Fairbanks is on U.S. Highway 290 and the Southern Pacific Railroad, inside the western city limit of Houston in central western Harris County. The town was established in 1893 and named for its founder, who bought 106 acres at a site previously called Gum Island by the Southern Pacific trainmen because of the gum trees growing between White Oak Bayou and Willow Creek. Fairbanks has had a post office since 1895. In 1914 the community reported a population of seventy-five, a general store-saloon, and a grocery store. The number of inhabitants dropped to twenty-five in the 1920s and 1930s but by 1940 rose to 800. In 1942 Fairbanks reported a population of 800 and thirty-five businesses in the vicinity. A decline to 350 people in the 1950s was followed by a period of rapid expansion; in 1962 the community reported 1,050 people and forty-five businesses. This report, however, came after Fairbanks was annexed by Houston in 1956 and reflects members in surrounding communities. In 1980 and 1990 the population was still reported as 1,050, although considerably more people lived in the surrounding area. No population estimates were available in the 2000s. The area was served by the Cypress-Fairbanks Independent School District.
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