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TIMELINE 1900 - 1910


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


January 10

Oil was discovered near Beaumont, Texas. This, the famous Spindletop discovery, began the city's development as an oil shipping and processing center and soon had Houston advertising itself as "The Gateway to Beaumont." Anthony Lucas' gusher at Spindletop, near Beaumont, was only 90 miles northeast of Houston.


The first automobile arrives in Houston. It belongs to the Left Hand Fishing Club. It is from the Olds Motor Works of Detroit and is registered to make a maximum speed of 40 miles per hour.

May 3

President William McKinley delivered a speech in Houston

A refinery is built in the Heights and about 50 industrial plants in Houston are converted to oil-fueled energy systems



The biggest independent oil refinery in the world is located in Houston. The Southwestern Oil Company will be turning out 1000 barrels of oil a day by April 1st

Reform mayor O. T. Holt took office. He found the city's books in such disarray that sufficient data for a financial statement was unavailable. Independent auditors discovered a shortage of over $54,000 for the period 1899-1902

Primary due to the work of Representative Thomas H. Ball, Congress appropriated $1,000,000 for work on the Buffalo Bayou ship channel

The Houston Labor and Trades Council was chartered by the American Federation of Labor as a clearing house for local unions


Capt. James Lawlor of the Rice Hotel has completed an expenditure of $15,000 in providing Turkish bath rooms

March 13

A $280,000 sewer system was opened for the city's use. It satisfied the government engineer's demands for protection against pollution in Buffalo Bayou


Within the past year, the number of Chinese in Houston has decreased from forty-three to twenty-seven


Houston possessed twenty-six miles of paved streets, but only six of asphalt and one of macadam

A building boom inspired by oil development gives Houston a higher skyline


The Houston Fire Department is the first paid fire department in any city in the world to go out on strike for higher wages


A smallpox epidemic caused panic when municipal and county authorities quarreled about financial and regulatory responsibilities and failed to enforce measures to halt the disease. It was over by March

April 1

T. Brady became the first automobile driver arrested for a traffic violation. He was fined $10 for exceeding the six miles per hour speed limit


The city council ordered separate compartments on street cars for blacks and whites. A temporary boycott by black customers and some stone throwing resulted

Julia Ideson is chosen as librarian for the new Carnegie Library


Houston has quarantined against Laredo and San Antonio. Every precaution has been taken by the city and county authorities to protect against an infection of yellow fever in this locality


A medical expert tested the Bayou water and found the bacteria level at 161,000 per cubic centimeter, when the safe level was 500 per cubic centimeter


Andrew L. Jackson was elected mayor

Houston adopted a city poll tax of $2.50, eliminating 7,500 mostly black voters from the electorate

Army engineers decided to shift the head of the ship channel from Main Street to Long Reach (now within Houston city limits)


Municipal officials moved into a new City Hall

April 29

Construction began on the Houston-to-Galveston electric interurban line


A new City Charter is granted by the State Legislature

May 3

Streetcar workers went on strike, bringing scattered violence until it was settled in October


Jesse Jones opens a lumber company and is awarded the contract to furnish the lumber for the Texas Building at the Louisiana Purchase Exposition in St. Louis

November 6

An oil strike at the "Moonshine" well, near Humble, is brought in, opening the first major field in Harris County

December 10

Houston voters approved the commission form of municipal government for the city


Oil is discovered seventeen miles north of Houston in the Humble Oil Field in northern Harris County

The Texas legislature approved a new charter which included the commission form of government

March 3

An act of Congress fixed the head of the ship channel at Long Reach


The first oil pipeline reached Houston from the Humble fields

July 5

H. Baldwin Rice became Houston's mayor

July 18

Mayor Rice toured the sewage system installed in 1902 and found it sadly deficient, processing about one-half the sewage. Part of the system had become a lake, complete with birds, snakes and alligators


City commissioners enforce a difficult city ordinance which forbids men " to make goo-goo-eyes" at or otherwise flirt publicly with ladies

Two Sections of the Ship Channel have been completed

December 30

Carrie Nation, the temperance leader, brings her crusade against sin to prosperous Houston, which at the time was conducting its own cleanup. She appeared at a saloon named after her and did $750 worth of damage to make clear she wanted the name changed. It was done


The Goose Creek Oil Field in eastern Harris County is discovered

Some 30 oil companies and 7 banks open offices in Houston

February 10

A repairman in the Fifth Ward discovered five live catfish in the water main, an amazing find, since the Water Company claimed to be providing artesian water

April 1

Members of the commission form of government took office, bringing a notable measure of efficiency and competence to municipal administration


The city purchased the plant and properties of the Houston Water Company and service improved markedly

The war on mosquitoes will be inaugurated next week and every ditch in the city will be given a coating of oil


Houston's Wireless Station is opened as one of the four in the state

September 3

Work was begun on the Turning Basin for the ship channel

Construction of the city's 1st "skyscrapers" begins with a building 8 stories high


Mayor Rice recommends that the city purchase an automobile to be used as a police car for speeders



Prof. F. C. McLean of New York demonstrates the telegraph at Rice Hotel


The Macatee Hotel is opened


The city council began a program of traffic control with regulations on vehicle registration, night driving, etc.

September 2

Four blocks in the Fifth Ward were destroyed by fire

December 1

Fire destroys the block bounded by Main, Fannin, Congress, and Preston. Damage is estimated at nearly half a million dollars. The city's most valuable downtown buildings were destroyed. The loss included the Federal Court records


The Goose Creek oil area began production. There were thirty wells by year's end, and the area would produce 60,000,000 barrels by 1930


The Daughters of the Confederacy unveil the statue named the "Spirit of the Confederacy" in Sam Houston Park

City Council sets a speed limit of eight miles per hour for Houston streets


The Houston Settlement Association opened a settlement house

June 21

The YMCA was formally opened

August 8

Work was finished on the Turning Basin, which measured 600 feet in diameter at the bottom

August 10

The U.S. revenue cutter Windom became the first ship to traverse the 18 1/2 foot deep ship channel constructed between 1902 and 1908


The New Temple Beth Israel is dedicated at the corner of Crawford and Lamar. Congregation Beth Israel was founded in 1854


Houston now possessed 249 manufacturing establishments with an invested capital of $16,594,000. They employed 5,338 workers and paid annual salaries and wages of $4,254,000

The police department began using motorcycles to enforce speed ordinances

Magnolia park was annexed to the city

January 18

At a meeting of prominent Houstonians, including Thomas Ball and Mayor Rice. It was decided to attempt the creation of a Navigation District to push forward channel improvements. State legislation this same year permitted the creation of such bodies, empowering them to issue bonds to finance their work


With the installation of the Bertillon system of identification of criminals, Houston now has a complete system of criminal identification equal to that used in New York, London and Paris


The first local party of automobiles to successfully make a trip from Houston to Galveston and return in a single day made the run on Sunday, leaving at 6 o'clock in the morning and returning about 9 o'clock in the evening


The city authorities desire to have the motorcycle squad appointed deputy sheriffs for the purpose of following speeding automobiles into the country beyond the city limits. By the use of speedometers, the officers will be able to give testimony as to the exact speed of the machine he was following


The Houston Post sponsored a 535-mile cross country race to inspire better country roads for car travel

October 23

President William H. Taft spoke to Houstonians from the balcony of the Rice Hotel


Mayor Rice led a Houston delegation to Washington to press the idea of a 25 foot deep ship channel. They proposed, and Congress accepted, a unique funding system, whereby the federal government and the Navigation District would share the cost equally. This cost-sharing plan set a precedent often followed in the future


Houston's population stood at 78,800 Houstonians compared to 39,000 Galvestonians. This represented a 76.4 percent increase over 1900. The city's black population was 23,929

Almost 1,300,000 tons of freight passed over the city's wharves in Bayou trade. The goods, valued at nearly $37,500,000 were dominated by cotton, lumber, oil, and rice

Houston bank deposits amounted to $370 per capita when the national average was $194

The importance of the cotton industry to Houston was emphasized by the presence of six oil mills, seven compresses, twelve cotton warehouses, and forty-seven cotton factors

February 18

Houston's first airplane demonstration was given by Louis Paulham, a French aviator


The work of placing street signs on each of the four corners of the downtown and principal residential streets has commenced


Ground was broken for Rice Institute's first building

July 4

Racial tensions ran high as Houstonians awaited the results of the heavyweight prize fight between black Houstonian Jack Johnson and Jim Jefferies in Reno, Nevada. Johnson's victory sparked some punching, but no riots as in other major cities


Union Railroad Station was opened


"Carter's folly," a 16-story skyscraper, was completed to the amazement of local residents

The popularity of movies prompted the creation of a Board of Censors

December 1

A new $500,000 post office was opened



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