La Porte, TX


By: Ron Kolodzy

Type: General Entry

Published: 1952

Updated: April 7, 2018


La Porte, founded in 1892, is on the northwest shore of Trinity Bay, the inland extension of Galveston Bay; it covers an area of fifteen square miles in southeastern Harris County. It was established as a real estate venture by a group of men including A. M. and J. H. York, I. R. Holmes, and T. W. Lee, who chose the French word for "door" as its name. By 1900 La Porte had a population of 537. St. Mary's Seminary was founded there the same year by Bishop Nicholas A. Gallagher and remained there until 1954, when it was moved to Houston. In 1915 La Porte suffered from two major disasters-a fire that destroyed all of the downtown business district and a tremendous hurricane. During the 1920s and 1930s La Porte gained national attention because of Sylvan Beach Amusement Park, where a number of big bands, including those of Rudy Vallee, Phil Harris, and Benny Goodman, performed at dances and beauty contests. Until World War II La Porte continued as a sleepy little village, with only Sylvan Beach and the summer residents at Bay Ridge sustaining the economy. Shipyards in the area and the growing petrochemical industry along the channel provided employment for new residents.

The opening of the La Porte-Baytown tunnel in 1953 and the coming of the Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center and Bayport Channel helped the growth and prosperity of the city. By 1970 La Porte had a population of 7,149. The consolidation of Lomax with La Porte in 1980 and the growth of Fairmont Park further enhanced the prosperity of the city. Although the population of La Porte continued to grow during the 1980s, its residents still considered it a small recreational community. In 1990 La Porte had a population of 27,910. Plans were being made to revive the Sylvan Beach area, which had been battered by several hurricanes over the previous fifty years. Proposals included construction of a large beachfront hotel. By 2000 the population was 31,880, and in 2010 it was 33,800.

Vertical Files, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, University of Texas at Austin.

Places:
  • Communities

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

Ron Kolodzy, “La Porte, TX,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed June 30, 2022, https://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/entries/la-porte-tx.

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

1952
April 7, 2018

Place
La Porte
Currently Exists
Yes
Place Type
Town
USGS ID
2411580
Town Fields
  • Has post office: Yes
  • Is Incorporated: Yes
Belongs to
  • Harris County
Coordinates
  • Latitude: 29.66889630°
  • Longitude: -95.04892300°
Population Counts
People Year
537 1900
678 1910
889 1920
1,280 1930
3,072 1940
4,429 1950
4,512 1960
7,149 1970
14,062 1980
27,923 1990
31,880 2000
33,800 2010
34,926 2019
Great Texas Land Rush logo
Adoption Status: ⭐
This place has been adopted and will not be available until July 11, 2023
Adopted by:
Georgia Malone
Dedication Message:
In honor of Norman L. and Ann Malone