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Brazoria County TX
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VELASCO, TEXAS

Texas Ghost Town
Brazoria County, Texas Gulf Coast

16 Miles S of Angleton
Included in Freeport City Limits
Population: Included in that of Freeport

Book Hotel Here › Freeport Hotels
History in a Pecan Shell

In 1821 the first of Stephen F. Austin's colonists arrived here. A lonely house marked the site as a "port" until 1831 when the Mexican government made the site a customs house. Over the years an estimated 25,000 immigrants entered Texas through Velasco.

Like its neighboring town of Quintana across the Brazos, Velasco was named to honor a Mexican general. The battle of Velasco took place in 1832 and two years later a cholera epidemic reduced the town to a mere 100 residents. Velasco was made the (temporary) capital of the Republic shortly after San Jacinto and the "Treaties of Velasco" signed by Santa Anna officially ended the Revolution when they were signed in May of 1836.

Velasco and its sister town of Quintana became resorts for the families of inland plantation owners. Businessmen from Galveston operated warehouses and the town even opened the Velasco Female Academy (a seminary) in the late 1830s. Large hotels were built to accommodate the crowds and Velasco also served as a port of debarkation to New Orleans and Galveston. When a canal was connected to Galveston Bay in the mid 1850s, Velasco (and Quintana) began to lose importance.

Velasco was turned into a Confederate stronghold during the Civil War, forcing Union gunboats to operate out of distant New Orleans. When possible, blockade runners defied the blockade and took cotton to exchange for guns and medicine. The status of the two towns declined further after the Civil War when no one had the money or leisure to spend summers on the beach. The hurricane of 1875 destroyed most of the town and by the 1880 only fifty people called the place home.

By 1891 plans were made to plat a new town which had official recognition by the US Treasury Department. Over $1,000,000 worth of lots were sold to Midwesterners looking for greener pastures and a seaside environment. In short order the town was electrified and the port was dredged to a depth of nearly 18 feet.

Settlers came by rail through Houston where they transferred to the Columbia Tap branch of the IG & N Railed and finally by riverboat down the Brazos River. In the mid 1890s a lighthouse was constructed and Velasco was on it's way to becoming a rival to Galveston. An electric railroad connected the town to Surfside (AKA Old Velasco). The population was right at 3,000 persons in 1900 when disaster struck.

The population was reduced by two thirds by 1914 and the town lost one of its two newspapers. By the time of the Great Depression it was down to only 400 people and around a dozen businesses. The Brazos River was diverted in the 1940s and an estuary was dredged deep enough for large ships. Velasco and Freeport were revitalized. The population was restored to nearly 1,000 and by 1950 it reached 5,200. Velasco was incorporated with the city of Freeport in 1957 when it had an independent population of nearly 4,000. The former Velasco post office became Freeport's "Velasco Station."
Velasco historical marker, Texas
Velasco historical marker
Photo courtesy Ken Rudine, July 2007
Related Articles:

  • Treaties of Velasco by Archie McDonald, Ph.D
  • Texas Capitals by Archie McDonald, Ph.D

  • Take a road trip

    Brazoria, Texas Nearby Towns:
    Freeport
    Angleton the county seat
    West Columbia
    Lake Jackson
    See Brazoria County | Texas Gulf Coast

    Book Hotel Here:
    Angleton Hotel | West Columbia Hotels | More Hotels
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