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GEORGE WEST, TX

GEORGE WEST, TEXAS. George West, the county seat of Live Oak County, is at the intersection of U.S. highways 281 and 59, sixty-three miles northwest of Corpus Christi, in the approximate geographic center of the county. It was named for George Washington West, who established his ranch in Live Oak County in the early 1900s. In 1912 he donated his name, a townsite, $100,000, and thirteen miles of railroad right-of-way through his ranch in order to establish a town on a railroad. The San Antonio, Uvalde and Gulf Railroad laid the tracks in 1913. George West was recorded in the county clerk's office of Live Oak County on September 22, 1914. In 1856, when Live Oak County was established the county seat was Oakville. George West became county seat in 1919. The town's first public school was opened in 1912 and enlarged in 1921. The first church service was held in an office building in 1914; in 1979 Baptist, Methodist, and Episcopal congregations were thriving in the town.

Originally the primary economic activity in the George West area was ranching and agriculture. Since the 1920s oil and gas have assumed an equal economic role. The population rose from 200 in 1925 to 1,000 in 1929. A sharp drop to 200 in 1933 was followed by a steady rise. In the 1950s uranium was discovered. In the 1960s and 1970s the population topped 2,000. The drop in the price of uranium in early 1980 lowered production of that commodity and led to a brief decrease in the population. However, despite the decline of uranium mining and plunging oil and gas prices, which contributed to an economic slump in George West in the 1980s, the population rose to 2,629 in 1982 and held steady at that figure for the decade. The school district suffered from a decrease in tax revenue as businesses declined from ninety in 1982 to sixty-six in 1990. The population in 1990 was 2,586, and in 2000 it was 2,524.

Tourism increased with the development of such recreational facilities as Choke Canyon State Park, fifteen miles north of George West. Lake Corpus Christi State Recreation Area, twenty miles south of George West, is also a popular place for water sports. The Nueces River provides fishing and boating opportunities, and George West, is a popular headquarters for hunters of deer, turkey, dove, and quail. A new regional recreational park adjacent to Veterans Memorial Airport provides playing fields and picnic areas as well as boat ramps on the Nueces River. Two other parks in George West provide additional playground facilities. The county fair, held annually in March, is primarily a showcase for projects of the school children of the county, but also provides an opportunity for adults to exhibit livestock and crafts. Other points of interest include the Grace Armantrout Museum, which houses artifacts of local historical interest, and the Live Oak County Library. The Progress, a weekly newspaper, serves Live Oak and McMullen counties.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: 

Ervin L. Sparkman, The People's History of Live Oak County (Mesquite, Texas, 1981). Vertical Files, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, University of Texas at Austin.

Barbara D. Robins

Citation

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

Barbara D. Robins, "GEORGE WEST, TX," Handbook of Texas Online (http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/hgg01), accessed October 01, 2014. Uploaded on June 15, 2010. Modified on October 26, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

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