Anniversary commemorated in a handsome tile design in front of the
former post office, now the Baytown Historical Museum
Photo by John Troesser, 2003
set up a ferry crossing at the San Jacinto River and Buffalo Bayou
in 1822. The ferry is still running today - across what is now the
Houston Ship Channel. Lynch's Ferry was burned by Sam
Houston just prior to the Battle
of San Jacinto to prevent retreat. An embryo community consisting
of a store and sawmill was formed under the name Bay Town.
Later settlers included Doctor Ashbel Smith, Mrs. Anson Jones, David
G. Burnet, and Sam
At the outbreak of the Civil War the Bayland Guards were formed by
Dr. Smith and the unit saw action at Shiloh and Vicksburg.
For the later part of the 19th century the area was remote and isolated.
The most popular entry into the area was by boat. With the discovery
of oil - the isolation was about to change.
of Baytown significant events after the discovery of oil
Oil is discovered near Tabbs Bay.
1916: Goose Creek oilfield becomes famous as the first offshore
drilling operation in Texas.
1917: The towns of Pelly and Goose
1919: The Humble Oil and Refining Company is born. Company names
the site Baytown.
1923: Streets laid out and utilities furnished.
1947: Pelly and Goose
Creek merge and choose the name Baytown. Population - 20,958
1948: On January 24, 1948, the city of Baytown is officially
so refined by Wanda Orton
On April 16, 1919, Humble Oil & Refining Co. engineers arrived in
Baytown, armed with boots and blueprints
Those boots were made for walking in soggy, muddy, marshy ground
while blueprints were for a construction project envisioned by Humble
Oil president Ross S. Sterling and the company directors. What better
place to build an oil refinery, they decided, given the proximity
to the Goose Creek oil field, Houston Ship Channel and the corporate
headquarters in Houston... more
Baytown was served by two tunnels:
The Washburn and
the Baytown-La Port Tunnel.
Hotels - Book Here
Landmarks / Attractions
|Spaning the Houston
photo courtesy Wooster Family Files
|The former Goose
by John Troesser, 2003
More Texas Jails
by John Troesser, 2003
More Texas Theatres
|Mementos of the
oil industry are still present
Detail on the Brunson Theatre
Photo by John Troesser, 2003
History / People
of Preston L. Pendergrass by Wanda Orton
Zelig, Ashbel Smith was everywhere by Wanda Orton
of '52 at The Baytown Sun by Wanda Orton
The newly dedicated state historical marker at The Baytown Sun seems
to be recharging my memory battery, so fasten your seat belts -
here I go again... more
Sun Roots by Wanda Orton
races in bay area go back to the 1800s by Wanda Orton
Pioneers of this bay area around Baytown and La Porte sailed through
the 1800s, with nearly all residents owning boats or having access
to them. There was no other way to get around - boating was a matter
of necessity. The waterways were the highways.
Ferry: Baytown had it first by Wanda Orton
Just when it seemed local history held no more surprises, I read
that the original Lynchburg Ferry was not in Lynchburg. It was on
Crystal Bay in present-day Baytown... more
and downs of write-ups by Wanda Orton
From 17 to 82. That's my age range for writing columns for The Baytown
Sun, from a senior in high school to a senior in retirement...
From Boom Town to Baytown by Wand Orton
...Go back to a hot summer day a century ago in the Goose Creek
oil field, where contractor Charlie Mitchell is drilling on John
Indianapolis sank 70 years ago by Wanda Orton
July 30 will be a date to remember in World War II-- the 70th anniversary
of the sinking of the USS Indianapolis, the worst sea disaster in
U.S. history. Casualties included a Baytown man, Marvin Baker, after
whom Baker Road is named... more
Bombardier Worked in Baytown by Wanda Orton
Civil War vets were doctors in Baytown area by Wanda Orton
death of a subdivision by Wanda Orton
The death of subdivision Brownwood in Baytown. The killer was Hurricane
Alicia in '83.
haven in a hurricane by Wanda Orton
it ever so ‘umble by Wanda Orton
It’s not just a name. Humble Oil & Refining Co. is our link to the
past, a reminder not only of a refinery but of its community house,
tennis courts, golf course, dorm, commissary, hospital, health clinic,
credit union, semi-pro baseball park and an entire neighborhood
called the Company Addition. It was ’umble that built Baytown...
Who in Oil Field by Wanda Orton
How did Hughes Tool Co. evolve into an icon in industry? The Goose
Creek oil field at Baytown had something to do with it.
Tipica by Wanda Orton
An all-girl orchestra composed of talented and well-trained students
from Baytown’s Mexican community -- played an important role in
local musical entertainment from here to California.
Seed Company Exec Remembers Mentor by Wanda Orton
While attending high school and during summer breaks from Texas
A&M University, Bernard Selensky had yet another school of learning.
The late Neil Burnside, a Baytown rice farmer, was his educator
out in the field... more
Tex by Clay Coppedge
"A singer that critic John Morthland of Texas Monthly called
'by far Texas' greatest contributor to soul music.' ...
Joe Tex belongs, in the mind of most Texans, to either Baytown,
where his music career began, or Navasota, where it ended."
notes on “Perils of Nyoka” by Wanda Orton
Hadn’t thought of “Perils of Nyoka” in years until a friend mentioned
that “Jurassic Park 2” reminded her of the riveting serial that
drew us to the picture show every Saturday. So taken were we kids
with these cliffhangers that we relived them every school day during
Up with the Anson Joneses by Wanda Orton
The Jones family moved to Goose Creek before the Civil War in the
wake of a tragedy. Suffering from severe bouts of depression after
Texas became a state, Anson Jones committed suicide in 1858 at the
Capitol Hotel (site of the future Rice Hotel) on Main Street in
Survivors included wife Mary and four children, Charles Elliott,
Sam Edward, Cromwell Anson, and Sallie.... more
Hogs a Lot of History by Wanda Orton
Island Dream by Wanda Orton
"Did you know that movie actor Gary Busey is from Baytown?
In case his name doesn't ring a bell he won an acadamy award for
his portrayal of Buddy Holly. He was totally believable and he even
learned to play a pretty good guitar while researching his part.
He and the movie band did several concerts after the movie was made.
His Texas accent came naturally." - George Lester
Baytown Chamber of Commerce - 281-422-8359
4721 Garth Road, Suite C, Baytown, TX 77521
Book Hotel Here Baytown
The Washburn Tunnel is still in use. I frequently drive thru going
to I -10 from Pasadena....Hwy 225. It still has the same cleaning
hours it did when I was a child. You would have to wait till they
were finished to get thru.
I also remember when I was a child my Dad would always buy us candy
at the local ice house on the Pasadena side. I am a native Houstonian.
Have lived in Baytown for the last 35 yrs. Thank You. I have enjoyed
your website greatly. - Jody McDonald, March 21, 2004
Baytown tunnel not same as Washburn Tunnel
I grew up within several miles of the Baytown tunnel. As I recall,
the Washburn Tunnel was NOT the same as this one, but ANOTHER tunnel
further upstream, under the Houston Ship Channel or some bayou connecting
to it -- i.e. the latter was known as the Pasadena (or Galena Park?)
Washburn tunnel. The Baytown / LaPorte tunnel was roundish in cross-section,
while the Washburn tunnel was rectangular in cross-section. - Paul
Comeaux, July 16, 2003
Escapes, in its purpose to preserve historic, endangered and vanishing
Texas, asks that anyone wishing to share their local history, stories,
landmarks and recent or vintage photos, please contact