Bay City

Independence Trail Region


The year Bay City became the county seat of Matagorda it had yet to contain a single building. The community was little more than a concept, courtesy of the Bay City Town Company, during a transitional period for the region in 1894. But thanks to a campaign promulgated by the community’s first newspaper, called the Bay City Breeze, and an untimely arrival of a hurricane followed by a fortuitous local election, the city by the bay took the seat from the neighboring community of Matagorda and quickly welcomed development with open arms. By the early 1900s the railroad had arrived along with the discovery of oil and Bay City flourished despite the fact that its city streets were still composed of wooden planks. Bay City also became the center of the largest rice-producing area in the nation and, by 1914, hosted two more railroads. Today, this Texas Main Street City joins other coastal communities along the upper Texas Gulf in providing a home for the petrochemical industry, a relationship that began in 1960 with the introduction of the Celanese Chemical Company, a plant that quickly became the city’s largest employer. Bay City is also home to the Matagorda County Museum, housed in a historic building of Neoclassical design and built as the community’s first post office. The Museum’s signature exhibit features artifacts from the shipwreck La Belle, a vessel of 17th century French explorer Robert Cavelier, Sieur de La Salle.