Beeville is a city in Bee County, Texas, United States, with a population of 13,290 as of 2013. It is the county seat of Bee County and home to the main campus of Coastal Bend College. The city is also home to three prisons operated by The Texas Department of Criminal Justice
Many of the stately homes, commercial buildings, and schools in the area, including the Bee County Courthouse, were designed by architect William Charles Stephenson, who came to Beeville in 1908 from Buffalo, New York. Beeville is a National Main Street City.
History and Culture
The site on the Poesta River was first settled by the Burke, Carroll and Heffernan families in the 1830s. Present-day Beeville was established on a 150-acre land donation made by Ann Burke in May of 1859 after the Republic of Texas was annexed by the United States. It was first named "Maryville" for pioneer Mary Heffernan.
It was renamed "Beeville" after Barnard E. Bee, Sr., who had served as Secretary of State and Secretary of War for the Republic of Texas. It was 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.
In 1880, the population was about three hundred. In 1886, the first railroad was constructed to the town, stimulating the growth of the economy and population, which exceeded one thousand by the end of the decade.
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, and live performances.
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.