LAKE JACKSON, TX
LAKE JACKSON, TEXAS. Lake Jackson is an incorporated residential community ten miles upriver from the mouth of the Brazos River in south central Brazoria County. The 3000-acre sugar and cotton plantation of Abner Jackson occupied the site from 1843 to 1845. It originally used as many as eighty-two slaves to produce cotton, sugar, and corn, and later used convict labor to cultivate sugar after Jackson's death in 1861. As the plantation declined, the area became a black community, which had a single school and one teacher as late as 1937. In 1942 the plantation was purchased for use as a townsite for employees of the Dow Chemical Company. A model community, named for Abner Jackson, was designed by Alden B. Dow of Midland, Michigan, with the assistance of engineer J. P. Dunbar. The new town, operated by the Lake Jackson Company, encompasses Jackson Lake, Flagg Lake, and two other unnamed lakes. Though primarily concerned with employee housing, Dow left room for private development, thereby encouraging Lake Jackson to become more than simply a company town. The community was established in 1943, incorporated in April 1944, and received a post office in 1945, by which time it had become part of the expanding Brazosport industrial area. The first school, opened in 1943 and initially part of the Clute school district, offered classes through the eighth grade. High school students attended Freeport High School. In 1944 area school districts voted to form the Brazosport Independent School District.
The population reached 2,897 in 1950 and 11,090 in 1958. In 1954 residents voted to become a home-rule city with a council-manager form of government. By 1969 the district had two high schools. Business grew slowly at first, but increased steadily during the 1960s and 1970s, and in 1976 a regional shopping mall opened within the city limits. The town attracted professional people as well as several financial institutions, and completion of the South Freeway accelerated growth in the area. In 1980 Hispanics made up 7.8 per cent and blacks 2.5 percent of Lake Jackson's 19,102 residents, and eighteen churches functioned in the community. The number of businesses more than doubled between 1970 and 1985, when Lake Jackson had four elementary schools and one intermediate school. The population was 22,776 in 1990 and 26,386 in 2000. The Brazosport Center for the Arts and Sciences in Lake Jackson offers an art gallery, two theaters, a museum of natural science, and a nature center and planetarium, while the city maintains a number of parks, including Wilderness Park, a large undeveloped area that extends to the bank of the Brazos. The Lake Jackson Historical Association was formed in 1983. A reproduction of Abner Jackson's plantation house built by Dow Chemical Company near the original site is used as a recreation facility.
Brazoria County Federation of Women's Clubs, History of Brazoria County (1940). James A. Creighton, A Narrative History of Brazoria County (Angleton, Texas: Brazoria County Historical Commission, 1975).