Historically Katy
The Vote for a City

| November 1, 2017

What the City of Katy looked like about the time it became a municipality. Looking north down First Street from a rice dryer, the MKT depot is on the left. It would be a few more years before the water tower was installed or any streets were paved.

What the City of Katy looked like about the time it became a municipality. Looking north down First Street from a rice dryer, the MKT depot is on the left. It would be a few more years before the water tower was installed or any streets were paved.

An election more than 70 years ago had a significant impact on Katy. Katy was founded in 1896 as a town, and it was 50 years before it was recognized as a city. In the 1940s, there were problems. Road repair was unregulated, so many individuals repaired the streets in front of their businesses and homes. On a large scale, driving was often very dangerous. Katy had a lot of trash and many local residents buried or burned it; fires were common. There were also no rules regarding animals, so livestock and pets sometimes roamed the streets.

Plans were drawn up for consideration of incorporating a municipality. Boundaries were determined by finding an area with a concentration of homes and businesses that could be managed by city services that didn’t exist yet. An election to decide if Katy would become a city and who would assume the seats of mayor and two city commissioners was held in November 1945.

There were 47 votes in favor and 19 votes opposed to the idea of creating a city. Nine residents ran for mayor, including one woman. Calvin Baird won with 18 votes, narrowly defeating T.B. Tucker who got 17 votes.

There were 25 candidates for commissioner, including most of those who also ran for mayor. Arthur Miller with 18 votes and Ed Romack with 14 votes assumed the two commissioner seats.

Over the next few months ordinances were approved creating the office of a City Marshall and a Health Officer, assessing a property and sales taxes, requiring permits, and granting franchises for new utility services.

The city elected to change to an alderman form of government, splitting into two wards and electing five aldermen, in 1965.

Today the City of Katy is a tiny part of the greater Katy area. Some area residents don’t even know there is an actual city here or think it is nothing more than a namesake. But the city holds the historic roots that brought the early growth westward from Houston, and it was all started with only 66 votes.

 

Carol Adams is the author of HISTORIC KATY: An Illustrated History

 

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Category: Katy Texas History

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