This day in Texas History: “Tri-Cities” Finally Unite as Baytown
This day in Texas History:
(from the Texas State Historical Association archives)
“Tri-Cities” Finally Unite as Baytown
January 24, 1948
On this day in 1948, the former “Tri-Cities” of Baytown, Goose Creek, and Pelly united to form the city of Baytown.
The area had been largely undeveloped until the opening of the Goose Creek oilfield in 1916. All three communities grew up around the oilfield, thanks in large part to the promotional efforts of Ross Sterling, president of Humble Oil and Refining Company.
Sterling and his associates established a refinery near the oilfield and bought 2,200 acres there, calling their site Baytown. Construction began in the fall of 1919, though Baytown remained a collection of tents and shanties until 1923, when Humble laid out streets, provided utilities, sold lots, and even furnished financing for employees’ homes.
The residents of nearby Goose Creek voted to incorporate in January 1919, and the residents of neighboring Pelly, fearing that Goose Creek might absorb their town, followed suit a year later. Due to the pervasive paternalism of Humble, the community of Baytown never incorporated, and this enabled Pelly to annex the “contiguous and unincorporated” territory of Baytown in December 1945.
But when Pelly and Goose Creek voted to consolidate in February 1947, the citizens selected the name Baytown for their new combined city. The voters approved a new city charter on January 24, 1948. Baytown today is a highly industrialized city of oil refineries and rubber, chemical, and carbon black plants.
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