Bay City

Bay City, Matagorda County, Texas

Bay City, Matagorda County, Texas

View of the downtown area of Bay City, the seat of Matagorda County, Texas. Photograph by Billy Hathorn.

Bay City, the county seat of Matagorda County, is an incorporated city at the junction of State Highways 35 and 60, in the north central portion of the county ninety miles southwest of Houston. The community is named for its location on Bay Prairie, between the richly productive bottomlands of the Colorado River and Caney Creek. It was established in 1894, when David Swickheimer, a Colorado mining millionaire and participant in a promotional organization called the Enterprise Land and Colonizing Company, formed the Bay City Town Company in partnership with G. M. Magill, N. M. Vogelsang, and Nicholas King. Planning that Bay City would one day supplant Matagorda as county seat, the men selected two cow pastures on Bay Prairie as the site for a new community. The company bought 320 acres from D. P. Moore and another 320 acres from the Mensing brothers of Galveston. One square mile was given to the townsite, on which the promoters laid out wide, regular streets. Elliott's Ferry (see ELLIOTT, TEXAS), two miles away, provided transportation across the Colorado River.

Adapted from the official Handbook of Texas, a state encyclopedia developed by the Texas State Historical Association (TSHA). It is an authoritative source of trusted historical records.

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Place type

Bay City is classified as a Town


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Bay City by the Numbers

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Population Counts

Bay City
Pop. Year Source
18,061 2020 United States Census Bureau
17,444 2019 Texas Demographic Center
17,614 2010 United States Census Bureau
18,667 2000 United States Census Bureau
18,170 1990 United States Census Bureau
17,837 1980 United States Census Bureau
11,733 1970 United States Census Bureau
11,656 1960 United States Census Bureau
9,427 1950 United States Census Bureau
6,594 1940 United States Census Bureau
4,070 1930 United States Census Bureau
3,454 1920 United States Census Bureau
3,156 1910 United States Census Bureau