- Wharton, Texas
official_name = Wharton, Texas
imagesize = 250px
image_caption = Wharton entrance sign
mapsize = 250px
map_caption = Location of Wharton, Texas
unit_pref = Imperial
area_total_km2 = 18.7
area_land_km2 = 18.7
area_water_km2 = 0.0
area_total_sq_mi = 7.2
area_land_sq_mi = 7.2
area_water_sq_mi = 0.0
population_as_of = 2000
population_total = 9237
population_density_km2 = 493.6
population_density_sq_mi = 1278.3
timezone = Central (CST)
utc_offset = -6
timezone_DST = CDT
utc_offset_DST = -5
elevation_m = 31
elevation_ft = 102
latd = 29 |latm = 19 |lats = 1 |latNS = N
longd = 96 |longm = 5 |longs = 49 |longEW = W
Wharton is a city in Wharton County,
Texas, United States. The population was 9,237 at the 2000 census. It is the county seatof Wharton CountyGR|6 and is located on the Colorado River of Texas just south of U.S. Highway 59.
Wharton is located at coor dms|29|19|1|N|96|5|49|W|city (29.316939, -96.097065)GR|1.
According to the
United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 7.2 square miles (18.8 km²), of which, 7.2 square miles (18.7 km²) of it is land and 0.14% is water.
As of the
censusGR|2 of 2000, there were 9,237 people, 3,539 households, and 2,268 families residing in the city. The population densitywas 1,278.3 people per square mile (493.3/km²). There were 4,000 housing units at an average density of 553.6/sq mi (213.6/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 56.33% White, 26.43% African American, 0.41% Native American, 0.71% Asian, 0.16% Pacific Islander, 14.18% from other races, and 1.78% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 31.08% of the population.
There were 3,539 households out of which 31.5% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 44.2% were married couples living together, 15.7% had a female householder with no husband present, and 35.9% were non-families. 31.8% of all households were made up of individuals and 15.3% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.51 and the average family size was 3.21.
In the city the population was spread out with 27.2% under the age of 18, 11.1% from 18 to 24, 25.3% from 25 to 44, 20.3% from 45 to 64, and 16.2% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 34 years. For every 100 females there were 89.3 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 83.1 males.
The median income for a household in the city was $26,704, and the median income for a family was $34,543. Males had a median income of $30,423 versus $20,460 for females. The
per capita incomefor the city was $13,993. About 17.3% of families and 22.2% of the population were below the poverty line, including 22.3% of those under age 18 and 21.7% of those age 65 or over.
The area now known as Wharton was part of the Caney Run mail route established by the
Republic of Texasin 1838. The community was named after two leaders in the struggle for Texas independence, brothers John and William Wharton. The plantation community was first settled in 1846 by some of Stephen F. Austin's original colonists, and a post office was established in 1847. The first lieutenant governor of Texas, Albert Horton, was an early settler. Land for the courthouse square was donated by William Kincheloeand surveyed by Virgil Stewart and William J. E. Heard. Early settlers came from Alabama, Kentucky, Virginia, Georgia, and Mississippi.
Jewish immigrants, arriving as early as the 1850s, established additional businesses and began the
Congregation Shearith Israel (Texas), the only synagogue in a three-county area. Other settlers in the community included Swiss, German, Mexican, and Czech immigrants and descendants of plantation slaves.
Early crops included
potatoes, cotton, corn, rice, and sugar cane, and commercial enterprises included cattle, molasses, and sugar. At different times the community had a cotton oil mill, a sugar cane factory, gristmills, cotton gins, a milkprocessing plant and dairy, an ice plant, and numerous other industries. Oil and sulfur production in the outlying areas contribute to the town's economy. The population of Wharton was about 200 in the early 1880s.
New York, Texas and Mexican Railwaywas the first railroad to arrive at Wharton in 1881, followed by the Gulf, Colorado and Santa Fe in 1899. These two railroads brought a new influx of settlers, increasing the population to 1,689 in 1900 and 2,346 in 1920. In 1888 the first opera house opened.
Wharton was incorporated in 1902, when most of the structures were of wood construction. A major fire that year destroyed a number of buildings, convincing businessmen and the city government to use brick construction with fire walls for all buildings within the city limits and to construct a water system with fire hydrants. A free library was established in 1902 by the New Century Club and adopted by the city in 1904. In 1935 the majority of the library inventory was given to the Wharton Public School. The first public park was dedicated in 1913, and the Wharton
Chamber of Commerceorganized in 1919.
The city experienced its greatest growth during the 1930s, increasing from 2,261 in 1930 to 4,386 in 1940. Wharton Little Theatre was organized in 1932, and
Wharton County Junior Collegewas established in 1946. The town's population reached 5,734 in 1960 and 7,881 in 1970. A community concert series was developed in the 1960s. By the 1980s Wharton had such diverse industries as Health-focus, the largest physical rehabilitation and therapy service in the nation; M. I. Drilling Fluids, a subsidiary of Magcobar Division of Dresser Industries;qv the Formosa Plastics Group, consisting of Nan Ya Plastics and J-M Manufacturing; Coastal Warehouse Limited, serving the agricultural industry; and Gulf Coast Medical Center and South Texas Medical clinics. The economy was also heavily dependent on the presence of the county government.
In the 1980s Academy Award-winning screenwriter
Horton Foote, a descendant of Lieutenant Governor Horton, lived in Wharton. The Wharton County Historical Museum features exhibits on Dan Ratherand Medal of Honorwinner Roy Benavidezas well as a wildlife collection. The Wharton population is stable: 9,033 in 1980, 9,011 in 1990, and 9,237 in 2000.
Notable natives and residents
Larry Dale, an American blues singerand guitarist
Horton Foote, playwright
Albert Clinton Horton, first Lieutenant Governor of Texas
Lamar Lathon, former American professional football player
Dan Rather, former CBSanchor
Mac Sweeney, U.S. Representativefrom Texas
Angella Rome, aka Veronica Redd, famous prostitute
20th Century Technology Museum
Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.
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