Giddings is the county seat of Lee County, Texas, United States situated on the intersection of U.S. Highways 77 and 290, 55 miles (89 km) east of Austin. Its population was 5,665 at the 2010 census. The city's motto is "Giddings, Texas: Experience Hometown Hospitality".
The Giddings Municipal Building is located across from the renovated Lee County Courthouse.
|Coordinates: 30°10′59″N 96°56′5″W|
|• Mayor||John Dowell|
|• Total||5.2 sq mi (13.4 km2)|
|• Land||5.2 sq mi (13.3 km2)|
|• Water||0.04 sq mi (0.1 km2)|
|Elevation||505 ft (154 m)|
|• Density||991.9/sq mi (382.7/km2)|
|Time zone||UTC-6 (CST)|
|• Summer (DST)||UTC-5 (CDT)|
|GNIS feature ID||1336515|
The city itself was founded in 1871 when the Houston and Texas Central Railway came to the area. It probably took its name from local magnate Jabez Deming Giddings, who was instrumental in bringing the railway to the area. He had come to the area from Pennsylvania in 1838 to claim the land bounty of his brother Giles A. Giddings, killed at the Battle of San Jacinto. Another theory is that the city was named after Jabez's brother Dewitt Clinton Giddings.
Early settlers in the new town were mostly pioneers from the surrounding communities, such as Old Evergreen and Shady Grove. The majority of these people were ethnically British Isles natives, but a sizable minority were Wendish families from the Serbin area. They would later establish the German-language newspaper Deutsches Volksblatt.
Wide streets were a distinguishing characteristic of the town; the two main thoroughfares (Main and Austin Streets) were 100 feet (30 m) wide, and other streets were 80 feet (24 m) wide. The town's first church, established in 1871, was Methodist. J. D. Giddings Masonic Lodge, chartered in Evergreen in 1865, moved to Giddings, and early churches and a public school met in its building. Soon after the Civil War, freed slaves from farms and plantations settled in Giddings. Classes for more than 50 black students were held in a church in 1883, and the first black public school was built in 1887.
Giddings became the county seat when Lee County was established in 1874. Early businesses included the Granger store, a blacksmith shop and saloon, a millinery shop, a saddle and harness shop, and an oil mill. Brick buildings came in 1875. The courthouse built in 1878 burned and was replaced in 1899. Fletcher House, built in 1879 by August W. Schubert, was sold to the Missouri Synod of the Immanuel Lutheran Church in 1894 to house Concordia Lutheran College. By 1890, the town was part of a rich cotton-growing area with access to the San Antonio and Aransas Pass Railway, several gins, an opera house, newspapers, and a population estimated at 1,000. The First National Bank was opened in 1890 and was still in operation more than a century later. The town was incorporated in 1913 and had a population of 2,000 by 1914.
In the early 1980s, the oil-laden Austin chalk that underlies the town was tapped, and the area experienced an oil boom. Some 300 oil-related businesses located in the town, and many oil rigs were operating in outlying areas. In the late 1980s, however, the oil activities decreased almost to a standstill. The population of Giddings in 1988 was 5,178. In 1990, local businesses included a hospital, a medical clinic, a dialysis clinic, a chiropractic clinic, two nursing homes, a library, motels, restaurants, two newspapers, a peanut mill, Invader Boat Manufacturing Company, and Nutrena-Cargill Mills. Nineteen churches were in the city.
Giddings is located at 30°10′59″N 96°56′5″W (30.183116, -96.934614).
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 5.2 square miles (13 km2), of which 5.2 square miles (13 km2) are land and 0.04 square miles (0.10 km2) (0.58%) is covered by water.
|U.S. Decennial Census|
As of the census of 2000, 5,105 people, 1,639 households, and 1,125 families resided in the city. The population density was 991.9 people per square mile (382.7/km²). The 1,852 housing units averaged 359.9 per square mile (138.8/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 65.99% White, 13.26% African American, 0.51% Native American, 0.57% Asian, 16.47% from other races, and 3.19% from two or more races. Hispanics or Latinos of any race were 34.73% of the population.
Of the 1,639 households, 38.1% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 52.8% were married couples living together, 11.4% had a female householder with no husband present, and 31.3% were not families. About 27.6% of all households were made up of individuals, and 13.5% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.74 and the average family size was 3.39.
In the city, the population was distributed as 31.3% under the age of 18, 13.5% from 18 to 24, 24.7% from 25 to 44, 15.7% from 45 to 64, and 14.9% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 29 years. For every 100 females, there were 108.4 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 98.7 males.
The median income for a household in the city was $31,046, and for a family was $37,115. Males had a median income of $27,370 versus $21,706 for females. The per capita income for the city was $14,768. About 13.8% of families and 15.3% of the population were below the poverty line, including 20.5% of those under age 18 and 12.0% of those age 65 or over.
The Giddings Seed Laboratory (previously Pieratt's Seed Lab), a project of the Texas Department of Agriculture, is located in Giddings.
The United States Postal Service operates the Giddings Post Office in Giddings.
Arts and culture
In 2014, the City of Giddings and the Giddings Economic Development (GEDC) purchased 170 acres of land on the east side of town with highway frontage for the development of the Giddings 290 Business Park. The GEDC broke ground on construction in the spring 2015. The GEDC also expanded its office space to a new location along Hwy 290 in order to increase visibility and to provide more amenities to clients. In 2011, the GEDC completed restoration of the historic train and freight depots. Both facilities are owned by the GEDC and operated by the Chamber of Commerce as a visitors center and museum of agriculture and history. The freight depot houses a display celebrating the city's links with the railroad and serves as a special event facility for community and private gatherings. The downtown paver restoration project remains under development. In 2015, the city, the GEDC and members of the American Legion launched Phase I of the Veterans Memorial Wall Project, with an expected completion by Spring 2017.
The City of Giddings is served by the Giddings Independent School District.
The Giddings Deutsches Volksblatt, a trilingual German-English-Wendish/Sorbian newspaper, was published in Giddings.
- Bill Longley (gunfighter), outlaw hanged in Giddings in 1878; a character of the same name is the hero of the CBS television series, The Texan, starring Rory Calhoun in the title role as a gunfighter who roams the American West and helps the downtrodden fight off the lawless element.
- Tim Kleinschmidt (born 1956), attorney and Republican former member of the Texas House of Representatives for District 17
- Gus Mutscher, former Speaker of the Texas House of Representatives
- David J. Porter (born 1956), Texas Railroad Commissioner; unseated incumbent Victor G. Carrillo in the 2010 Republican primary election; Certified Public Accountant in Giddings
- Hilton Smith, pitcher in Negro-league baseball
- Larry Wade, World Class 110 Hurdler and NCAA Champion in 110 Hurdles (Texas A&M University)
- Gwendolyn Bennett (born in Giddings in 1902), a major Harlem Renaissance figure, poet, short story writer, and art news and criticism column "Ebony Flute," Opportunity magazine
- "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Archived from the original on 2013-09-11. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
- "US Board on Geographic Names". United States Geological Survey. 2007-10-25. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
- "Giddings, TX." Handbook of Texas. Retrieved on August 21, 2010.
- "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2011-02-12. Retrieved 2011-04-23.
- Climate Summary for Giddings, Texas
- "Population and Housing Unit Estimates". Retrieved September 25, 2019.
- "Census of Population and Housing". Census.gov. Archived from the original on April 26, 2015. Retrieved June 4, 2015.
- "Seed Laboratories." Texas Department of Agriculture. Retrieved on August 21, 2010. "Giddings Seed Lab" "1010 CR 226 (shipping) Giddings 78942"
- "Post Office Location - GIDDINGS Archived 2012-06-14 at the Wayback Machine." United States Postal Service. Retrieved on August 21, 2010.
- "Giddings State School Archived 2011-02-20 at the Wayback Machine." Texas Youth Commission. Retrieved on August 21, 2010.
- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2011-07-11. Retrieved 2010-11-22.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
- "Giddings Deutsches Volksblatt." Handbook of Texas. Retrieved on August 21, 2010.
- Billy Hathorn, "Roy Bean, Temple Houston, Bill Longley, Ranald Mackenzie, Buffalo Bill, Jr., and the Texas Rangers: Depictions of West Texans in Series Television, 1955 to 1967", West Texas Historical Review, Vol. 89 (2013), pp. 113-115
- "Tim Kleinschmidt's Biography". votesmart.org. Retrieved February 25, 2014.
- Ferguson, Jeffrey (2008). The Harlem Renaissance. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin's. p. 30,73–76.
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