KATY MAGAZINE NEWS
January 23, 2024
By Natalie Cook Clark
Happy Birthday Katy, Texas! There are many important dates associated with our great city, but if you count the date when our first post office opened then that makes Katy 128 years old. Did you know these interesting Katy facts?
Photos are courtesy of the late Katy historian, Roberta Rylander, and/or the Katy Heritage Society.
Happy Birthday Katy!
Katy, Texas is full of fun and interesting facts to celebrate as we remember its rich heritage on the anniversary of when the post office opened, January 23, 1896. But that day wasn’t the start to our history at all.
“As we celebrate the City of Katy, it is with immense pride and gratitude that we honor the foresight and dedication of our ancestors,” says City of Katy Mayor William “Dusty” Thiele. “Their visionary efforts in forming our city have shaped the vibrant tapestry of our community. We stand united in acknowledging their invaluable contributions, which continue to inspire and define our city's identity.”
“Happy Birthday Katy! Another year celebrating all the exceptional ways that the Katy area is a destination community for families,” says City of Katy Councilmember and Mayor Pro Tem Chris Harris. “The Katy area continues to Thrive from our roots as a farming community.”
And that it does. Katy continues to experience immense growth. The fact that Katy ISD, which was established in 1919, continues to add schools to match the areas growing need is proof to our continued growth in residential developments and businesses. As Katy continues to grow, it’s important to celebrate the past and recognize where we have come from as a city.
A Look into the Past
As late as the 1820’s, Native Americans hunted wild buffalo on these lands. Settlers used Cane Island, the original settlement, as a stagecoach stop.
Many current Katy landmarks mark importance from the past. The current Fifth Street in Downtown Katy follows the former San Felipe Road. This road is famously known as having opened to Austin’s colony and in 1836 Santa Anna used it to march towards San Jacinto, where Texas gained its independence from Mexico.
That same site was in the 1839 land grant of Republic of Texas citizen James J. Crawford. In 1863 at a Confederate camp on San Felipe Road, 35 soldiers died and are buried nearby.
The Katy Line
Developers that came to Katy platted the townsite after Missouri, Kansas & Texas Railroad, also known as “The Katy Line,” reached the point in 1895. This is why our history with trains runs so deep!
Our Rice Industry
Just a year later, the postmaster’s mercantile store opened on January 23, 1896. The next year is when William Eule started to grow rice crops, which became the city’s major industry. It was then Eule’s son Fred who dug an irrigation well for the rice fields before the town was rebuilt. Katy continues to celebrate its history with rice in the annual Katy Rice Festival.
Growth from the Oil Industry
In 1927, nearby petroleum developments further enhanced the local economy. Still to this day many Katy residents work nearby in the oil industry.
The town was officially incorporated in 1945 and had 849 people by 1950 and then reached 3800 by 1970.
Today it’s difficult to count how many people consider Katy home because Katy is more than Katy proper. Its grown to include a great area that is proud to be called Katy. Katy is a tr-county city that includes Harris, Fort Bend and Waller Counties further showing its size and many difference government agencies serve the area.
A great way to understand Katy’s rich history is to be part of its oldest non-profit, the Katy Heritage Society.
For over 43 years the Katy Heritage Society has been dedicated to the educational and cultural development of the community by preserving, restoring, and displaying historical landmarks, and other objects distinctive of Katy and adjacent areas.
“I adore Katy’s historical and cultural significance that encompasses our architecture, well-known generational histories, and our designated landmarks,” says Adrienne Davitz, President of Katy Heritage Society and lifelong Katy resident. “Our city is rich in stories that celebrate our built environment, diverse communities, and unique traditions.”
The Katy Heritage Society hosts their historic Katy homes tours the first weekend of the month from 12:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. Step into the past at Katy Heritage Park (5990 George Bush Dr.)
The Katy Heritage Society also operates the Train Depot located on First Street, which welcomes visitors Wednesday through Friday 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. and Saturday 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. The Depot holds many railroad relics and historical exhibits.
The facts mentioned above, as well as the pictures have all been shared and preserved by the Katy Heritage Society.
Join The Katy Heritage Society
The Katy Heritage Society depends on public donations and annual memberships to continue its work. Visit their website to make a donation or learn more about becoming a member. Membership is open to all Katy residents.
Learn more about The Katy Heritage Society and their events at their website.