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Galveston County in 10 minutes - The Galveston County Daily News : Profiles: Communities

September 21, 2014

Galveston County in 10 minutes

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Posted: Saturday, April 20, 2013 1:00 am | Updated: 1:34 pm, Sat Apr 20, 2013.

Dickinson

The city, which incorporated in 1977, was named after John Dickinson, who in 1824 received a land grant from the Mexican government. The city was first settled in 1850 along Dickinson Bayou.

Dickinson became a railroad stop in 1860, had a post office in 1890, and the city was known for growing fruit, cane, berries and potatoes. The city’s population, like others in Galveston County, increased as a result of the oil industry and NASA.

Friendswood

In 1895, Frank Jacob Brown and Thomas Hadley Lewis, both Quakers or members of the Society of Friends, recorded the name Friendswood after negotiating with a Galveston banker, J.C. League, for a deed of trust.

The land supported fig and orange orchards along with rice fields.

About 1950, the city became a bedroom community of Houston residents moving south. The city remained mostly Quaker until a Baptist church was founded in 1958. The city was incorporated in 1960.

Galveston

The city was incorporated in 1839, and Galveston’s population grew along with the port, which exported cotton and farming supplies and where multitudes of immigrants arrived. The city is home to many Texas firsts, including the first electric lighting and the telephone.

Galveston experienced the country’s worst natural disaster, the 1900 Storm, which flooded the city and killed more than 6,000 people. The city then built a seawall to help protect against future storms.

A state medical school, the University of Texas Medical Branch, a port and tourism are among the island’s economic strengths.

Hitchcock

Settled about 1846, Hitchcock took its present-day name from Emily Hitchcock when she offered land for a town site. A public school opened in 1894, and the town had a population of 550 by 1914.

The population decreased amid economic struggles in the 1920s with the decline of truck farming and the closure of packinghouses, but by the 1940s, the population became steady amid oil and gas development and the construction of a U.S. Navy blimp base for surveillance of enemy submarines during World War II.

The city incorporated in 1960.

La Marque

The town was known as Buttermilk Station as Civil War soldiers traveling between Galveston and Houston stopped to purchase buttermilk, according to the Texas State Historical Association. The town also was known as Highlands until residents learned another Texas town was called by the same name.

In 1890, Madam St. Ambrose, postmistress, selected the French name La Marque, meaning “the mark.” The city grew with nearby Texas City, becoming a residential community for workers at the Union Carbide plant and other area employers.

League City

George Washington Butler became the town’s first resident when he moved from Louisiana in 1873. The town was known for Butler’s ranch until 1893 when J.C. League acquired land.

Early inhabitants tended cattle, and farming became predominant in the late 19th century. Some residents ran dairies while others farmed cotton, oranges, corn and potatoes, among other food items.

The town had 800 residents and 35 businesses in 1931, but the number declined to 15 businesses as the United States entered World War II. After the war, the town was a center for railroad shops and a Humble Oil tank farm, according to The Texas State Historical Association. The city incorporated in 1962 and became Galveston County’s most populated city with 83,560 residents in 2010.

Santa Fe

The Alta Loma Improvement and Investment Co. started the town site in 1893. The area was predominantly a farming community.

Farther west, Arcadia was founded in 1890 and was known primarily for its dairies, said Santa Fe Mayor Ralph Stenzel, who has authored a book on the city’s history called “High Ground: The History of Alta Loma.”

Alta Loma and Arcadia joined to form the city of Santa Fe, which incorporated in 1978.

Texas City

Three brothers from Minnesota visited the area while duck hunting in 1891 and realized its potential as a port. The brothers bought 10,000 acres along Galveston Bay and renamed the city Texas City, according to the Texas State Historical Association.

The federal government in 1893 permitted dredging for a channel and a year later the city had its first water shipment.

The town grew rapidly with shipping and refining industries after the turn of the 20th century and incorporated in 1911.