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 Texas : Towns A-Z / Gulf Coast : Hitchcock

HITCHCOCK, TEXAS

Galveston County, Texas Gulf Coast
Highway 6, FM 519 and FM 2004
14 Miles NW of Galveston

Population: 6,386

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Hitchcock Naval Air Station ruins, Hitchcock Texas
The Hitchcock Naval Air Station

Photo courtesy William Holmes
History in a Seashell

Originally known as Highland for its position on the banks overlooking Highland Bayou, settlement began in the mid 1840s. The original Anglo settler Jonas Butler was followed by a group of French settlers who traveled to Galveston and back using the bayou as their path. Their lives were made much easier in the 1870s with the arrival of the Gulf, Colorado and Santa Fe Railroad. The town's name was changed from Highland in the early 1870s when widow Emily Hitchcock, donated land to the railroad if they would name their stop after her late husband (Lent M. Hitchcock).

A post office was granted in 1884 and the town was platted in 1891. The following year the town had a healthy population of nearly 300. In 1914 Hitchcock's population was 550. The population decreased to 350 in the 1920s when truck farming declined. Many former Hitchcockers resettled in Texas City.

Hitchcock gained population slightly in the 1930s but shrank back to 350 when WWII broke out. Camp Wallace was established nearby and the Navy constructed a blimp base to search for German submarines that were sinking oil tankers from Houston, Port Arthur and Louisiana refineries. (See The Hitchcock Naval Air Station.) The camp and blimp base were mustering-out points after the war and many veterans decided to remain in the semi-tropical climate, adding a few citizens to Hitchcock's population.

The town improved its infrastructure after the war and formed its own school district. With cars again available, Hitchcockers found they could easily commute to jobs in Texas City and Freeport. The population was 1,105 in the mid-1950s and by 1968 it had grown to nearly 7,000. It declined in the 70s and leveled off at around 6,400 - where it remained (more or less) for the 2000 census.

See The Hitchcock Naval Air Station / Camp Wallace
Photos and Photographer's Note by William Holmes
Hitchcock Texas Forum
I was in anti-aircraft artillery at Camp Wallace from '42 to '43. I taught radio operating and maintenance in the schools there. I often had to take radio operators out on 2 week bivouac and for gunnery practice at the beach. We were often down at Galveston's Stewart Beach firing 40 and 90 mm (3 1/2" barrel) AA guns, and .30 and .50 cal AA machine guns. Also firing bazookas, throwing grenades, running infiltration courses under machine gun fire, etc. I had to take basic infantry training for 8 weeks twice, since the Infantry would not accept my AA training. I was transferred to 78th Infantry in Dec '43 while on Tenn 2nd Army manuevers and spent, much of '44 and all of '45 in England, France and Germany.

I also remember large pecan orchards there. During the 1950s weekly delivery trucks used to pass through my town of Nederland with the motto: "Nuts to you from the Hitchcock Pecan Company." - W.T. Block, Nederland, Texas, March 31, 2007

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