Huntsville, Texas

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Huntsville, Texas
Sam Houston statue outside Huntsville
Sam Houston statue outside Huntsville
Home Sweet Huntsville
Location of Huntsville, Texas
Location of Huntsville, Texas
Coordinates: 30°43′20″N 95°33′12″W / 30.72222°N 95.55333°W / 30.72222; -95.55333Coordinates: 30°43′20″N 95°33′12″W / 30.72222°N 95.55333°W / 30.72222; -95.55333
Country United States
State Texas
 • TypeCouncil-Manager
 • City CouncilMayor Andy Brauninger
Daiquiri Beebe
Russell Humphrey
Blake Irving
Pat Graham
Bert Lyle
Vicki McKenzie
Dee Howard Mullins
Joe Rodriquez
 • City ManagerAron Kulhavy
 • Total43.43 sq mi (112.47 km2)
 • Land42.59 sq mi (110.30 km2)
 • Water0.84 sq mi (2.17 km2)
371 ft (113 m)
 • Total45,941
 • Estimate 
 • Density991.88/sq mi (382.97/km2)
Time zoneUTC−6 (Central (CST))
 • Summer (DST)UTC−5 (CDT)
ZIP Codes
77320, 77340–77344, 77348–77349
Area code(s)936
FIPS code48-35528
GNIS feature ID1382049[4]

Huntsville is a city in and the county seat of Walker County, Texas.[5] The population was 45,941 as of the 2020 census. It is the center of the Huntsville micropolitan area. Huntsville is in the East Texas Piney Woods on Interstate 45 and home to the infamous Texas State Prison. It is home to Sam Houston State University, the Texas Department of Criminal Justice, Huntsville State Park, and HEARTS Veterans Museum of Texas. The city served as the residence of Sam Houston, who is recognized in Huntsville by the Sam Houston Memorial Museum and a statue on Interstate 45.


Downtown Huntsville in the 1870s.
Downtown Huntsville in the 1870s.

The city had its beginning about 1836, when Pleasant and Ephraim Gray opened a trading post on the site. Ephraim Gray became first postmaster in 1837, naming it after his hometown, Huntsville, Alabama.[6]

Huntsville became the home of Sam Houston, who served as President of the Republic of Texas, Governor of the State of Texas, Governor of Tennessee, U.S. Senator, and Tennessee congressman. Houston led the Texas Army in the Battle of San Jacinto, the decisive victory of the Texas Revolution. He has been noted for his life among the Cherokees of Tennessee, and—near the end of his life—for his opposition to the American Civil War, a very unpopular position in his day. Huntsville has two of Houston's homes, his grave, and the Sam Houston Memorial Museum. Houston's life in Huntsville is also commemorated by his namesake Sam Houston State University, and by a 70 ft (21 m)[7] statue. (The towering statue, "A Tribute to Courage" by artist David Adickes, has been described as the world's largest statue of an American hero,[8] and is easily viewed by travelers on Interstate 45.)

Huntsville was also the home of Samuel Walker Houston (1864–1945),[9] a prominent African-American pioneer in the field of education. He was born into slavery on February 12, 1864 to Joshua Houston, a slave owned by Sam Houston. Samuel W. Houston founded the Galilee Community School in 1907, which later became known as the Houstonian Normal and Industrial Institute, in Walker County, Texas.

In 1995, on the grounds of the old Samuel W. Houston Elementary School, the Huntsville Independent School District, along with the Huntsville Arts Commission[10] and the high school's Ex-Students Association, commissioned the creation of The Dreamers, a monument to underscore the black community's contributions to the growth and development of Huntsville and Walker County.


Historical population
Census Pop.
U.S. Decennial Census
2018 Estimate[11]
Huntsville racial composition as of 2020[12]
(NH = Non-Hispanic)[a]
Race Number Percentage
White (NH) 21,158 46.05%
Black or African American (NH) 11,420 24.86%
Native American or Alaska Native (NH) 153 0.33%
Asian (NH) 998 2.17%
Pacific Islander (NH) 34 0.07%
Some Other Race (NH) 223 0.49%
Mixed/Multi-Racial (NH) 1,023 2.23%
Hispanic or Latino 10,932 23.8%
Total 45,941

As of the 2020 United States census, there were 45,941 people, 13,187 households, and 5,893 families residing in the city.

As of the census of 2000, there were 35,078 people, 10,266 households, and 7,471 families residing in the city. The population density was 1438.3/km sq (10,135.1/mi sq). There were 11,508 housing units at an average density of 1143.8/km sq (1372.4/mi sq). The racial makeup of the city was 65.78% White, 26.14% African American, 0.33% Native American, 1.11% Asian, 0.07% Pacific Islander, 4.91% from Race (United States Census) other races, and 1.65% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 16.22% of the population.

There were 10,266 households, out of which 25.3% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 37.0% were married couples living together, 12.5% had a female householder with no husband present, and 46.7% were non-families. 30.8% of all households were made up of individuals, and 7.5% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.31 and the average family size was 2.97.

In the city, the population was spread out, with 15.1% under the age of 18, 29.3% from 18 to 24, 30.8% from 25 to 44, 16.3% from 45 to 64, and 8.5% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 28 years. For every 100 females, there were 152.9 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 163.8 males. The prison population is included in the city's population, which results in a significantly skewed sex ratio.

The median income for a household in the city was $27,075, and the median income for a family was $40,562. Males had a median income of $27,386 versus $22,908 for females. The per capita income for the city was $13,576. About 13.1% of families and 23.9% of the population were below the poverty line, including 23.9% of those under age 18 and 14.7% of those age 65 or over.


Huntsville is located at 30°42′41″N 95°32′54″W / 30.71139°N 95.54833°W / 30.71139; -95.54833 (30.711254, −95.548373).[15]

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a land area of 35.86 square miles[16] in 2010.

At the area code level,[17] land area covers 559.661 sq. mi. and water area 7.786 sq. mi.

Huntsville is about 70 miles (110 km) north of Houston.[18] It is part of the Texas Triangle megaregion.[19]


The climate in this area is characterized by hot, humid summers and generally mild to cool winters. According to the Köppen Climate Classification system, Huntsville has a humid subtropical climate, abbreviated "Cfa" on climate maps.[20]

Climate data for Huntsville, 1981–2010 normals,[b] extremes 1903–present
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °F (°C) 88
Average high °F (°C) 59.2
Daily mean °F (°C) 49.4
Average low °F (°C) 39.7
Record low °F (°C) 1
Average precipitation inches (mm) 4.25
Average precipitation days (≥ 0.01 in) 9 8 9 6 8 9 8 7 7 7 8 10 94
Source: NOAA [21][22]
  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.[13][14]
  2. ^ Mean monthly maxima and minima (i.e. the highest and lowest temperature readings during an entire month or year) calculated based on data at said location from 1981 to 2010.


The BOT Complex, the administrative headquarters of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice, Huntsville's largest employer as of 2005

As of 2005 the largest employer in Huntsville is the Texas Department of Criminal Justice, with 6,744 employees.[23] In 1996 the TDCJ had 5,219 employees in Huntsville. Robert Draper of the Texas Monthly described Huntsville as the "company town" of the TDCJ; he stated that the industry was "recession-proof" and that "It's hard to find a person in Huntsville who doesn't have at least an indirect affiliation with the prison system" since many businesses indirectly rely on its presence.[24] As of 1996 the TDCJ employed over twice the number of people employed by Sam Houston State University, the city's second-largest employer.[24]

As of 2005 Sam Houston State remained the second-largest employer in Huntsville, with 2,458 employees.[23] The university has a strong role in the study of criminology.[24] The third-largest employer is the Huntsville Independent School District, with 974 employees. The fourth-largest employer, Huntsville Memorial Hospital, has 540 employees. 517 employees work for the fifth-largest employer, Wal-Mart.[23]

As of 2007 Huntsville's average income was lower than Texas's average income.[25]

Government and infrastructure[edit]

State representation[edit]

Texas Department of Criminal Justice[edit]

The Huntsville Unit, a Texas Department of Criminal Justice-operated prison in Huntsville, the home of the state's execution chamber

Huntsville has the headquarters of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ), the Texas agency that operates state correctional facilities for adults.[26][27] The Texas prison system has been headquartered in Huntsville since Texas's founding as a republic, and the TDCJ is the only major state agency not headquartered in Austin, the state capital.[28]

Several TDCJ prisons for men, including the Byrd Unit,[29] the Goree Unit,[30] the Huntsville Unit (home of the state's execution chamber),[31] and the Wynne Unit, are within Huntsville's city limits.[32] The Holliday Unit, a transfer unit, is also in Huntsville.[33]

The TDCJ Central Region Warehouse and Huntsville Prison Store are in the TDCJ headquarters complex.[34][35] The Food Service Warehouse is behind the Wynne Unit.[36] The TDCJ operates the Huntsville District Parole Office in Huntsville.[37]

As of 1996 the TDCJ director resided in a mansion across the street from the Huntsville Unit.[24]

Other state agencies[edit]

The Texas Forensic Science Commission is headquartered on the grounds of Sam Houston State University.[38]


Greyhound Lines operates the Huntsville Station in Huntsville.[39] As of 2001 many former prisoners released from the Texas Department of Criminal Justice system use the station to travel to their final destinations.[26] The station is three blocks uphill from the Huntsville Unit, a point of release for prisoners exiting the TDCJ.[40]

Bruce Brothers Huntsville Regional Airport is in Huntsville.

Major highways[edit]


Captain Joe Byrd Cemetery, the Texas Department of Criminal Justice cemetery for deceased prisoners who are not reclaimed by their families

In September 2009, the Huntsville Cultural District was designated by the Texas Commission on the Arts as one of the first seven state cultural districts.[citation needed]

Ruth Massingill and Ardyth Broadrick Sohn, authors of Prison City: Life with the Death Penalty in Huntsville, Texas, said that Huntsville shares several traits with other small towns. For instance many insiders include members of Huntsville's founding families, who still reside in Huntsville. They also said "Disagreement is a well-established Huntsville tradition."[41] The authors say that debate is a significant part of the leadership agenda, and that the residents of Huntsville disagree about capital punishment.[42]



The Huntsville Item is the community's newspaper.

The Houstonian is the SHSU student newspaper.


KRBE 104.1 FM Houston's #1 Hits

KHMX ("Mix 96.5") 96.5 FM Houston

KHVL 104.9 FM/1490 AM Music From the '60s, '70s and '80s

KSAM 101.7 FM New Country Music

KSHU 90.5 FM College-Sam Houston State


Primary and secondary schools[edit]

The majority of the City of Huntsville is served by the Huntsville Independent School District (HISD).[43]

By 2007 a Huntsville community report stated that over 50% of the HISD students are "classified as economically disadvantaged"; this is a higher percentage than the overall state percentage. As of 2007 over 18% of the students do not graduate from high school.[25]

List of Schools (by education level)


  • Gibbs Pre-K Center

Elementary School(s)

  • Estella Stewart Elementary School
  • Huntsville Elementary School
  • Samuel W. Houston Elementary School
  • Scott E Johnson Elementary School

Intermediate School(s)

  • Huntsville Intermediate School

Middle School(s)

  • Mance Park Middle School

High School(s)

Private School(s)

  • Alpha Omega Academy (Pre-K–12)
  • Tomorrow's Promise, The Montessori School of Huntsville (Pre-K–12)
  • Summit Christian Academy (Pre-K–12)

A very small portion of the city of Huntsville is within the New Waverly ISD.[43]

Colleges and universities[edit]

The city has Sam Houston State University. It also served as the first location for Austin College.[44]

Residents of both Huntsville ISD and New Waverly ISD (and therefore the whole city of Huntsville) are served by the Lone Star College System (formerly North Harris-Montgomery Community College).[45]

Public libraries[edit]

The 7,000 square feet (650 m2) Huntsville Public Library opened on Sunday September 24, 1967 after the group "Friends for a Huntsville Public Library" had campaigned for the opening of a public library.[46]

Adult prisoner education[edit]

The Windham School District, which provides educational services to prisoners in the TDCJ, is headquartered in Building B in the Wynne Unit in Huntsville.[47][48]


Huntsville has several tourist attractions. They include an art tour, a downtown walking tour, Sam Houston's grave, the Sam Houston Memorial Museum, the Sam Houston Woodland Home, A Tribute to Courage (a 67 foot tall statue of Sam Houston), and a folk and cowboy music festival held every April, The Texas Prison Museum.[25]

Photo Gallery[edit]

Notable people[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "2019 U.S. Gazetteer Files". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved August 7, 2020.
  2. ^ "2010 Census Redistricting Data (Public Law 94-171) Summary File". American FactFinder. United States Census Bureau. Archived from the original on July 21, 2011. Retrieved October 21, 2012.
  3. ^ "Population and Housing Unit Estimates". United States Census Bureau. May 24, 2020. Retrieved May 27, 2020.
  4. ^ "US Board on Geographic Names". United States Geological Survey. 2007-10-25. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
  5. ^ "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Archived from the original on May 31, 2011. Retrieved 2011-06-07.
  6. ^ Gannett, Henry (1905). The Origin of Certain Place Names in the United States. Govt. Print. Off. pp. 164.
  7. ^ Huntville Statue & Visitors Center, Retrieved 2010-02-09.
  8. ^ Huntville Statue & Visitors Center, Archived 2009-04-05 at the Wayback Machine
  9. ^ Handbook of Texas Online accessed 2007-04-29.
  10. ^ Art Tour of Huntsville accessed 2007-04-29. Archived September 29, 2007, at the Wayback Machine
  11. ^ "Population Estimates". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved June 8, 2018.
  12. ^ "Explore Census Data". Retrieved 2022-05-25.
  13. ^[not specific enough to verify]
  14. ^ "About the Hispanic Population and its Origin". Retrieved 18 May 2022.
  15. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2011-02-12. Retrieved 2011-04-23.
  16. ^ "Huntsville (city), Texas Quickfacts Archived 2011-10-15 at the Wayback Machine"
  17. ^ "Huntsville, TX". Retrieved 3 June 2015.
  18. ^ "Karla Faye Tucker's last hours?" CNN. February 3, 1998. Retrieved on September 29, 2010.
  19. ^ "Megaregions: Texas Triangle". America 2050. USA: Regional Plan Association. Retrieved September 12, 2016.
  20. ^ "Huntsville, Texas Köppen Climate Classification (Weatherbase)". Weatherbase. Retrieved 3 June 2015.
  21. ^ "Data Tools: 1981-2010 Normals for Huntsville, Texas". National Centers for Environmental Information. Retrieved 2019-03-22.
  22. ^ "NOWData: Monthly Summarized Data for Huntsville, Texas". National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration. Retrieved 2019-03-22.
  23. ^ a b c Massingill and Sohn 22.
  24. ^ a b c d Draper, Robert. "The Great Texas Prison Mess" ( Archived 2016-01-26 at the Wayback Machine). Texas Monthly. May 1996. Retrieved on January 19, 2016.
  25. ^ a b c Massingill and Sohn 26.
  26. ^ a b "Huntsville Prison Blues". National Public Radio. September 10, 2001. Retrieved on December 2, 2009.
  27. ^ "LIVINGSTON NAMED EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF STATE'S CRIMINAL JUSTICE AGENCY Archived 2010-01-25 at the Wayback Machine." Texas Department of Criminal Justice. July 28, 2005. Retrieved on December 2, 2009.
  28. ^ Ryckman, Lisa Levitt. "Article: A RECORD YEAR FOR EXECUTIONS IN TEXAS HUNTSVILLE RESIDENTS PREFER NOT TO DISCUSS THE DEATHS.(News/National/International)". Rocky Mountain News. August 31, 1997. Retrieved on August 25, 2010.
  29. ^ "Byrd Unit Archived 2010-07-25 at the Wayback Machine". Texas Department of Criminal Justice. Retrieved on May 10, 2010.
  30. ^ "Goree Unit Archived 2010-07-25 at the Wayback Machine". Texas Department of Criminal Justice. Retrieved on May 10, 2010.
  31. ^ "Huntsville Unit Archived 2008-03-30 at the Wayback Machine". Texas Department of Criminal Justice. Retrieved on May 10, 2010.
  32. ^ "Wynne Unit Archived July 25, 2010, at the Wayback Machine". Texas Department of Criminal Justice. Retrieved on May 10, 2010.
  33. ^ "Holliday Unit Archived July 25, 2010, at the Wayback Machine". Texas Department of Criminal Justice. Retrieved on July 13, 2010.
  34. ^ "Central Region Warehouse Archived 2010-07-12 at the Wayback Machine." Texas Department of Criminal Justice. Retrieved on May 22, 2010.
  35. ^ "Huntsville Prison Store Archived 2009-07-14 at the Wayback Machine." Texas Department of Criminal Justice. Retrieved on May 22, 2010.
  36. ^ "Food Service Warehouse Archived 2009-07-06 at the Wayback Machine." Texas Department of Criminal Justice. Retrieved on May 22, 2010.
  37. ^ "Parole Division Region I Archived September 28, 2011, at the Wayback Machine." Texas Department of Criminal Justice. Retrieved on May 15, 2010.
  38. ^ "Contact Us Archived 2011-05-14 at the Wayback Machine." Texas Forensic Science Commission. Retrieved on July 23, 2010.
  39. ^ "Huntsville Station Archived 2008-11-22 at the Wayback Machine." Greyhound Lines. Retrieved on May 7, 2010.
  40. ^ Nowell, Scott. "Doing Time." Houston Press. September 18, 2003. 1. (Print article version). Retrieved on September 23, 2010.
  41. ^ Massingill and Sohn 15.
  42. ^ Massingill and Sohn 16.
  43. ^ a b "2020 CENSUS - SCHOOL DISTRICT REFERENCE MAP: Walker County, TX" (PDF). U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved 2021-04-18.
  44. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2019-06-12. Retrieved 2019-08-01.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  45. ^ Texas Education Code, Sec. 130.191. LONE STAR COLLEGE SYSTEM DISTRICT SERVICE AREA..
  46. ^ "About the Library Archived 2010-06-18 at the Wayback Machine." Huntsville Public Library. Retrieved on May 30, 2010.
  47. ^ "Contact Information Archived 2010-11-30 at the Wayback Machine." Windham School District. Retrieved on January 1, 2010.
  48. ^ "Travel Regulations for Employees Archived 2010-12-02 at the Wayback Machine" 7.28-4. Windham School District. September 1, 2005. Page 5 of 15. Retrieved on January 1, 2010.
  49. ^ Freeman, J. H. (September 7, 2016). "BAKER, JAMES ADDISON, SR. [1821-97]". Handbook of Texas Online. Texas State Historical Association. Retrieved September 4, 2018.
  50. ^ Kirkland, Kaye Sayan (2012). Captain James A. Baker of Houston, 1857–1941. College Station: Texas A&M University Press. pp. 37–41.
  51. ^ Editor, Tom WaddillSports. "Former Huntsville standout Derrick Ross plays for 'that ringgggg' tonight in New Orleans". Retrieved 2021-12-19. {{cite web}}: |last= has generic name (help)
  52. ^ "Wrap-ups: Texas start for ousted Thai leader". Houston Chronicle. 23 September 2006. Retrieved 3 June 2015.


External links[edit]

Cultural attractions[edit]