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ROSENBERG, TX

ROSENBERG, TEXAS. Rosenberg is on U.S. Highway 59 twenty-eight miles southwest of downtown Houston in central Fort Bend County. The area was originally settled by Stephen F. Austin's Old Three Hundred around 1823. Richmond, the county seat, inadvertently gave birth to the city of Rosenberg by refusing right-of-way to the Gulf, Colorado and Santa Fe Railway. In 1880 the railroad built three miles to the west of the Richmond area and established a station at the crossroads of the Gulf, Colorado and Santa Fe and the Galveston, Harrisburg and San Antonio railroads. At Rosenberg Joseph Telfener, an Italian count, established the headquarters of the "Macaroni Line," the New York, Texas and Mexican Railway building toward Victoria. The Union Depot was built in 1889. The town was named in honor of Henry Rosenberg, a Swiss immigrant, who settled in Galveston and from 1874 to 1877 was president of the Gulf, Colorado and Santa Fe Railway Company. Soon after the coming of the Macaroni Line and the Gulf, Colorado and Santa Fe Railway in 1883, Santa Fe purchased 200 acres from the Henry Scott league and platted and squared them off around a city square between the river and railroads, at the site of the present Jackson Intermediate School on Third Street. The town at that time had a store, a saloon, and Mrs. Ebell's hotel, although most residents lived in tents. In 1881 a post office opened, and in 1894 a Wells Fargo shipping office came to town. A new resident, R. T. Mulcahy, raised funds to build the first school, the first of many community enterprises that earned Mulcahy the nickname "Father of Rosenberg." Between 1890 and 1900 the population increased to 1,000, with the coming of the Czechs, Germans, and Poles. The Rosenberg Progress was purchased by George B. Lang, who changed its name to the Silver X-Ray. Two black churches, Mount Vernon Missionary Baptist and St. Luke's Methodist, were started in 1882 and 1883 respectively, and are still active. The First Methodist Church was organized in 1895, and the First Baptist Church was started in 1896. By 1898 Rosenberg had incorporated its school district, and voters passed a bond to build a new school.

In 1902 the "City of Mud" was incorporated into the city of Rosenberg. Robert H. McCormick was the chief proponent of incorporation and became the town's first mayor; R. T. Mulcahy completed McCormick's unfinished term. The town got its first telephone, located in the Cumings Drug Store, in 1902, and a Masonic lodge was established in 1903. By 1906 there were 100 telephone subscribers, enough for Pat Roberts to set up a Southwestern Bell Telephone switchboard in Kubena's Boot Shop in the Moers Building. In 1912 the first electrical generating plant was built, and Rosenberg had fifty-six businesses. Rosenberg suffered floods in 1913, 1922, 1929 and 1957. Although the 1913 flood was particularly severe, the town rebuilt and continued its progress. In 1914 a volunteer fire department was started, and C. H. Waddell established the Fort Bend telephone company in Needville. In the early 1920s, major oilfields were developed in Fort Bend County, and Rosenberg became a boomtown. The first hospital was built in 1922. Following the discovery of sulfur at nearby Orchard, workers in the sulfur industry also augmented the population. In 1945 the town estimated 3,457 residents and 128 businesses; by 1956 the total had almost doubled to 6,210 residents and 234 businesses. Through the 1960s and the 1970s the growth continued. Rosenberg had a population of 17,900 in 1980 and 21,577 in 1990. In 2000 the population was 24,043. A strong mineral and petroleum industry produces petroleum, sulfur, natural gas and its derivatives, salt, clay, sand, and gravel. Farming and agribusinesses are also important in the local economy. The area produces livestock, cotton, rice, sugar, sorghums, pecans, feed, and some vegetables. The town provides low site and construction costs, varied transportation facilities, inexpensive fuel, low living costs, good schools, and ample recreational facilities as well as an abundance of historical sites, museums, and memorials. Rosenberg has a daily newspaper, the Fort Bend Herald. Its residents support forty-seven churches of seventeen communions. In 1946 Rosenberg and Richmond formed the Lamar Consolidated Independent School District, which serves more than 13,000. There are also two church schools, one Catholic and one Episcopalian. The community holds the Fort Bend County Fair in September.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: 

Mayde Waddell Butler, Rosenberg Centennial, 1883–1983; Decade by Decade (Rosenberg, Texas: Fort Bend Telephone Company, 1983). Fort Bend County Centennial, 1883–1983 (Rosenberg, Texas: Fort Bend County Museum Association, n.d). Maidie Y. Seydler, Pictorial History of Rosenberg (Rosenberg, Texas: Rosenberg Pictorial History Committee, 1985). Clarence Wharton, Wharton's History of Fort Bend County (San Antonio: Naylor, 1939).

Lynda Jill Myers

Citation

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this article.

Lynda Jill Myers, "ROSENBERG, TX," Handbook of Texas Online (http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/her02), accessed December 18, 2014. Uploaded on June 15, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.
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