Cortes was on the New York, Texas and Mexican Railway between Markham and the Colorado River at a site a mile north of what is now State Highway 35 in north central Matagorda County. It was named for H. W. Cortes, president of the Moore-Cortes Canal Company headquartered there, and served as a depot stop and a post office from 1901 to 1903, the year newly founded Markham opened a post office further west on the railroad. At its height the community had a hotel run by A. A. Moore, who was also postmaster. Until it moved to Markham, the Cortes post office was also used by residents of the nearby community of Northern Headquarters. Cortes is not shown on the 1936 county highway map.
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