Webster, a small city in terms of its square miles – just 6.7, but
mighty in terms of commercial vibrancy – home to more than 2,200
businesses and a trade area that includes a 15-mile radius and 1.5M
people – was founded in 1879 by James W. Webster under the name
“Gardentown.” As Webster is positioned midway between downtown Houston
and Galveston, the City was established initially as a colony for
English immigrants. With the advent of the railroad, the area’s farming
In the early 1900s, a small farming community comprised of Japanese
immigrants established rice farming as a key crop for the region. In
addition to rice and fruit, dairies and livestock ranches abounded. In
the 1930s, petroleum was discovered at the Webster-Friendswood Oilfield.
Webster was incorporated in 1958, shortly before NASA (National
Aeronautics and Space Administration) announced that it would build the
Johnson Space Center (formerly called the Manned Space Center) in 1961.
Naturally, NASA served as a catalyst to grow the City of Webster and the
region. Webster has been home to many aerospace companies, including Ad
Astra Rocket Company and Lockheed Martin’s Exploration Development
Two of Webster’s growth industries have always been aerospace and
medical. Webster became the “medical center of the south” with Houston
as the “medical center of the north” beginning in 1972 with Clear Lake
Regional Medical Center. In 2010, Webster’s medical center accommodates a
service area population exceeding more than 1.5 M patients annually.
That number is anticipated to double, as new major medical facilities
continue to land in Webster.