Cities Near Texas City, TX
Local city information for Texas City, TX
is a city in Chambers and Galveston counties in the U.S. state of Texas. The population was 41,521 at the 2000 census. It is a part of the Houston–Sugar Land–Baytown, Texas Metropolitan Statistical Area.
Located on the southwest shoreline of Galveston Bay, Texas City is a busy deepwater port on Texas' Gulf Coast. In 1891 while on a duck-hunting trip in the marshlands near a small community known as Shoal Point, three brothers from Duluth, Minnesota , Jacob, Benjamin and Henry Meyers, decided that the area had great potential as a major port. Other Duluth shippers joined in the project and the Meyers brothers purchased 10,000 acres of Galveston Bay frontage, including the community of Shoal Point, and renamed the area Texas City. On May 17, 1893, the Texas City Improvement Company filed the first townsite plat, and a post office was established. In 1893, the federal government gave the new company permission to dredge an 8-foot deep channel, and in September, 1894, the first shipment using the channel was handled.
The community established the Texas City Independent School District on July 11, 1905. By 1911 the number of inhabitants had grown to 1,169, and on September 16, 1911, the city incorporated under the commission form of government with William P. Tarpey, state representative for Galveston County in 1901, as mayor. H. M. Coats and Frank B. Davison were the first commissioners. Davison also served as the town's first Postmaster, first bank director, and owned the first grocery store and telephone in Texas City.
By 1925, Texas City had an estimated population of 3,500 and was a thriving community with two refineries producing gasoline, the Texas City Sugar Refinery, two cotton compressing facilities, and even passenger bus service. However, The Great Depression and the strong competition from Imperial Sugar Industries caused the sugar refinery to fail by 1930. Many of the stores in the business district closed, and those that remained struggled to survive. But the continued development of the oil industry contributed to economic recovery.
By 1939 the population of Texas City had increased to 5,200. The United States commitment to the war in 1941 furthered the boom in Texas City, propelling it into fourth position among Texas ports. During the war, Texas City experienced remarkable growth. Since the Axis threatened England and Holland , the only two sources of tin smelting in the world, the Defense Plant Corporation under Jesse H. Jones decided in 1940 to build a tin smelter in the United States. On a site donated by the Texas City Terminal Railway Company, the Tin Processing Corporation began operation of the only smelter in the western hemisphere. The Longhorn Tin Smelting Company supplied all the industrial and military needs of the free world. By 1950 the population of Texas City was estimated at 16,620.
The post-war prosperity was postponed on April 16, 1947, when the freightors Grandecamp, High Flyer,
and Wilson B. Keene,
docked in the Port of Texas City, exploded in what is generally regarded as the worst industrial accident in U.S. history, the Texas City Disaster. It is believed that the initial explosion was the result of a smoldering fire started by a cigarette tossed by a careless longshoreman in the hold of the Grandecamp,
which was carrying a load of ammonium nitrate that had recently arrived in port from Houston. The explosion aboard the Grandecamp
ignited fires aboard the other two vessels, both of which exploded later that morning. In all, the explosions killed 581 and injured over 5000 people. The explosions were so powerful and intense that many of the bodies of the townspeople and emergency workers who responded to the initial explosion were never accounted for. The city ultimately recovered quite well from the accident and numerous petro-chemical refineries are still located in the same port area of Texas City. The city has often referred to itself as "the town that would not die," a moniker whose accuracy would be tested once again in the days surrounding Hurricane Ike's assault on the region early on September 13, 2008.
On October 30, 1987, a crane at the Marathon Oil refinery accidentally dropped its load on a tank of liquid hydrogen fluoride, causing a release of 36,000 pounds of hydrogen fluoride gas and required 3,000 residents to be evacuated.
On March 23, 2005, the city suffered another explosion in a local BP (formerly Amoco) oil refinery which killed 15 and injured over 100. The BP facility in Texas City is the United States's third largest oil refinery, employing over 2,000 people, processing 460,000 barrels (73,000 m³) of crude oil each day, and producing roughly 4% of the country's gasoline needs every day.
The centerpiece of Texas City's Heritage Square historical district is the former residence of one of city's fathers, Frank B. Davison, located 109 3rd Ave. N., just two-thirds of a mile west of the Texas City Dike's location. The Davison Home, maintained by the Texas City Historical Association, is a Victorian-styled home finished in 1897, and site where the first child was born in the new community of Texas City.
Texas City is home to the Texas City Dike, a man-made breakwater built of tumbled granite blocks more than seventy years earlier, that was originally designed to protect the lower Houston Ship Channel from silting. The dike, famous among locals as being "the world's longest man-made fishing pier," extends approximately five miles to the southeast and into the mouth of Galveston Bay. It was overtopped by a greater-than 12-foot storm surge when Hurricane Ike barreled through the region in the early-morning hours of Saturday, September 13, 2008. Although all buildings, piers and the Dike Road were destroyed, the Dike itself weathered the storm.
Even in the widespread destruction throughout Galveston County caused by the wind and surge associated with Ike, Texas City was largely spared the devastation that other low-lying areas suffered. Texas City is mostly surrounded by a 17-mile long levee system that was built in the early-1960's following the devastating floods during Hurricane Carla in 1961. Together with pump stations containing several Archimedes screws located at various places throughout the northeast periphery of the city adjoining Galveston, Dollar Bay, and Moses Lake, the levee and pump station system may well have saved the city from wholesale devastation at the hands of Ike's powerful tidal surge. Damage in the city was largely limited to that caused by Ike's powerful winds and heavy rains.
Beginning Sunday, September 14, 2008, the day after landfall, Texas City's high school football complex, "Stingaree Stadium," was used as a staging and relocation area for persons evacuated by National Guard Black Hawk helicopters from nearby bayfront communities such as the Bolivar Peninsula and Galveston Island. Also, by morning of Monday, September 15, the American Red Cross had opened a relief and materiel distribution center in the city.
The Port of Texas City / Texas City Terminal Railway Company is the eighth largest port of 153 ports in the United States and the third largest in Texas with water borne tonnage exceeding 78 million net tons. The Texas City Terminal Railway Company provides an important land link to the port, handling over 25,000 car loads per year. The Port of Texas City's success as a privately owned port has been aided by its shareholders, The Union Pacific and Burlington Northern Santa Fe railroads whose connections allow for expeditious interchange of their traffic.
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