1990-1999: DECADE OF AFFLUENCE & ANXIETY


Timeline of the '90s


Oklahama City bombing
Photo by J. Pat Carter

Oklahama City bombing
The Alfred Murrah Federal Building in downtown Oklahoma City is the center of attention Thursday, April 20, 1995, as rescue workers continue digging through the rubble after Wednesday's fatal explosion.

1990

* West Germany and East Germany reunite, 45 years after they were partitioned at the close of World War II.

* Anti-abortion protests at Fort Wayne Women's Health Organization cool off but continue after an federal-court injunction stops protesters from coming too close to the clinic.

* Apartheid opponent Nelson Mandela is freed from prison in South Africa after 27 years in custody.

* Amtrak ends passenger-train service to Fort Wayne.

* Iraq invades Kuwait. President George Bush deploys American troops in Operation Desert Shield to block further Iraqi moves and assembles international coalition to oppose Iraqi forces.


1991

* After pounding Iraqi forces from the air for a month, ground forces in Operation Desert Storm drive Iraqi soldiers from Kuwait in about 100 hours.

* Earvin "Magic" Johnson of the Los Angeles Lakers announces he's HIV-positive and retires from basketball later the same year.

* A grim new record is set in Allen County: 29 people die in homicides this year.

* USSR dissolves, replaced by Commonwealth of Independent States.

* Fort Wayne Fury plays its first game.


1992

* Rioting erupts in Los Angeles for three days after acquittal of police officers accused of beating Rodney King.

* Boxer Mike Tyson is convicted of rape in Indianapolis.

* C-130 cargo plane crashes into hotel and restaurant in Evansville, killing 16.

* Democrat Bill Clinton defeats Republican George Bush and independent Ross Perot to win first of two terms as president.

* After 30 years of tucking America into bed, Johnny Carson ends his tenure as host of "The Tonight Show."


1993

* Komets win the Turner Cup.

* Fort Wayne Wizards bring professional baseball to Fort Wayne.

* World Wide Web (www.) Hypertext Transfer Protocol (http:) is created, laying the foundation for point-and-click navigation through an Internet heavy with photos, graphics, sound and movies.

* Fire destroys St. Mary's Catholic Church.

* Thirty-seven die in Allen County homicides, a new record.

* Thomas Waikel, 41, is shot and killed by Fort Wayne police after he shot Patrolman Stephen Haynes during a traffic stop. Haynes recovered.

* Summer floods swamp Mississippi River cities.

* After a failed raid and a 51-day stand-off, FBI agents assault Branch Davidian compound near Waco, Texas. Eighty people, including cult leader David Koresh and 17 children, were killed in a fire that erupted.

* Congress approves North American Free Trade Agreement.

* Michael Jordan, probably the greatest basketball player ever, retires from the Chicago Bulls to try a baseball career. He later returns to basketball.


1994

* Forty-one die in Allen County homicides, setting another record.

* National Republican landslide hands control of House and Senate to the GOP for the first time in more than 40 years. Republican Mark Souder ousts three-term incumbent Jill Long, D-4th District.

* 200th anniversary of Fort Wayne's founding.

* After a two-day manhunt, David Swearingen of Warsaw is shot to death in a gun fight with police in downtown Warsaw. The hunt for Swearingen began after he killed Kosciusko Sheriff's Deputy Phil Hochstetler, then his own two children. He also wounded his wife.

* Barbra Streisand begins her first concert tour in almost 30 years with a New Year's Eve concert in Las Vegas.

* Fort Wayne Community Schools Superintendent Bill Coats resigns after three tumultuous years on the job.

* Ground is broken for Headwaters Park, the flood-control idea everyone from environmentalists to local government supports.


1995

* Three workers die and 16 are injured in an explosion at Dalton Foundry in Warsaw.

* Fourteen-year-old Donna Ratliff sets fire to her home in Huntington, killing her mother and sister.

* Toyota announces plans to build billion-dollar truck plant in southwest Indiana.

* O.J. Simpson is acquitted after being tried for murder of his ex-wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, and Ronald Goldman.

* Enormous homemade bomb detonates outside federal building in Oklahoma City, killing 169 and wounding more than 500.

* Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin is assassinated in Tel Aviv.

* 17-year-old boy in Bluffton is shot and killed by gang members. Police there find gang "Bible" and arrest two dozen gang members.

* A trio of new attractions opens in Fort Wayne: Science Central, a new Lincoln Museum and Headwaters Park.

* Riverboat gambling begins in Indiana.


1996

* TWA Flight 800 explodes soon after take-off from John F. Kennedy International Airport, killing all 230 people aboard.

* The Unabomber is stopped after 18 years of bombings in which three people were killed and 23 injured. Federal agents arrest Theodore Kaczynski, who lives in an isolated cabin in Montana.

* Oprah Winfrey creates overnight bestsellers when she begins her book club. Fans by the hundreds of thousands buy her recommended reading.

* President Clinton defeats Bob Dole to win his second term in the presidency.

* Homicides drop even faster than they rose early in the decade. Homicide deaths fall to 14, from a record of 41 in 1994.

* Democrat Frank O'Bannon defeats Republican Steve Goldsmith to succeed Democrat Evan Bayh as governor of Indiana.

* Summer Olympic Games held in Atlanta, but the international celebration of sport was darkened by a bombing that killed one person and injured more than 100 others.

* David Sholes, a substance-abuse counselor, kills three men and cripples a fourth in a shooting rampage that begins after he's involved in a minor traffic collision outside Wabash.


1997

* Mother Teresa and Princess Di die within days of each other.

* About 500,000 tires in a dump on Bowser Avenue burn, forcing hundreds to evacuate.

* "Titanic," the movie, proves as buoyant as its namesake was not; nothing seems able to sink it from movie screens as it becomes the highest-grossing movie ever.

* Hong Kong returns to Chinese rule.

* Scientists announce the seemingly successful cloning of a sheep, the first large mammal cloned.

* The Pathfinder probe lands on Mars.

* Chemical Waste Management of Indiana announces it will close the Adams Center hazardous-waste landfill in 1998.

* Judgment delivered against O.J. Simpson in civil trial over killings of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ronald Goldman.

* "In The Company of Men," filmed in Fort Wayne, wins critics' praise.

* Heaven's Gate cultists find undue significance in appearance of Comet Hale-Bopp and commit suicide en masse.

* Allen County Sheriff's Deputy Eryk Heck shot and killed by burglary suspect, who also died in the exchange of gunfire.


1998

* Former Gov. Evan Bayh defeats Fort Wayne Mayor Paul Helmke to become Indiana's junior senator.

* Steel Dynamics Inc. announces plans to build $350 million steel mill in Whitley County near Allen County border.

* "Seinfeld" ends, but throughout the decade, Jerry, George, Elaine and Kramer were undisputed masters of their domain: television comedy.

* Premier hitters Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa battle for the home-run lead all season. McGwire wins, setting a new record of 70 home-run hits in a season.

* Former Sen. John Glenn flies again, joining a space shuttle mission at age 77, nearly 40 years after he became the first American to orbit the earth.

* Tara Lipinski wins the gold medal in ladies' figure skating, making her the youngest Olympic figure-skating champion.

* Even his political supporters were embarrassed to know so much about President Clinton's sexual behavior. The minutiae of his intermittent relationship with intern Monica Lewinsky filled the news all year.

* Blame it on El Nino. El Nino brings destructive rains, flooding and mudslides to the West Coast. Its echo, La Nina, threatened to stick the Midwest in a deep freeze, but it proved less dramatic than El Nino.


1999

* John F. Kennedy Jr., his wife Carolyn and sister-in-law Lauren Bessette die in plane crash off Martha's Vineyard.

* Dow Jones Industrial Average breaks 10,000, then sinks back toward 10,000.

* President Clinton is impeached but acquitted.

* About 8 inches of snow fall in a storm that began early Jan. 2, thwarting traffic for days. It was the biggest snowfall of the decade.

* Edward Bodkins of Huntington admits castrating several men at their request.

* Indiana State Police Trooper Cory Elson, 26, a rookie, is shot and killed after a routine traffic stop in Decatur. Mark Lichtenberger, 38, of Decatur, was charged with the crime. Adams County Prosecutor Chris Harvey seeks the death penalty.

* "Star Wars: The Phantom Menace," perhaps the most promoted movie in history, opens.

* Fort Wayne Director of Public Works Linda Buskirk, long considered the underdog in the Republican mayoral primary, wins over former Allen County Sheriff Joe Squadrito. She faces Democrat Graham Richard in the general election.

* Fort Wayne passes restrictions on smoking in public places. Restaurants must ban smoking unless they have enclosed smoking areas.

* Jamone Williams is waived into adult court to stand trial for the killing of Prince Chapman, 64. Williams was 12 when he allegedly killed Chapman.

* A Porter County jury convicts Joseph Corcoran in the 1997 murders of four men and recommends the death penalty. Allen Superior Court Judge Fran Gull concurs.

* Two teen-age gunmen stalk their school, Columbine High School in Littleton, Colo., killing 12 students, a teacher and themselves.

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