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TIMELINE 1890 - 1900


James Stephen Hogg elected governor of Texas

Henry Scherffius became mayor

Lawyer John Henry Kirby moved to Houston from Tyler County and bought a big Victorian frame house at Smith and Gray. Kirby remodeled the house and turned it into the brick and stone mansion that still stands on the site. Kirby was a Democrat and some of the strategy for the 1928 Democratic National Convention was worked out in meetings in this house. He won some cases for forest owners and then went into the timber business himself, on a big scale

The Census gave Texas a population of more than two million. Seven counties had more people than Harris County. Houston's population was 27,557, three times that of 1870. Galveston had 29,084

Nebraska banker O. M. Carter came to Houston and bought up the two trolley systems then operating in the city. The cars were still being drawn by mules but Carter changed that. He consolidated the lines, formed the Houston City Street Railway Company, and put electric trolley in service in 1891. This made it possible for Carter to promise and deliver trolley service to Houston Heights, started the same year by Carter and the Omaha and South Texas Land Company. Twelve rail lines were operating in and out of the city by this time and Houston was the most important rail center in the state

After Charles Morgan died, the federal government bought the Morgan channel across Morgan's Point and eliminated the tolls. It was a plus for Houston but the bigger ships still had to stop at Galveston. The Southern Pacific acquired Morgan's rail line and the docks at Clinton

Houston's industry included 160 plants employing 5,000 workers on a payroll of over $2,000,000

The Sweeney and Coombs Opera House (Prince Theater) was opened. Actually a theater, it housed performances by Sarah Bernhardt, Maude Adams, and James Hackett among others

South Houston was annexed to the city

January 6

Prominent Houston and Galveston businessmen met at the Tremont Hotel in Galveston for the Deep Water Meeting where strategy was outlined for gaining channel improvements


The Houston Clearing House was established by five national banks in the city

September 19

The National Rivers and Harbors Act called for a pre-purchase evaluation of Morgan's improvement on the ship channel


William M. Rice returns to Houston from New York City

The Houston Gas Light Company sold the Houston Electric Light and Power to Citizens' Electric Light and Power Company

Pasadena and Houston Heights were annexed to the city


President Benjamin Harrison visited Houston briefly

May 18

William Marsh Rice donated $200,000 in a trust fund for the development of a library and school for the white inhabitants of Houston. Rice wanted to establish an educational institution in Houston " for the advancement of literature, science and art

May 20

A fire started at the Phoenix Lumber Mill in the Fifth Ward and swept through twenty acres of urban property, in part because faulty fire fighting equipment could throw a water stream only about twelve feet

June 12

The first electric streetcar was placed in operation. O. M. Carter consolidated the lines, formed the Houston City Street Railway Company, and put electric trolley in service. This made it possible for Carter to promise and deliver trolley service to Houston Heights, started the same year by Carter and the Omaha and South Texas Land Company. Twelve rail lines were operating in and out of the city by this time and Houston was the most important rail center in the state

Houston is the first city in the state to have electric streetcars


John T. Browne was elected mayor

The development of the area known as the "Houston Heights" begins across the Buffalo Bayou from the original Allen Brothers downtown Houston

Construction began on the city's first black high school

The federal government finally completed the deal to take over the Morgan-financed channel improvements, and the infamous chain at Morgan's Point was removed


George H Hermann donates a site near the embryonic Rice Institute for a charitable hospital, which will become Hermann Hospital

Perceptive Houstonians began complaining about pollution in Buffalo Bayou. No action was taken

The five-story Kiam Building was a showplace when it was finished. It was build for Kiam's Clothiers. Sakowitz occupied this building from 1918 until 1928. The Kiam Building had the first electric elevator in town

Christ Church Cathedral, an Episcopal structure in medieval Gothic style was built on Texas Avenue

Deer Park was annexed to the city


The Magnolia Brewery is opened


The city had several packing houses and manufacturing plants. Barbed wire, brick, tile, cigars, textiles, carriages, wagons, and beer were some of the products being made in Houston

September 1

Labor Day was celebrated locally for the first time

October 16

A $500,000 fire practically destroyed an entire city block, killing two. Faulty water service made combating the blaze difficult


A chapter of the Daughters of the Confederacy was founded


William Sydney Porter who's pen name is "O Henry" joins the Houston Post staff, writing a column entitled " Some Postscripts"

Houston created a paid fire department

The Houston Business League was founded. In 1910, it would become the Chamber of Commerce, which still exists

The National convention of Confederate veterans is held in the city

Long distance telephone service was instituted


Concern over pollution in Buffalo Bayou was heightened by comments from Maj. A. M. Miller who had inspected the channel. He stated that the federal government would not clean sewage from the Bayou, and that the city would to do so, if it expected federal aid for channel improvements


An investigation by the Houston District Medical Association revealed that about a dozen privies, a smallpox graveyard, a dead cow, a cotton-oil mill, and cattle yards all polluted the city's emergency water supply from Buffalo Bayou. Since this water was used to fight fires, it flowed through the same mains as the city's drinking water


Mrs. Charlotte M. Allen, wife of A. C. Allen, one of the founders of Houston, dies


Jacob Binz completed construction of the city's first skyscraper, a six-story $60,000 structure. The corner of Main and Texas was one of the busiest intersections in town when Jacob Binz built this distinguished office building. This was the first six-story building in Houston. It still stands but it has been remodeled and five floors have been added


H. Baldwin Rice was elected the city's mayor

Galveston now had twenty-five of water at its jetties and could accommodate ocean-going vessels. Houston, therefore, had to obtain deep water capacity or face the prospect of Galveston dominating Gulf Coast commerce

Representative Joseph C. Hutcheson (Houston) introduced a bill in Congress requesting the survey of a twenty-five foot channel all the way to Houston. The bill was passed in 1897


Ignace Jan Paderewski plays before an audience of thousands in Houston


Cotton firms with local offices numbered 33, and the 1,003,473 bales of cotton shipped made Houston possibly the world's largest cotton market


Congressmen from the Rivers and Harbors Committee visited Houston to investigate the possibility for a deep-water channel and were favorably impressed

January 20

William Jennings Bryan delivered an address in the city


A board of government engineers, headed by Col. Henry Marty Robert (author, Robert's Rules of Order), met in Houston and estimated that a channel from Houston to Bolivar Roads, 100 feet wide and 25 feet deep, would cost $4,000,000 with annual maintenance fees of $100,000

Houston Electric Street Railway workers called a successful one-day strike


The Florence Crittenden Home for the care of unwed mothers was opened.

August 31

Businesswomen led by Nette Bryan founded the Working Women's Association


Houston's first asphalt street paving was laid on Franklin Avenue

Houston's first "horseless carriage" is demonstrated on Main Street

Houston is the first city in Texas to have automobiles


Samuel H. Brashear became mayor of Houston

Citizens' Electric Light and Power went into receivership

May 4

The Light Guards and the Emmet Rifles leave for Austin for service in the Spanish-American War

May 15

The Milkmen's Protective Association was formed. Other groups to unionize this year included the butchers, cooks, and waiters

May 30

In the evening, Col. Teddy Roosevelt and a trainload of his Rough riders stopped for six hours in Houston, where they found the local fighting spirit well aroused


The city council appropriated $200 a month for the Lyceum Library on the condition that $150 be used to purchase books and the library to be free to the public

The first city park was established. The Sam Houston Park, bound by Bagby, Walker, and Dallas, where the Harris County Heritage Society's old houses are now. There was a small zoo when this was the only park in the city

Jesse Holman Jones moved to Houston from Dallas. He went into the lumber business, then into building, then into banking and real estate, and became the most influential citizen in town

Paul Bremond's Houston East and West Texas Narrow Gauge Railroad became part of the Southern Pacific System

March 3

Congress approved, in principle, improvements which would provide the ship channel with deep water

September 18

New York's Andrew Carnegie offered a $50,000 endowment for a library, if the city would provide a site and maintain the building. The Carnegie Free Library opened in March 1904

November 15

The first local chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution was organized


John D. Woolford was elected mayor

Houston's population was 44,683, including 14,608 blacks

Bank deposits amounted to $118 per capita, while the U.S. national average was 4117 per capita

Local industry featured 210 manufacturing establishments which produced goods valued at $6,832,943. Wearing apparel, iron and metal products, heavy machinery, foods, and printing materials were the principle products

Plumbers, carpenters, and building trades unionists all engaged in successful strikes

Telephone customers now numbered 2,017

February 8

A stenographers union was founded with 400 members


Paderewski appears before a large Houston audience at the opera-house


William M. Rice, founder of Rice Institute, is murdered at his home in New York City at the age of 65

September 8-9

Galveston Island is devastated by a hurricane with winds in excess of 100 miles per hour and 15 foot tidal waves, 5,000 die and thousands are left homeless, Houston receives winds of 60 miles per hour and sustains mainly property damage. Refugees from Galveston began streaming into the city of Houston for relief

Thomas Edison visits Galveston Island to record the aftermath of the nations worst natural disaster and film one of his 1st newsreels



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