West Columbia is a city in Brazoria County in the U.S. state of Texas. The city is centered on the intersection of Texas Highways 35 & 36, 55 miles (89 km) southwest of downtown Houston. The population was 3,905 at the 2010 census.The 1st Congress of the Republic of Texas was convened in West Columbia on October 3, 1836. (It was then named simply Columbia.) Columbia was established in 1826 by Josiah Hughes Bell when the town was laid out two miles west of Marion, later known as East Columbia. Columbia was briefly the capital of the Republic of Texas from September to December 1836. The town hosted the First Congress of the Republic of Texas when Sam Houston became president on October 22, 1836.
The House of Representatives and Senate each met in private homes. The First Congress voted to move the capital to Houston on November 30 because Columbia lacked living quarters for government officials. On December 27, 1836, Stephen F. Austin died at the home of George B. McKinstry in Columbia.The town, which became known as West Columbia, saw its commerce decline after the government moved away. A post office was set up in 1905. When oil was discovered in the West Columbia oil field in 1918, the town became a center for cotton, oil, rice and sulphur. By 1928, the town’s population rose to 2,500, but the ill-effects of the Great Depression caused the number of residents to fall to about 1,000.
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