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TIMELINE 1980 - 1990


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


Kathryn J. Whitmire elected first woman mayor of Houston

April 12

The first reusable spacecraft, NASA's shuttle Columbia, launches on a successful maiden voyage with astronauts John Young and Robert L. Crippen of Porter piloting

John Kolius of Seabrook is the U.S. Yacht Racing Union's Champion of Champions

Nolan Ryan of Refugio and the Houston Astros becomes the first man in history to pitch five no-hitters in the major leagues


Braniff Airlines of Dallas files bankruptcy petition

One-fifth of Houston's new housing units were within a thirty-minute drive of the Post Oak area at peak driving periods

Houston launches comprehensive regional mobility plan. More than $1 billion a year is budgeted for new roads, freeway expansions, transit ways and toll roads

"Ninfa," a musical based on the life of restaurateur Ninfa Laurenzo, opens in Houston

Death of singer Lightnin' Hopkins of Houston

Mark White, Democrat, elected governor

Sugar Babies, co-starring Ann Miller of Chireno and Houston with Mickey Rooney, closes on Broadway after 1,208 performances

Jennifer Holiday of Houston wins the Tony Award as best actress in a musical for Dreamgirls, and Tommy Tune of Houston wins his third Tony--this time as director of the Broadway musical Nine

Texas exported a record 1,263,412,000 barrels of oil


August 18

Alicia, the most expensive hurricane in U.S. history, hits Galveston and Houston


Business and community leaders create the Houston Economic Development Council to help diversify and expand Houston's economy

January 26

In his state of the Union address, President Reagan directs NASA to build a permanently occupied space station with in a decade. NASA estimates the price tag at $8 billion

The average number of business bankruptcy filings increased from the twenty-five a month in 1980 to ninety-three a month; a number of these bankruptcies involved firms worth more than $200 million


Houston had about 159.2 million square feet of office space, with 133 million square feet in multi-tenant buildings, which was reportedly the third largest amount for any city in the U. S.

Houston Natural Gas merged with InterNorth of Omaha, Nebraska, forming one of the largest natural gas, energy trading and electric utilities conglomerates in the United States, named Enron


Oil prices collapse to less than $10 barrel. Houston was the hardest hit of all the Texas cities by the recession because its economy was so tied to the oil industry

January 1

The shuttle Challenger explodes moments after launch, killing its seven member crew in the worlds space disaster

The annual number of bankruptcies increased to 1,618, substantially more than the number for 1984 and 1985

Building permits dropped from a seasonally adjusted rate of $251 million in 1982 to $64 million

During the first week of June a major office building and a major hotel were among the 2,500 Houston area properties repossessed by banks and other lenders. For the entire year a total of 25,602 properties were foreclosed upon

The Lillie and Hugh Roy Cullen Sculpture Garden at The Museum of Fine Arts was created by internationally renowned sculptor Isamu Noguchi. It is the setting for major works by the 19th and 20th century sculptors

The Fortune 500 list eleven Houston companies with combined sales of $54.1 billion


Foreclosures hit a major office building and hotel among the 2,500 Houston area properties reposessed by banks and other lenders. For an entire year, a total of 25,602 properties were forclosed upon


A total of 3,047 residential and commercial properties were posted for foreclosure at the Family Law Center in downtown Houston. Posted foreclosures included major hotels, such as the Westchase Hilton and the French-owned Meridian, and major shopping centers, such as the 100-store Town and Country Village. About 90 percent of the foreclosures involved 2,742 residential properties. Over 80 percent were homes in upper-income neighborhoods, whow owners lost their high paying jobs in the oil collapse. This pace set a new record for the city

The Texas Medical Center demolished the Shamrock Hotel

Eleven banks failed in Houston in the first nine months, the largest number since the Great Depression. The most dramatic of the bank failures was that of the First City Bank corporations. It received a $1 billion bailout by the FDIC, the second largest bank rescue in FDIC history

George R. Brown Convention Center, Wortham Center and the Menil Collection open in Houston, enhancing the city's cultural tourism and convention amenities

Since its opening, the Gus S. Wortham Theatre Center has been an internationally known success story. Conceived to house the rapidly growing Houston Grand Opera and Houston Ballet, the performing arts center was founded entirely by the private sector during Houston's economic downturn. The City of Houston donated the site; foundations and Houston corporations gave over 75 percent of the $75 million needed for the total project; individual donations donated the remainder. The acoustically excellent Wortham Center is the cornerstone of Houston's Theatre District, which includes the Alley Theatre, Jones Hall and the Music Hall

The Menil Collection, ranks among the greatest private art collections in the world. Assembled by French-born art patrons and philanthropists John and Dominique de Menil over a 40-year period, the museum consists of more than 15,000 paintings, sculptures, objects, prints, photographs and books

While oil prices rebounded from $10-$12 per barrel, the $38 level reached in 1981 was not likely to recur

Houstonian and real estate developer, J. R. McConnell, whose creditors forced him into Chapter 11 after he reached a combined debt around $500 million was accused of swindling investors. McConnell was indicted on charges and committed suicide a year later in his Harris County jail cell


Average afternoon peak-period freeway speed has improved by nearly 20 percent over the period from 1982 to 1988

September 29

Americans return to space aboard the shuttle Discovery, after a 32-month absence in the wake of the challenger accident

German-born Christoph Eschenbach became the Symphony's music director, having previously earned a distinguished international reputation as a concert pianist and conductor of the major orchestras of Europe and North America

August 7

Congressman Mickey Leland was killed in a plane crash over Ethiopia. State Senator Craig Washington won the special election to succeed Leland in the district originally represented by Barbara Jordan

August 25

Defense attorney Percy Foreman died at the age of 86

December 26

Flamboyant wildcatter Glenn McCarthy died at the age of 81


From 1984 to 1989, Houston made the greatest improvement in mobility of all major U.S. cities

Katy, Texas native, Clint Black, spent the better part of a decade working as a solo singer-songwriter in Houston nightclubs and restaurants before his career took off with the album Killin' Time

Houston's Justice Records was founded by lawyer Randall Jamail and has become one of the most respected new jazz-oriented labels in the country, with a roster that includes Herb Ellis, Kellye Gray, Sebastion Whittaker and the late Emily Remler

The Sam Houston and Hardy Toll Roads accommodated 37.5 million passengers

Houston's unemployment rate dropped below the national average

October 23

The Phillips 66 plant in Pasadena resembles a war zone after flammable gases spewed from a reactor and exploded, killing 23 workers and injuring 130


The Houston Ship Channel, a 50-mile inland waterway, connects Houston with the sea lanes of the world. Its turning basin is six miles east of Houston's central business district. Most of the Channel has a minimum width of 400 feet and a depth at mean low tide of 40 feet

Located on more than 680 acres, the value of Texas Medical Center buildings completed or under construction is about $7 billion

$479 million in Health Care research was conducted in the Texas Medical Center

Texas Medical Center's operating budget was over $4 billion

Texas Medical Center's employment was approximately 51,000, and some 12,000 students attended institutions there

Houston host the 16th annual Economic Summit of Industrialized Nations

Fiscal Houston Customs District collections of $465.5 million ranked 12th nationally

Harris County ranked fifth among U. S. counties in value of shipments of manufactured products ($21.4 billion)



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