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Robert Wooster

MONT BELVIEU, TEXAS. Mont Belvieu is at the intersection of State Highway 146 and Farm Road 1942, slightly north of Interstate Highway 10 and thirty-two miles east of Houston on a salt dome in northwestern Chambers County. The area's first permanent settler was Amos Barber, who built the first home on the hill in 1849. The community that grew up near the Barber homestead was known as Barbers Hill. Seeking to avoid confusion with other offices with similar names, postal authorities suggested a change to Mont Belvieu. In 1890 the Mont Belvieu post office opened with Z. T. Winfree as postmaster. In 1920 the population was estimated at only twenty. The first commercial production at the Barbers Hill oilfield had begun in 1918, and the Goose Creek and Dayton Railroad was completed through Mont Belvieu the following year. The townsite plat was filed in May 1922 by Marion, Amanda, J. W., and Daisy Williams. A cotton gin operated at Mont Belvieu from 1924 to 1935. The most important development was the discovery of more oil at greater depths during the late 1920s. Several Work Projects Administration projects were credited with helping the community weather the Great Depression, although a weekly newspaper, the Mont Belvieu Citizen, was closed after a brief run in 1932. By the mid-1930s thirty businesses served the growing oil town, which had an estimated 500 residents by the 1940s. Mont Belvieu had incorporated by 1970, when it was credited with a population of 1,144. By 1980 the figure had increased to 1,730. The community was by then closely tied to the Houston-Baytown area. The growth of local industries had, however, proved a mixed blessing. A 1985 explosion at one of the plants threatened the entire salt dome, which had in recent years been used to store liquid propane gas, and led to a series of efforts by townspeople to force the petrochemical industries to buy out the homes in the immediate vicinity of their plants. By 1990 some 200 families had been bought out by a dozen petrochemical corporations. With the aid of these local industries the community was rebuilt two miles east of its 1985 location. Among the buildings at the new site were a city hall, seven new churches, and a public school. In 1990 the rebuilt community recorded 1,323 inhabitants. The population grew in 2000 to 2,324 residents.

Jewel Horace Harry, A History of Chambers County (M.A. thesis, University of Texas, 1940; rpt., Dallas: Taylor, 1981).

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The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this article.

Handbook of Texas Online, Robert Wooster, "MONT BELVIEU, TX," accessed July 10, 2020, http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/hjm15.

Uploaded on June 15, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.
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