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The Mesquite Belt Railroad Town:
Brookshire, Texas


MKT 200 Westbound June 1976 croosing FM 2855
       Photo copyrighted by & used with permission of Gary Morris


Brookshire  is on U.S. Highway 90 and Interstate 10 in southern Waller County thirty miles west of Houston.   The town is named for Capt. Nathen Brookshire, who received title to a league of land as a member of Stephen F. Austin's fifth colony in 1835.   Many skeptics thought that the area, which was surrounded by coastal prairies, was unfit for settlement.   Detractors were surprised when because of the rich alluvial soil of the Brazos riverbottom and the arrival of the Missouri, Kansas and Texas Railroad.

Brookshire developed into a thriving agricultural community.   The railroad and Brookshire's proximity to Houston made the town an ideal shipping point for crops such as cotton, melons, corn, and pecans.   By 1893 a post office had been established at the community.   With agriculture as its basis, the economy of Brookshire flourished.   By 1897 the Brookshire Times noted that the town had some thirty businesses and had shipped 10,000 bales of cotton that year.   Although cotton remained king in Brookshire in 1900, the crop's economic significance diminished over the next three decades because of falling cotton prices and the demand for farm labor in the lucrative war industries.   The community's economy, however, was not devastated, as rice became a major cash crop that increased in production every decade after 1900.   Brookshire's population was 1,250 in 1920, then fluctuated over the next two decades, then steadily increased through the 1980s.   In 1980 Brookshire, with a population of 2,244, was a center for rice, peanut, soybean, and cattle production.   The town had a number of churches, a sizable consolidated school district, two banks, and several large businesses, including the IGLOO Corporation's production plant for recreational coolers.   The Waller County Museum, in the home of former resident Dr. Paul Donigan, is located in Brookshire. Each October the town is host to the Waller County Festival, which celebrates diverse ethnic backgrounds.   In 1990 the community's population was 2,922.


Information from The Handbook of Texas Online; a joint project of The General Libraries at the University of Texas at Austin and the Texas State Historical Association.  
The Handbook of Texas Online

Map of Brookshire

Map courtesy of Mapquest



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