It Only Took 40 Years to Make Houston a Seaport Giant, newsclipping

Finally in 1914, the Port of Houston opened officially and regular steamship service commenced.

Just previously, in 1913, members of the Houston Yacht Club led a naval parade, which included state and federal government parties, celebrating the opening of the local portion of the Intracoastal Waterway. The stage was set for increasing opportunities in business and pleasure along the area waterways.


Houston Post article on 50th anniversary of the Houston Ship Channel

The celebrations in 1914 surrounding the Port’s grand opening reflected the Club’s long-standing goals and desires dating to its founding in 1897.

Partly because they shared the same territory, the Houston Yacht Club greatly championed the Port’s expansion. Many of the Club’s officers endorsed the deep-water movement as a way to highlight Houston’s capability and serious intent to be a significant port city.  According to Dora F. Akkerman, “The leaders [of the Club] had strived to promote Houston both as a deep-water port and as recreational boating and yacht racing center.”* 

Houston quickly became the nation’s second-largest seaport as well as the leading cotton port by the 1920s.

By 1925, as part of the port’s expansion, the Houston Ship Channel had been dredged to a depth of 30 feet.

Advertisement for the Port of Houston: Future Oil Center of America, 1933

In July 1927,  the Texas Legislature authorized The Port of Houston Authority to act as an autonomous governmental entity.

Also that year, the Houston Yacht Club was moved into the new clubhouse on Galveston Bay, at Shoreacres.

Petroleum led to industrialization of the waterfront as the channel proved to be an ideal locale for oil refineries.

Business boomed and the Port of Houston went on to become a true international shipping giant.

As of 2011, "the port is ranked first in the United States in foreign waterborne tonnage (14 consecutive years); first in U.S. imports (19 consecutive years); second in U.S. export tonnage and second in the U.S. in total tonnage (19 consecutive years)". (Source: Port of Houston Authority website, accessed April 27, 2011)