A Brief History of Conroe

A Brief History of Conroe

June 18, 2024

How does a place go from being the site of a simple sawmill to a bustling suburban city? It’s an interesting story and one anybody thinking of making their home in Grand Central Park should hear.

In 1881 Isaac Conroe, a retired Civil War Illinois Calvary captain, bought a tract of land in Montgomery County. He was from Houston and looking for a spot to set up a sawmill. The spot he chose, two miles east of present-day Conroe, was perfect. It was surrounded by forest and near the I&GN Railroad between the Santa Fe tracks and what is now Avenue A. He built a tram of wooden rails and spokes to transport his lumber products to the railroad.

Captain Conroe continued living in Houston and commuted back and forth to the mill. Today, of course, Grand Central Park residents live in Conroe and commute to Houston, but the trip is still convenient.

It wasn’t long before a post office was set up. Then, "Conroe's Switch” became a regular stop on the I&GN. Eventually the name was shortened to Conroe. Lumber mills were lucrative in the 1880s, and it wasn’t long before other sawmills followed in the captain’s footsteps, bringing more families to Conroe.

The little town began to thrive and soon the first school was established. By 1889, 250 to 300 citizens made their home in Conroe. In that same year, Conroe replaced Montgomery as county seat. The town grew so quickly it needed more schools, so in 1892 the Conroe Independent School District was established. In December 1904, the city was officially incorporated. J. F. Collier was the first mayor.

The Great Depression had an impact on Conroe as businesses and sawmills shut down. Then George W. Strake struck oil in December 1931. Soon the local economy began to recover as petroleum wholesalers and workers flooded in. The recovery was so great that for a brief time Conroe was once home to more millionaires per capita than any other town in the United States.

In the 1970s, more and more people flocked to Conroe, drawn by the city’s small-town charm and easy access to Interstate 45. The completion of Lake Conroe in 1973 added to the area’s appeal with opportunities to fish, boat, swim and picnic.

Today, Conroe is still a preferred spot for families looking to put down roots. One of those places is Grand Central Park. Located among stately trees, our community celebrates the beauty of Conroe’s natural surroundings while offering an enticing mix of modern amenities. Visit our community today to see what life in Conroe is all about.

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