Historically Katy
Tri-County Katy

| June 1, 2017

Tri-county-marker

The Tri-County mark

Living in the Katy area can get confusing. While several hundred thousand people call Katy home, only about 16,000 actually live in the City of Katy. Folks are further divided by county lines. Katy residents live in Harris, Fort Bend and Waller Counties.

The counties meet at a point within the city limits. Surveyors marked the location when Katy was established in the late 1800s. It was located just west and south of Cane Island Creek, a branch of Buffalo Bayou. The creek was rerouted in 1957, to the west and south of the marker which led to some debate that the marker was moved to an erroneous location. The marker didn’t move, but straightening the creek did change the appearance of the land around it.

For many years when all schools were located nearby it was an annual event for each class to walk to the park when the wild violets were blooming and have a picnic lunch near the marker. At that time it was “way back in the woods.” In 1964, The Katy Times owner Mary Ann Ernstes published an article stating that enough people were asking about the tri-county point that it seemed necessary to make it something special. At that time there were only two cities in the state with a 3-county point, today there are 21, and two Texas cities have four counties.

Seeing it as an opportunity to capitalize on the tri-county novelty, Ernstes wanted to rally support to make the old surveyors’ marker into a Tri-County monument. That year the Brookshire-Katy Drainage District cleaned out the bayou and the old creek bed was completely filled in. Asking for the cooperation of the Katy Chamber of Commerce, the Tri-County Jaycees, the Brookshire-Katy Drainage District and the City of Katy, the proposed plan was to save as many trees as possible and connect Avenue E with Third Street to make it possible for tourists to drive by the new monument.

The city liked the idea and wanted to develop the park around it too. Thomas Park is Katy’s oldest park; it was donated to the city in 1907 by L. C. Luckel, J. O. Thomas and R. M. Cash, the men who laid out the town of Katy in 1896. As plans sometimes go, nothing happened. But in 1971, Ernstes was asked by city leaders to chair a committee for Thomas Park improvements. This time she succeeded, rallying support of all three counties the monument was finally erected.

Avenue E was abandoned many years ago and driving by the marker is impossible, but it is still there and a landmark anyone who calls Katy home should visit. Thomas Park and our tri-county monument are located just west of Avenue D on Third Street.

The County Line marker

The County Line marker

1964 map showing the plan to create the drive-by at 3rd St. and Avenue E

1964 map showing the plan to create the drive-by at 3rd St. and Avenue E

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

 

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Category: Katy Texas History

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