COMMUNITIES WE SERVE
Bryan, College Station, Navasota and Surrounding Areas.
We are pleased to do our best to continue the great traditions of quality work for our customers. And to serve these wonderful communities, who are also our friends and neighbors in the cities of Bryan, College Station, Navasota and the surrounding areas. Navasota's founding and building is a classic story of pioneer grit and determination.
A Brief History of Navasota, Texas:
During the age of exploration, the French navigator-explorer LaSalle (full name: René-Robert Cavelier, Sieur de La Salle) made several expeditions to map the Mississippi River. His fifth and final expedition ended in tragedy, as his group crashed near Matagorda Bay. Making their way inland, near the site of present-day Navasota, his men mutinied, murdered LaSalle’s nephew, then ambushed and murdered LaSalle. His body was rudely left in the open to the wild animals. At the age of 43, the great explorer’s story ended. LaSalle had earlier made claims in the name of the French King Louis XIV to much of present-day United States, naming it “La Louisiane” which become known as the Louisiana Territory, after the USA purchased the land in 1803 under President Thomas Jefferson. Although the lands of present-day Grimes County were not part of the Louisiana Purchase the impact of the renowned explorer LaSalle was tremendous.
During the decades from 1690 through 1790 the global contest for influence between the European powers of France, Spain, England, The Netherlands, Portugal, and Russia resulted in large portions of The Americas trading hands often. Spain prevailed in this region. The Spanish Crown claimed New Spain. Dissatisfaction with Spain’s rule of its colonies resulted in Mexico securing independence in 1824. The subsequent abandonment of Mexico’s federal, American-style constitution by a dictatorial Santa Anna provoked many of Mexico’s regions to rebel against heavy-handed centralized rule. Consequently, the northernmost part of what was once New Spain became The Republic of Texas after the victory by Sam Houston and a rag-tag volunteer army at San Jacinto in April, 1836.
Modern-day Navasota had its beginning in 1822 when Francis Holland bought land on a bend of the Navasota River in southeastern Grimes County. The site of present-day Navasota was first named Hollandale. As more pioneers and homesteaders arrived a community grew. Two of those new arrivals were Daniel Arnold and Daniel Tyler who both applied for land grants along the Navasota River. Originally part of Montgomery County, in 1846 the county was divided, and the town of Navasota became part of Grimes County. Early pioneer families included those of Francis Holland, Jared E. Groce, Isaac Jackson, Anthony Kennard, James Whiteside, Caleb Wallace, and Jesse Grimes for whom Grimes County is named. Grimes was a signer of the Texas Declaration of Independence.
(continued below photo)
Above: view of renovated buildings on Railroad Street in Navasota central business district.
James Nolan was a pioneer from Mississippi who had acquired a choice tract of land. In 1855 he built what became the first stage stop in the region. Upon the establishment of a Post Office in 1854 the town’s name was changed from Hollandale to Navasota. Nolan deeded land around the stage stop to the Houston and Texas Central Railroad which then extended its line to Navasota. The rail service brought many people and much business to the area. Timber, farm products, and livestock were constantly driven to Navasota for shipment across Texas.
The rich soil along the Navasota River gave rise to abundant agriculture with large herds of cattle, sheep, and hogs, along with important cash crops such as corn and cotton. By the 1850’s there were six thriving communities in Grimes County: Anderson, Bedias, Grimesville, Retreat, Prairie Plains, and Navasota. Two spas were developed around Kellum Springs and Piedmont Springs. Lumber harvesting was among the earliest industries in the area.
Recovery after the Civil War was slow. In 1866 both a Cholera outbreak and a Yellow Fever epidemic inflicted much loss on the town of Navasota. By 1868 the turmoil subsided and rebuilding began. Americans moved here from southeastern states of Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi. The long-term trends of families of Germans and Polish arriving continued. The Navasota cottonseed mill was one of the first in Texas, operating by 1880. Navasota also had two flourmills, several steam-powered cotton gins, five churches, a bank, and an opera house. 1885 brought a telephone company and a second railroad line. Electric lighting and a water system were installed. The population reached 3,500 by 1896. A third railroad, the International-Great Northern built a new line to Fort Worth in 1900 that was a major boon to the town. Paving major roads in the area by the 1930’s further helped.
After WWI, Mexican migrant workers began to arrive. Mechanization on farms reduced the need for farm labor, causing many people to seek other employment. Farming diversified during the Depression-era 1930’s and the War-years 1940’s. Cattle production increased, and several new crops were introduced along with improved farming techniques. WWII brought many changes. During the 1940’s the population of Grimes County declined by more than 31% due to people leaving for jobs in Houston. By the 1970’s farms produced cane sorghum, small grains, watermelons, pecans, Christmas trees, and vegetables such as potato, sweet potato, and soybean. Commercial beekeeping has thrived since the 1980’s.
In the industrial sector, Navasota businesses joined together in 1952 to generate opportunity. The Navasota Industrial Foundation was organized, with great success. Oil and Natural Gas was discovered in the area in 1952. In the late 1970’s some significant discoveries of crude oil were made that caused an oil rush into the 1980’s, when the oil and gas fields were delineated and mature. From 1967 to 1982 Navasota also gained businesses in furniture, cheese, steel tubing, mobile home, and oilfield machinery industries.
Navasota residents began to revitalize their downtown area in 1980. The National Main Street program sponsored by the National Trust for Historic Preservation helped initiate renovation with preservation of the historic Main Street blocks. And on adjacent Railroad Street, both renovation and new construction along has added much usable space for offices, shops, restaurants, and other small businesses. A beautiful new Navasota City Hall provides ample space for city leaders to work with current and future growth.
Many factors help to make a great quality of life in Navasota. Homes are reasonably priced, and the town has a spacious feel to it. Living in Navasota, one can enjoy the benefits of a small town and the surrounding rural area and still have easy access to everything offered in nearby Houston. Economic growth across the region makes jobs and careers plentiful and provides a good location for starting a business.
The numerous parks in Navasota give children and families many outdoor play spaces, featuring traditional family picnicking and playground equipment and a beautiful city pool carefully maintained by Navasota City Parks & Recreation. The Navasota Swim Team hosts meets there, and other youth sports are available all year long. Several local festivals provide family fun year-round. Health care is high quality and abundant in the numerous clinics and the Grimes St. Joseph Health Center Hospital. The community strongly supports its school district and staff for quality education for all. Several local restaurants and national chains give dining options to hungry residents. Entertainment is at hand, including local live music that draws on Navasota’s heritage in blues and live performance. The Navasota Economic Development Corporation is happy to assist individuals, families, and businesses looking for a thriving and friendly place to call home!