Ingleside is on Corpus Christi Bay on the jutting arm of land known as Ingleside Point at the eastern tip of San Patricio County. Developments of the community have been known as Old Ingleside, Inwood, Ingleside Cove, Ingleside-on-the-Bay, Palomas, Cove City, and Cove, among others. The community began in 1854 when settler George C. Hatch purchased land on both sides of the bayou. He subsequently acquired more than 3,800 acres of land and sold acreage to Walter Ingalls, Henry Nold, James Aware, John Pollard, John W. Vineyard, and other settlers, who built homes on the bayou and at Ingleside Cove. Tradition credits John Vineyard with naming Ingleside ("Fireside") for his ancestral home in Scotland. In 1855 George and Marcellus Turner settled in the area, and in 1857 Marcellus obtained a grant for the area's first post office. Hatch and Youngs L. Coleman operated a local store. Henry Nold II operated the Ingleside Male and Female Academy, sometimes referred to as the Nold Academy (see INGLESIDE ACADEMY), from 1857 until the school building was destroyed by Union soldiers in 1862. Farming and ranching were the community's principal sources of income. Hatch introduced grape culture to the area, and his son John G. Hatch developed a flourishing business in the 1880s, which lasted until the vines were killed by a blight in the 1930s. Steamships plied the waters between Corpus Christi and Ingleside, carrying trade goods and stopping at Indianola.
In 1871–72 the local post office was known as Ingleside, and in 1891–92 as Inwood. When the San Antonio and Aransas Pass Railway reached Aransas Pass in 1887, it bypassed Ingleside, and Palomas (sometimes referred to as Loma) was established as a flag stop. The Palomas post office served the cove area from 1891 to 1894 in addition to the Ingleside office, which resumed its original name in 1892. Residents moved to set up a new townsite on the railroad in 1893, and in the early 1890s real estate developers built a large hotel on the cove. The anticipated boom failed to materialize, however, and the total population in the period reached only thirty. In 1909 developers E. O. Burton and A. H. Danforth laid out the present Ingleside townsite, and in 1913 the Ingleside Common School District was formed with a student population of eighty. In 1916 a hurricane destroyed many buildings and again slowed local growth. Grape production peaked between 1910 and 1920, and fishing and vegetable production were the town's economic mainstay until the vegetable sheds closed in the 1950s. When Humble Oil (see EXXON COMPANY, U.S.A.) built a tank farm at Harbor City, or Port Ingleside, and announced plans in 1927 for a refinery at Ingleside, construction of a housing complex for employees and the establishment of two local newspapers, the Review and the Index, followed. The population rose to 1,125 by 1947, was 850 from 1949 to 1953, and rose again to 4,050 by 1970. A local Brauer Corporation aluminum fabrication plant opened in 1948 and a Reynolds Metals aluminum reduction plant five miles away opened in 1950. Subsequently, Ingleside developed as a residential area and was incorporated in 1951; the town adopted aldermanic government in 1967. DuPont employees moved to town after a local plant was built in 1973. The Corps of Engineers cut a channel, La Quinta Channel, through Ingleside Point in 1954, thus demarking an area known as Ingleside-on-the-Bay, where the United States Navy intended to open its Homeport in 1995. The population of Ingleside grew steadily after 1972 and reached 6,048 in 1988. In 1990 it was 5,696. The population was 9,388 in 2000.