The city of Katy, Texas, got its start as the home of the Karankawa Native American tribes. As the winter feeding grounds for huge buffalo herds and flocks of game birds, the area that would become Katy was a perfect settlement location.
In the early 1800’s, the area became known as Cane Island. Named after the non-native cane grass the Karankawa tribe had planted along a creek off Buffalo Bayou. The woody yet flexible grass was used to make everything from baskets and crutches to boats and roofs.
As part of a land grant issued to James J. Crawford in 1845, the hot and muggy climate, along with the clay soil made it difficult to attract families to settle there. As a result, in 1875, only five families were living in the area now known as Katy.
By the mid-1890’s, there was a plan in place for the foundation of what is modern-day Katy. Named after the MKT Railroad that was locally referred to as “the K-T,” and soon evolved into “the Katy.” Families arrived by train to settle in the new region and became farmers of cotton, peanuts, and corn. By the end of World War II, rice was the primary crop.
Incorporated as a municipality in 1945, the growth of Katy was initially spurred by the construction of Interstate 10. The westward expansion of the Houston metropolitan area also contributed significantly to Katy’s growth. In fact, the Katy Freeway is renowned as the Widest Freeway in the World thanks to its average of twenty-six lanes along its 22-mile length.