Taft, Texas, history goes back to the formation of the Coleman-Fulton Pasture Company in 1880, later known as the Taft Ranch. The ranch was built and owned by Charles Phelps Taft, the half-brother of President William Howard Taft. The nearby town of Sinton, Texas is named for his father-in-law, David Sinton. In 1900, a transition from ranching to farming began. In 1903, the Company established a store at Mesquital, a railroad spur serving a series of loading pens. In 1904, a town was formed at this site between Gregory and Sinton. It was later renamed Taft. In 1904, the Taft Ranch put 200 acres into cultivated cotton acreage. By 1909, there were 2,300 acres in cultivation.
In 1904, Taft began to experience the initial stages of development. The first school was sectioned off in an old warehouse in 1904. The first industry in Taft was a cotton gin and the railroad located a passenger depot in Taft in 1908. In 1909, an assembly hall was completed and President William Howard Taft paid his famous visit. In August 1921, the Taft Independent School District was formed. In 1921, the Taft Tribune began publication. In 1923, the First State Bank and the First National Bank were organized. Taft was incorporated as a municipality in 1929.
The Taft community today
Residents in the community of Taft enjoy public recreation options, including a widely popular community pool and park. The Blackland Museum, which is home to many of the tangible pieces of the San Patricio County’s history, houses everything from antique farm equipment to personal and household items used by the town’s earliest inhabitants. Ties to the past help maintain Taft’s strong agricultural roots, while today’s residents are casting seeds in new directions.
Most notably, Taft’s young population is dedicated to education, as 100% of the graduating class of 2013 was accepted into a college or university. The community is active in celebrating the city’s culture, holidays and youth. Every year, Santa leads a parade from atop a city fire truck, delighting residents and visitors of all ages who sit outside their homes to watch the celebration. For more, please visit the Taft Chamber of Commerce website.
Located centrally in San Patricio County, Taft is part of the Corpus Christi Metropolitan Area. Taft is home to approximately 420,000 permanent residents and tens of thousands more seasonal residents and visitors. Taft is roughly equidistant to McAllen/Laredo & San Antonio/Austin; the top two fastest-growing economies in the United States. Energy and healthcare powerhouse Houston is just three hours up the coast and it is headquarters for several of San Patricio County’s industrial employers.
Here is some more information about today’s Taft:
- Population: The City of Taft is the sixth most populated city in San Patricio County. As of the 2010 Census, the city’s population was 3,048, approximately 4.43% of the county’s total population.
- Median household income: $40,553
- Per capita income: $20,750
- Schools: Taft Independent School District consists of three campuses: Petty Elementary (PK-5), Taft Junior High (6-8), and Taft High School (9-12). The district as a whole “met standard” on the State of Texas Assessment of Academic Readiness.
Our local businesses
Diners and fast food restaurants in Taft include El Mexicano, Good N Crisp, Dairy King and Subway. Lowe’s is the city’s main grocery store and inside Lowe’s is an Ace hardware store. A 10-minute drive into neighboring Portland provides access to Walmart, Academy and a wide array of chain restaurants and shopping venues. In addition to several gas stations and convenience stores, Brezina’s Tire and Services provides minor services for vehicles, including tire, quick lube and car inspection stickers. Taft is home to several banks, a pharmacy, a physical therapy office, a health clinic and other community staples. There are also two farm equipment dealerships, John Deere and Hvalinka.