Many of the stately homes, commercial buildings, and schools in and around Beeville, including the Bee County Courthouse, were designed by architect William Charles Stephenson, who came to Beeville in 1908 from Buffalo, New York.
History and Culture
The site was first settled by the Burke, Carroll and Heffernan families in the 1830s. It was first named "Maryville" for Mary Heffernan, then renamed "Beeville" after Barnard E. Bee, Sr., who served as Secretary of State and Secretary of War for the Republic of Texas. It was then called "Beeville-on-the-Poesta", with a nearby community "Beeville-on-the-Medio" seven miles (11 km) to the west. In 1859, Beeville's first post office opened.
Beeville was incorporated as a town in 1890, but the incorporation was dissolved the following year. In 1900, the population was 2,311. Beeville was reincorporated as a town in 1908.
In 1920, the population was 3,062. The town streets were paved in 1921. The Rialto Theater, one of the Beeville structures designed by W. C. Stephenson, cost $25,000. On Saturday, August 19, 1922, it opened with the silent film The Three Musketeers starring Douglas Fairbanks, Sr. Admission was twenty-five cents for adults and ten cents for children. The theater is now used for special occasions, not the general running of motion pictures.
The Texas oil boom brought new residents to town, and in 1930 the population was 4,806. In 1950, the Beeville population was 9,348.
The United States Navy operated the Beeville Naval Air Station, which trained Navy airplane pilots during World War II from 1943 through 1946. The base was reopened in 1952 as Naval Air Station Chase Field, continuing in operation until 1992.
Beeville was served by Trans-Texas Airways (TTa) during the 1950s. TTa operated scheduled passenger flights with Douglas DC-3 prop airliners from Chase Field with service to Brownsville, Corpus Christi, Harlingen, Houston, San Antonio and other destinations in Texas.
In 1967, the town was inundated by of rain during Hurricane Beulah.