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Bryan City

Bryan City Hall is located at 300 South Texas Avenue, Bryan, TX 77803; phone: 979-209-5100.

Beginnings [1]

Positioned in the fertile central Texas plains, Bryan, county seat of Brazos County, has served as a regional transportation, agricultural, commercial, governmental and educational center since its founding in 1866. Area lands have been occupied since 1821, when they were settled as part of Stephen F. Austin's second colonization grant. Real impetus for growth and development was delayed for some 46 years until the lines of the Houston and Texas Central Railroad (H&TC) reached the city. The arrival of rail service facilitated an easy and inexpensive method of transporting locally grown cotton, the region's primary cash crop, to market, which spurred production and demographic expansion. In the fourth quarter of the nineteenth century, German, Czech and, especially, a large number of Italian immigrants settled in the Brazos River valley. Their children and grandchildren left area cotton farms and moved to Bryan, many entering business. Attracted by the community's prosperity, a merchant class took form and Bryan's commercial development was buoyed by cotton-related activities well into the twentieth century. Healthy economic circumstances, a growing population and an ease of transportation, (first via interurban service, then automobiles) created conditions for the city's early twentieth-century suburban expansion. The founding of Texas A&M College (later Texas A&M University) in nearby College Station in 1876 drew other small academic institutions to the community in subsequent years. Because of its increasingly diversified nature, Bryan's economy remained strong until the recent reversals in the oil market. The city's architectural resources, as a result, were subject to a constant cycle of construction and replacement; many historic properties have been destroyed, covered up or made over. Area citizens and business and civic leaders have organized to protect remaining resources.

  1. Marlene Elizabeth Heck, Architectural Historian, Hardy-Heck-Moore, Inc., Bryan Texas Multiple Resource Area (MRA), nomination document, 1987, National Park Service, National Register of Historic Places, Washington, D.C.
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