2000 Census - 10,945
El Campo Texas History:
In 1882, the railroad camp “Prairie Switch”, a stop on the New York, Texas and Mexican Railway (the Macaroni Line), was located on the current site of El Campo. Mexican cowboys called the camp “Pearl of the Prairies”; they changed the name to El Campo in 1890. The settlement was surrounded by 4 large ranches; thousands of cattle were shipped yearly to San Antonio. For several years El Campo had no permanent structures except the section house and a switch serving the cattle-loading chute. The first general store was built in 1889. The El Campo post office opened in 1890. By 1892 the community had grown to 25 residents. New area settlers grew rice, corn, cotton and hay. The 1896 and 1901 fires destroyed most of the town. After the 1901 fire the town buildings were rebuilt using brick from the local El Campo Brick and Tile Company. El Campo incorporated in 1905. In 1907, the El Campo Ice and Water Company began supplying the town with electricity and ice. By 1904, the town had seventy rice farms and 126 pumping stations and Broussard Rice Mills was established. In 1914, the two rice mills consolidated under the name El Campo Rice Milling Company, now known as ELCO. At one time rice hulls were compressed into bricks and used as an experimental building material. Oil and gas were discovered in the mid-1930s. By 1941 the town had 3,906 residents. Today Wharton County is the largest grower of rice in Texas. Other El Campo industries include farming, catfish and crawfish farms, oil and gas, petroleum products and manufacturing. El Campo is located at the intersection of U.S. 59 and SH 71, 28 miles northeast of Edna, 10.5 miles northeast of Louise, 29 miles southeast of Altair, 37 miles southeast of Eagle Lake, 41 miles southwest of Needville, 31.5 miles southwest of East Bernard, 22 miles southwest of Hungerford, 21 miles southwest of Glen Flora, 15.5 miles southwest of Wharton, 35 miles northwest of Bay City, 27 miles northwest of Elmaton, and 11 miles northwest of Danevang, Texas.
El Campo Outdoor Murals:
El Campo has at least 25 murals on the exteriors of its buildings. The murals were painted using historic photos for the scenes which depict El Campo’s history. Probably the best one is the one with the train tracks; from whatever direction you approach the mural, it appears the tracks are pointing in your direction. A complete list of the murals and a location map are available from the Chamber of Commerce. Nearby Wharton also has a number of building murals. (979) 543-2713. 201 E. Jackson Street. (979) 543-2713.