Northern Headquarters

Northern Headquarters was a rice-growing community just west of the Colorado River and seven miles north of Markham in northern Matagorda County. It was developed in the early 1900s and was founded by and named after the Northern Irrigation Company, which had a headquarters there from 1902 to 1947. The Northern Irrigation Company, by 1916 one of eleven such large irrigation companies in the county, eventually built thirty miles of canal and acquired more than 17,000 acres of Matagorda County land on the west bank of the Colorado River. Northern Headquarters settlers were mainly from North Dakota and Minnesota and of Norwegian and Swedish background. The community was served by the post office at Cortes and later at Markham. Despite a 1910 drought that devastated rice crops across the county, Northern Headquarters by 1916 had fifteen sets of houses and the Blue Creek Plant and Canal system. The Northern School in 1928 served White children in seven grades; in the mid-1930s it was consolidated with Markham, and its building was moved to the Markham school grounds. Olaf A. Ulland, one of the engineers for the irrigation system, helped develop the community and lived there with his family until 1947, when the Northern Irrigation Company sold its landholdings to several individuals and the Ohio Oil Company. No further information is available on Northern Headquarters, which is not labeled on the 1989 county highway map.

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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