Baytown, Texas facts for kids
|Motto: Where Water and Oil Really Do Mix|
Location in the state of Texas
|Incorporated||January 24, 1948|
|• Total||36.5 sq mi (94.6 km2)|
|• Land||35.4 sq mi (91.8 km2)|
|• Water||1.1 sq mi (2.8 km2)|
|Elevation||34 ft (10.3 m)|
|• Estimate (2016)||80,000|
|• Density||4,880/sq mi (1,884/km2)|
|• Metro||5,867,489 (6th)|
|Time zone||CST (UTC-6)|
|• Summer (DST)||CDT (UTC-5)|
|GNIS feature ID||1380966|
Baytown is a city within Harris County and partially in Chambers County in the Gulf Coast region of the U.S. state of Texas. Located within the Houston–The Woodlands–Sugar Land metropolitan area, it lies along State Highway 146 and Interstate 10. It is the fourth-largest city within this metropolitan area. As of 2010, Baytown had a population of 71,802, and it had an estimated population of 76,127 in 2014.
- See also: History of the Galveston Bay Area
The area of Baytown began to be settled as early as 1822. One of its earliest residents was Nathaniel Lynch, who set up a ferry crossing at the junction of the San Jacinto River and Buffalo Bayou. The ferry service that he started is still in operation today, now known as the Lynchburg Ferry. Other early residents of Baytown include William Scott, one of Stephen F. Austin's Old Three Hundred, and Ashbel Smith, who owned a plantation in the area. One of Baytown's first babies born was Gertrude Gardner.
The city now known as Baytown was originally three separate towns. The first of these was Goose Creek, named for the bayou of the same name where Canada geese wintered and whose name is still reflected in the area's Goose Creek school district, whose establishment dates back to before 1850. With the discovery of the Goose Creek Oil Field, the rival communities of Pelly in the late 1910s, and East Baytown in the early 1920s, developed as early boomtowns. The "East" in East Baytown was later dropped because it was west of Goose Creek.
Serious talk of merging the three cities began shortly after World War I, but the community of Baytown was opposed to this idea. However, in 1947, the three cities finally agreed to consolidate. The citizens settled on the name Baytown for the new combined city. Baytown as it is known today was officially founded January 24, 1948.
In 1916, the Humble Oil and Refining Company, founded by one-time Texas governor Ross S. Sterling and his associates, in developing the Goose Creek Oil Field, built the first offshore drilling operation in Texas and the second in the United States. The company later built the Baytown Refinery, which would become one of the largest Exxon refineries in the world. Since then, many other refineries have been built in the area. Exxon-Mobil is still one of the major employers in the city and now runs over 10 plants in the area.
Following the discovery of oil nearby, the population of Baytown and the Tri-Cities boomed. Many immigrants arrived in Baytown, among them a number of Jewish families who founded a synagogue, K’nesseth Israel, in 1930.
Steel manufacturing in Baytown began in 1970 when United States Steel opened the Texas Works near the city. The plant was officially closed in July 1986, due to a poor economic climate and the decline of American steel in the 1980s. The mill was later purchased by Jindal Steel and now operates as JSW Steel USA, Inc.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 36.5 square miles (94.6 km2), of which 35.4 square miles (91.8 km2) is land and 1.1 square miles (2.8 km2), 2.92%, is covered by water.
Baytown is located on the Gulf coastal plain, and its vegetation is classified as temperate grassland and marshes. The municipalities have been built on reclaimed marshes, swamps, and prairies, which are all still visible in undeveloped parts of the Bay Area. Baytown is bordered by water on three sides. Along the south and west is Galveston Bay. On the east is Cedar Bayou. The city is roughly bordered along the north by Interstate 10. Portions of the city to the east of Cedar Bayou lie in Chambers County.
Flatness of the local terrain and proximity to the bay have made flooding a recurring problem for the area.
The land beneath Baytown consists of layers of sand and clay to great depths. These layers were created by millennia of river-borne sediments which gradually incorporated plant and animal matter, creating the petroleum deposits for which the Gulf Coast is now known.
The region around the city has numerous faults, many considered active, but none has produced significant earthquakes in recorded history. These faults tend to move at a smooth rate in what is termed "fault creep", which reduces the risk of an earthquake. The one significant earthquake that has been reported in the area was the result of an underground water and petroleum extraction.
|Weather chart for Baytown|
|temperatures in °F
precipitation totals in inches
source: The Weather Channel: Monthly Averages for Baytown, TX
Baytown's climate is classified as humid subtropical (Cfa in Köppen climate classification system). Spring supercell thunderstorms sometimes create tornadoes (but not to the extent found in tornado alley). Prevailing winds from the south and southeast bring heat from the deserts of Mexico and moisture from the Gulf of Mexico.
Summer temperatures typically have highs near 90 °F (32 °C) though higher temperatures are not uncommon. The city's proximity to the bay and the winds that it generates moderate the area's temperatures and ease the effects of the humidity, creating a more pleasant climate than inland communities like Houston. Winters in the area are temperate with typical January high of 61 °F (16 °C) and lows are near 42 °F (6 °C). Snowfall is rare. Annual rainfall averages exceed 53 inches (130 cm).
Excessive ozone levels can occur due to industrial activities; nearby Houston is ranked among the most ozone-polluted cities in the United States. The industries located along the ship channel and the bay are a major cause of the pollution.
Hurricanes are a substantial concern during the fall season. Though Galveston Island and the Bolivar Peninsula provide some shielding, Baytown still faces more danger than Houston and other inland communities, particularly because of storm surge, as well as severe land subsidence in some low-lying areas of town due to excess pumping of groundwater in the 1960s (see Brownwood subdivision) by area refineries and municipalities. Hurricanes Carla (1961), Alicia (1983), and Ike (2008) were the three most damaging hurricanes to affect Baytown.
As of the 2010 census, 71,802 people, 28,998 households, and 17,025 families resided in the city. The population density was 2,025.7 people per square mile (785.6/km2). There were 26,203 housing units at an average density of 802.4 per square mile (309.9/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 62.9% White, 15.5% African American, 0.6% Native American, 1.5% Asian, 14.42% from other races, and 2.7% from two or more races. Hispanics or Latinos of any race were 43.4% of the population.
Of the 23,483 households, 39.2% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 52.9% were married couples living together, 14.2% had a female householder with no husband present, and 27.5% were not families. About 23.0% of all households were made up of individuals, and 8.0% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.80 and the average family size was 3.32.
In the city, the population was distributed as 29.2% under the age of 18, 11.2% from 18 to 24, 29.4% from 25 to 44, 19.5% from 45 to 64, and 10.1% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 31 years. For every 100 females, there were 94.4 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 91.4 males.
The median income for a household in the city was $48,191, and for a family was $45,346. Males had a median income of $38,039 versus $25,012 for females. The per capita income for the city was $17,641. About 13.0% of families and 15.5% of the population were below the poverty line, including 21.9% of those under age 18 and 9.8% of those age 65 or over.
As of 2010, the property crime rate in the community was 4.6% compared to 5.45% for Harris County as a whole. The violent crime rate was 0.5% compared to 1.03% for Harris County.
Arts and culture
The Baytown Little Theater is a community theater in Baytown run entirely by volunteers. The theater has been in operation for 55 years (as of 2015) and is one of the longest continuously running community theaters in Texas. The theater typically produces six shows each year from September to August, with each show giving seven performances.
Tourism and recreation
Baytown Nature Center, located on a 450-acre (1.8 km2) peninsula along the Houston Ship Channel and surrounded on three sides by Burnet Bay, Crystal Bay, and Scott Bay, is both a recreation area and a wildlife sanctuary that is home to hundreds of bird species, mammals, reptiles, and aquatic species.
Royal Purple Raceway is a motorsports complex featuring National Hot Rod Association (NHRA) races and a weekly drag racing program. Established in 1988, the venue accommodates 40,000 fans and included a high-banked dirt oval race track that hosts races each year from March through October.
San Jacinto Mall is a large regional shopping mall located in Baytown along Interstate 10. It is currently managed by Triyar Cannon Group. The mall has five anchor stores, a food court and Premiere Cinemas 11, although much of the mall's leasable space is unused.
The Baytown Symphony Orchestra, in residence at Lee College, performs several concerts throughout the year for the enjoyment of the public.
The Baytown Sun serves as the region's newspaper.
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