The City of Navasota
|Nickname(s): The Blues Capital of Texas|
Location of Navasota, Texas
|• Total||6.1 sq mi (15.9 km2)|
|• Land||6.1 sq mi (15.8 km2)|
|• Water||0.0 sq mi (0.0 km2)|
|Elevation||217 ft (66 m)|
|• Density||1,239.02/sq mi (428.5/km2)|
|Time zone||Central (CST) (UTC-6)|
|• Summer (DST)||CDT (UTC-5)|
|ZIP code||77868, 77869|
|GNIS feature ID||1375099|
Navasota is a city in Grimes County, Texas, United States. The population was 7,049 at the 2010 census. In 2005, the Texas Legislature named the city "The Blues Capital of Texas," in honor of the late Mance Lipscomb, a Navasota native and blues musician.
Navasota is located west of Texas State Highway 6. State Highways 105 and 90 intersect with State Highway 6 in Navasota, with the city located between Houston and College Station, Texas.
After September 1859, when the Houston and Texas Central Railway built into the town, Navasota became important as a shipping and marketing center for the surrounding area. Whereas nearby Washington on the Brazos protested the coming of the rails, the old historic town forfeited its geographic advantage, and it began to decline as many of its businesses and residences began a sure migration to the new railhead across the Brazos River at Navasota.
Slaves were a large part of the local economy, as they were imported, traded and used to work in the many local cotton plantations. Guns were made in nearby Anderson, and cotton, gunpowder, and shoes were made, processed and stored there for the Southern Confederacy during the American Civil War. By 1865 the population was about 2,700. All during the Civil War, all the marketable goods produced in the region were brought to Navasota, then the furthest inland railhead in Texas, to be shipped south to Galveston, where it could be transported by steamboat from the Texas coast and up the Mississippi River to the war effort, or exported to Mexico or overseas to Europe.
Navasota suffered a series of disasters in the mid-1860s that severely depleted its population. In 1865 a warehouse filled with cotton and gunpowder exploded after it was torched by vagrant Confederate veterans; the blast killed a number of people and started a fire that destroyed much of the original downtown, and damaged many buildings, including the post office. Not long afterward the town was struck by a deadly cholera epidemic, which was followed in 1867 by an even more dangerous epidemic of yellow fever. As many Navasota citizens, including the mayor, fled to escape the disease, the town population dropped by about 50 percent.
Mid 1860s skirmish between Navasotan disgruntled freedmen and Confederate veterans broke out in the Brazos Bottoms near Millican, after a race riot there threw the whole region into a panic. An informal militia rallied in Bryan, gathered arms, and caught the train southward towards the angry mob of armed freedmen who were marching on Bryan, a city to the north of Navasota. Many men were left dead and many were wounded after this little known battle, perhaps the greatest race battle ever fought in Texas. This led to the formation of numerous private militias, and ultimately during the late 1860s the KKK in Navasota, and on one occasion a tense confrontation between federal soldiers and a crowd of local white citizens occurred there. Later the White Man’s Union was formed, which sought political solutions when possible to the power struggles in Navasota.
During these days, Navasota was considered a wild and wooly place, where it was not considered safe for women and children to go downtown in broad daylight. The downtown buildings were teaming with lawless ruffians, gamblers, prostitutes and drunks. Lawmen had to hide and watch, and often were afraid of the streets at night. There were many saloons and gaming halls, and every Sunday morning the undertaker hitched up the buggy and went downtown to collect the bodies that were anticipated to be there, from another wild Saturday night.
Perhaps the greatest and most publicized violence was around the turn of the century, during the rise of the Populist Party in Grimes County, and the election of Populist candidate Garrett Scott for County Sheriff. A white man with great charm and political skill, he enjoyed a great deal of the black vote, which made up almost half of the population, and managed to get himself elected along with a number of black candidates. Finally, in a rage of bullets and accusations, he and his cronies were attacked in spots all over the County. The assassination attempt failed, however, and Scott was scurried out of town, badly wounded, under protection of a Federal militia, and he never returned to Grimes County. He hid for his life in Galveston, and filed charges against many of the men, who were later fined but their murders were never prosecuted.
In 1908, Navasota was a lawless boom town, wracked by violence: "shootouts on the main street were so frequent that in two years at least a hundred men died." Twenty-four-year-old Frank Hamer resigned from the Texas Rangers to become the City Marshal and moved in and created law and order. Hamer faced down, chased down, and beat down the Navasota toughs until the streets were quiet, and children could once again go downtown. He relentlessly fought the various power factions, and one day fought one perceived local warlord in the mud on main street, throwing him in jail and defying all comers, as the rest of the troublemakers began to search for cover. He served as marshal until 1911. Hamer became more widely known in 1934 as one of the men who shot Bonnie and Clyde. In 2012, the Navasota city council voted to commission a local sculptor to erect a statue of Frank Hamer in front of the new city hall building.
In the late 1990s Citizens for Action in Navasota (C.A.N.), with the cooperation of the City of Navasota, The Navasota Police Department's new Chief, and the Navasota City Council made a stand against crime and the Railroad Street bars closed down after decades of open drug sales and vice. Drug dealers, prostitutes and drunks could not be seen standing around this area anymore. The C.A.N. used the City Charter to revoke the alcohol license and the PD enforced the local laws of the land pushed by the new Police Chief, a Texas Ranger who took over after the past Police Chief and investigator where removed for corruption after an outside the county investigation of the City of Navasota Police department.
January 2002, Navasota city council default on revenue bonds, withdrawing the city from financial participation in the project known as the Pecan Lakes Golf Course, located near the city’s airport off of Highway 105.
In February 2004, the Texas Rangers again probed the Navasota Police Department. This time it is initiated by the Grimes County District Attorney. The inquiry dealt with whether the Deputy Police chief of Navasota Police department knew about the felony conviction for forgery of a family friend. The Deputy chief resigned. The dispatcher attended the police academy and had been working at Navasota Police department for some time. Investigators looked into if the Navasota Police Employee falsified government records during the city's hiring process for the dispatcher and police officer positions. The investigation started after an out-of-town newspaper (The Eagle) in Brazos County reported on the possible corruption.
In July 2009, a successful business owner was killed inside his liquor store by armed robbers. This crime was in the middle of the day on the main street in town. The Texas Rangers were once again called in. A Grimes County grand jury convicted two suspects in August 2012.
In December 2010 Navasota residents and the town paper reported the appearance of wild hogs in downtown Navasota. A wild hog was trapped at the free food bank in downtown Navasota. Later local business owners used the meat to feed the poor of the city.
On January 19, 2011, the citizens of Navasota made a stand against illegal businesses trying to enter its city limits after murders and drive-by shootings. The police acted on those concerned citizens' complaints by getting a search warrant for the tattoo and nail salon at Lasalle located about 100 yards from the Police Station and City Hall. Police seized drugs, money and illegal gambling machines.
August 10, 2011 Arrests made for rioting in Navasota, assault of peace officer under investigation. Law enforcement from multiple agencies and other Texas counties called in to subdue rioters in Navasota. Reported by the Navasota Examiner and the Bryan Eagle.
November 8, 2011 Large numbers of Federal Law Enforcement ATF Agents move in on Armed drug dealing gangs. Firearms, Crack cocaine and other drugs seized. Reported by the Navasota Examiner.
June 20, 2012, Federal agents return to Navasota along with Navasota Police and arrest 21 area residents for drug trafficking. Weapons and stolen property recovered. Reported in the Bryan Eagle and Navasota Examiner. http://www.navasotaexaminer.com/news/article_69301b7c-bb21-11e1-a35b-0019bb2963f4.html
June 23, 2012. Capital murder suspects calls 911 and turns himself in for the July 2009 killing of a Navasota business man in the middle of day in downtown. This resolved a long investigation by Local Police. Reported in the Navasota Examiner and Bryan Eagle paper. http://www.navasotaexaminer.com/news/article_93b2ddca-bf19-11e1-af8d-0019bb2963f4.html
Today,[when?] Navasota has a population of 7,558. The industrial sector of the community now boasts 23 companies and over 1200 jobs. In 2009, Navasota was selected as a "Visionaries in Preservation" city by the Texas Historical Commission to protect the numerous historical structures in the city. A new municipal building was completed in 2011 and continued downtown improvements are under construction with completion scheduled in 2013.
Also in 2012, Navasota Municipal Airport completed an expansion to 5000' long X 75' wide, now allowing jets on the runway.
Area resident become fearful of more violence and drugs being flown in.[when?] This fear was based on the infamous Navasota area/Mexico drug flights and Federal law enforcement arrests of the 1980s. Later local Jimmy Brown published a book Texas Greed on the Navasota area drug trade and South American drug trade connections in the area.Smith, Rosemary (2 February 2011). "Jimmy Brown writes book about drug history in Grimes County". The Navasota Examiner. Retrieved 25 September 2012.
The City of Navasota earned a 2011 Gold Leadership Award from the Texas Comptroller's Office for efforts in transparency. Its application scored 17 of 20 points. The City of Navasota was one of 70 (out of over a thousand) cities in Texas to receive the Gold status. Also received the award in 2013.
In October 2011, the Navasota Housing Authority received a zero HUD rating - The new Navasota Housing Authority Executive Director, Karen Larue, informed the Navasota city council the received a troubling zero rating on a federal audit. The Audit showed missing funds records and other paper work.
In 2012, Navasota was named by Union Pacific Railroad as a Train Town USA. More details here: http://www.uprr.com/newsinfo/releases/community/2012/train-towns/0828_navasota.shtml
In August 2013, the City of Navasota was named a Go Texan "Certified Retirement Community" by the Texas Department of Agriculture. http://www.retireintexas.org/Home/CertifiedRetirementCommunities/Navasota.aspx
Also in 2013 the City of Navasota was named a "Playful City USA" by Kaboom! http://kaboom.org/take_action/playful_city_usa/2013_playful_city_usa_communities
Navasota is served by the weekly Navasota Examiner newspaper, which has been reporting on the goings-on in Grimes County since 1894. The city is also home to the Navasota News 1550 AM, owned and Managed in Brazos County Texas by Bryan broadcasting, who broadcasts the local Navasota Rattlers football games.
Navasota has some shops & artisans in its historic downtown district, typified by antique, gift shops, and junk stores housed in old classic stone and brick structures, live plays at the Sunny Furman Theatre. Navasota Blues Alley is in the heart of the downtown district, and offers blues memorabilia, museum exhibits, art, vintage music and radios, and much more. The city also has golfing facilities and parks, as well as wineries.
Navasota retains a number of historic Victorian homes on Washington Avenue, the main residential and commercial thoroughfare through town. Another historic edifice is Brule Field, a natural amphitheater built out of native stone by the Great Depression-era Works Progress Administration. It served as the primary grid for the local high school football team, The Navasota Rattlers, until the new stadium was constructed in 2006. Several native stone churches also remain near downtown, with its Victorian fronts.
The city is also home to two La Salle Statues, including a bronze monument, dedicated in 1936 by the DAR, to celebrate the explorations of the famous French explorer. The second is a stone bust that was previously in downtown, was re-dedicated by the French consulate in May 2012 at August Horst Park. The bust was donated to the City by the French government in 1978. Supposedly, La Salle was murdered by one of his men somewhere near present day Navasota, while looking for the Mississippi Valley and the way back to French held lands near the Great Lakes. After numerous voyages, explorations of the Mississippi valley, trading ventures and several mutinies, La Salle’s bones are believed to have found their resting place in the Navasota Valley.
Seasonally, Navasota is visited in the Spring for bluebonnets. Blues Bluebonnets & BBQ music festival is held in April, celebrating the birthday of Mance Lipscomb. A summer festival, the Navasota Bluesfest, every second weekend in August in the Blues Capital of Texas honors the memory of blues man Mance Lipscomb who recorded numerous albums and lived in Navasota all of his life. The celebration raises money for college scholarships for local students. A statue of Mance Lipscomb is now a part of Mance Lipscomb Park, near downtown. A statue of Frank Hamer stands in front of city hall, honoring the time he served as city marshal, connecting to the time Mance Lipscomb was his buggy driver. Local artist and sculptor Russell Cushman designed and built the bronze statue. The nearby Texas Renaissance Festival is held near Plantersville in the fall. Also nearby is Washington on the Brazos state park and the George Bush Presidential Library.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 6.1 square miles (16 km2), of which, 6.1 square miles (16 km2) of it is land and 0.16% is water.
As of the census of 2000, there were 6,789 people, 2,379 households, and 1,624 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,109.7 people per square mile (428.3/km²). There were 2,661 housing units at an average density of 435.0 per square mile (167.9/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 53.42% White, 34.11% African American, 0.29% Native American, 0.46% Asian, 9.90% from other races, and 1.81% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 27.96% of the population.
There were 2,379 households out of which 37.8% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 43.9% were married couples living together, 19.6% had a female householder with no husband present, and 31.7% were non-families. 27.8% of all households were made up of individuals and 14.5% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.76 and the average family size was 3.40.
In the city the population was spread out with 30.3% under the age of 18, 10.6% from 18 to 24, 26.7% from 25 to 44, 18.0% from 45 to 64, and 14.5% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 32 years. For every 100 females there were 86.5 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 81.0 males.
The median income for a household in the city was $26,990, and the median income for a family was $31,875. Males had a median income of $28,585 versus $21,731 for females. The per capita income for the city was $12,230. About 23.8% of families and 26.5% of the population were below the poverty line, including 34.7% of those under age 18 and 24.0% of those age 65 or over.
Government and infrastructure
The Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ) operates the Luther Unit and the Pack Unit in an unincorporated area in Grimes County near Navasota. In addition the Pack Warehouse is located in an unincorporated area near the Pack Unit.
Navasota mayor interview on KBTX http://www.kbtx.com/features/namesandfaces/headlines/Bert-Miller-Navasotas-Number-One-Fan-218011231.html
The City of Navasota is served by the Navasota Independent School District, Texas Education Agency accountability rankings place Navasota ISD as "Met Standard." More detail at Texas Education Agency website:  
All staff by state law in the Navasota Intermediate School in the Grimes County town has been given notice that their contracts won't be renewed in 2013
It's part of a state-mandated "reconstitution plan" because the school received an unsatisfactory accountability rating from the Texas Education Agency for a second year in a row. 
The Navasota Rattlers were 3A Div. II State Football Champions in 2012.
Navasota crime statistics available at http://www.fbi.gov/about-us/cjis/ucr/crime-in-the-u.s/2011/crime-in-the-u.s.-2011/tables/table8statecuts/table-8-texas
There were 30 registered sex offenders living in Navasota as of December 26, 2012. The ratio of number of residents in Navasota to the number of sex offenders is 253 to 1.
College Station a city just north of Navasota had 15 registered sex offenders living in College Station as of December 26, 2012. The ratio of number of residents in College Station to the number of sex offenders is 5,779 to 1.
- Christopher B. "Stubb" Stubblefield
- Navasota city marshal & Texas Ranger Frank Hamer
- Soul musician Joe Tex
- Blues songster Mance Lipscomb
- Dancer Alvin Ailey
- Musician Milt Larkin
- Clay Condrey, major league pitcher
- Virgil "Ned" Garvin, major league pitcher
- French explorer René-Robert Cavelier, Sieur de La Salle, was killed in Navasota in 1687
- Chuck Norris lives just outside of Navasota
- Texas A&M President R. Bowen Loftin Graduate of Navasota High School
- Jimmy Brown author of Texas Greed, a book on the Grimes county drug trade from Mexico and South America
- USS Navasota, named after the Navasota River
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Navasota, Texas.|
- "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
- "US Board on Geographic Names". United States Geological Survey. 2007-10-25. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
- Jennifer Dunning, Alvin Ailey: a life in dance (Da Capo Press, 1998), 13.
- "Post Office Location - NAVASOTA." United States Postal Service. Retrieved on May 22, 2010.
- "Pack Unit." Texas Department of Criminal Justice. Retrieved on May 22, 2010.
- "Pack Warehouse." Texas Department of Criminal Justice. Retrieved on May 22, 2010.
- Rosemary Smith. "Jimmy Brown writes book about drug history in Grimes County". The Navasota Examiner, Navasota, TX. Retrieved 2013-02-0.
- http://220.127.116.11/region/localregional/021804jacksonresigns.php /Theeagle.com
- http://18.104.22.168/region/localregional/071902golfcourse.htm / Theeagle.com
- City of Navasota
- Navasota Examiner
- Navasota News 1550AM listen on-line!
- Strategic Growth Map:2027
- Handbook of Texas Online