Needville is at the intersection of Farm roads 1236 and 360 and State Highway 36, fourteen miles south of Richmond in southern Fort Bend County. The community was established about 1891 by August Schendel, who built a home, a store, and a cotton gin on the high prairie and called it Schendelville. When he applied for a post office in 1894, he changed the name to Needmore for a joke, since the place needed more of everything. Since that name was already in use, the post office department changed the name to Needville. A school had opened by 1897, and in 1898 Schendel platted a town and began selling lots. In 1903 Needville had a one-teacher White school with ninety-seven pupils and a one-teacher Black school with forty-five pupils. By 1910 the Round Hall had been built for dances and social activities; it served as a social center until 1950. By 1914 Needville consisted of three general stores, two cotton gins, a movie theater, and a population of 100. Telephone service was in place in 1916. In 1918 the Needville State Bank opened, and that same year the Galveston, Harrisburg and San Antonio Railway built through the community. The early Needville economy was based on stock raising and farming, but during the 1920s and 1930s oil, natural gas, and sulfur were discovered in the area. By the 1920s Needville reported some 500 inhabitants. At that time the town included twelve general stores, four churches, four gins, and an electric light plant, which was sold to the Houston Lighting and Power Company in 1926. In 1929 natural gas was piped into town. From 1927 to 1931 the Needville County Fair served the entire county; the fair was subsequently discontinued because of debt and the Great Depression. By 1931 the Cole Theatre had opened with its first talkie. The opening of Highway 36 in 1932 gave Needville an all-weather road running north and south. In the ensuing years a Needville school bus transported local high school students to Rosenberg and Richmond, an arrangement that lasted until the 1946–47 school year, when the Needville Independent School District was established. The local high school was opened in 1948, and the new elementary school was dedicated in 1960.
Needville incorporated in 1944. By the early 1950s its Black community began to become established on the west side of town. In 1960 the N. A. Allen Elementary School was built to serve Black students and was named after a longtime Black teacher in the Needville school district. By 1966 the school district was completely integrated. The Needville Youth Fair was started in 1956, the Needville Chamber of Commerce was incorporated in 1957, and the Albert George Library was opened in 1974. The library is a part of the Fort Bend library system. Beginning in 1962 Needville had a weekly newspaper, the Gulf Coast Tribune. The community grew to number 603 inhabitants in 1950, 861 in 1960, 1,417 in 1980 and 2,199 in 1990. During the 1980s the railroad line through Needville was discontinued and its tracks removed. The town had some 189 businesses and 2,609 inhabitants in 2000.