Located southwest of Houston on 875 square miles of gently rolling land, Fort Bend County is becoming one of the most popular communities in the southeast Texas region. Bordered by Harris, Wharton, Brazoria and Walker counties, Fort Bend is one of the fastest growing counties in the United States, with a population of nearly 380,000. County officials expect that number to double within twenty years, with clear signs the explosive growth will continue west along the Highway 59 corridor and past the Brazos River.
The first settlers, called "the original 300", arrived in Fort Bend County in the 1820's. The colonists associated with Stephen F. Austin made their homes along the Brazos River in an area that is now the city of Richmond. The county was named after a fort built in a bend along the Brazos River and was officially established in December of 1837.
Over the past twenty years, growth in the eastern half of the county has been the true story, with more than thirty master planned communities, dozens of golf courses, a brand new shopping mall and large retail stores. Corporate giants like Unocal, MCI, Fluor Daniel, Schlumberger and Aetna Health Care all have a strong presence in the county. With a work force of almost 200,000, Fort Bend County is creating more and more local jobs every year, with an increasing number of residents staying closer to home for work.
Part One: The Roots of Fort Bend County
It's a mass of slightly rolling land to the southwest and west of Houston and Harris County, 875 square miles rich with natural resources and Texas history. Now more than 160 years old, Fort Bend County is one of the nation's fastest growing areas. In Part One, we explore the county's roots and the origins of its meteoric growth.
Part Two: Fort Bend County's ExplosiveGrowth
With a population nearing 380,000, Fort Bend County is one of the nation's top-ten fastest growing areas: it hassix school districts, more than thirtymaster-planned communities, and an ever-growing tax base. In Part Two of this series, we find out what makes Fort Bend County so popular.
Part Three:Mobility ChallengesinFort Bend County
If you've ever been stuck in traffic, creeping along the Southwest Freeway in the Sugar Land area, you know first-hand that mobility is one of Fort Bend County's biggest challenges. In Part Three of this series, we find that how to meet that challenge and get vehicles moving again is a major concern.
Part Four: The Future of Fort Bend County
Fort Bend County's explosive growth over the past twenty years has come as a surpriseto some, who wonder how a mostly agricultural county could so quickly become a center of commerce. As wefind in the final part ofthis series, there's not much mystery as to what the future holds.