On this day in 1901, the Texas legislature proclaimed the bluebonnet the state flower. In the 1930s the state began a highway-beautification program that included scattering bluebonnet seed beside roadways, thus extending the flower's range. The flower-called in some Indian lore a gift from the Great Spirit-is the subject of countless photographs and paintings. It usually blooms in March and April.
On this day in 1923, an earthquake struck El Paso and resulted in the only death associated with a Texas quake when an adobe house collapsed on a man in neighboring Cuidad Juárez. Even though earthquakes are not common in the Lone Star State, more than 100 recorded tremors have occurred since 1847. Most have been of low magnitude and caused either by relief of tectonic stress along fault lines or by well injections connected with oil and gas field operations. Many of the quakes have hit West Texas and the Panhandle. One such occurrence in 1929 destroyed the hotel at Lobo in Culberson County, but the largest earthquake to shake Texas hit Valentine in Jeff Davis County in 1931 and measured roughly 6.0 on the Richter Scale. Other notable historic quakes shook Seguin (1847), Creedmore (1902), Hempstead (1910), and Mexia-Wortham (1932). In 1995 an earthquake measuring 5.7, the second largest in Texas history, rocked Alpine.
On this day in 1958, groundbreaking ceremonies on the campus of Odessa College were held for the Globe of the Great Southwest. This theater is a permanent replica of the original Globe Theater built in 1598 on the Thames River in London, England, for William Shakespeare's acting company. The idea of the reconstruction of a Shakespearean theater in Odessa originated in 1948 in Marjorie Morris's senior English class at Odessa High School. Building the replica was adopted as a project of the Odessa High School Shakespeare Club; donations were solicited, and a local architect, J. Ellsworth Powell, drew the blueprints without remuneration and pledged supervision of the construction. Morris began to teach at Odessa College in 1951. That year the Odessa College regents donated land on the campus on which to build the theater, a nonprofit organization was chartered, and fund-raising began. The Globe was constructed as money could be raised, largely through Morris's personal efforts. The main structure was completed in 1961. The octagonal theater seats 410. Because of its shape and building materials, primarily wood and plaster, it has excellent acoustics. Adjacent to the theater is a replica of Shakespeare's wife's home, which houses a Shakespearean library, archives, a small performance area, and a meeting place.