Seadrift is on State Highway 185 and San Antonio Bay seventeen miles southwest of Port Lavaca in western Calhoun County. It was probably named for debris from the Guadalupe River collected on the shores of the bay. In the jetsam was wreckage from Indianola, which was destroyed by a hurricane in 1866. Seadrift became noted as a fishing and shipping point. The post office opened in 1891 and has remained in continuous operation. In 1892 J. Dierlam served as postmaster, and the town had a physician. In 1896 Seadrift had triweekly mail service, a Baptist church, a music teacher, and a population of 120. Residents relied on stage service to Port Lavaca. On May 15, 1911, Seadrift began a period of rapid development. A. D. Powers offered five acres outside the city limit for each lot purchased within the city limit. Incorporation soon followed, and the first city council meeting was held in December 1912; W. G. Stewart served as first mayor. A canning factory and an ice factory were established in 1913. On January 6, 1913, J. F. Etheredge was appointed the first city marshal. William F. Koch of Victoria served as the first city attorney. By 1914 Seadrift had three churches, two banks, a telephone connection, four hotels, a photographer, and 1,250 inhabitants. The weekly newspaper was called the Seadrift Success. The boom ended on June 28, 1919, when a large hurricane caused massive damage to the growing town. Many residents moved, and passenger-train service to Seadrift was canceled. By 1926 the population had dwindled to 321. In 1939 the Seadrift Independent School District had four teachers who instructed 161 students. In 1941 Seadrift had a population of 437, and in 1954 it had 567. In 1961 the population was 1,082, but by 1978 it had fallen to 950. In the 1970s and 1980s many refugees from Vietnam settled in Seadrift. A crab-picking plant employed many of them. Surrounding chemical plants and an aluminum plant also provided many area jobs. In 1990 the population was 1,277, and in 2000 the community had 1,352 inhabitants and fifty-two businesses.

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

Seadrift is classified as a Town

Associated Names

  • (Dierlam)
  • (Lower Mott)


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Seadrift by the Numbers

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Population Counts

Pop. Year Source
1,524 2019 Texas Demographic Center
1,364 2010 Texas Demographic Center
1,352 2000 Texas Demographic Center
1,277 1990 Texas Demographic Center