In the mid-1800s Katy was known as Cane Island. Named for the creek that still runs through the area (now a branch of Buffalo Bayou).The creek was filled with cane presumed to have been planted for fur trapping by earlier residents. In the middle of the flat coastal prairie – this ‘island’ of cane was surrounded by an ocean of tall grass; thus the area became known as Cane Island. The trail from Harrisburg to San Antonio known as the San Felipe Road; ran right through it.
In 1845 James J. Crawford received a land grant that included this area. Hot summers, cold winters, thick mud and voracious mosquitoes made the area quite difficult to settle. Thirty years later Crawford, John Sills and freed slaves Thomas and Mary Robinson were the only recorded residents of Cane Island. In 1893 the Missouri–Kansas–Texas Railroad (now a part of Union Pacific) started laying rails through Cane Island. The railroad began operation in 1895. That same year James Oliver Thomas laid out a town and in January 1896 the town of Katy was named through Thomas’s post office application. The name was based on appreciation for the MKT Railroad (which was called ‘the Katy’ by railroad officials) and the expected prosperity its arrival would bring to the new town. Today, the original train stop and railroad tracks are still very much a part of the town. By the early 1900s many families had come by train and wagon to establish Katy. Several hotels, stores, livery and saloons were prospering and farms and ranches were replacing the wild prairie. Cotton and peanuts were the first successful crops but rice soon became the favorite. Katy later became known for rice farming, the first concrete rice driers in the state of Texas were built here in 1944 and still stand as landmarks.
In 1945 the City of Katy was incorporated as a municipality. Boundaries were determined by finding the area that contained the most residents and was reasonably sized so that it could be managed by city services. The City of Katy is now the anchor for the greater Katy area, defined by the boundaries of 181 sq mi (470 km2). Katy Independent School District.
The opening of IH-10 in 1966 allowed for rapid development of the area as Houston expanded westward. The city has grown to a population of approximately 15,000 residents who enjoy state of the art support and services. Almost 270,000 people live in the Katy area, which has won national accolades for growth and sustainability.
In 2009 the Gadberry Group named Katy as one of nine "9 from 2009" most notable high growth areas in the United States.
Katy is a thriving area west of Houston but is often further defined as either "old Katy" or "the Katy area". Old Katy is the actual City of Katy which was incorporated in 1945 and is located near the western edge of the greater Katy area. Before the City was incorporated and boundary lines were drawn, the entire area was known as Katy because Katy's MKT Railroad Depot was the hub of all business in this vicinity. Today the Katy area includes the City of Katy but also the large sections of unincorporated Harris, Fort Bend and Waller counties and defined by the boundaries of the 181 sq mi (470 km2) Katy Independent School District. Most residents of the area have a Katy postal address causing some confusion. The All Aboard Katy! public art project and the Katy Area Economic Development Council's "Energy Grows Here" branding initiative are large scale projects that have been launched to help promote,identify and unite the Katy area.
Greater Katy includes new upscale developments and master planned communities such as Cinco Ranch, Green Trails, Pin Oak Village, Grayson Lakes, Seven Meadows, new and growing Pine Mill Ranch, Silver Ranch, Firethorne and Grand Lakes, while also encompassing developments from the 1970s and 1980s such as Memorial Parkway, Kelliwood and Nottingham Country.
The city of Houston's extraterritorial jurisdiction (ETJ) stretches well west of the City of Katy which means most of the Katy area may be annexed by the City of Houston at some time in the future. The City of Katy is an incorporated municipality that may never be annexed into Houston. The City of Katy's ETJ is limited to parcels of land west and north of the city itself.
Several corporations are headquartered in areas surrounding Katy.
Igloo Corporation is headquartered west of Katy in unincorporated Waller County. Academy Sports and Outdoors has its corporate offices and product distribution center in unincorporated western Harris County.
BP America is headquartered in the Energy Corridor and is the Corridor's largest employer with 5,500 employees on its Westlake campus as of 2009. BP's Katy operations include engineering and business support for much of BP's onshore operations in the Contiguous United States as well as its operations in the Gulf of Mexico.
In 2008 KBR announced that a new office facility would appear at the intersection of the Grand Parkway and Interstate 10 in unincorporated western Harris County, Texas, between Houston and Katy. The new complex would have been be in close proximity to the Energy Corridor area of Houston. KBR planned to continue to have a corporate presence in Downtown.In December KBR said that it would not continue with the plans due to a weakened economy.
Retail centers are springing up all throughout Katy to accommodate the rapid residential growth. The major retail growth is now being focused on the Katy Fort Bend Road near the east entrance to the Katy Mills shopping mall
As of the census of 2000, there were 11,775 people in "Old Katy", 3,888 households, and 3,083 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,103.7 people per square mile (426.1/km²). There were 4,072 housing units at an average density of 381.7 per square mile (147.3/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 83.98% White, 4.24% African American, 0.56% Native American, 0.50% Asian, 0.04% Pacific Islander, 8.65% from other races, and 2.03% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 23.75% of the population.
There were 3,888 households out of which 45.7% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 63.9% were married couples living together, 10.9% had a female householder with no husband present, and 20.7% were non-families. 17.4% of all households were made up of individuals and 6.7% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 3.00 and the average family size was 3.37.
In the city the population was spread out with 31.5% under the age of 18, 8.7% from 18 to 24, 30.9% from 25 to 44, 20.7% from 45 to 64, and 8.1% who are 65 years of age or older. The median age was 33 years. For every 100 females there were 98.6 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 97.5 males.
The median income for a household in the city was $51,111, and the median income for a family was $57,741. Males had a median income of $38,412 versus $33,004 for females. The per capita income for the city was $21,192. 8.4% of the population and 7.0% of families were below the poverty line. Out of the total people living in poverty, 9.1% were under the age of 18 and 6.5% were 65 or older.
The City of Katy is a home-rule city, chartered in 1945. Residents within the city limits are governed by a City Council made up of five City Council members and the Mayor. The city is split into two wards, two Council members are elected from each ward, one Council member and the Mayor are elected at-large. Residents within the city limits pay city taxes and receive municipal police, fire, ems and public works service. The city itself is located in three counties which have their own representative governments. The counties have a greater impact on areas outside the incorporated city limits.
The Katy area lies in three counties. Residents in unincorporated Harris, Fort Bend and Waller Counties are governed by those counties and represented by a County Commissioner who represents them on the County Court, presided over by the County Judge.
(information above provided by wikipedia)
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