Tomball, Texas, was originally settled by German and European settlers in the early years of the 19th century. They were attracted to this part of Texas by the area’s rolling pasture land and tall pines. Tomball’s unusual name was acquired in honor of Thomas H. Ball, a successful politician and lawyer. In 1907, Ball was instrumental in routing the railroads through the town (then called Peck) thus assuring its economic growth and future prosperity. Ball was an interesting and colorful figure who is also credited with securing the ship channel into Houston from the Gulf of Mexico.
In 1933, the Humble Oil and Refining Company found oil in Tomball. Humble made an unusual deal with the Tomball citizenry: free water and natural gas to the residents for 90 years in exchange for drilling rights within the city limits. The town was featured in Ripley’s Believe It or Not as being the only city with free gas and water and no cemetery.
Today, Tomball is fast becoming a popular suburban community as new residents arrive, attracted by the area’s rural atmosphere, scenic topography and proximity to George H. W. Bush International Airport, The Woodlands, and, of course, Houston. Tomball still contains open rural territory, however, as well as abundant pine forest. Highway 249 to Houston provides ready access to the Houston job market as well as stimulation for increased job creation locally.
Housing choices in Tomball include new and resale custom-built homes, production homes, apartments, an increasing number of town homes, and rental homes. Prices range from $50,000 to over $1 million. Despite extensive and continuing growth, far-sighted Tomball residents are working hard to ensure retention of the town’s natural charm.
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