Bryan, Texas

Bryan, Texas

Aereal view of downtown Bryan, the seat of Brazos County, Texas. Photograph by Justin6898.
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Promotion: Nearby Map of Brazos County

Bryan, the county seat of Brazos County, is located in west central Brazos County and is crossed by State highways 6 and 21, U.S. Highway 190, Farm roads 158, 1179, 1687, and 1688, and the Missouri Pacific and Southern Pacific railroads. Along with College Station, the home of Texas A&M University, which adjoins Bryan to the south, the city is the urban center of Brazos County. The area around the future site of Bryan was settled by members of Stephen F. Austin's colony in the 1820s and 1830s. In 1859, when the Houston and Texas Central Railroad graded a railroad bed through the area, a nephew of Austin, William Joel Bryan, donated land for a townsite to the railroad company. The townsite was named in his honor and was platted that same year. Construction of the railroad was halted at Millican, eighteen miles southeast of Bryan, during the Civil War, but a community of some 300 inhabitants grew up at the townsite. A post office was opened in Bryan in 1866, and that same year the county voted for Bryan to replace Boonville as the county seat. The railroad reached the community in 1867. That year also saw the arrival of telegraph service and the first general store. Many residents of Millican and Boonville moved to the new county seat in the 1860s, and the first courthouse was built in 1871. Though the city voted to incorporate in 1867, it was not formally incorporated until 1871, when it adopted an aldermanic government.

The Bryan News-Letter became the first newspaper in the community in 1868, followed in 1869 by the Brazos Eagle, the weekly Brazos Pilot in 1877, and the Bryan Weekly Eagle in 1889. The Eagle became a daily in 1913. A number of other newspapers have been published in the community over the years. The Bryan Independent School District was established in 1877, though the first school was not ready until 1880. The first black public school was also opened in 1880. Several colleges and seminaries flourished for a time in the city in the late nineteenth century, including the Bryan Male and Female Seminary, the Texas Odd Fellows University and Orphanage, Bryan Academy, and Allen Academy. Texas A&M College, which was eventually of great importance to Bryan, was opened in neighboring College Station in 1876. By 1884 Bryan had an estimated 3,000 inhabitants, who supported Baptist, Methodist, Presbyterian, Christian, and Episcopal churches, two schools, two banks, an opera house with a seating capacity of 500, a cotton gin, an Odd Fellows hall, two planing mills, and two wagon and buggy factories. In 1889 the city obtained electric lighting and a waterworks, and in 1900, when Bryan had a population of 3,589, a second railroad, the International-Great Northern, was built through the community. A Carnegie Library was founded in 1902. The Villa Maria Ursuline Academy was moved to Bryan in 1901, and two Baptist educational institutions, Texas Women's College in 1902 and Bryan Baptist Academy in 1909, followed soon after.

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Mark Odintz | © TSHA

Handbook of Texas Logo

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

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Adoption Status:
This place has been adopted and will not be available until January 13, 2025
Adopted by:
Thomas Smith
Dedication Message:
Laura Frenzel Smith

Belongs to

Bryan is part of or belongs to the following places:

Currently Exists


Place type

Bryan is classified as a Town

Associated Names

  • [-City]
  • (Boonville)


Latitude: 30.66641040
Longitude: -96.36702200

Has Post Office


Is Incorporated


Population Count, 2021 View more »


Place Type Population (Year/Source) Currently Exists
College or University Yes
College or University Yes

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