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Early Enterprises

In creating his township, League kept a keen eye on the future. Although League maintained his residency in Galveston, he remained committed to the growth and prosperity of his new township. He managed the construction and grading of roads within the town as well as those leading to it. League also designated plats for parks, churches and schools. In 1897, League donated land to create League Park as a venue for public gatherings and concerts. The park featured a bandstand built in the form of a two-story gazebo where, on many occasions, the local town band provided musical accompaniment on the upper level while local women’s clubs sold refreshments below. League’s generosity also provided for a school to be built on the corner of Kansas and Second Streets. Demolished by the hurricane of 1900, the school was quickly rebuilt and became known as the “Little Green School”. St. Mary’s Catholic Church stands on land donated by League to the citizens of League City. Thus, as one of League City’s first developers, J. C. League ensured the citizens of his town would benefit from three primary components of a thriving community: a place to play, to learn and to worship.

The next step involved creating a commercial district. The railroad depot and Straw Hall or Stragglers Hall, which first housed guests, was soon supplemented by mercantile stores and a saloon. Working in cooperation with local businessmen, League and Butler laid the groundwork for a thriving community. Fully aware that a town’s success depended in large part upon the establishment of a bank, Butler struck a deal with the Galveston banking firm, Hutchins and Sealy. If the firm would charter a bank for the new town, Butler would build a first-class building to house it. Under the architectural direction of Andrew Dow, a former employee on the Butler Ranch, construction of the building was completed in 1908. As the first brick commercial structure in town, the two-story, L-shaped Butler Building not only housed the Citizens State Bank, but a drugstore, a doctor’s office, a real estate and insurance office, and a hardware store. Other enterprises located nearby included a fig plant, the Lawrence Broom Factory, a newspaper, the Schenck family bakery, and the Kilgore Lumber Company.

By 1914, League City was on its way to becoming a dynamic community. With a population now numbering 500, the town was regularly serviced by four railroads: the Galveston, Henderson and Houston, the International-Great Northern,the Missouri, Kansas and Texas and the Galveston-Houston Electric Railroad, known as the “Interurban”. These transportation venues were instrumental in creating a thriving commercial district in League City.

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