New Comers
Lynda Linam

Victoria, the second oldest incorporated city in the state of Texas, is home to a rich and vibrant history dating back before the Texas War for Independence. It was the sight of Spanish exploration and missionary activity and thriving Indian communities, but it wasn't until the early 1800's that Victoria became an official Mexican settlement. In 1824 Don Martin de Leon was given a land grant by the Mexican government which detailed the layout for a town to be built on the eastern bank of the Guadalupe River. The new town was named after the patron saint of Mexico and would be known as Victoria.

Victoria's initial population was composed of forty-one Mexican families but soon it would take on the characteristics of a melting pot, attracting settlers from Germany, Czechoslovakia, Italy, Ireland, Lebanon and the United States.

During the Texas War for Independence from Mexico, Victorian citizens fought valiantly to win freedom from the Mexican government. Visitors still come to the area to visit famous war sights and memorials. With their independence won, Victoria was recognized early on as community rich in deep-Southern traditions built on a foundation of wealth from farming and cattle ranching.
After the civil war, Victoria continued to prosper as an agricultural and industrial center. In later years, it would make its mark as a financial center, spawning two of Texas' oldest banks. Later, with the discovery of local oil and natural gas deposits along with their growing importance as a source of fuel, Victoria would become a center for the oil and gas industry, an industry that still plays a vital role in Victoria's economy.

gazeboVictoria has grown quite a bit since its founding in 1824. Victoria County is now home to over 80,000 people - a far cry from those first forty-one families - but a visit to the historic downtown district will send any visitor back in time to the community's founding. You can almost hear the clop of horse hoofs and the creak of wagon wheels as you stroll around De Leon Plaza, the original town square, whose gazebo is a famous area landmark and treasure. De Leon Plaza is surrounded by some of Victoria's oldest and most beautiful buildings, including the County Courthouse, which is now undergoing major renovations. Many of the old business buildings have been purchased and renovated over the years. The O'Connor-Proctor Building, the original location for what would become Victoria Bank and Trust (now Norwest Bank), is now the offices for the Junior League of Victoria. A few blocks off the square is Saint Mary's Church, the oldest church in Victoria. And people from all walks of life enjoy lunch at Fossatti's Delicatessen, established in 1882 and still serving up some of the best meals in town. The old homes in Old Victoria date back to the turn of the century and with loving care by their owners, they look as new now as they did back then. Many serve as residences, some still owned by descendants of the original owners while others serve as offices for some of Victoria's professionals.

1101 Salem Road, Suite C
Victoria, TX 77904

Office 573-6001
Fax 361-575-3869

November 30, 2005 Media Magic