History of Crockett
Crockett is the county seat of Houston County, the first county established in the Republic of Texas on June 12, 1837. The town was incorporated on December 29, 1837, and a post office opened there on March 31, 1838. The town was named after David Crockett, who is said to have camped at a nearby spring in 1836 on his way to defend the Alamo. A historical plaque marks the site where the spring still flows today. The site is located at the Davy Crockett Spring & Mural in Brewer Park on the El Camino Real de los Tejas in Crockett. One of many Houston County attractions, the El Camino Real de Los Tejas was designated as a National Historic Trail in 2004.
In 1872 the Houston and Great Northern Railroad was built through Crockett, thus assuring its place as a regional trading center and spurring the growth of the lumber industry in the region. By 1885 the town had a bank, a hotel, an opera house, and several schools; Baptist, Methodist, and Presbyterian churches; a weekly newspaper, the Texas Patron; and an estimated population of 1,200. The first school in Texas for African-American girls, later known as Mary Allen Junior College, opened in Crockett in 1886 and operated through 1972. In 1904 a lignite mine was opened just south of the town and at its height around 1910 produced twenty-five carloads a day. Wildcatting for oil began around the same time, but local oil was not produced commercially until 1934.
After World War II Crockett grew steadily; it topped the 5,000 mark in the early 1960s and reached 7,000 during the 1980s. In 2000 the population was 7,141 and has remained stable to slightly down since then. The most recent population estimate in 2017 stands near 6,600.
The local economy is based on agriculture and the production of plastics, chemicals, and metals. With the recent completion of a deal on April 1, 2019 with Onshore Outsourcing, Crockett is expanding its economy to include technology and IT services.
Numerous historical attractions are found in Crockett including old homes, such as the Monroe-Crook and Downes-Aldrich houses, which are listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The First United Methodist Church is home to one of the oldest congregations in Texas and is also listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Other sites include the Houston County Courthouse, Mary Allen Seminary, and Glenwood Cemetery.