Tomball Texas History:
Prior to 1850, the farming community of Peck was located on a portion of William Heard’s 1838 land grant. The town was renamed Tomball in 1907in honor of Thomas H. Ball, a prominent lawyer and politician who facilitated the building of the Houston Ship Channel. Ball was also instrumental in getting the Trinity and Brazos Railroad line and roundhouse built through Peck in 1906. The Tomball post office was established in 1908. The town received electric and telephone services in 1913; it incorporated in 1933. Tomball remained primarily an agricultural and ranching community until the 1930s when the Humble Oil Company (now Exxon) discovered oil west of town. A 1935 contract between Humble Oil and the City of Tomball allowed Humble to drill within the city limits in exchange for giving free water and natural gas to Tomball residents for 90 years. This contract ended in 1988 when the gas resources were depleted. Tomball is located at the intersections of FM 2679, FM 2920 (East Main Street) and SH 249 (Tomball Parkway), 13 miles west of Spring, 38.9 miles northwest of Kingwood, 28.5 miles northeast of Addicks, 33.5 miles northwest of Houston, 42 miles northeast of Katy, 17 miles northeast of Hockley, 13.6 miles northeast of Cypress, 34.5 miles east of Hempstead, 20 miles east of Waller, 45 miles southeast of Navasota, and 22.8 miles southwest of Conroe, Texas.
Historic Railroad Depot Plaza & Museum:
The Depot “Museum” features train memorabilia, original works of art, antiques, and a model railroad. Open Sun, 1-5pm; tours available. (281) 290-1001. The Depot is also open on the second Saturday of each month when citizens gather at the depot for various special events, such as an Easter Egg Hunt, the soon to be annual Bunny 5K and Kid’s 1K (April), movies, live music, kid’s activities and other entertainment; bring lawn chairs and picnic baskets; no fees apply. In case of rain, the Second Saturday is held at the Tomball Community Center at 221 Market Street. In 2009, the Centennial Commission gifted a gazebo for the Depot Plaza in honor of Tomball’s 100th
Birthday; both the Depot and gazebo may be rented for special events. Saturdays at 8am, town citizens meet at the depot for a walk, and then gather for coffee at a local restaurant or shop; everyone is welcomed. In March, 2009 the Tomball City Council approved the Tomball Economic Development Corporation’s proposal to have a Holiday Skating Rink at the Depot, to run from Thanksgiving weekend through the 2nd
Saturday of 2010. Other annual events held at the Depot Plaza include the Tomball German Christmas (December), the Tomball German Heritage Festival (March), and the Sam Houston Trail Riders reception in February. Parks Department (Rentals): (281) 290-1400. Events & Tours: 281-290-1001. The depot is located at 210 S. Elm Street, one block south of FM 2920 and the railroad tracks.
Tomball may get another Railroad Museum: April 2015
Texas Railroading Heritage Museum (formerly Houston Railroad Museum):
As of April 2016, the museum was closed and moved into temporary storage in preparation for its move to a Houston suburban community. The exact location is unknown at this time, but the City of Tomball has suggested they move to a site near the Tomball Railroad Plaza & Museum. Preliminary studies of this location have begun.
The museum features a large collection of railroad locomotives, passenger cars, freight cars and cabooses. Railroad artifacts include time tables, correspondence, signals, lanterns, coffin carts, and the huge neon sign that once stood on top of Houston’s now demolished Grand Central Station. The museum’s model railroad is in operation during museum open hours. Each year, Gulf Coast Chapter NRHS/Houston Railroad Museum offers a scholarship to the National Park Service's Rail Camp at the Steamtown National Historic Site in Scranton, Pennsylvania, and supports scouting badges. They also provide speakers for special events. Open Sat, 11am-4pm from the first weekend in April through the first weekend in November. A small admission fee applies. (731) 631-6612. 77028. Gulf Coast Chapter NRHS, P.O. Box 457, Houston, TX 77001.
Tomball Museum Center Complex:
Managed by the Spring Creek County Historical Association, this complex consists of 7 restored buildings. The Farm Museum includes the 19th
century, two story, horse drawn cotton gin originally owned by the Wuensche family; it is one of two such gins still in existence in Texas. An old barn houses the collection of early farming tools and equipment. The 1876 Trinity Evangelical Lutheran Church of Neudorfr retains its original furnishings; it holds an annual church service. The 1860 Eugene Pilot home houses the Magdalene Charlton collection of Mid-Victorian furnishings. Pilot’s Houston home has been preserved in the Sam Houston Park in Houston. Dr. William Ehrhardt’s 1900 doctor’s office offers displays of early medications, medical equipment and surgical instruments. Other buildings include the fellowship hall from a Fenske Road church in Cypress, the Mid-1800s Henry Theis furnished farmhouse, an early 20th
century one room schoolhouse, a 1930s oil camp house, an 1857 log house and corncrib, and a gazebo donated the Tomball Study Club in 1986. Open Thu, 10am-2pm; Sun, 2-4pm; closed holidays. Group tours are available by appointment. Donations are welcomed. (281) 255-2148. 510 N. Pine Street.
The Regional Arts Council:
This volunteer group sponsors music, theater, educational and other programs. Performances are held at various venues in the area. An annual Royal Arts Ball raises funds for the Center’s projects. The Air Force Band also performs in Tomball annually. Seasonal subscriptions are available. (281) 351-2787. 108 S. Pine Street. Email
Lone Star College Tomball:
The Lone Star College system is a publicly supported, 2 year community college system offering technical programs, academic college accredited arts and science courses, continuing adult education programs, and other programs to those living in the northern section of the Greater Houston Area. (281) 351-3300. 30555 Tomball Parkway, Tomball, TX 77375. Campus Maps
Lone Star College & Tomball Community Library:
The library provides traditional library programs, children, youth and adult programs, summer programs, computer classes, public access computers with internet connections, and free Wi-Fi. The library provides traditional library programs, children, youth and adult programs, summer programs, teen and family movie showings, Flipster magazines, classes, fax and copy machines, a career center, computer classes (English and Spanish), public access computers with internet connections, and free Wi-Fi. It also offers free Hoopla Digital, a Netflix type service permitting members to download movies, e-books, music and other entertainment to their personal devices. Up to five may be downloaded each month either in the library or online. This library is a branch of the Harris County Library System, and is located at the Tomball Community College. Open Mon-Thu, 8am-9pm; Fri, 8am-6pm; Sat, 10am-5pm; closed Sundays. (832) 559-4200. 30555 Tomball Parkway.
Chaparral Genealogical Society Library:
This library offers over 2,100 books. Fiche and microfiche records are available. Volunteers open the library, Mon-Wed, 10am-2pm; Sat, 10am-2pm. The library is closed the last Saturday of each month. (218) 516-7417. 310 North Live Oak Street.