History of Baytown
The first settlers in and around the current Baytown area appeared around 1822. Among them was Nathaniel Lynch, who set up a ferry crossing (which is still in operation today) at the junction of the San Jacinto River and Buffalo Bayou. This location has become known as Lynchburg. The settlers played an influential role in the battle for Texas Independence. It was during this time the community of Goose Creek started to develop.
In the late 1910's, a rival community was founded on the east side of Goose Creek, named Pelly.
The community of East Baytown was created in the early 1920's. Over time, the "East" part of "East Baytown" was dropped, due to the fact East Baytown was west of Goose Creek.
After World War I, people began to discuss consolidating the three towns into one. The town of Baytown resisted this, however; finally, in 1947, the three towns consolidated. The town of Baytown as it is known today was founded on January 24, 1948.
In 1908, an oil strike was made beside Tabbs Bay. Oil exploration began in earnest and in 1916 the Goose Creek oil field became the first offshore drilling operation in Texas (second in the nation). In 1919, the directors of Humble Oil & Refining Company built a refinery in Baytown. This refinery would become one of the largest in the world, and a very influential force not only in Baytown, but also in World War II. The refinery produced over a billion gallons of aviation fuel (100 octane gasoline) during WWII, and nearly half of the total butyl rubber production in the United States in 1945. Over the next 50 years the population increased from 20,000 to almost 70,000.
Although many changes have occurred, one Baytown landmark has remained constant. A giant live oak tree; estimated by some tree experts to be more than 1,000 years old; stands in the center of West Texas Avenue. Its spreading branches symbolize the long rich history of this area which has played such a significant role in the early settlement and subsequent development of the Texas Gulf Coast.
Photos compliments of OurBaytown.com