Hankamer is at the junction of State Highway 61 and Farm Road 1663, forty miles southwest of Beaumont in northern Chambers County. It was named for pioneer settler I. A. Hankamer. In 1900 the Hankamer-Stowell Canal Company (see FARMERS CANAL COMPANY) began irrigating large quantities of rice in Chambers County, thus bringing about fundamental change for area residents. The Hankamer post office was established four years later. The population remained small, however, until the discovery of the Hankamer oilfield in adjacent Liberty County in 1929. By the mid-1930s Hankamer had 200 residents and four businesses. The R. H. Harlow sawmill provided additional employment. Subsequent exploration opened new oil and gas fields in the Hankamer vicinity, although the widely scattered community's population was estimated at less than 200 in 1970. Six businesses served Hankamer residents in 1983. In 1990 the population was 189, and in 2000 it was 525.
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