History of College Station, Texas

College Station is the home of Texas A&M University
College Station is the home of Texas A&M University

College Station is a city in Brazos County, Texas, situated in East-Central Texas in the heart of the Brazos Valley, towards the eastern edge of the region known as the Texas Triangle. It is 83 miles northwest of Houston and 87 miles (140 km) east-northeast of Austin. As of the 2020 census, College Station had a population of 120,511. College Station and Bryan make up the Bryan-College Station metropolitan area, the 13th-largest metropolitan area in Texas with 273,101 people as of 2019.
College Station is home to the main campus of Texas A&M University, the flagship institution of the Texas A&M University System. The city owes its name and existence to the university’s location along a railroad. Texas A&M’s triple designation as a Land-, Sea-, and Space-Grant institution reflects the broad scope of the research endeavors it brings to the city, with ongoing projects funded by agencies such as NASA, the National Institutes of Health, the National Science Foundation, and the Office of Naval Research.


College Station’s origins 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.
College Station’s population grew slowly, reaching 350 in 1884 and 391 at the turn of the century. However, during this time, transportation improvements took place in the town. In 1900, the I&GN Railroad was extended to College Station (the Missouri Pacific Railroad Company abandoned the line in 1965), and 10 years later, electric interurban service was established between Texas A&M and the neighboring town of Bryan. A city bus system replaced the interurban 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 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 nonstudent 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. The Bryan-College Station metropolitan area’s population crossed 270,000 people in 2018.
In the 1990s, College Station and Texas A&M University drew national attention when the George Bush Presidential Library opened in 1997. Attention was drawn again in 1999, when 12 people were killed and 27 injured when the Aggie Bonfire collapsed while being constructed.
In 2022, it became one of the first areas served by Amazon’s Prime Air drone delivery service, along with Lockeford, California.



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 known for its eclectic mix of restaurants and bars. A large portion of the stores, bars, and restaurants in Northgate are frequented, patronized, and staffed by Texas A&M students.[16] In total, the district spans about 145 acres, 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. Many well-known musicians, especially in the Texas country music scene, initially performed 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
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 Spirit Ice Arena, 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 also has a sidewalk for a scenic run that when completed is about 1 mi.

Wellborn District

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’.

People of interest

See also: List of Texas A&M University people
The following people have lived or are currently living in College Station:
• George Bass, archaeologist, called the Father of Underwater Archaeology
• David Bereit, anti-abortion activist
• Matthew Berry, ESPN fantasy sport analyst and son of College Station mayor Nancy Berry
• Norman Borlaug, “The Man Who Saved a Billion Lives”, agronomist, humanitarian, and Nobel laureate who has been called “the father of the Green Revolution”
• Alex Caruso, professional NBA basketball player
• John David Crow, late athletic director at Texas A&M University; former football player and coach
• Larry Fedora, former head football coach of the University of North Carolina
• Robert Gates, former Texas A&M University president and former Secretary of Defense
• Kristy Hawkins, IFBB professional bodybuilder
• Kyle Kacal, member of the Texas House of Representatives from College Station since 2013
• David Konderla, Roman Catholic Bishop of Tulsa
• Arnold Krammer, historian at TAMU, 1974–retirement in 2015
• David M. Lee, physics professor at TAMU, 1996 Nobel Prize Laureate in Physics[53][54]
• R. Bowen Loftin, former president of Texas A&M University
• Lyle Lovett, singer-songwriter
• Seth McKinney, former NFL football player and now owner of Crossfit Aggieland in College Station
• Ilan Mitchell-Smith, actor, starring in Weird Science, Journey to the Center of the Earth, among others; professor of English at California State University, Long Beach
• John N. Raney, member of the Texas House of Representatives from College Station since 2011, owner of Aggieland Book Store since 1969
• Rico Rodriguez, actor, known for his role of Manny Delgado in the ABC sitcom Modern Family
• Thomas Sadoski, award-winning actor, starring in HBO’s The Newsroom, among others
• Brek Shea, soccer player, member of FC Dallas and the United States Men’s National Soccer Team
• R. C. Slocum, former Texas A&M University head football coach (1989–2002)
• Bjarne Stroustrup, computer scientist, designer, and original implementor of C++; Distinguished Professor at Texas A&M University; AT&T Fellow
• Tiffany Thornton, actress, starring in Disney Channel’s Sonny With a Chance
• Eleanor Joyce Toliver-Williams, the first Certified African American Female Federal Aviation Administration Controller
• Alok Vaid-Menon, performance artist and LGBTQ rights activist
• Christine Wormuth, currently serving as the 25th United States Secretary of the Army
• Patrick Zurek, Roman Catholic Bishop of Amarillo, founding pastor of St. Thomas Aquinas Parish

Points of interest

George Bush Presidential Library on Texas A&M University campus
George Bush Presidential Library on Texas A&M University campus

• George Bush Presidential Library, located at 1000 George Bush Drive West.
• The Day the Wall Came Down, 1997 sculpture
• D. A. “Andy” Anderson Arboretum
• Museum of the American GI
• Santa’s Wonderland
• Bonfire Memorial
• Peach Creek Vineyards
• Disaster City
• The Gardens at Texas A&M University

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