Port Lavaca

Port Lavaca, Texas

Port Lavaca, Texas

The Calhoun County Courthouse in Port Lavaca, Texas. Photograph by Larry D. Moore.

Port Lavaca, originally known as Lavaca, the county seat of Calhoun County, is in the north central part of the county (at 28°37' N, 96°38' W) on the west coast of Lavaca Bay. The town is served by U.S. Highway 87, State highways 35 and 238, Farm roads 1090 and 3084, and the Southern Pacific line. Lynn Bayou drains the northern part of the town and flows into the municipal harbor. Little Chocolate Bayou flows about a mile west of town and empties into Chocolate Bay, about a mile south of Port Lavaca. The town was founded in the aftermath of the Linnville raid of 1840, a Comanche attack that swept through Victoria, about twenty-five miles to the northwest, and Linnville, 3½ miles to the northeast. The burning of Linnville prompted many of its citizens to move to the site of what is now Port Lavaca. Thomas McConnell, who lost his Victoria home during the raid, purchased land for the town from Isidro Benavides of De Leon's colony. The town was named La Vaca ("the cow") in 1841 and was laid out by 1842. It was situated on a bluff some fifteen to twenty feet above the bay. Commission men from the East reportedly played a significant role in establishing Lavaca, which they envisioned as an important shipping point for exporting raw materials and importing manufactured goods. Lavaca fulfilled this expectation, succeeding Linnville as the busiest port on the adjoining Matagorda and Lavaca bays during the period of the Republic of Texas.

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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Place type

Port Lavaca is classified as a Town

Associated Names

  • [-Labaca]
  • [-Labbacca]
  • [Lavaca]


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Port Lavaca by the Numbers

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Population Counts

Port Lavaca
Pop. Year Source
12,433 2019 Texas Demographic Center
12,248 2010 Texas Demographic Center
12,035 2000 Texas Demographic Center
10,886 1990 Texas Demographic Center
10,911 1980 Texas Demographic Center
10,491 1970 Texas Demographic Center
8,864 1960 Texas Demographic Center
5,599 1950 Texas Demographic Center
2,069 1940 Texas Demographic Center
1,367 1930 Texas Demographic Center
1,213 1920 Texas Demographic Center
1,699 1910 Texas Demographic Center