The origins of College Station date from 1860, when the Houston and Texas Central Railway began to build through the region. Eleven years later, the site was chosen as the location for the proposed Agricultural and Mechanical College of Texas, a land-grant school. In 1876, as the nation celebrated its centennial, the school (renamed Texas A&M University in 1963) opened its doors as the first public institution of higher education in the state of Texas.
The population of College Station grew slowly, reaching 350 in 1884 and 391 at the turn of the century. However, during this time period transportation improvements took place in the town. In 1900 the I&GN Railroad was extended to College Station (the line would be abandoned by the Missouri Pacific Railroad Company in 1965), and ten years later electric Interurban service was established between Texas A&M and the neighboring town of Bryan. The Interurban would be replaced by a city bus system in the 1920s.
In 1930 the community to the north of College Station, known as North Oakwood, was incorporated as part of Bryan. College Station itself did not incorporate until 1938 with John H. Binney as the first mayor. Within a year, the city established a zoning commission, and by 1940 the population had reached 2,184.
The city grew under the leadership of Ernest Langford, called by some the "Father of College Station", who began a 26-year stretch as mayor in 1942. Early in his first term, the city adopted a council-manager system of city government.
Population growth accelerated following World War II as the non-student population reached 7,898 in 1950, 11,396 in 1960, 17,676 in 1970, 30,449 in 1980, 52,456 in 1990, and 67,890 in 2000. It is estimated the population for the Bryan-College Station metropolitan area will range from 250,846 to 271,773 by 2030.
In the 1990s, College Station and Texas A&M University drew national attention when the George Bush Presidential Library opened in 1997 and, more tragically, when 12 people were killed and 27 injured when the Aggie Bonfire collapsed while being constructed in 1999.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 49.6 square miles (128.5 km2), of which 49.4 square miles (128.0 km2) is land and 0.19 square miles (0.5 km2), or 0.35%, is water.
The local climate is subtropical and temperate and winters are mild with periods of low temperatures usually lasting less than two months. Snow and ice are extremely rare. Summers are warm and hot with occasional showers being the only real variation in weather.
Average annual rainfall: 39 inches (1000 mm)
Average elevation: 367 feet (112 m) above sea level
As of the census of 2000, there were 67,890 people, 24,691 households, and 10,370 families residing in the city.
There were 24,691 households out of which 21.0% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 32.2% were married couples living together, 6.8% had a female householder with no husband present, and 58.0% were non-families. 27.1% of all households were made up of individuals and 2.4% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.32 and the average family size was 2.98.
In the city the population was spread out with 14.4% under the age of 18, 51.2% from 18 to 24, 21.3% from 25 to 44, 9.4% from 45 to 64, and 3.6% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 22 years. For every 100 females there were 104.3 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 104.0 males.
The median income for a household in the city was $21,180, and the median income for a family was $53,147. Males had a median income of $38,216 versus $26,592 for females. The per capita income for the city was $15,170. About 15.4% of families and 37.4% of the population were below the poverty line, including 16.4% of those under age 18 and 7.7% of those age 65 or over.
The city of College Station has a council-manager form of government. Voters elect the members of a city council, who pass laws and make policy. The council hires a professional city manager who is responsible for day-to-day operations of the city and its public services.
Northgate is a mixed-use district north of Texas A&M University that features a combination of businesses, restaurants, apartments, churches, and entertainment. It is a vibrant part of the city known for its eclectic mix of restaurants and bars. In total, the district spans approximately 145 acres (0.59 km2), bounded by Wellborn Road to the west, South College Avenue to the east, the College Station city limits to the north and University Drive to the south. The district is the home of the Dixie Chicken and of the first Texas location for the regional fast food chain Freebirds World Burrito.
Northgate's roots started in the 1930s as the city began enjoying rapid population growth from the influx of Texas A&M University students, professors and their families. Realizing that proximity to the campus would be a boon for revenues, the first business district was established in College Station near the campus, taking its name for the closest on-campus landmark: the north gate. When the city was incorporated in 1938, its first City Hall was opened in the new district. In 1994, restoration efforts began to revitalize the ailing area. A four-day music festival, "North By Northgate", was introduced in 1998 and has become an annual tradition, renamed the "Northgate Music Festival" in 2002. In 2006, the city council incorporated Northgate as a special tax zone to finance additional improvements and expansions.
Live music is a major draw to the Northgate area, with venues such as Church Street BBQ and Hurricane Harry's consistently providing evening concerts. Many well-known musicians, especially in the Texas country music scene, have gotten their start playing on the porches and stages found in the Northgate area. Notable names include Robert Earl Keen, Grammy award winner Lyle Lovett, Dub Miller, and Roger Creager. The district is bisected to the north by Church Street, made famous by the Robert Earl Keen and Lyle Lovett duet "The Front Porch Song".
Wolf Pen Creek District
View of the Lofts at Wolf Pen Creek in College Station
Wolf Pen Creek District is a large commercial development adjacent to Post Oak Mall and between two of the city's main commercial thoroughfares: Earl Rudder Freeway and Texas Avenue. The area consists of a greenway with trails, a $1.5 million amphitheater and entertainment area, a small lake, the Arctic Wolf Ice Skating Complex, and is the home of the Arts Council of the Brazos Valley. The amphitheater has hosted a variety of musical events, including the annual Starlight Music Series, a concert series that starts in late spring and runs through late summer. Wolf Pen often has sidewalk for a scenic run that when completed is about 1 mile.
Wellborn became a community in 1867 as a construction camp on the Houston and Texas Central Railroad. The town's name has been attributed to a well at the construction camp, a foreman named E.W. Wellborn, or a landowner named W.W. Willburn. Also in 1867, a post office opened in the community under the name Wellborn Station. In 1870 the name was shortened to Wellborn. On April 14, 2011, the City Council of College Station voted 5-2 to annex Wellborn, thus making the community the Wellborn District. Wellborn is often mispronounced as well-born but is pronounced by locals as Well-burn.
Business Center at College Station
A 200-acre (81 ha), Class "A" business center 5 miles (8 km) from the university. Current residents include firms involved in telecommunications, software development and technology manufacturing.
Spring Creek Corporate Campus
A 100-acre (40 ha), Class "A" business center. A greenbelt surrounds most of the campus and provides a buffer between the new development and adjacent land uses which include the Pebble Creek Country Club and Woodland Hills Subdivision.
Texas A&M University Research Park
This 324-acre (131 ha) research park was established to provide businesses direct partnering opportunities with Texas A&M University. Several companies and non-profit research interests have located in the park including Schlumberger, Lynntech, AdventGX, Notequill, the Institute of Food Science and Engineering, the Electron Beam Food Research Facility, the Academy of Advanced Telecommunications and Learning Technologies and the Integrated Ocean Drilling Program to name just a few.
Crescent Pointe is a master planned, mixed-use development of approximately 192 acres (78 ha), with frontage on University Drive (Highway 60) and Harvey Road (Highway 30).
The Brazos Transit District (formerly Brazos Valley Transit Authority) provides public bus transportation in the Bryan/College Station area.
Texas A&M Transportation Services provides bus transportation throughout College Station and Bryan for students, faculty, and staff of Texas A&M University. On Texas A&M football game days, the department provides additional park-and-ride service to and from Kyle Field.
Starline Travel offers weekend service from Texas A&M's campus to downtown Houston, with additional Houston service for Aggie game days and additional service to Dallas during major A&M breaks.
Groundshuttle provides daily shuttles to and from Houston airports (Hobby and Bush).
As of May 2008, the local unemployment hovered around 3 to 4 percent, among the lowest in Texas. This rate is largely attributed to the significant role the university plays in the local economy. However, underemployment is an ongoing issue.
Post Oak Mall was the city's first mall and it is currently the largest mall in the Brazos Valley. The 82-acre (330,000 m2) mall is home to 125 stores; its opening on February 17, 1982, helped create the impetus for growing economic and commercial developments for College Station. It is currently the largest taxpayer in College Station and the second largest in the Brazos Valley, even though the anchor stores are free-standing units that are privately owned and taxed separate from the mall proper. Over 75 percent of retail sales in the Brazos Valley come from sales at the mall's stores.
Football: Kyle Field (Capacity: 106,000 <2014 only, during reconstruction>)
Dick Hervey, mayor of College Station from 1971 to 1974; third secretary of the TAMU Association of Former Students from 1947 to 1964; president of Community Savings and Loan, 1964-1982; interred at College Station Cemetery