Chad Odom Wharton Economic Development Commission 979-532-0999
Wharton Economic Development | 1944 North Fulton | Wharton, TX 77488 | Email: | Office: 979-532-0999 | Toll Free: 866-532-0999 | Fax: 979-532-5257
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Contact Us: 979-532-0999

History of Wharton

Living, thriving history.

While Wharton is known for producing and exporting world-class products like JM Eagle’s PVC pipe, the city has also served as a notable pipeline for some world-changing people. Take the Pulitzer- and Academy Award-winning playwright and screen writer Horton Foote, whose film adaptation of To Kill a Mockingbird and the Orphan’s Home cycle of plays are modern classics. Foote was born and brought up in Wharton, a city steeped in story and history.

A story of natural innovation—Wharton’s story began with spectacular and scenic vistas where abundant water and game-rich lands attracted native tribes who created communities along the waterways. Those same natural resources would also attract the attention of the early European explorers, a veritable who’s who of trailblazers beginning with the redoubtable de la Salle. In 1838 a mail route established by the Republic of Texas put Wharton on the map in more ways than one, and it was christened in honor of two brothers who gained fame in the Texas fight for independence. The emerging city exhibited a global outlook early on, drawing a diverse mix of settlers of different nations and ethnicities. Railroads followed, and a bustling center of commerce was born, as agriculture continued to flourish and innovate with the introduction of Brahman cattle imported from India at the turn of the twentieth century.

An enriching experience for all—Today, Wharton’s history is woven into a quality of life that retains the best traditions of the past even as the city embraces innovation, supporting success in a global future.  While offering some of Texas’ most engaging visitor experiences, Wharton’s historical attractions also enrich every-day experience for Wharton residents. The magnificent and monumental Wharton County Courthouse, the most extensively renovated courthouse in Texas, sits in the heart of Wharton’s historic and delightfully-walkable downtown. Other historic attractions include the beautifully restored Train Depot and the stylish Plaza Theatre, which offers a year-round schedule of live entertainment. At the city’s Historical Museum (one of several city museums), visitors explore the roots of the city’s development and learn about other important figures like television news anchor Dan Rather, another prominent Wharton native.

Inviting, indelible history isn’t just living in Wharton, it’s helping the city thrive. 

Wharton EDC Newsletter | January 2021

Jan. 25, 2021 - The second volume of the Wharton Economic Development Newsletter is here! Learn about national and local funding opportunities,...  READ MORE

Wharton EDC Newsletter | November 2020

Nov. 23, 2020 - On November 18, 2020, Wharton EDC released the first edition of the Wharton Economic Development Newsletter. Wharton Economic Development Corporation...  READ MORE

Connected Nation’s Broadband Survey Could Bring Better Internet Coverage to Wharton County

Oct. 21, 2020 - Wharton Economic Development is working to understand Wharton County's internet coverage needs to inform an action plan....  READ MORE


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