Giddings, Texas

Giddings, Texas

Infobox Settlement
official_name = Giddings, Texas
settlement_type = City
nickname =
website =

imagesize =
image_caption =


mapsize = 250px
map_caption = Location in

mapsize1 = 250px
map_caption1 =
subdivision_type = Country
subdivision_type1 = State
subdivision_type2 = County
subdivision_name = United States
subdivision_name1 = Texas
subdivision_name2 = Lee
government_type =
leader_title = Mayor
leader_name = Charlie Brown
established_date =
area_magnitude = 1 E8
area_total_sq_mi = 5.2
area_land_sq_mi = 5.2
area_water_sq_mi = 0.04
area_water_percent =
area_total_km2 = 13.4
area_land_km2 = 13.3
area_water_km2 = 0.1
population_as_of = 2000
population_total = 5,105
population_density_km2 = 382.7
population_density_sq_mi = 991.9
timezone = CST
utc_offset = -6
timezone_DST = CDT
utc_offset_DST = -5
elevation_ft = 505
latd = 30 |latm = 10 |lats = 59 |latNS = N
longd = 96 |longm = 56 |longs = 5 |longEW = W
elevation_m = 154
postal_code_type = ZIP code
postal_code = 78942
area_code = 979
blank_name = FIPS code
blank_info = 48-29432GR|2
blank1_name = GNIS feature ID
blank1_info = 1336515GR|3
footnotes =

Giddings is a city in Lee County, Texas, United States situated on the intersection of U.S. Highways 77 and 290, 55 miles (88 km) east of Austin. It is the county seat of Lee County, and its population was 5,105 at the 2000 census. The city's motto is "Giddings Texas: Experience Hometown Hospitality".


The land where the city of Giddings now stands was part of the land granted to Stephen Austin in 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 "Giddings 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.

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.

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. Giddings State Home and School and Pieratt's Seed Lab, a project of the Texas Department of Agriculture, are located in Giddings.


Giddings is located at coor dms|30|10|59|N|96|56|5|W|city (30.183116, -96.934614).GR|1

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 5.2 square miles (13.4 km²), of which, 5.2 square miles (13.3 km²) of it is land and 0.04 square miles (0.1 km²) of it (0.58%) is water.


As of the censusGR|2 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/sq mi (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

The City of Giddings and the Giddings Economic Development are currently working together to develop the Central Business District Development Area. A visitor's center will be established, along with a museum of agriculture and history. The freight depot nearby will house a display celebrating the city's links with the railroad. The city hopes to complete this by 2009.

A walking tour of the historic downtown area should be completed by summer 2006, using pavers embedded in new sidewalks. These pavers will show the locations and histories of key buildings and places of the early 1900s town.


The City of Giddings is served by the Giddings Independent School District.

Local Interest

The Wendish heritage of the town is celebrated in the city annually in an event called the Wendish Fest on the fourth Sunday of September.

Famous Residents

William P. Longley, outlaw
Hilton Smith, pitcher in Negro-league baseball


Nick Moe of 290 Conection.

External links

* [ City of Giddings Official Website]
* [ Handbook of Texas Online about Giddings]
* [ Tourist Guide to Giddings]

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