Victoria, Texas is located in South Texas, between Houston, San Antonio and Corpus Christi. With major highways 77, 59, 87 and the future Interstate 69 all intersecting in Victoria, it is known as "The Crossroads of South Texas." With a population of just over 60,000 Victoria is a cultural, historic and economic hub for the area.
Victoria is the place where Texas history was written and the legendary Texas cattle industry began. It is also one of the state's old, historic cities. The original colony, founded in 1824 by impresario Don Martin de Leon, was named for the first president of Mexico, Don Guadalupe Victoria. The town was established at a site known earlier as Cypress Grove due to the abundant cypress trees growing along the banks of the Guadalupe River.
By 1860 there were 1,986 residents in Victoria, including 521 slaves and one free black man, and the town had become a major junction between Lavaca Bay ports, San Antonio, Austin, and northern Mexico. A variety of settlers-Americans, Germans, Bohemians, Italians, and others from several countries, had transformed the essential character of the town by the 1880s. The German element was particularly large.
The San Antonio and Mexican Gulf Railroad reached Victoria in 1861, was destroyed during the Civil War in 1863, and was rebuilt by the federal occupying force in 1866.
Some of Victoria's commercial ventures are unique in both state and national business annals. A safe and vault company was the only institution of its kind south of Cincinnati, and the Texas Continental Meat Company, established in 1883, was a harbinger of new techniques. Combining prairie grass, cattle, railroads, and business acumen, Continental pioneered in the slaughtering and packing of swine, sheep, and poultry, as well as beef. With a branch in Fort Worth-which ultimately inherited Victoria's equipment-the company utilized the first refrigerator cars and manufactured from animal fats the first oleomargarine and gelatin. The second Kraft-Phoenix Cheese Corporation plant to be built in Texas, established in the city in 1934, took advantage of local dairy farming.
During the post-World War II era Victoria became one of the fastest-growing cities in Texas. Its historic industries have contributed to an increased prosperity. The city hosted Foster Army Air Field until 1957; afterward the facility became Victoria Regional Airport.
Today, modern Victoria continues the tradition of being in the forefront of new business and technology, and offers a great climate and community for wintering visitors. With major cities like San Antonio, Houston and Corpus Christi nearby, and the Gulf of Mexico, Victoria has a lot to offer and is always glad to share it with visitors. Discover Victoria, Texas!