Prairie View

Prairie View is on U.S. Highway 290 and the Texas and New Orleans Railroad, between Hempstead and Waller in north central Waller County. It traces its roots to Alta Vista, the plantation home of Jared E. and Helen Marr (Swearingen) Kirby. Alta Vista was one of four plantations and several small farms owned by the Kirbys in the vicinity of Best and Iron creeks, and at one time claimed a population of 400 slaves. Kirby was a colonel in the Confederate Army, and his home was Gen. Edmund Kirby Smith's headquarters during the later phases of the Civil War. When her husband died soon after the war, Mrs. Kirby was left in debt. In 1867 she transformed the mansion into a boarding school for young ladies called Alta Vista Institute; when she moved the school to Austin in 1876 she sold Alta Vista to the state of Texas. That year the Fifteenth Legislature established the first public institution of higher learning for Blacks in Texas, to be located on the former Kirby plantation. The new agricultural and mechanical training school opened in March 1878 with only eight students, who did not remain long. In April 1879 an act of the state legislature established Prairie View Normal and Industrial Training School (now Prairie View A&M University) to extend broader educational opportunities to Black youth. It opened on October 6, 1879, with sixteen students, and flourished.

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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The Texas Almanac's Land Rush program lets you adopt the town, county, or lake of your choice and share your message with the world. 100% of the proceeds benefit education in Texas.

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Adoption Status: ⭐
This place has been adopted and will not be available until March 25, 2024
Adopted by:
Roy Elzie Donald Lyles Endowment College Fund
Dedication Message:
In memory of Olvettie, Sandra And Joe Lyles

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Prairie View is classified as a Town


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Prairie View by the Numbers

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Population Counts

Prairie View
Pop. Year Source
8,184 2020 United States Census Bureau
6,560 2019 Texas Demographic Center
5,576 2010 United States Census Bureau
4,410 2000 United States Census Bureau
4,004 1990 United States Census Bureau
3,993 1980 United States Census Bureau
3,589 1970 United States Census Bureau
2,326 1960 United States Census Bureau