Harris-Houston Metropolitan Transit Authority

The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas opens on the New York stage, created by Texans Larry L. King, Peter Masterson, Carol Hall, Tommy Tune, Carlin Glynn, and Craig Chambers

November 18

First National Women's Conference opens in Houston

Texas Instruments of Dallas introduces the first commercial bubble memory computer


Robert W. Wilson of Houston awarded the Nobel Prize in physics

The City of Houston opens Tranquility Park designed by architect Charles Tapley

The Farm Credit Bank Building (Federal Land Bank) opens

William P. Clements elected first Republican governor since 1870


Ixotoc I oil spill, the world's largest, washes onto Gulf Coast beaches

July 11

Long-abandoned Skylab re-enters Earth's atmosphere and disintegrates

Dallas and Houston city elections suspended by federal court order pending investigation of compliance with the Voting Rights Act


Ronald Reagan of California and George Bush of Houston, elected president and vice-president of the United States

Capital Bank Plaza (Three Allen Center) opens

Earl Campbell of Tyler and the Houston Oilers lead the National Football League in rushing for the third year in a row

Hotel Meridien opens



Our Vintage Sponsors

Copyright 2015 HoustonHistory.com. All rights reserved.