in a Pecan Shell
Settlement in the area goes back to 1838 when land was granted to
heirs of William Hurd. As a community started developing it was named
Peck after a civil engineer. In 1907 the Trinity and Brazos
Valley Railroad gave Peck not only a depot - but a roundhouse that
could accommodate five locomotives.
In late 1907 the name was changed to Tomball for the man (Thomas Henry
Ball) who had brought the railroad to Peck. The next year a post office
The population was 350 in 1914. The town led the normal agricultural
lifestyle of its neighbors until oil was discovered in 1933. Humble
Oil and Refining Company convinced the citizens of Tomball that if
they could be allowed to drill that worthless, nasty oil from Tomball's
city limits - then the citizens would get free gas and water for 99
years. Such a deal.
Tomball became known as "Oil Town U.S.A." and the population trebled
from the 665 people present in 1933. An estimated twenty-five to thirty
oil companies had sunk wells within five miles of downtown Tomball.
Humble, perhaps feeling guilty over hoodwinking the Tomballers, built
housing and recreation facilities for its workers. Robert Ripley included
Tomball in his syndicated Believe It or Not column for being the only
city with free gas and water but no cemetery.
By 1960 Tomball's population was 1,173, and by the mid 1980s it had
broken the 5,000 mark.
in Tomball's Museum Center on North Pine Street
Courtesy City of Tomball
It's that time
of year. The sun sets a bit earlier each day. Cool evening breezes
bring with them strange rustling sounds in the night, while indistinguishable
shadows dance beneath the full moon. It's almost Halloween in Tomball,
By day the City of Tomball, 25-miles northwest of Houston,
is filled with thriving antique and specialty shops, mom-and-pop eateries,
entertainment and a quality of life that makes living in a small town
Despite the lively daytime activities here and in communities just
a short drive away, it's rumored that after dark the surrounding countryside
is filled with a nightlife better suited for those who have crossed
over. No, not into Montgomery County . . . those who have passed away,
yet feel the need to remain in Tomball.
THE MUSEUM MYSTERY
SPRING CREEK SPECTERS
|The former depot
Photo by John Troesser, 9-04
in its purpose to preserve historic, endangered and vanishing Texas,
asks that anyone wishing to share their local history and vintage/historic
photos, please contact