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On this day in Texas history…


Houston Direct Navigation Company chartered

October 9th, 1866

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Image taken at random from the related Handbook of Texas entry, Houston Direct Navigation Company

On this day in 1866, the Houston Direct Navigation Company was chartered to improve transportation and navigation on Buffalo Bayou and avoid wharfage charges at Galveston. It replaced the Houston Navigation Company, which dominated shipping in the 1850s but failed to survive the Civil War. Under an agreement with the C. H. Mallory steamship line, the new company shipped freight between Houston and New York. In 1869 it transported an estimated 11,554 passengers and 815,466 barrels of materials, including those used in the construction of the International-Great Northern Railroad. The company was operating four passenger steamers, eighteen barges, and three tugs by 1872, when it grossed $165,000 in a single month. When Charles Morgan of the Morgan Lines bought the company in 1873, six steamers, forty barges, and five tugs were in operation. In 1896 the name of the company was changed to Direct Navigation Company by the Texas and New Orleans Railroad, which purchased it from Morgan. Rail competition made the company increasingly unprofitable, and it was abandoned in 1927, when terminal facilities were built at Clinton to serve steamers operating as the Southern Pacific Atlantic Steamship Lines.

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