Beeville, Texas

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Beeville, Texas
Historic downtown Beeville showing the Rialto Theater
Historic downtown Beeville showing the Rialto Theater
Location of Beeville, Texas
Location of Beeville, Texas
Coordinates: 28°24′20″N 97°45′3″W / 28.40556°N 97.75083°W / 28.40556; -97.75083Coordinates: 28°24′20″N 97°45′3″W / 28.40556°N 97.75083°W / 28.40556; -97.75083
Country United States
State Texas
 • MayorFrancisco Dominguez Jr.
 • Mayor Pro TemEric Holland
 • Total6.38 sq mi (16.52 km2)
 • Land6.38 sq mi (16.52 km2)
 • Water0.00 sq mi (0.00 km2)
Elevation210 ft (60 m)
 • Total12,863
 • Estimate 
 • Density2,006.12/sq mi (774.58/km2)
 • Demonym
Time zoneUTC-6 (Central (CST))
 • Summer (DST)UTC-5 (CDT)
ZIP codes
78102, 78104
Area code(s)361
FIPS code48-07192[5]
GNIS feature ID1330346[2]

Beeville is a city in Bee County, Texas, United States, with a population of 12,863 at the 2010 census. It is the county seat of Bee County[6] and home to the main campus of Coastal Bend College. The area around the city contains three prisons operated by the Texas Department of Criminal Justice.

Many of the stately homes, commercial buildings, and schools in the area, including the Bee County Courthouse, were designed by architect William Charles Stephenson, who came to Beeville in 1908 from Buffalo, New York. Beeville is a National Main Street City. Gutzon Borglum, the sculptor of Mount Rushmore, and his son Lincoln, lived in the city during the time Rushmore was being sculpted.[7]

History and culture[edit]

The original site on the Poesta River was first settled by the Burke, Carroll and Heffernan families in the 1830s. Present-day Beeville was established on a 150-acre land donation made by Ann Burke in May 1859 after the Republic of Texas was annexed by the United States. It was first named "Maryville" for pioneer Mary Heffernan.[8]

It was renamed "Beeville" after Barnard E. Bee, Sr., who had served as Secretary of State and Secretary of War for the Republic of Texas. It was called "Beeville-on-the-Poesta", with a nearby community "Beeville-on-the-Medio" seven miles (11 km) to the west. The first post office opened in 1859.

In 1886, the first railroad was constructed through Beeville, stimulating the growth of the economy and population. The Southern Pacific Transportation Company operated these railroads until the early 1970s.[9]

Beeville was incorporated as a town in 1890, but the incorporation was dissolved the following year. Beeville was reincorporated as a town again in 1908.

The city streets were paved in 1921.

The Rialto Theater, one of the Beeville structures designed by W. C. Stephenson, cost $25,000. The Rialto opened on August 19, 1922, with the silent film The Three Musketeers starring Douglas Fairbanks, Sr. Admission was twenty-five cents for adults and ten cents for children. The theater is now used for special occasions and live performances.[10]

The Texas oil boom brought in many new residents, which grew the population of the city to 4,806 in 1930.

A contemporary newspaper article reporting on the Alfred Irving case (02 October 1942 - The Brownsville Herald).

In September 1942, Alfred Irving, who is believed to be one of the final chattel slaves in the United States, was freed at a farm near Beeville. A.L. Skrobarcek and his daughter, Susie, were arraigned and eventually convicted for their crimes.[11][12][13][14]

The United States Navy operated the Beeville Naval Air Station, which trained Navy airplane pilots during World War II from 1943 through 1946. The base was reopened in 1952 as Naval Air Station Chase Field, continuing in operation until 1992.

By 1950, the population more than doubled to 9,348.

Beeville was served by Trans-Texas Airways (TTa) during the 1950s. TTa operated scheduled passenger flights with Douglas DC-3 prop airliners from Chase Field with service to Brownsville, Corpus Christi, Harlingen, Houston, San Antonio and other destinations in Texas.[15]

In 1967, the town was inundated by 30 inches (760 mm) of rain during Hurricane Beulah.

Today, the city of around 14,000 residents is benefitting from the Eagle Ford Shale oil extraction project.


The city's terrain ranges from flat to gently rolling slopes, set in the South Texas Brush Country.

Beeville is located between San Antonio and Corpus Christi. Travel time to Corpus Christi is approximately one hour by car, and travel time to San Antonio is approximately 1½ hours by car.[16]

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 6.1 square miles (16 km2), all of it land.


The climate in this area is characterized by hot, humid summers and generally mild to cool winters. The temperature is influenced by the warm waters of the nearby Gulf of Mexico. Prevailing southerly winds of 8 to 10 miles per hour (13 to 16 km/hr) come off the Gulf. Annual rainfall is about 30 inches (76 cm), fairly evenly distributed throughout the year.[17] According to the Köppen Climate Classification system, Beeville has a humid subtropical climate, abbreviated "Cfa" on climate maps.[18]


Historical population
Census Pop.
2019 (est.)12,793[4]−0.5%
U.S. Decennial Census[19]

2020 census[edit]

Beeville racial composition[20]
(NH = Non-Hispanic)[a]
Race Number Percentage
White (NH) 2,851 20.86%
Black or African American (NH) 420 3.07%
Native American or Alaska Native (NH) 16 0.12%
Asian (NH) 135 0.99%
Pacific Islander (NH) 2 0.01%
Some Other Race (NH) 30 0.22%
Mixed/Multi-Racial (NH) 215 1.57%
Hispanic or Latino 10,000 73.16%
Total 13,669

As of the 2020 United States census, there were 13,669 people, 4,890 households, and 3,164 families residing in the city.

2000 census[edit]

At the 2000 census,[5] there were 13,129 people, 4,697 households and 3,287 families residing in the city. The population density was 2,149.7 per square mile (829.6/km2). There were 5,539 housing units at an average density of 906.9 per square mile (350.0/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 72.08% White, 2.87% African American, 0.59% Native American, 0.69% Asian, 0.05% Pacific Islander, 20.63% from other races, and 3.09% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 67.67% of the population.

There were 4,697 households, of which 39.4% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 45.5% were married couples living together, 19.2% had a female householder with no husband present, and 30.0% were non-families. 26.1% of all households were made up of individuals, and 10.3% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.73 and the average family size was 3.30.

31.1% of the population were under the age of 18, 11.1% from 18 to 24, 26.2% from 25 to 44, 19.8% from 45 to 64, and 11.8% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 31 years. For every 100 females, there were 89.1 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 83.5 males.

The median household income was $25,475 and the median family income was $27,794. Males had a median income of $26,761 and females $20,411. The per capita income was $11,027. About 26.5% of families and 30.3% of the population were below the poverty line, including 40.8% of those under age 18 and 24.4% of those age 65 or over.

Government and infrastructure[edit]

The Beeville City Council consists of Mayor Francisco (Frank) Dominguez Jr., Mayor Pro-tem Eric Holland, Councilman Benny Puente, Councilman Brian Watson, and Councilman Mike Willow.[23]

The city has nine parks scattered among the neighborhoods, with a swimming pool at Martin Luther King-City Pool Park.[24]


The Texas Department of Criminal Justice operates the Correctional Institutions Division Region IV Office on the grounds of the Chase Field Industrial Complex, the former Naval Air Station Chase Field, in Beeville.[25] In addition, Garza East Unit and Garza West Unit, transfer facilities, are co-located on the grounds of the naval air station,[26][27] and the McConnell Unit lies about 1 mile (1.6 km) outside the city limits.[28] The Beeville Distribution Center is on the grounds of the air station.[29]

Joseph T. Hallinan, the author of the 2001 book Going Up the River: Travels in a Prison Nation, described Beeville as a prison town. At the time Beeville was trying to attract more prison business since the employment is stable. Hallinan wrote that Beeville was attempting to be "a prison hub, becoming roughly what Pittsburgh is to steel or Detroit is to cars".[16]


Beeville is served by the Beeville Independent School District, which has approximately 3,500 students in six schools.

A C Jones High School boasts newly[when?] turfed football stadium and a brand new softball and baseball complex. Sports include golf, boys' and girls' basketball, baseball, softball, powerlifting, boys' and girls soccer', tennis, track, wrestling and cheerleading. The teams are the Trojans and Lady Trojans, and their colors are orange and white. Other extra-curricular programs include the Dazzlers Dance Team, band, choir, theater arts.

The main campus of Coastal Bend College in Beeville opened in 1967 with 790 students.[30] Today it has over 3,700 students, more than 1,200 of them full-time. Dormitories and apartments on campus provide affordable housing. The community college offers an associate degree in 26 different fields.[31] (Other campuses are in Alice, Kingsville and Pleasanton.)


The Joe Barnhart Bee County Library is located in downtown Beeville, directly across the street from the Bee County Courthouse.[32]

Art museum[edit]

The Beeville Art Museum is a teaching museum, relying on traveling exhibitions. It is housed in the Esther Barnhart House. The house was built in 1910 by the R.L. Hodges family and occupied by their descendants until 1975. In 1981, the Hodges house and adjacent acreage were purchased by Dr. Joe Barnhart of Houston. He named the house the Esther Barnhart House in honor of his mother. He then developed the land into a park for the community. He named the park the Joe Barnhart Park in honor of his father.[33]

Notable people[edit]


  1. ^ "2019 U.S. Gazetteer Files". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved August 7, 2020.
  2. ^ a b U.S. Geological Survey Geographic Names Information System: Beeville, Texas
  3. ^ "State and County Quick Facts". United States Census Bureau. Archived from the original on March 27, 2015. Retrieved March 4, 2015.
  4. ^ a b "Population and Housing Unit Estimates". United States Census Bureau. May 24, 2020. Retrieved May 27, 2020.
  5. ^ a b "U.S. Census website". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved January 31, 2008.
  6. ^ "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Archived from the original on July 4, 2012. Retrieved June 7, 2011.
  7. ^ "About". City of Beeville Mainstreet.
  8. ^ Tarpley, Fred (July 5, 2010). 1001 Texas Place Names. University of Texas Press. p. 22. ISBN 978-0-292-78693-6.
  9. ^ "The Railroad in Beeville and Skidmore".
  10. ^ [1] Archived September 2, 2009, at the Wayback Machine
  11. ^ "The Untold History of Post-Civil War 'Neoslavery'".
  12. ^ "Skrobarczyks Plead Not Guilty to Violation of Anti-Peonage Laws". December 5, 1942 – via
  13. ^ "Alfred Irving held in slavery". October 2, 1942. p. 9 – via
  14. ^[bare URL]
  15. ^ "Trans-Texas Airways Jan. 1, 1952 system timetable" (JPG).
  16. ^ a b Hallinan, Joseph T. "Chapter One" (Archive). Going Up the River: Travels in a Prison Nation. 2001. Retrieved on September 27, 2015.
  17. ^ "About CBC".
  18. ^ "Beeville, Texas Köppen Climate Classification (Weatherbase)".
  19. ^ "Census of Population and Housing". Retrieved June 4, 2015.
  20. ^ "Explore Census Data". Retrieved 2022-05-21.
  21. ^
  22. ^ "About the Hispanic Population and its Origin". Retrieved 18 May 2022.
  23. ^ "Welcome to City of Beeville, Texas".
  24. ^ "City Parks".
  25. ^ Correctional Institutions Division Region IV Director's Office Archived 2008-01-21 at the Wayback Machine Texas Department of Criminal Justice, retrieved on May 21, 2010.
  26. ^ Garza East Unit Archived 2008-01-18 at the Wayback Machine, Texas Department of Criminal Justice, retrieved on May 21, 2010.
  27. ^ Garza West Unit Archived 2010-07-25 at the Wayback Machine, Texas Department of Criminal Justice. Retrieved on May 21, 2010.
  28. ^ "Unit Directory".
  29. ^ "Beeville Distribution Center Archived 2010-07-12 at the Wayback Machine, Texas Department of Criminal Justice. Retrieved on May 22, 2010.
  30. ^ "About CBC".
  31. ^ "Coastal Bend College". Retrieved 2022-01-31.
  32. ^ Cook, Charles Weldon. "Joe Barnhart Bee County Library". Archived from the original on 2015-01-18. Retrieved 2015-01-18.
  33. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2015-01-27. Retrieved 2015-01-18.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  34. ^ "Oral History Interviews". American Institute of Physics.
  35. ^ "Marianne Rafferty Biography". January 13, 2011. Retrieved October 17, 2011.
  1. ^ Note: the US Census treats Hispanic/Latino as an ethnic category. This table excludes Latinos from the racial categories and assigns them to a separate category. Hispanics/Latinos can be of any race.[21][22]

External links[edit]

Media related to Beeville, Texas at Wikimedia Commons