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BAYTOWN, TEXAS

Chambers/Harris Counties, Gulf Coast / East Texas
I-10 and Hwy 146
30 miles E of Houston

Population: 66,430 (2000) 63,843 (1990)

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Baytown, Texas Topics of Interest

  • History in a Seashell
  • Baytown Attractions & Photos
  • Baytown People
  • Baytown Forum
  • Baytown Hotels > Book Hotel Here
  • Baytown Texas 50th Anniversary Tile
    Baytown's 50th Anniversary commemorated in a handsome tile design in front of the former post office, now the Baytown Historical Museum
    Photo by John Troesser, 2003
    History in a Seashell

    Nathaniel Lynch set up a ferry crossing at the San Jacinto River and Buffalo Bayou in 1822. The ferry is still running today - across what is now the Houston Ship Channel. Lynch's Ferry was burned by Sam Houston just prior to the Battle of San Jacinto to prevent retreat. An embryo community consisting of a store and sawmill was formed under the name Bay Town.

    Later settlers included Doctor Ashbel Smith, Mrs. Anson Jones, David G. Burnet, and Sam Houston.

    At the outbreak of the Civil War the Bayland Guards were formed by Dr. Smith and the unit saw action at Shiloh and Vicksburg.

    For the later part of the 19th century the area was remote and isolated. The most popular entry into the area was by boat. With the discovery of oil - the isolation was about to change.

    A timeline of Baytown significant events after the discovery of oil

    1908: Oil is discovered near Tabbs Bay.
    1916: Goose Creek oilfield becomes famous as the first offshore drilling operation in Texas.
    1917: The towns of Pelly and Goose Creek develop.
    1919: The Humble Oil and Refining Company is born. Company names the site Baytown.
    1923: Streets laid out and utilities furnished.
    1947: Pelly and Goose Creek merge and choose the name Baytown. Population - 20,958
    1948: On January 24, 1948, the city of Baytown is officially established.

    See
    Baytown is so refined
    by Wanda Orton
    On April 16, 1919, Humble Oil & Refining Co. engineers arrived in Baytown, armed with boots and blueprints

    Those boots were made for walking in soggy, muddy, marshy ground while blueprints were for a construction project envisioned by Humble Oil president Ross S. Sterling and the company directors. What better place to build an oil refinery, they decided, given the proximity to the Goose Creek oil field, Houston Ship Channel and the corporate headquarters in Houston... more


    Tunnels
    Baytown was served by two tunnels -The Washburn and the Baytown -La Port Tunnel.

    Baytown Hotels - Book Here

    Baytown Attractions
  • Fred Hartman Bridge spaning the Houston Ship Channel.
  • The Baytown Historical Museum - in the former post office
  • Baytown's Post Office Mural by Wanda Orton
  • Baytown Nature Center - 400-acre park - part of the Great Texas Coastal Birding Trail.
  • Goose Creek Stream Greenbelt - park along the shoreline of Goose Creek.
  • The Lynchburg Ferry - across the San Jacinto River near the San Jacinto Battleground in near-continual operation since 1822.

    Nearby Destinations
  • San Jacinto Battleground State Historic Site
  • Battleship Texas
  • San Jacinto Monument

    Baytown Hotels
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  • Wooster Common School No. 38, Harris County, Texas
    Vintage photo courtesy Wooster Family Files
    The Wooster Common School No. 38, Harris County
    by Trevia Wooster Beverly
    Fred Hartman Bridge connecting Baytown and La Porte, Texas
    Photo courtesy Ken Rudine, October 2007
    Fred Hartman Bridge
    Goose Creek Jail, Baytown, Texas
    The former Goose Creek Jail
    Photo by John Troesser, 2003
    More Texas Jails
    Baytown TX - Brunson Theater
    Baytown's Brunson Theatre
    Photo by John Troesser, 2003
    More Texas Theatres
    Baytown TX - Theatre architectural detail  showing oil refinery
    Mementos of the oil industry are still present
    Detail on the Brunson Theatre

    Photo by John Troesser, 2003
    Baytown, Texas -  Tree In Street
    Baytown's tree in the street
    Photo by John Troesser, 2003
    Related Topic: Texas Historic Trees
    German U Boat in Gulf of Mexico

    "German U-Boat U-166 in the Gulf of Mexico."
    Photo part of a Public Display in Sabine Pass Battleground Park

    1943 Secret Storm by Wanda Orton

    Baytown, Texas History / People
  • The death of a subdivision by Wanda Orton
    The death of subdivision Brownwood in Baytown. The killer was Hurricane Alicia in '83.

  • Be it ever so ‘umble by Wanda Orton
    It’s not just a name. Humble Oil & Refining Co. is our link to the past, a reminder not only of a refinery but of its community house, tennis courts, golf course, dorm, commissary, hospital, health clinic, credit union, semi-pro baseball park and an entire neighborhood called the Company Addition. It was ’umble that built Baytown...

  • Hughes Who in Oil Field by Wanda Orton
    How did Hughes Tool Co. evolve into an icon in industry? The Goose Creek oil field at Baytown had something to do with it.

  • La Tipica by Wanda Orton
    An all-girl orchestra composed of talented and well-trained students from Baytown’s Mexican community -- played an important role in local musical entertainment from here to California.

  • Retired Seed Company Exec Remembers Mentor by Wanda Orton
    While attending high school and during summer breaks from Texas A&M University, Bernard Selensky had yet another school of learning. The late Neil Burnside, a Baytown rice farmer, was his educator out in the field... more

  • Joe Tex by Clay Coppedge
    "A singer that critic John Morthland of Texas Monthly called 'by far Texas' greatest contributor to soul music.' ...
    Joe Tex belongs, in the mind of most Texans, to either Baytown, where his music career began, or Navasota, where it ended." more

  • Cliff notes on “Perils of Nyoka” by Wanda Orton
    Hadn’t thought of “Perils of Nyoka” in years until a friend mentioned that “Jurassic Park 2” reminded her of the riveting serial that drew us to the picture show every Saturday. So taken were we kids with these cliffhangers that we relived them every school day during recess...

  • Gary Busey
    "Did you know that movie actor Gary Busey is from Baytown? In case his name doesn't ring a bell he won an acadamy award for his portrayal of Buddy Holly. He was totally believable and he even learned to play a pretty good guitar while researching his part. He and the movie band did several concerts after the movie was made. His Texas accent came naturally." - George Lester
  • Baytown Tourist Information
    Baytown Chamber of Commerce - 281-422-8359
    4721 Garth Road, Suite C, Baytown, TX 77521
    http://www.baytownchamber.com/

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    Baytown, Texas Forum

  • Subject: Washburn Tunnel
    The Washburn Tunnel is still in use. I frequently drive thru going to I -10 from Pasadena....Hwy 225. It still has the same cleaning hours it did when I was a child. You would have to wait till they were finished to get thru.

    I also remember when I was a child my Dad would always buy us candy at the local ice house on the Pasadena side. I am a native Houstonian. Have lived in Baytown for the last 35 yrs. Thank You. I have enjoyed your website greatly. - Jody McDonald, March 21, 2004

  • Subject: Baytown tunnel not same as Washburn Tunnel
    I grew up within several miles of the Baytown tunnel. As I recall, the Washburn Tunnel was NOT the same as this one, but ANOTHER tunnel further upstream, under the Houston Ship Channel or some bayou connecting to it -- i.e. the latter was known as the Pasadena (or Galena Park?) Washburn tunnel. The Baytown / LaPorte tunnel was roundish in cross-section, while the Washburn tunnel was rectangular in cross-section. - Paul Comeaux, July 16, 2003
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