Giddings, Texas facts for kids

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Giddings, Texas
City
The Giddings Municipal Building is located across from the renovated Lee County  Courthouse.
The Giddings Municipal Building is located across from the renovated Lee County Courthouse.
Location in Lee County in the state of Texas
Location in Lee County in the state of Texas
Country United States
State Texas
County Lee
Area
 • Total 5.2 sq mi (13.4 km2)
 • Land 5.2 sq mi (13.3 km2)
 • Water 0.04 sq mi (0.1 km2)
Elevation 505 ft (154 m)
Population (2000)
 • Total 5,105
 • Density 991.9/sq mi (382.7/km2)
Time zone CST (UTC-6)
 • Summer (DST) CDT (UTC-5)
ZIP code 78942
Area code(s) 979
FIPS code 48-29432
GNIS feature ID 1336515
Website http://www.giddings.net

Giddings is the county seat of Lee County, Texas, United States situated on the intersection of U.S. Highways 77 and 290, 55 miles (89 km) east of Austin. Its population was 5,665 at the 2010 census. The city's motto is "Giddings Texas: Experience Hometown Hospitality".

History

The land where the city of Giddings now stands was part of the land granted to Richard Franklin Giddens, Stephen F. Austin died for 1821 for a colony in Spanish Texas, and later became part of the Robertson Colony.

The city itself was founded in 1871 when the Houston and Texas Central Railway came to the area. It probably took its name from local magnate Jabez Deming Giddings, who was instrumental in bringing the railway to the area. He had come to the area from Pennsylvania in 1838 to claim the land bounty of his brother Giles A. Giddings, killed at the Battle of San Jacinto. Another theory is that the city was named after Jabez's brother Dewitt Clinton Giddings.

Early settlers in the new town were mostly pioneers from the surrounding communities, such as Old Evergreen and Shady Grove. The majority of these people were ethnic Anglo-Saxons, but a sizeable majority were Wendish families from the Serbin area. They would later establish the German-language newspaper Deutsches Volksblatt.

A syndicate headed by William Marsh Rice owned the whole townsite and sold property to settlers. Later Rice Institute (now Rice University) in Houston had control and sold the lots.

Wide streets were a distinguishing characteristic of the town; the two main thoroughfares (Main and Austin Streets) were 100 feet (30 m) wide, and other streets were eighty feet (24 m) wide. The town's first church, established in 1871, was Methodist. J. D. Giddings Masonic Lodge, chartered in Evergreen in 1865, moved to Giddings, and early churches and a public school met in its building. Soon after the Civil War, freed slaves from farms and plantations settled in Giddings. Classes for more than fifty black students were held in a church in 1883, and the first black public school was built in 1887.

Lee county texas courthouse 2014
The Lee County Courthouse in Giddings (built 1899)
Lee County Heritage Center, Giddings, TX IMG 9206
Lee County Heritage Center at 183 E. Hempstead St. in Giddings

Giddings became the county seat when Lee County was established in 1874. Early businesses included the Granger store, a blacksmith shop and saloon, a millinery shop, a saddle and harness shop, and an oil mill. Brick buildings came in 1875. The courthouse built in 1878 burned and was replaced in 1899. Fletcher House, built in 1879 by August W. Schubert, was sold to the Missouri Synod of the Immanuel Lutheran Church in 1894 to house Concordia Lutheran College. By 1890 the town was part of a rich cotton-growing area with access to the San Antonio and Aransas Pass Railway, several gins, an opera house, newspapers, and a population estimated at 1,000. The First National Bank was opened in 1890 and was still in operation more than a century later. The town was incorporated in 1913 and had a population of 2,000 by 1914.

Fire department in Giddings, Texas

In the early 1980s the oil-laden Austin chalk that underlies the town was tapped, and the area experienced an oil boom. Some 300 oil-related businesses located in the town, and many oil rigs were operating in outlying areas. In the late 1980s, however, the oil activities decreased almost to a standstill. The population of Giddings in 1988 was 5,178. In 1990 local businesses included a hospital, a medical clinic, a dialysis clinic, a chiropractic clinic, two nursing homes, a library, motels, restaurants, two newspapers, a peanut mill, Invader Boat Manufacturing Company, and Nutrena-Cargill Mills. There were nineteen churches in the city.

First Presbyterian Church, Giddings, TX IMG 9207
First Presbyterian Church of Giddings is located across from the Lee County Heritage Center.
Immanuel Luthran Church, Giddings, TX IMG 9215
Immanuel Lutheran Church at 300 N. Grimes St. in Giddings

Geography

Giddings is located at 30°10′59″N 96°56′5″W / 30.18306°N 96.93472°W / 30.18306; -96.93472 (30.183116, -96.934614).

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 5.2 square miles (13 km2), of which 5.2 square miles (13 km2) is land and 0.04 square miles (0.10 km2) (0.58%) is water.

Climate

The climate in this area is characterized by relatively high temperatures and evenly distributed precipitation throughout the year. The Köppen Climate System describes the weather as humid subtropical, called Cfa.

Demographics

Historical population
Census Pop.
1880 624
1890 1,203 92.8%
1920 1,650
1930 1,835 11.2%
1940 2,166 18.0%
1950 2,532 16.9%
1960 2,821 11.4%
1970 2,783 −1.3%
1980 3,950 41.9%
1990 4,093 3.6%
2000 5,105 24.7%
2010 4,881 −4.4%
Est. 2015 5,064 3.7%
U.S. Decennial Census

As of the census of 2000, there were 5,105 people, 1,639 households, and 1,125 families residing in the city. The population density was 991.9 people per square mile (382.7/km²). There were 1,852 housing units at an average density of 359.9 per square mile (138.8/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 65.99% White, 13.26% African American, 0.51% Native American, 0.57% Asian, 16.47% from other races, and 3.19% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 34.73% of the population.

There were 1,639 households out of which 38.1% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 52.8% were married couples living together, 11.4% had a female householder with no husband present, and 31.3% were non-families. 27.6% of all households were made up of individuals and 13.5% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.74 and the average family size was 3.39.

In the city, the population was spread out with 31.3% under the age of 18, 13.5% from 18 to 24, 24.7% from 25 to 44, 15.7% from 45 to 64, and 14.9% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 29 years. For every 100 females there were 108.4 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 98.7 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $31,046, and the median income for a family was $37,115. Males had a median income of $27,370 versus $21,706 for females. The per capita income for the city was $14,768. About 13.8% of families and 15.3% of the population were below the poverty line, including 20.5% of those under age 18 and 12.0% of those age 65 or over.

Current developments

Giddings, TX at Hwys 290 and 77 IMG 9214
Giddings at the intersection of U.S. Highways 290 and 77

In 2014, the City of Giddings and the Giddings Economic Development (GEDC) purchased 170 acres of land on the east side of town with highway frontage for the development of the Giddings 290 Business Park. The GEDC broke ground on construction in the spring 2015. The GEDC also expanded its office space to a new location along Hwy 290 in order to increase visibility and to provide more amenities to clients. In 2011, the GEDC completed restoration of the historic train and freight depots. Both facilities are owned by the GEDC and operated by the Chamber of Commerce as a visitors center and museum of agriculture and history. The freight depot houses a display celebrating the city's links with the railroad and serves as a special event facility for community and private gatherings. The downtown paver restoration project remains under development. In 2015, the City, the GEDC, the Chamber and members of the American Legion launched Phase I of the Veterans Memorial Wall Project, with an expected completion by Spring 2017.

Local interest

The Wendish heritage in Giddings is celebrated annually in nearby Serbin, Texas, put on by the Texas Wendish Heritage Society. It occurs on the fourth Sunday every September.


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