BRAZOSPORT, TEXAS. Brazosport is on State Highway 288 where the Brazos River meets the Gulf of Mexico, sixty miles south of Houston in southern Brazoria County. It is a 214-square-mile urbanized industrial and port area. According to some sources the popular name was first used in eighteenth-century nautical charts. Brazosport shares a chamber of commerce with local economically linked municipalities—Clute, Freeport, Lake Barbara, Richwood, and Lake Jackson—and small towns—Jones Creek, Oyster Creek, Quintana, Surfside, Gulf Park, Bryan Beach, Perry's Landing, and Bastrop Bayou.
Port facilities, sulfur mines, and the chemical industry were largely responsible for rapid growth in the community after Dow Chemical Company arrived in 1939. By 1990 the firm employed almost 11,000 people. The Brazos River Harbor Navigation District was established in 1925 to govern development of the Port of Freeport; it opened the harbor on December 11, 1954. The nation's first seawater conversion plant was established in Brazosport in 1959, and in the 1970s Bryan Mound Salt Dome provided strategic oil reserves for the United States government. The Brazosport resort industry promotes forty-four miles of beaches and sport and commercial fishing. It is responsible for annual events, including the April Blessing of the Texas Gulf Fleet, the June Sandcastle and Sand Sculpture Contest and Fort Velasco Day, July Fishin' Fiesta and Shrimp Festival, September Shrimp Boil and Auction, and October Sausage Festival. In 1988 a Foreign Trade Zone opened by the Port of Freeport provided access to worldwide markets. Local pacemaker manufacturer Intermedics merged with Sulzer Brothers of Switzerland in that year, bringing new industry to the area.
In 1944 the Brazosport communities consolidated to form a single school district, and by 1957 a high school, five junior high schools, nine elementary schools, and a community college served the area. Brazosport College, originally Brazosport Junior College, opened in March 1968 with an enrollment of 879. It was later moved to a site two miles from Lake Jackson. Brazoria Memorial Hospital was dedicated in 1988, and two new county parks, Quintana and Stahlman, opened in the 1990s. In 1945 Brazosport had 23,000 residents. The population rose to 35,000 by 1954, declined briefly in 1956, then rose steadily, despite severe damage done by Hurricane Carla in 1961 (see HURRICANES). The population in 1990 was 52,258 and in 2000 it was 61,198.
Brazosport Chamber of Commerce, An Overview of the Brazosport Area (Lake Jackson, Texas: First Port Group, n.d.). James A. Creighton, A Narrative History of Brazoria County (Angleton, Texas: Brazoria County Historical Commission, 1975). Vertical Files, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, University of Texas at Austin.