Fig orchards, satsuma orange orchards, and rice fields once flourished where Friendswood homes now stand. The last vestiges of them and the homes that the Quakers constructed are nearly gone, but the legacy left by those founders and early settlers remains. That legacy is the heritage of a way of life that did more to shape the character of the community than any brick and mortar buildings ever could.
In the spring of 1895 a Quaker named Frank Jacob Brown, who had been an adventuresome buffalo hunter, and a Quaker named Thomas Hadley Lewis, who was a college educated man, felt directed to this area of the Gulf Coast to establish a community dedicated to God. Starting Quaker colonies was a common practice of the religious sect called Quakers or Friends, as they were part of the westward movement across the nation in the middle to late 1800s. (The terms Quaker and Friends are synonymous and used interchangeably.)
When Brown and Lewis came upon this area in Northern Galveston County, they found 1,538 acres of prairie, well drained by Clear Creek, Coward's Creek, Mary's Creek, and Chigger Creek, and beautifully framed with the dense woods along the creeks. Feeling this surely was their "Promised Land," they negotiated with the owner, Galveston banker J. C. League, for a deed of trust, and on July 15, 1895 they recorded the name of the colony at the Court House in Galveston. They named it Friendswood.
Word of the colony spread among Quakers in the northern and midwest states, and soon more than a dozen families joined them. Friendswood developed as a farming community marked by hard work, simple, clean living, and a deep respect for God, the family, and education.
After the colony survived the Galveston Storm of 1900 with no loss of life, they used their sawmill to convert the swaths of trees felled by the storm into lumber for the construction of a two story building they called the Academy. It served them as church, school, and community meeting place until it was replaced by the present stone church building in 1949. The Academy (high school) operated by the Quakers offered a classical curriculum through 1928, and attracted students, in its earliest years, from surrounding towns that had no high school.
From 1895 to 1915, most of the newcomers were Quakers who came to be a part of the Quaker colony. Through 1920, the population was swollen by an influx of farmers, lured by Houston developers who advertised the Gulf Coast as a Garden of Eden where figs, oranges, and rice grew practically wild. By the early 1920s, there were 17,000 to 18,000 acres of figs from Winnie to San Leon, and 17 fig preserving plants. Two of those plants were in Friendswood. Support personnel for the farms brought more people to Friendswood, and the early 1930s brought families dispossessed by the Depression looking for a new chance in life. Late in the decade, the newly developing oil fields east and west of the community provided jobs for more newcomers. The war slowed the growth in the 1940s, but the decade still saw the beginning of a trend of wealthy business and professional people from Houston buying up property along the creeks.
For the first 50 years of Friendswood's history, it had a church, a school, a post office, a grocery store, and a fig plant or two. That was it. There was no doctor, no bank, no drug store, no policeman, not even a newspaper. Up to this time it was a rural, predominately Quaker settlement whose history is authenticated by the Texas State Historical Marker located on the Friends Church property.
During the 1950s, young families moving out from Houston began to give Friendswood its modern, bedroom stature, but the population was still less than 1,000 in 1959. In 1960, farsighted local men put into action a plan for the incorporation of Friendswood, and the town elected its first mayor, city council, and a law officer--a move which helped prepare it to cope with the tremendous growth which took place in the decade of the 1960s as hundreds of NASA employees chose Friendswood as their home. Subdivisions, schools, churches, businesses and community organizations mushroomed. By 1966 Friendswood had its first medical clinic, pharmacy, bank, newspaper and police department. In 1969 the population was 5,200.
Growth continued unabated through the 1970s and 1980s, and the population was nearing 29,000. Friendswood became a suburban community of fine homes, churches, businesses, schools and organizations. The strong volunteer instincts of the residents enabled the city to build a municipal building in 1965 without debt because residents donated labor, materials and funding. In 1971, they built a replica of the Frank J. Brown home to serve as a repository of Friendswood's heritage.
Since the 1980s, Friendswood has grown considerably; the current population is more than 41,000. Friendswood encompasses parts of two counties--northern Galveston and southern Harris County, divided by the popular Clear Creek. Clear Creek offers direct water access to the Gulf of Mexico through Clear Lake and Galveston Bay. It is located 3 miles west of IH-45, halfway between Houston and Galveston. Friendswood encompasses 21 square miles and is over 70% developed.
Within a thirty minute drive residents can attend cultural, educational and recreational events. Ballet, opera, theaters, orchestras, museums, NASA, amusements parks, observatories, zoos, major league sports of every kind, and the beach at Galveston are all conveniently available.
Education is an important part of every successful community. Friendswood lies within two premier school districts--Clear Creek ISD and Friendswood ISD. Both are rated among the best in Texas. There are several community colleges, as well as quality four year universities and upper level graduate schools in close proximity.
Friendswood Independent School District http://myfisd.com/
The Friendswood Independent School District was established on December 21, 1948. The district covers 15 square miles and borders the Alvin, Pearland and Clear Creek school districts. A Quaker heritage that focused on church, family and schools still remains as a way of life for the community of Friendswood and it still continues to shape the character of the area. Education is a top priority and Friendswood ISD is an award-winning district with quality faculty and staff and tremendous community involvement. Leading by example, FISD continues to be recognized in the area as well as in the state for test scores and accountability ratings. Its Academic Decathlon Team is known nationally and has more than a decade of consecutive State championships.
FISD has been named the fifth most efficient Texas School District by the Texas Business Coalition. Friendswood High School was named 1 of 13 Top High Schools in the State as well as 1 of 10 Top High Schools in the Houston area. The Band, Choir and Drama Departments have been awarded exceptional honors annually. FISD developed and put into place a pre-engineering program that is now part of both the high school and junior high. Partnerships with NASA based businesses and corporate programs continue to enrich the innovative, rigorous academic programs. Athletics in FISD are strong and State competitive. Leading to Achieve Excellence is not only a theme for the district but a reality for its students.
Clear Creek Independent School District http://www.ccisd.net/
The Clear Creek Independent School District is home to explorers and adventurers! Nestled along the NASA Johnson Space Center in Houston and the boating waters of the Gulf of Mexico, Clear Creek ISD proudly serves the educational growth of more than 39,000 students and continues to be one of the most desirable places to raise a family in the Greater Houston area. Clear Creek ISD is the 29th largest school district in Texas, out of 1,031 districts.
Our district spans 103 square miles, 13 municipalities, and two counties (Harris and Galveston). We are governed by a high performing Board of Trustees, seven elected community members representing areas of the district. We pride ourselves on involving our stakeholders in making curriculum, finance, and policy decisions, and all of our decisions are made with the best interest of children in mind.
The mission of the Clear Creek Independent School District, a diverse community unified by a spirit of exploration and excellence, is to develop students who will lead the way to the future by educating and equipping them with the skills necessary to excel in the 21st century through a system characterized by meaningful community relationships and a comprehensive curriculum facilitated by a highly qualified team committed to Courage, Collaboration, Innovation, and Self-Direction.
Texas U.S. Senators
455 Dirksen Senate Office Building, Suite SDB-40B
Washington, D.C. 20510
808 Travis Street, Suite 1420
Houston, TX 77002
517 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20510
5300 Memorial Drive, Suite 980
Houston, TX 77007
14th District - Randy Weber
510 Cannon House Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20515
174 Calder Road, Suite 150
League City, TX 77573
22nd District - Pete Olson
2133 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20515
1560 Highway 6, Suite 150
Sugar Land, TX 77478
Texas State Senator
District 11 - Larry Taylor
P.O. Box 12068
Austin, TX 78711
174 Calder Road
League City, TX 77573
Texas State Representatives
Galveston County District 24
Dr. Greg Bonnen
174 Calder Rd., Suite 116
League City, TX 77573
Harris County District 129
17225 El Camino Real, Suite 415
Houston, TX 77058
Public Accounts – Glenn Hegar
LBJ State Office Building
111 E. 17th Street
Austin, TX 78774
Friendswood, Texas has a warm humid temperate climate with hot summers and no dry season. Over the course of a year, the temperature typically varies from 45°F to 92°F and is rarely below 36°F or above 96°F.
The warm season lasts from May 24 to September 27 with an average daily high temperature above 87°F.
The hottest day of the year is August 8, with an average high of 92°F and low of 76°F.
The cold season lasts from November 26 to February 27 with an average daily high temperature below 69°F. The coldest day of the year is January 4, with an average low of 45°F and high of 64°F.