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Brenham TX Real Estate

History of Brenham

BRENHAM, TEXAS. Brenham, the county seat of Washington County, is on U.S. Highway 290 seventy-two miles northwest of Houston. The Hickory Grove community changed its name in 1843 to Brenham in honor of Republic of Texas hero Dr. Richard Fox Brenham, who had practiced medicine in the vicinity. In February 1844 Brenham became the county seat through the electoral efforts of Jabez D. Giddings and Jesse Farrell’s and James Hurt’s offer of 100 acres as a townsite. A post office was established in 1846. In 1858 the new county seat, a rapidly growing supply center for a prosperous agricultural area, was incorporated. With tBrenham Courthouse – Heritage Texas Country Properties construction of the Washington County Railroad in 1860, Brenham, the rail terminus, served as a distribution point for the state’s interior until 1871, when the Houston and Texas Central was extended to Austin.


Despite the 1867 yellow fever epidemic, the burning of commercial buildings by federal occupation troops during Reconstruction, and destructive fires in 1873 and 1877, Brenham’s economy expanded to include banking (1866), silk and cigar manufacturing (the 1880s), and other light industry. Jewish merchants helped stimulate the town’s extensive retail and wholesale trade. The arrival of the Gulf, Colorado and Santa Fe Railway in 1880 augmented Brenham’s significance as a regional marketing center. Immigration, primarily of Germans, peaked in the early 1880s.

By the 1890s cottonseed oil, mattress manufacturing, food and fiber processing, and metal fabricating were significant economic activities. In 1905 the Washington County State Bank, in 1988 the oldest surviving state bank in Texas, was organized. Black professionals and black-owned stores served their own community during the first half of the twentieth century. Brenham’s population doubled every decade between 1860 and 1900. Brenham’s population bHeritage Texas Country Properties – Brenham Blue Bonnetsriefly declined around 1910 and then increased slowly through the 1950s.


The annual Maifest in Brenham, begun in 1881, originated from German immigrants’ Volksfests (1874–79). The annual Juneteenth celebration, initiated in the late 1870s and revived in 1983, attracted blacks from Texas cities in the 1920s and 1930s. A black church was organized in Camptown, Brenham’s first black neighborhood, by 1872. Jewish residents founded an Orthodox congregation in 1885. St. Paul’s Evangelical Lutheran Church (1890), St. Mary’s Catholic Church (1870), the German Methodist Church (1873), and the Presbyterian Church (1877) were formed as a result of European immigration. Brenham’s Fortnightly Club, still in existence, established Brenham Public Library in 1899. the Southern Enquirer (1866) became the Brenham Banner-Press in 1913 and is still being published. From 1873 to 1919 the German-language Texas Volksbote was published in Brenham.

Brenham has served as a regional educational center since Reconstruction when a large freedmen’s school was established there. In 1875 the town began operating the first tax-supported school system in Texas, including a school for blacks. One of six Texas school systems to receive Peabody Funds, Brenham schools achieved a reputation as one of the state’s best educational organizations. German Methodists of Brenham founded Mission Institute (1883), later renamed Blinn Memorial College (now Blinn College) in appreciation of financial support from Rev. Christian Blinn (1889). The Lutheran College (1891) and a black female college also provided .higher education in later nineteenth-century Brenham.

Brenham Homes for Sale

Recreation & Events in and around Brenham


Brenham has so much to see and experience like the famous Blue Bell Creamery: It all started on a hot summer day when local farmers decided to establish the Brenham Creamery Company and make butter from excess cream brought in by area farmers. A few years later, the Creamery began making ice cream and delivering it to neighbors by horse and wagon. It was in 1930 that the company changed its name to Blue Bell Creameries after the native Texas bluebell wildflower.

Spend a day spent in the Historic Downtown area Main Street is dedicated to the revitalization and preservation of historic downtown business districts throughout the country.


It is sponsored by the NatioBrenham Downtown – Heritage Texas Country Propertiesnal Trust for Historic Preservation and, in Texas, the Texas Historical Commission. These sponsors, through the National Main Street Center, provide direction and support to over 1,000 community programs nationwide. Together, these programs have produced an investment in these districts of more than $5 billion and spurred the rehabilitation of countless historic structures, while providing space for 27,000 new businesses and creating over 100,000 new jobs for local citizens. Be sure to come by our main Heritage Texas Country Properties Office and say hello.