ADDICKS, TEXAS. Addicks, known at various times as Letitia, Bear Hill, and Bear Creek, is an area of Houston located at the intersection of State Highway 6 and Interstate Highway 10 in western Harris County. Addicks originated as a railroad stop for the Bear Creek community, which was established around 1850 by German immigrants who homesteaded along Bear, Langham, and South Mayde creeks. A one-room school was built for Bear Creek residents near present-day Clay Road in 1876, followed by a post office in 1878. The Bear Creek German Methodist Church, founded in 1879, initially met in parishioners’ homes until a permanent structure was erected on Langham Creek near the Hillendahl-Eggling Cemetery. The Bear Creek Schuetzen Verein, or shooting club, built adjacent to the church, served as a venue for town meetings, dances, barbecues, traditional German shooting competitions, and other social events. Together, the shooting club and church, which conducted services in German until the outbreak of World War I, formed the nucleus of the community. Additionally, a general store was established by local businessman William Schulz, Sr., at the present-day intersection of State Highway 6 and Patterson Road in 1882. When the first post office burned down in 1884, it was relocated to Schulz’s store, who named the new post office after the community’s first postmaster, Henry Addicks.
About 1893, when the Missouri, Kansas and Texas Railroad was built, Schulz relocated the Addicks post office and general store about two miles south to take advantage of the railroad depot constructed at the present-day intersection of State Highway 6 and Interstate Highway 10. He laid out a townsite there and named it Letitia, Texas, but many continued to refer to the new town as Addicks, after the official post office designation, and the name remained. The town, which initially included the general store and post office, a saloon, and a cotton gin, became a commercial center for local farmers and ranchers. A two-story brick schoolhouse was built at the townsite about 1910 to serve the children of several nearby farming communities.
Both the Bear Creek community and the town of Addicks were destroyed in the Galveston hurricane of 1900. The community rebuilt and listed a population of forty in 1925. After the hurricane, the Bear Creek German Methodist Church was moved to the site of the original Addicks post office, at present-day Highway 6 and Patterson Road, in order to avoid persistent flooding along Langham Creek. Addicks Bear Creek Cemetery, established at this location in 1904, was still in use in the 2010s and contains the graves of the descendants of many of the original German settlers. The Bear Creek Schuetzen Verein also relocated after 1900 to Patterson Road, near the banks of South Mayde Creek. The church was again devastated by the Galveston hurricane of 1915 but was quickly rebuilt.
Addicks continued to prosper as a commercial hub for local farmers into the 1940s and benefitted especially from the growth of the local dairy industry and the creation of several dairy-producing cooperatives. It had a population of 200 when much of the townsite was covered with water in the mid-1940s by the Addicks Dam Reservoir, built to protect nearby Houston from floods. Residents of Addicks living north of the Railroad (now Interstate Highway 10) and all of the original homesteaders along Bear, Langham, and South Mayde creeks were required to resettle under the auspices of the Federal Flood Control Project. By 1948 forty homes and buildings had been moved or destroyed, including the Bear Creek German Methodist Church, which moved two miles south to its present location. The church was subsequently renamed Addicks United Methodist Church in 1968 and continued to operate as of 2017. The move resulted in the gradual decline of the community, which was eventually overtaken by suburban development. The Addicks School graduated its last senior class in 1948, and the Addicks Independent School District was eventually consolidated with Katy ISD in 1961. Addicks Elementary, rebuilt on the site of the original Addicks schoolhouse in 1968, was renamed Maurice L. Wolfe Elementary School in 1986.
The Addicks Reservoir, site of the original communities of Addicks and Bear Creek, was annexed by the city of Houston in 1972 and is now home to Cullen Park and Bear Creek Pioneers Park. The areas surrounding the old Addicks rail depot and townsite were eventually annexed by the city of Houston in 1992. Much of what remained of the original Addicks townsite was consumed by the concurrent expansion of State Highway 6 and Interstate Highway 10, and the remaining area was redeveloped to accommodate the growth of dense, mixed-use commercial, industrial, and residential developments, especially after large, multi-national energy corporations such as Shell and ConocoPhillips began to relocate to newly-built suburban office campuses in the area in the 1980s and 1990s. The area now lies at the center of the Houston Energy Corridor District, created by the Texas legislature in 2001 to stimulate the rapid development of high-density commercial and residential space. By 2010 the census tracts adjacent to the original town site of Addicks, located in Houston City Council District A, reported a population of 18,859. The majority of residents lived in multi-family apartment complexes, while the surrounding commercial office space accommodated more than 90,000 commuting white-collar workers.
Margaret Ann Howard and Martha Doty Freeman, Inventory and Assessment of Cultural Resources at Bear Creek Park, Addicks Reservoir (Austin: Prewitt and Associates, 1983). Dan Worrall, Pleasant Bend: Upper Buffalo Bayou and the San Felipe Trail in the Nineteenth Century (Fulshear, Texas: Concertina Press, 2016).
Image Use Disclaimer
All copyrighted materials included within the Handbook of Texas Online are in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107 related to Copyright and “Fair Use” for Non-Profit educational institutions, which permits the Texas State Historical Association (TSHA), to utilize copyrighted materials to further scholarship, education, and inform the public. The TSHA makes every effort to conform to the principles of fair use and to comply with copyright law.
For more information go to: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml
If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond fair use, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.
The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this article.Handbook of Texas Online, Margaret Hopkins Edwards, rev. by R. Matt Abigail, "ADDICKS, TX," accessed July 15, 2020, http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/hla04.
Uploaded on June 9, 2010. Modified on June 27, 2017. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.