Alta Loma, on State Highway 6 in southwestern Galveston County, was settled by Asa Brigham, who received a grant on Hall's Bayou from the Mexican government in 1830. This area had previously been occupied by roaming Karankawa Indians. In 1878 the Gulf, Colorado and Santa Fe Railway was built through the settlement, and in 1883, after booms in pears, figs, and oranges, the Alta Loma Improvement and Investment Company established the townsite and sponsored the building of a school, a depot, a store, churches, and houses. James W. Skirvin led the first settlers to Alta Loma in 1894, and that year the Alta Loma post office was established. In 1895 the first artesian well was brought in in the settlement. By 1897 there were thirty such wells that provided nearby Galveston with 6,000,000 gallons of fresh drinking water daily. At that time Alta Loma had a population of 200 and more than a dozen businesses, including a fruit cannery. Throughout the early 1900s the community's economy was based on fruit, dairy farming, and beef cattle. The Hoyland and Johnson Creamery was built in 1912. In 1907 the local school had sixty-eight pupils and two teachers. Alta Loma's population was 500 in 1915. By 1948 the community had eleven local businesses, which served the nearby oilfields. The population grew from 540 in 1920 to 1,350 in 1940. The Alta Loma Business Association was founded in 1966. At that time Steelco, which produced galvanized boat trailers, was built at the community, and the Alta Loma post office was among the largest in the county. By 1970 Alta Loma had a population of 1,536 and some thirty businesses, including six gas stations, several beauty shops, three cafes, two drive-ins, two drugstores, a clinic, and a concrete business. On January 21, 1978, nearby Santa Fe incorporated Alta Loma into its city limits and in 1982 changed the post office name to Santa Fe. During the 1980s recreational facilities in the area included Hall's Bayou for boating and fishing, the Knights of Columbus hall, the Veterans of Foreign Wars hall, and two private parks.
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