College Station is a city in Brazos County, Texas, situated in East Central Texas in the heart of the Brazos Valley. The city is located within the most populated region of Texas, near three of the 10 largest cities in the United States - Houston, Dallas, and San Antonio. The population estimate as of December 2012 was 97,534.
College Station is home to the main campus of Texas A&M University, the flagship institution of The Texas A&M University System. The city owes both its name and existence to the university's location along a railroad. Texas A&M's triple designation as a Land-, Sea-, and Space-Grant institution reflects the broad scope of the research endeavors it brings to the city, with ongoing projects funded by agencies such as NASA, the National Institutes of Health, the National Science Foundation and the Office of Naval Research.
Due largely to the presence of Texas A&M University, College Station was named by Money magazine in 2006 as the most educated city in Texas, and the 11th most educated city in the United States.
The origins of College Station date from 1860, when the Houston and Texas Central Railway began to build through the region. Eleven years later, the site was chosen as the location for the proposed A&M College of Texas, a land-grant school. In 1876, as the nation celebrated its centennial, the school, (now Texas A&M University) opened its doors as the first public institution of higher education in the state of Texas.
The population of College Station grew slowly, reaching 350 in 1884 and 391 at the turn of the century. However, during this time period transportation improvements took place in the town. In 1900 the I&GN Railroad was extended to College Station (the line would be abandoned by the Missouri Pacific Railroad Company in 1965), and ten years later Electric Interurban service was established between Texas A&M and the neighboring town of Bryan, Texas. The Interurban would be replaced by a city bus system in the 1920s.
In 1930 the community to the north of College Station, known as North Oakwood, was incorporated as part of Bryan. College Station itself did not incorporate until 1938, with John H. Binney as the first mayor. Within a year the city established a zoning commission, and by 1940 the population had reached 2184.
The city grew under the leadership of Ernest Langford, called by some the “Father of College Station”, who began a 26 year stretch as mayor in 1942. Early in his first term, the city adopted a council-manager system of city government.
Population growth accelerated following World War II as the non-student population reached 7,898 in 1950, 11,396 in 1960, 17,676 in 1970, 30,449 in 1980, 52,456 in 1990, and 67,890 in 2000. It is estimated the population for the Bryan-College Station metropolitan area will range from 250,846 to 271,773 by 2030.
In the 1990s, College Station and Texas A&M University drew national attention when the George Bush Presidential Library opened in 1997 and, more tragically, when 12 people were killed and 27 injured when the Aggie Bonfire collapsed while being constructed in 1999.