In the southern part of Waller County, TX is the town of Pattison on Farm Roads 1458 and 359. It is located just about thirty minutes from Houston, and many other smaller towns are also conveniently located between them.
The town gets its name from James Tarrant Pattison. In 1839, Pattison purchased a large block of land that was originally part of William Heady’s original Mexican land grant. Pattison built a plantation on a hill in the area. The name was selected as the result of a bet that was placed on a horse. One of the other plantation owners in the area had wanted to name the town after himself, and the two men used a horse race to settle the decision.
The first church was built in 1854 and was called the George Parker Church, in honor of the first minister to preach there. Its original location is thought to have been right where the town is today. In 1877, Pattison’s children granted the right of way to the Texas Western Narrow Gauge Railroad right through their property. They also donated land that would later be used for a turntable and what would later become the actual townsite.
In 1873, the nearby town of Pine Grove, moved to Pattison to take advantage of the railroad station. A post office was soon built and called Patterson’s Station in 1879, which was changed to Patterson in 1885. It took until 1916 for the post office to change its name to Pattison.
When the railroad opened in 1878, Pattison thrived. New settlers came into the area and cotton was being shipped all over the state. The population estimate in 1883 was 250, and at the time, this was the second largest town in Waller County. However, by 1899, the railroad had closed and the station was moved.
The Galveston hurricane of 1900 further rocked the little town, and a fire decimated the downtown area. Many people left Pattison during this period and the population fell to 100 by 1925.
However, the people in the town were determined not to quit. They held on and built new businesses. In 1930, Peter Donigan paid Houston Light and Power to run a new power line to his cotton gin and for the first time, the entire town had electricity. A high school was soon built and the population went up to 316 by 1968.
Pattison was incorporated in 1972, and the post office, a school, four churches and a state health clinic were still hanging on. By 1990, the population had grown to 327, which was down from a high of 450 during the late 1980’s.
There is a lot of history in Pattison, and many different historical sites to visit. The last cotton gin in Waller County operated in the town until 1976, making it a rare site of interest. There are many different activities in Pattison all year round and its proximity to Houston makes it the perfect place to rent an apartment if you plan to commute to Houston.
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