F.Z. Bishop, the young insurance man-promoter, figured the blackland prairie of South Texas was “mighty good cotton and corn land,” and envisioned a model town, surrounded by farm tracts. He made a deal with the Driscoll Ranch for 2,300 acres, bisected by the new rails of the St. Louis, Brownsville, and Mexico Railroad which had been extended to the Rio Grande Valley four years earlier.
The developer brought in 20 steam plows to turn under the waist high grass and laid out his farm land in mile square tracts, linking the sections with 120 miles of improved roads.
Some of the farm land was sold as soon as it was broken, but before Bishop put a single town lot on the market, he laid a zoned business district, designated industrial and residental districts, drilled three artesian well, put in a water system, and built an electric light and power plant.
By the end of 1912, Bishop and his cheif assistant, D.W. Taylor had sold more than 40,000 acres of farm land and the town had grown to 1,200 inhabitants. When Bishop closed operations just as World War I started in Europe, he had opened for settlement more than 80,000 acres of land and had seen the city well established and looking towards a prosperous future.
Bishop today is quite different from the city that suddenly sprouted from the coastal praire in 1910. Agriculture, and community’s sole reason for existence in those days, is still a mainstay of the local economy. But the ensuing years have brought the disctovery of oil and gas in the area, and resulting developing of the chemical industry.
BIshop’s biggest boost came in 1945 when the Celanese Corporation of America entered the chemical field with the opening of its Bishop plant, which sprawls out along Highway 77 south of Bishop. The Celanese Bishop Facility, as it is now called, presently houses three companies: CELANESE (chemicals), TICONA (plastics), and BASF (pharmaceuticals).
With its solid industrial and agricultural base and its strategic location on the Canada to Mexico corridor, U.S. 77 (future I-69), Bishop is poised to move ahead confidently into the 21st century, boasting excellent schools, beautiful churches, great birding, and a million dollar City Park.
On the Semi-Tropical Coast
Nueces County- 313,645
10 mile radius- 33,256
Bishop is located on the semi-tropical Coastal Bend of South Texas. 59 feet above sea level, where the prevailing maritime weather produces a favorable variety of mild winters and breezy summers. Mean annual temperatures average 71 degrees, with a January temperature average of 56 degrees and a July average of 82 degrees.
The Coastal Bend is celebrated as one of the best hunting and fishing areas in North America. Salt water game fish abound in the Gulf of Mexico and Baffin Bay.
Bishop in included in the state’s Central Texas section of the Great Texas Coastal Birding Trail. Birders find many species around City Park and Carreta Creek.
Aquatic Sports capture the attention of thousands of tourists each year on teh dozens of beaches within an hour’s drive of Bishop. Only 40 miles away is Padre Island, with its 100-mile long beach on the gulf.
Historic Mexican border cities of Matamoros, Reynosa, and Nuevo Laredo are less than 2 1/2 hours drive, south and west of Bishop. Also within easy driving distances are scenic interior Mexican cites of Monterrey and Saltillo.