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Texas City During World War II

  • Construction of No. 1 Alky Unit and No. 1 “Cat Cracker” at Pan American

  • Pan American No. 1 Catalytic Cracking Unit Dedication

  • Poster educating motorists on need for fuel rationing

  • Taking fingerprints at Pan American

  • The Lucas Cafe after the 1943 hurricane

  • The Old Southern Hotel after the 1943 hurricane

  • Kilgore's Grocery after the 1943 hurricane

  • Jewel Theater
    (Photo by Johnny Mitchell)

  • Gen. Douglas MacArthur signs during formal surrender ceremonies in Tokyo Bay

  • The tin smelter in Texas City

  • Bars of pure tin are trimmed and cleaned before removal from the molds

  • Raw tin from South American mines stored at the smelter

  • President Truman announces Japan's surrender

  • U.S.S. Shaw exploding during the Japanese raid on Pearl Harbor

  • Poster promoting victory gardens

  • Pan American war bond rally

Join us for a closer look at life on the home front in Texas City during World War II.
The unexpected closure of the Texas City Army post in 1915, followed by the difficulties of the late 1920s and early 1930s, took a significant toll on the local economy and depressed the population growth of the town. In the 1930 census, a population of just over 3500 was recorded for the young community.

But by the early 1930s, Col. H. B. Moore and other city leaders were beginning to achieve some success in expanding the city's industrial base. Increased storage capacity at the grain elevator, expanded infrastructure in rail, ship and road facilities, and the deepened Texas City Channel strengthened outside interest in the young city as an industrial center.

At the same time a growing unease over militaristic events in Europe and Asia led to an increased priority on American production of oil, fuel and supplies necessary for military operations. In 1931 Republic Oil Refining started a unit in Texas City, and within a few years other related companies had started operations in the community. The Seatrain Corporation constructed a state-of-the-art crane at the Texas City port which greatly improved loading and unloading operations. These successful operations, in turn, generated a sufficient customer base for the creation of more local support and service businesses in town.

Texas City began to resemble a true boom town, as both population and industry continued to grow quickly. Between 1930 and 1940 the population in town grew more than 60 percent to 5748 residents.

Such rapid growth put enormous pressure on the physical and social infrastructure of the town. Existing housing for plant workers was scarce and new residences couldn't be constructed fast enough. Churches, schools, social organizations and even governmental services struggled to keep up with the rapid influx of new residents and their needs.

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