Local city information for Bacliff, TX
is a census-designated place (CDP) in north central Galveston County, Texas, United States, sixteen miles northwest of Galveston. The population was 6,962 at the 2000 census. Bacliff, originally called Clifton-by-the-Sea
, began as a seaside resort town. Bacliff morphed into a fishing community, finding hardship, gang violence, and an increase of sex offenders and felons when the shrimping industry declined. The community never incorporated, with many failed incorporation attempts made. The Bacliff CDP has one elementary school and several parks and boat ramps.
Bacliff first opened in 1910 as a seaside summer weekend resort called "Clifton-by-the-Sea." Hurricanes, Galveston's recovery after the Hurricane of 1900, and rapid transportation diminished Clifton-by-the-Sea's popularity. Clifton-by-the-Sea had 50 residents and two businesses in 1933 and 100 residents and four businesses from 1940 to 1949. During the late 1940s or early 1950s the community became "Bacliff."
Cheap housing and the shrimping industry sustained Bacliff, and at that time there was no pollution in the water and less shore erosion compared to the amount of erosion in the 2000s. "Gator" Miller, publisher of small newspapers such as the monthly magazine Seabreeze
and the entertainment magazine Night Moves
said that in the 1950s the The Galveston Daily News
bought a large parcel of land and awarded free lots to subscribers; people who canceled subscriptions lost their homesites, which were given to other subscribers. Miller said that this resulted in "really fucked-up" titles and a lack of large business; Miller said that a retailer would not wish to buy land in Bacliff and then discover that an individual claimed a title to the land. In 1961, when the post office opened, both names ("Bacliff" and "Clifton-by-the-Sea") were still used to refer to the community, which had 1,707 residents and 25 businesses during that year. In 1966 this increased to 1,782 residents and 17 businesses.
Around the 1980s, three measures to incorporate the Bacliff area failed by wide margins. In April 1985, residents of Bacliff, Bayview, and San Leon considered an incorporation proposal to become the City of Bayshore. Judge Ray Holbrook signed an order for the election to take place on April 6, 1985, freeing the area, which had a population of 11,000, from the extraterritorial jurisdiction of League City and Texas City. Residents rejected the incorporation proposal. The vote was tallied with 1,268 against and 399 in favor. Proponents wanted a local police force and the ability to pass ordinances. Opponents said that the tax base was too small to support municipal services including police and road and drainage improvements.
In 1986, residents in Bacliff and Bayview considered incorporating into a general law city. Supporters said that incorporation would establish more local control over affairs, an area police department, and the ability to pass ordinances. Opponents said that the area's tax base could not sufficiently support municipal service, including police protection and road and drainage improvements. At the time the 3.6 square mile area considering incorporation had 7,000 people. Galveston County Judge Ray Holbrook signed an order setting the date of the election as Saturday, August 9, 1986 and releasing the area from the extraterritorial jurisdiction of Kemah, League City, and Texas City. In 1986, the Bacliff and Bayview area received water and sewer services from two municipal utility districts; if the incorporation measure had passed the districts would have likely remained. Donna Maples, vice president of the Bacliff-Bayview Community Association, supported the incorporation measure. The officials overseeing the election described turnout as "heavy." Officials announced that the incorporation proposal failed on a 770 to 163 count.
By 1986, the community became a bedroom community for workers commuting to Houston; during that year the Bacliff community had 4,851 residents and 19 businesses. Since the 1980s, when the shrimping industry declined, more affluent residents moved to Dickinson and the unincorporated community of San Leon, while illegal immigrants, sex offenders, and other felons moved to Bacliff. In 1990 the community had 5,549 residents, 27 businesses, six churches, and one school.
After Hurricane Ike hit Texas in September 2008, Galveston County officials offered a debris removal program to residents in unincorporated areas, including Bacliff, who could not clear debris by themselves.
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