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TIMELINE 1920 - 1930


Federal prohibition of alcoholic beverages begins

Houston's population reached 138,276, a jump of 75.5 percent since 1910. The city's black population was 33,960

Bank deposits per capita stood at $617, when the national average was $392

Houston now had 27,000 telephone customers

The Port of Houston recorded 165 ship arrivals and a combined barge and ship freight total of 1,210,204 tons. The latter figure was still well below pre-war levels

The local Houston chapter of the Klu Klux Klan was formed


General John J. Pershing is in Houston


Humble Oil and Refining Company has received the largest building permit ever issued in Houston. It is for a $1,200,000 building at the corner of Main and Polk


The silver service donated by the people by the people of Houston to the steamship "City of Houston" was presented to Capt. George E. White of the steamer by Mayor A. E. Amerman


Norman H. Ricker of Galveston invents paper cone loudspeaker, making possible high-fidelity sound production for radio, TV, and the talkies

Congress appropriated the funds to deepen the channel to 30 feet

Building permits passed the $10,000,000 mark, inaugurating an eight-year construction boom that left a new skyline in Houston


Houston's first "traffic cops" were deployed to alleviate traffic congestion


Oscar F. Holcombe became mayor of Houston

June 20

Hal Block left Houston on the first all-air trip to New York, which took nineteen hours and forty-five minutes

August 21

State legislature was passed permitting the consolidation of the two administrative boards which had jurisdiction over the ship channel; the City Harbor Board and the Commissioners of the Harris County and Houston Ship Channel Navigation District. The two were consolidated, at their own request, into a five-man Board of Navigation and Canal Commissioners


Censors banned the showing of two films in a black theater, because black power boxer Jack Johnson acted in them with whites, and the advertising was "incendiary and inflammatory"


Six hundred longshoremen struck, delaying cotton shipments


Marshal Ferdinand Foch visits Houston

In a mammoth ceremony, 2,051 Houstonians were inducted into the Klu Klux Klan


Edith E. T. Wilmans is first woman elected to the Texas House of Representatives

Radio station WEV began broadcasting music and impromptu speeches for about 300 receivers

The Port registered 511 ship arrivals with a combined barge and ship freight of 3,365,644 tons

The zoo collection is moved from Sam Houston Park to Hermann Park

Fire horses were replaced by motorized equipment

Voters approved a $4,000,000 bond issue for harbor and channel improvements


Street Cars will be removed from Main to Fannin within a month to six weeks


W. L Macatee & Sons has received a new dump truck which can dump a load in 30 seconds


The new five-man Port Commission took office

Texan Eck Robertson becomes the first country musician on record with the fiddle tune " Sally Goodin"


Houston has 5 telephone exchanges through which 85,000 customers make approximately 300,000 calls per day


There were 1015 vessels which landed at the Port of Houston


"White primary law" excludes black citizens from the Democratic Party primary

Building permits amounted to nearly $20,000,000

Construction began on River Oaks, a thoroughly planned residential area for the city's elite

Houston's Port recorded 707 ship arrivals with a combined barge and ship freight of 4,815,119 tons

For two days, Houstonian Magdeline Williams held the world record for marathon dancing at sixty-five hours and twenty-nine minutes

January 29

The million-dollar Majestic Theatre was opened, and one month later Jan Paderewski performed there

Texas Composers Guild founded

Permian Basin oil and gas field discovered


Iganc Paderewski gives a concert at the city auditorium


Mayor Oscar Holcombe is banished from the K. K. K. for refusing to bow to their dictates


The Capitol Hotel is destroyed by fire


Miriam A. Ferguson elected first woman governor of Texas

The Houston public schools began to operate as an independent system controlled by an elected school board and supported by a separate tax base


Houstonians voted to abolish Jitney service


The bulk of the $1,000,000 estate of the late Howard R. Hughes, Sr. goes to his son, Howard R. Hughes, Jr. age 18 who is a student at Rice Institute

April 1

The sixteen-story Houston Cotton Exchange building was completed

April 12

The Houston Art League opened the Museum of Fine Arts


More than 32,000 children and 1150 teachers were back in school


The new Kinkaid School at Richmond and Graustark is opened

December 2

The Jefferson Davis charity hospital for blacks was dedicated

December 19

Houston was temporarily isolated by a sleet storm


The ship channel was now deepened to 30 feet, as the Port recorded 1,193 ship arrivals and a combined barge and ship freight of 9,932,731 tons

Building permits were issued with a record value of $35,041,000

Houston's first radio station to endure. KPRC (Houston Post-Dispatch), went on the air

The 4000-speciman animal collection at the Houston Zoo is attracting 10,000 visitors a year

March 1

The Warwick Hotel was opened on South Main Street

April 13

Annexations extended the city's surface area by 25 square miles


Hermann Hospital is opened for public inspection

Mrs. Niels Esperson and Harry E. Stuart, newspaper advertising man, are married at her apartment in the Beaconfield


The Sam Houston Monument is unveiled in Hermann Park


Margie Elizabeth Neal becomes the first woman in Texas Senate

Forty-two steamship lines made Houston a port of call, and passengers could connect with one of the eighteen rail-lines that serviced the city

The sixteen-story Medical Arts Building, a Gothic structure was completed


Houston is linked with San Antonio, Ft. Worth, Dallas, Oklahoma City, and Kansas City by means of the fastest sending and receiving apparatus known--telegraphic typewriters


A new 110 acre park is to be opened from Hermann Park to Wayside Drive and to be named McGregor Park

June 19

The Negro Hospital, a gift of J. S. Cullinan, was dedicated

July 1

A 1,000,000,000 bushel-capacity public grain elevator opened

October 18

The Houston Public Library opened its new $500,000 Spanish Renaissance structure


Houston became part of an airmail route

Shepps Aces women's basketball team from Texas wins the national AAU championship-held by Texas teams for the first four years of the competition


"Alley Ooop" cartoon strip conceived by V. T. Hamlin while working in the oil fields near Iran, Texas

Houston Colored Junior College was organized as part of the city's school system. It was the forerunner of Texas Southern University (1951)

Eight refineries, with a capacity of about 125,000 barrels of crude a day, were operating along the ship channel

The Port of Houston recorded 1,787 ship arrivals with a combined barge and ship freight of 12,000,414 tons

The twenty-two-story Petroleum Building, an office structure which featured a Mayan motif, was opened


The $4,000,000, 32 story Niels Esperson building is opened to the public


Mrs. Edwin L. Neville has given the Rice Institute $100,000 for a chapel in memory of her brother, Edward Albert Palmer


Loews State Theater opens


Mayor Holcombe supplied jobs for the unemployed, paying $1.50 a day on municipal projects

Almost $35,000,000 worth of new construction contracts were signed

Buffalo Stadium, a $400,000 baseball park, was opened

February 6

Air Mail Service is inaugurated when a bi-plane landed, carrying Houston's first airmail delivery

March 2

The municipal airport was officially opened


Robert Powell, a twenty-four-old black, was lynched for allegedly murdering a policeman. Two men who were eventually tried for the lynching were acquitted, though they had signed a confession

June 27

With the Democratic National Convention meeting at Sam Houston Hall, Franklin Delano Roosevelt placed Alfred Smith's name in nomination for the presidency

Texas becomes the nation's greatest oil producing state, with a quarter-billion barrels for the year


King Vidor directs Hallelujah!, starring Victoria Spivey of Houston

Walter E. Monteith became mayor of Houston

Ship arrivals totaled 2,052, while combined barge and ship freight tonnage was 13,917,953

Houston's ratio of wholesale-retail to manufacturing employees was 1:0.7, while the national ratio was 1:1.3. This emphasized the fact that the city was still a commercial-distributive center rather than a manufacturing one

Jesse H. Jones finished the thirty-five -story Gulf Building

City officials rejected the parks and zoning recommendations developed in a two-year study, and the city remained, as it long would, unzoned

The City Planning Commission reported that the transit system had increased passenger numbers by 10 percent in five years, but that the city's population had increased by 60 percent. Houston was already committed to mass transit via the automobile rather than any planned public transit system

Building permits totaling a record $35,320,000 were issued


Capt. Frank Hawks of Houston sets a new record of 18 hours, 21 minutes for West-East transcontinental non-stop airplane flight

June 1

Houston has a serious flood with Buffalo Bayou rising at the rate of 1 inch every 5 minutes, causing millions of dollars in damage

The Houston Port Bureau , a solicitation and promotion agency with offices in New York and other major cities, began operations


Sears, Roebuck & Company's new $1,000,000 retail department store on the corner of Buffalo Dr. and Lincoln Street is opened

October 29

Black Tuesday: the stock market crashes


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



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