“On the northwest shore of Trinity Bay, the inland extension
of Galveston Bay”
22 Miles E of Houston
About 30 Miles NW of Galveston
| La Porte
is French for “The Door.” The name was chosen by a real estate consortium in 1892
in hopes of luring investors and land buyers. The La Porte, Houston and Northern
Railroad Company was chartered in late 1892 and La Porte became the railroad’s
headquarters. The proximity to both Galveston
and Houston was a draw, but the railroad
only managed to lay 12 miles of track before being absorbed by a larger company.
After several sales, it became Galveston, Houston and Northern Railway Company
(1899). Under the direction of the Southern Pacific system.|
In 1900 the
town could boast over 500 residents.
That same year St. Mary's Seminary
opened and remained there for over five decades. The downtown section of La Porte
was totally destroyed by a fire around 1915 and shortly thereafter it was struck
by a hurricane.
La Porte had its 15 minutes of fame bestowed upon it
in the 20s and 30s when it held dances and bathing beauty contests at Sylvan Beach.
Performers included singers Phil Harris and Rudy Vallee and bandleader / clarinetist
In fact La Porte’s entire economy was driven by the entertainers
and the audiences they drew. Later, refineries and shipyards along the bay provided
jobs for the year-round residents.
The population reached over 7,000 residents
by 1949 and La Porte was now large enough to start absorbing its neighbors. In
1980 the neighbor was the tiny town of Lomax.
Residents of La Porte still
regarded their town as a resort even as the population grew to nearly 28,000 people.
Several hurricanes have stuck Sylvan Beach over the years. The population reached
31,880 for the 2000 census.
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La Porte Forum:Subject:
La Porte, TX
I really appreciate your website, it's very interesting and fun to read. One small
correction about your La Porte, TX section is that the Washburn Tunnel connects
Pasadena with the East End of Houston (near Channelview) via Federal Rd. The Baytown
Tunnel (I don't think it was ever named after anyone or anything) connected Baytown
with La Porte via 225/146 (where the Fred
Hartman Bridge is located now). I lived in La Porte for about 10 years and
my Dad grew up there. If you get a chance, drive down Main St. in La Porte to
see a lot of the great old buildings in town. The old theater is a church now
that my Dad used to go to when he was a kid in the late '50s. El Ranchero restaurant
is some of the best Tex-Mex you can have on the Gulf Coast. Thanks, Tim Holmes,
Jr., Houston, Texas, July 17, 2008
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