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In Houston, covering square miles, ranked as the fourth largest city in the United States with an estimated population of 2, This ranked it fifth in the nation and second in Texas to Dallas-Fort Worth. When first formed in the Houston Standard Metropolitan Statistical Area covered only Harris County and had a population ofpeople. More than ethnic groups now shape the population of the city; the major components in were 26 percent non-Hispanic White, 25 percent Black, 43 percent Hispanic of any race, and 6 percent Asian.

This spectacular growth developed as a result of the construction of transportation systems, the fortuitous nearby location of useful natural resources, and an entrepreneurial spirit. The brothers claimed that the town would become the "great interior commercial emporium of Texas," that ships from New York and New Orleans could sail up Buffalo Bayou to its door, and that the site enjoyed a healthy, cool seabreeze.

They noted plans to build a sawmill and offered lots for sale at moderate prices. In the manner of town boomers the Allens exaggerated a bit, however.

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Moreover, in Januarywhen Francis R. Lubbock arrived on the Laurathe small steamship that first reached Houston, he found the bayou choked with branches and the town almost invisible. The promoters offered lots and buildings to the government. On January 1,the town comprised twelve residents and one log cabin; four months later there were 1, people and houses. Gail and Thomas H. Borden surveyed and mapped the town in typical gridiron fashion, with broad streets running parallel and perpendicular to the bayou.

The legislature first met in Houston on May 1,and, despite the efforts of Masons who greeted one another in and the Presbyterians and Episcopalians who formed churches inthe town remained infamous for drunkenness, dueling, brawling, prostitution, and profanity. The legislature granted incorporation on June 5,and James S. Holman became the first mayor. The same year, Houston also became the county seat of Harrisburg County, which was renamed Harris County in During the nineteenth century, aldermen elected by wards directed the city government.

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In the city began to use a modified commission form with aldermen elected at large. A United States Justice Department ruling led to nine city council members elected from districts, and five elected at large. Two additional districts were created inincreasing the total of city council members to sixteen. Voters selected the first African American for the council in and the first Mexican American in Houston's first female mayor was elected infollowed by the first African American mayor in In Houston became the first U. The early settlers used lumber to build frame houses, ditches for drainage, and pigs to clean the streets.

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Yellow fever struck periodically—in,, and —until it was controlled by quarantine of the coastline. In the disease killed about 12 percent of the population. This started Houston on the same bifurcated pathway as other Southern towns, where the Black minority developed a subordinated and separate social structure.

The slaves lived scattered through the neighborhoods, were subject to an P. There were few free Blacks in the city. After the Civil Warseparation of the races continued with segregated schools and dissociated churches, clubs, bands, businesses, and sports teams.

Segregation by law began with separation on trollies in It continued through the first half of the twentieth century, during which Blacks were excluded from or had only limited access to White parks, depots, schools, drinking fountains, buses, restrooms, and restaurants.

Though residential segregation never became part of the legal code, it did operate as part of the social code. Separate residential areas developed for African Americans, Mexican Americansand Whites by the end of the century.

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Despite occasional outbursts such as the Houston Riot ofwhen a Black army unit shot up the town and left nineteen people dead, nothing changed the legacy of slavery until the civil-rights movement of the s and s. Although Houston started as a political boomtown in the nineteenth century, its livelihood depended upon cotton and commerce.

The Texas government left Houston for Austin inand the city settled into the rhythm of agriculture. BagbyCharles ShearnWilliam J. HutchinsPaul Bremondand A. Ruthven established trade connections. Activity was greatest during harvest and marketing times, while the rest of the year was spent in sending supplies to farmers. Oceangoing ships brought to Galveston cargoes of cloth, flour, whiskey, gunpowder, iron castings, lead, coffee, sugar, nails, books, and hundreds of little items. Small river steamships took the goods from Galveston to Houston. The merchants then sent them by ox wagon to the farmers in the hinterland.

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The Houston Morning Star started on April 8, These early newspapers reflected the local interests in cotton production, ro, railways, and bayou clearance. From the beginning, Buffalo Bayou was difficult to navigate.

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Charles Morgana Gulf Coast shipowner, eventually took over and in opened a twelve-foot-deep waterway to Clinton, a port town below Houston. The United States government assumed Morgan's work in and after delays dug a ship channel through Galveston Bay and Buffalo Bayou to a turning basin above Harrisburg.

The Houston Ship Channel opened in and has been since widened and deepened. It made Houston a deepwater port variously ranked second or third largest in the United States, with access to the shipping of the world.

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Complementing this facility, Houstonians worked to build railro into the countryside. Paul Bremond, a Houston merchant, began a slow northwestward construction of the Houston and Texas Central Railroad in This line started as the Galveston and Red River, changed its name inand reached Hempstead in This linked Houston with the sugar plantations of the Brazos valley. Other ro were started, and by Houston was the rail center of Southeast Texas with five lines stretching fifty to miles south, southeast, west, east, and northwest.

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The Civil War interrupted construction, but building revived afterwards. When the Houston and Texas Central reached Denison inHouston ed the national rail network.

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The railro efficiently spanned the muddy bogs of the coastal prairie. Although ro existed from the start, travel was often slow and rough. Roadwork was costly, and ificant improvement came only with the construction of all-weather highways in the s. The city's first expressway, the Gulf Freeway, connected Houston and Galveston in and later became a part of the interstate highway system.

The various transportation systems, along with the communication systems of mail, telegraph built in —54 and telephone —95allowed Houston to develop as a cotton and lumber market in the nineteenth century. The discovery of oil at the Spindletop oilfield dramatically changed the Houston economy in the twentieth century.

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Oil companies chose to locate refineries along the Houston Ship Channel, where they were safe from Gulf storms. By forty oil companies had located offices in the city. Sinclair Oil Company built the first major refinery in World War II brought a demand for synthetic rubber, gasoline, materials for explosives, and ships from the area.

Concrete barges, steel merchant vessels, and mid-size warships were built along the ship channel. Houston Shipbuilding Corporation, a subsidiary of Todd Shipbuilding Corporation, for example, built Liberty Ships and employed 20, workers by July Nearby coastal deposits of salt, sulfur, and natural gas supplied the ingredients for petrochemicals, and the United States government provided the contracts for war materials.

By a complex of some interrelated refineries extended from Corpus Christi along the coast to the Louisiana border. The main exports and imports of the Port of Houston, consequently, were petroleum or petroleum-related products. Houston thus became a world energy capital in the s, expanded with the rise in oil prices, and suffered with the downturn during the s. As a result, in the mids, Houston lost population for the only time in its history.

The developments of the twentieth century, however, made Houston the largest city in Texas inwhen the population wasFacilities for urban living had to develop along with the growth. Merchants and others complained about the city streets from the beginning. Efforts to rise out of the mud and dust featured experiments with cypress blocks, gravel, planks, shell, limestone blocks, and later cement and asphalt. In Houston had almost miles of paved streets.

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In the municipal government began to replace wooden bridges with steel and concrete.