Brazoria, on Farm Road 521, State Highway 36, and the Brazos River eight miles southwest of Angleton in west central Brazoria County, was established in 1828, when John Austin laid out the town on land granted by Stephen F. Austin. Austin chose the name "for the single reason that I know of none like it in the world." Six Masons met in March 1835 under a giant oak in the town, the "Masonic Oak," to organize what was reportedly the first Masonic lodge in Texas. Brazoria was virtually deserted in the Runaway Scrape. H. M. Shaw opened a school at the community in April 1838. A post office was established there in 1846, and by 1884 Brazoria was described as a "stirring village" of 800. It had several steam cotton gins and grist and sugar mills, twelve general stores, three hotels, five churches, and "excellent schools." Area farmers shipped crops on the river. By 1890 Brazoria had 900 residents and was the county seat of Brazoria County. By 1892 the Velasco World, a weekly newspaper, had been established there, and by 1914, the Banner. After the railroad bypassed Brazoria, it began to decline as its neighbor, Angleton, grew. Angleton became county seat in 1897. The local school at Brazoria had three teachers and an enrollment of 142 in 1906. The population was 633 in 1904 and 1,050 in 1929. By 1939 the discovery of oil and a sulfur field nearby and the building of a traffic bridge began to revive the town. Its population reached 1,291 by 1962 and 3,025 by 1987, when Brazoria had some fifty businesses. The Clemens Unit, a prison where inmates raise livestock and crops, is on 8,116 acres of land just south of the townsite. Brazoria hosts the No Name Festival in June, Frontier Days in March, and the Santa Ana Ball in July, and its old town area is of historic interest. In 1990 the community reported a population of 2,717. In 2000 the population was 2,787.