Spring is off Interstate Highway 45 twenty miles north of Houston in north Harris County. The area was originally inhabited by the Orcoquiza Indians, who were first visited by Spaniards in 1746. In the 1820s some of Stephen F. Austin's colonists settled nearby. In 1836 the General Council of the Provisional Government included the area in the municipality of Harrisburg. William Pierpont established a trading post on nearby Spring Creek in 1838, and by 1840 Spring had a population of 153. In the mid-1840s German immigrants, most notably Carl Wunsche, settled in the area and began farming the land. Immigrants from Louisiana and the postbellum South later moved into the farming community. Sugar cane and cotton were the main cash crops, but vegetables were also raised. The town had a sugar mill for syrup making and two cotton gins. After the Houston and Great Northern Railroad built through Spring in 1871, the town grew considerably. A post office was established in 1873. By 1884 Spring had two steam saw and grist mills, two cotton gins, three churches, several schools, and a population of 150. In 1901–03 the International-Great Northern Railroad connected Spring with Fort Worth. A roundhouse was built, and Spring became a major switchyard with fourteen trackyards and 200 rail workers. A sawmill was built near the tracks, and lumbering became an important business for a time. By 1910 the population had risen to 1,200. In 1912 the Spring State Bank was established. It was robbed several times in the 1930s; erroneous rumors have attributed one robbery to Bonnie and Clyde (see BONNIE PARKER and CLYDE BARROW). In 1935 the bank consolidated with the Tomball Bank. One of the noted businesses in Spring about this time was the A. F. Russell Day Lily Farm, which had an international mail-order clientele. In 1923 the roundhouse was moved to Houston, and Spring began to decline. By 1931 its population had fallen to 300. In 1947, however, a population of 700 was reported, and by 1984 the figure had risen to 15,000, the number that was still reported in 1989. From 1969 to 1992, when it was moved to Akron, Ohio, the Goodyear airship America was based near Spring. The airship was one of three designed and built by Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company. During its travels the blimp's night signs provided public relation messages, and its TV camera filmed many sporting and public events. In the 1970s Houston suburbs expanded northwestward; an increasing number of subdivisions and residential areas grew up around Spring. Some of the old houses in Spring were restored and opened as shops. In 1980 the Old Town Spring Association was formed to promote this unique shopping village. By 1989 Old Town Spring had become a tourist attraction with over eighty unique speciality shops. The Spring post office services about 80,000 people, but its area includes more than Spring. Similarly, the Spring Independent School District includes much more than the town of Spring. The estimated population of the school district is 75,000. In 1990 Spring had a population of 33,111. The population was 36,385 in 2000.