Bay City history boosted by agriculture, oil, industry

Matagorda County TXGenWeb
Bay City was regularly flooded by the Colorado River until levees and dams were built along the river in 1924. Among the most damaging of these floods was the one in 1013, shown above. That flood joined the Colorado and Brazos rivers.

   Bay City, the county seat of Matagorda County, is an incorporated city at the junction of Texas 35 and 60, in the north central portion of the county 90 miles southwest of Houston.  
   The community is named for its location on Bay Prairie, between the richly productive bottomlands of the Colorado River and Caney Creek.  
   It was established in 1894, when David Swickheimer, a Colorado mining millionaire and participant in a promotional organization called the Enterprise Land and Colonizing Company, formed the Bay City Town Company in partnership with G. M. Magill, N. M. Vogelsang, and Nicholas King.  
   Planning that Bay City would one day supplant Matagorda as county seat, the men selected two cow pastures on Bay Prairie as the site for a new community.  
   The company bought 320 acres from D.P. Moore and another 320 acres from the Mensing brothers of Galveston.  
   One square mile was given to the townsite, on which the promoters laid out wide, regular streets. Elliott’s Ferry, two miles away, provided transportation across the Colorado River. 
   In August 1894, before a single building had been erected, Magill and Vogelsang released the first issue of the Bay City Breeze and began to promote the new community.  
   Distributed countywide, the newspaper, coupled with the promoters’ promise to build a new courthouse if the county government were moved, succeeded in convincing county residents to support the new town.  

To read more, please log in or subscribe to our digital edition.

Rate this article: 
Average: 5 (1 vote)