Navasota, Texas – An Overview
Navasota City Grimes County is a city in Grimes County, Texas, United States. The population was 6,789 at the 2000 census. In 2005, the Texas Legislature named the city “The Blues Capital of Texas,” in honor of the late Mance Lipscomb, a Navasota native and blues musician.
Navasota is located on a bend of the Navasota River, near its junction with the Brazos River at the intersections of Highway 105 and Farm Roads 3090 and 1227. It sits approximately 25 miles south of Bryan-College Station. It is connected to those cities, as well as Waco and Houston, by State Highway 6.
The site was first named Hollandale for Francis Holland, who bought land in the area in 1822. In 1832 a Georgia planter named Daniel Arnold moved to the vicinity. Jim Bowie and his brother Rezin and other traders illegally transported wild horses, and Texas cattle to the Louisiana market on the La Bahia Trail, which came right through the town. No doubt Texas legends like Stephen F. Austin and Sam Houston used the La Bahia Trail, as it led to and through their neighborhoods. In 1848 James Nolan set up a judgeship in some tents nearby, and by 1852 he had built a log cabin that became a stage stop. It was called Nolanville. The site was a natural crossroads, as it was located near the spot where La Bahía Road crossed the Brazos River, just south of its fork with the Navasota, both major arteries that led to Navasota. It was also a convenient days ride between Anderson and Washington on the Brazos, once the capital of Texas. By the mid-1850s four stage lines had established stops in the vicinity. The settlement name was changed to Navasota (for the river) in 1854, when a post office was established there.
After September 1859, when the Houston and Texas Central Railway built into the town, Navasota became important as a shipping and marketing center for the surrounding area. Whereas nearby Washington on the Brazos protested the coming of the rails, the old historic town forfeited its geographic advantage, and it began to decline as many of its businesses and residences began a sure migration to the new railhead across the Brazos River at Navasota
The International-Great Northern became the town’s third railroad in 1900, and for the next three decades Navasota continued to grow as a shipping and marketing center for cotton, livestock, lumber, and produce. Its population increased from 3,857 in 1900 to 5,128 by 1930; in 1930, 175 businesses were reported in the town. Though the number of businesses in Navasota declined slightly during the Great Depression, by 1940 its population had grown to 6,138. During the 1940s the town declined as the farms surrounding it were mechanized and consolidated, and by 1950 only 4,976 residents remained. Hoping to reverse this trend, in 1952 local businessmen began to organize the Navasota Industrial Foundation. The foundation, which later drew tax dollars for its support, worked with some success to attract new industries to the area.
The town population stabilized, and by the mid-1970s Navasota had eighteen manufacturers producing mobile homes, furniture, cheese, steel tubing, and oilfield machinery. The population grew from 4,937 in 1960 to 5,026 by 1970 and to 5,971 by 1980. Residents also organized to revitalize the downtown area, and in 1980 Navasota was one of five Texas cities selected for the National Main Street program sponsored by the National Trust for Historic Preservation. During the mid-1980s the Texas Department of Corrections built the minimum-security Wallace Pack prison just outside of town. Though many in Navasota had opposed the prison, the facility produced hundreds of new jobs. Many businesses suffered during the late 1980s, when the oil industry collapsed; one employer alone laid off more than 650 workers. Though the new jobs brought by the prison helped to offset some of the worst effects of the economic downturn, city officials again became concerned that young people would have to move elsewhere for employment. In 1990 the census counted 6,296 people in Navasota. The population as of July 19, 2000 was 6,789. Today, Navasota has a population of 7,438.
The industrial sector of the community now boasts 23 companies and approximately 1000 jobs. In 2009, Navasota was selected as a “Visionairies in Preservation” city by the Texas Historical Commission to protect the numerous historical structures in the city. A new municipal building and downtown improvements are planned with completion scheduled in early 2011.
Play Construction & Equipment Provider in Navasota, Texas – All Play Inc.
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