Jonathan Edward Pierce and Abel Brown Pierce hired land developer Burton
D. Hurd to sell off 9,000 acres of their ranch lands in 1908. The
agreement with Hurd called for the development of a town that would
include a college and a port on Trespalacios Bay.
Advertising the venture in newspapers of northern states, Hurd promoted
the area's mild climate and promising farming opportunities. A number of
families relocated to Collegeport to purchase land, establish farms, and
build new homes.
The Gulf Coast University of Industrial Arts, the college promised by
the town's developer, opened in 1909, served by the Missouri Pacific
(Mopac) railroad. Collegeport grew quickly and by 1912 included a bank,
post office, school, two churches, retail stores and other commercial
businesses. It boasted the county's first free public library, its first
boy scout troop, and the Woman's Club founded in 1910.
1914 a heavy freeze killed most of the farmers' crop, and the area
experienced a drought and a disease which devastated the livestock
herds, causing many families to move away. The railroad depot was
dismantled, rebuilt as Mopac House, and attached to the public library
Photo courtesy of G. W. Franzen