El Campo is on U.S. Highway 59 and State Highway 71, thirteen miles southwest of Wharton in south-central Wharton County. The Lower Colorado River Authority provides water, and several creeks flow near the city limits. In 1882 a railroad camp called Prairie Switch was situated where El Campo now stands and served as a switching point on New York, Texas, and Mexican Railway.
Cowboys called the camp “Pearl of the Prairies.” Located in the midst of cattle country, the camp was used by Mexican cowboys who changed the name to El Campo in 1890. Ranching was the chief industry, and thousands of cattle were shipped yearly to San Antonio. Four large ranches surrounded the settlement: the Texas Land and Cattle Company (KO Ranch) to the south, the Pierce Ranch to the east, the Herder Ranch to the west, and the Brown Ranch to the north.
For several years El Campo had no permanent structures except the section house and a switch serving the cattle-loading chute. In 1889 a general store was built. In 1890 a post office opened. In 1892 the community had an estimated population of twenty-five, a general store, a mill and gin, and a justice of the peace. Settlers began moving into the area and planted rice, cotton, and corn.
Hay soon became one of the chief products, and in the early 1900s, the town was the second largest hay-shipping center in the United States. The Farmers Union Warehouse Company was established in El Campo. A one-room schoolhouse was built in 1891, and in 1895 an independent school district was established. By 1901 it enrolled 177 students. Between 1890 and 1898 Swedish Lutheran, Baptist, Methodist, Presbyterian, Catholic, German Lutheran, and Swedish Methodist churches were organized.
In 1896 a fire destroyed the principal business section; by 1900, 130 businesses had been rebuilt. In 1901 another fire destroyed a large part of the town, and this time the residents built brick buildings. El Campo Brick and Tile Company provided building materials for many of the permanent structures. In 1901 a library was organized. In 1902 the first bank was established.
On June 19, 1905, El Campo was incorporated. The El Campo Ice and Water Company was established in 1907. This plant lighted businesses, streets, and homes, and made enough ice to supply the city. The El Campo Rice Milling Company was established in 1903. By 1904 seventy rice farms and 126 pumping stations were in operation around El Campo. Broussard Rice Mills was established, and in 1914 the two rice mills consolidated under the name El Campo Rice Milling Company, now known as ELCO.
The El Campo News began in 1928 and has survived in the present El Campo Leader News. In 1931 a Czech-language paper, Svoboda, was published. It was later purchased by Culp Krueger and merged with the main newspaper. In the mid-1930s gas and oil were discovered in Wharton County and spawned the local petroleum and oil-service industries. The Texas Company (now Texaco, Incorporated) established a branch office in El Campo.
In 1990 agriculture and petroleum-related businesses provided the base for the local economy. Crops included milo, rice, corn, cotton, and soybeans. Three farm cooperatives were functioning. The area remained a major beef producer as well. Aquaculture products and pecans added to the diversity. Manufactured items included aluminum extrusion, children’s clothing, nursery containers, foam cups and containers, and valves. El Campo also had a wholesale nursery.
Much of the industrial development can be attributed to the work of the El Campo Economic Development Corporation, a nonprofit organization formed in 1959 to bring new industry and stimulate growth, and to the El Campo Chamber of Commerce and Agriculture. El Campo Independent School District covers 445 square miles and has an enrollment for grades prekindergarten through twelve of 3,600. In 1990 El Campo had a population of 10,511 and 294 businesses. In 2000 the population was 10,945 with 722 businesses. (source)
Looking for a place to take the little ones? Friendship Park is complete with four tennis courts, two volleyball courts, a one-mile jogging trail, a football field, a soccer field, picnic tables, playground equipment, and accessible restroom facilities, all on 26.38 acres. The park is clean, newly renovated, and regularly monitored by the local police force. This park is complete with all of the tenants of small-town charm, perfectly located in El Campo for you take the kiddos to burn off some steam.
In 1972, Dr. and Mrs. E.A. Weinheimer donated the animal trophies he had acquired on various Big Game Hunts to the City of El Campo. They included in their donation the building which had housed his first medical clinic, which was remodeled to accommodate his collection as well as the El Campo Chamber of Commerce. The Chamber became the caretakers of the collection, although the city retained ownership.
In 1978, the Chamber of Commerce encouraged a group of volunteers to apply for the charter to become the El Campo Museum of Art, History, and Natural Science. The museum board of directors adopted a mission statement and set the goal to develop the collection into a museum-quality presentation of the animals in replicas of their natural habitats and environments. Local volunteers, many of whom were artists, researched, planned, and produced a visual habitat for animals grouped geographically, using landscape murals and replicas of natural settings.
Exhibits being completed during this period were the African and Arctic Exhibits in 1978, and the Great Cats Jungle Exhibit in 1979. The exhibits, as well as the Waterfowl Exhibit of the mid-1980s, attracted visitors to the Museum and membership began to grow.
The Museum became known locally for its elaborate display of Christmas decorations, and Santa Claus became a seasonal favorite for the young and old who came to visit. The Museum became established as a permanent cultural and educational resource in the area.
In 1989 the City of El Campo opened a new Civic Center and the Museum moved to its present location in the Center. Original murals of the African and Waterfowl Exhibits, as well as all of the trophy animals were also moved, and new dioramas were built.
In 1991, a popular Texas Exhibit of animals native to South Texas was added as well as the Alaskan Brown Bear Exhibit.. In March 2013 the Museum received over 400 mounts from Steve McManus of the Nature and Wildlife Museum. We added horns, antlers, skulls, skins, shoulder mounts as well as life size mounts to our Museum – tripling our size.
If you’re ready to escape the Texas heat with a dip in the pool, the El Campo City Aquatic Center is the place to be in town. Offering ample shaded areas, including shade over the pool itself, there is plenty of room to get out of the sun and still have some fun. With 3 heated pools, including an 8-lane x 25 yard competition pool, a recreational or leisure area with an 85 linear foot slide, water mushroom, lily pads and other features, and a large 20-person hot tub, there’s something for everyone here.
The Lost Lagoon is located in El Campo, Texas on Highway 59 between Houston and Victoria. We are also just 30 miles south of Interstate 10. The Lost Lagoon is a luxury campground with the worlds largest RV Resort swimming pool, a Wibit water course and over 200 concrete RV sites with free wifi for all sites. Our luxury amenities offer a family-friendly environment with an on-site cafe, full bar and golf cart rentals.
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Once you’ve decided on the type of Kratom right for you, it’s time to decide on how to get it to your front door. We’ve got a few options for shipping.