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Alvin, Texas

Article by H.J. Ted Gresham
Photography by George Hosek

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The City of Alvin exudes the same kind of quiet confidence as that of favored son Nolan Ryan. Less than a half hour south of Houston at the intersection of Texas highways 6 and 35, Alvin is no bedroom community for working Houstonians. Itís a city with a solid past, a prosperous present and a hopeful future.

Take Gordon Street (Business 35) south from Highway 6, cross the Railroad tracks and youíll discover magnificent old Oaks that create a canopy over streets where kids have played for generations.

Many houses date back to 1900 when they were built or rebuilt after the Great Storm. The Cummins-Smith house on West Lang was built in 1900 with salvaged cypress from wrecked ships. South and west on Beauregard is Twin Oaks, another classic Victorian built by A.J. Burchfield, first editor of the Alvin Sun.

The Marguerite Rogers House on East Dumble, also constructed from salvaged wood, was built by John G. Slover in 1900.

 

It served as a showplace during the growth boom of 1909. The James Rogers family bought it in 1938. They donated it to the Alvin Museum Society in 1995. The home now memorializes Alvinís people and history. The Train Depot down Willis from Gordon, and the Presbyterian Church building on Johnson are great reminders of yesterday. Many founders of Alvin are laid to rest in Oak Park Cemetery.

The cemetery was acquired by the city in 1892. The Confederate Cemetery off the bypass near Dickinson also holds lots of Alvin history. South of the Depot on Magnolia is National Oak Park. A massive two hundred year old tree with a circumference of sixteen feet dominates the park.

 
 

Itís actually an elm growing inside an oak. Ripleyís and Guinness have both taken note of it. But thereís a lot more to Alvin than history. Baseball fans must visit the modern Nolan Ryan Foundation and Exhibit Center. The Mets recruited Ryan right out of Alvin High School. His bat-breaking fastball was famous in Alvin long before it flashed unseen over the mound in the Astrodome.

The history of the legend and the game is found at the Exhibit Center ( photo right ), 2925 South Bypass 35. Completed in 1996, the center was donated to Alvin Community College, which leases space to the Foundation.

Alvin Community College is another great asset to the city. The school was founded in the forties and was part of Alvin ISD until 1972. ACC is an exemplary two-year public institution where students have the opportunity to study in preparation for transfer to a university or to obtain an Associates degree. Degrees are offered in education, business, computer science, and many other subjects.

 

 

Alvin has an abundance of local attractions. Froberg Farms and Shimek Gardens are great stops for the botanically or culinary minded visitor.

The Texas Thunder Speedway out on 35 south offers entertainment with a faster pace. For something in the middle, the Bayou Wildlife Park on FM 517 is a nice place to take the kids.

When itís time to eat, Alvin has many choices. Tommasoís Flying Pizza at 507 Gordon is said to have the best Italian and Pizza. Parks Restaurant, a local tradition down the road at 2422 Gordon, serves up excellent Chicken Ďn Dumplings and a host of other delights on its buffet.

Mexican food? Consider Montereyís Tex Mex, 410 S. Gordon. Burgers? Dianaís Hungry House at 406 Highway 6 canít be beat.

 
For satiated visitors Alvin has plenty of room. Best Western, Comfort Inn and several other motels are out on the bypass.

The Alvin Motel on highway 6 and the Winchester Lodge on Smith Drive are local establishments. Oakwind Bed & Breakfast, 4601 CR 156 has three cozy rooms.

Alvin is a great place to visit. But after a few days there, you might want to stay. Alvinís economy is growing, as are its neighborhoods. New homes are going up all over. Mustang Crossing on FM 1462 and other new projects indicate lots of new folks have already decided to call Alvin home.

 
Not too far from the city are the farms and ranch lands that have helped Alvin grow and prosper. The city owes much of its growth to agriculture. Rice fields, farm land, and cattle herds spread out beyond the city, especially to the west.

The coastal prairie is good farming country. The existence of oil wells indicates more treasure beneath the soil.

Alvin is far enough from the beaches that it can weather the worst storms pretty much in tact. Itís a city built to last. Locals are strong and determined.

Theyíre ready to welcome newcomers who come to visit but decide to hang around for the long term. They know that Alvin isnít just a great place to visit. Itís a great place to live, too.

 
City of Alvin, Texas

Alvin Convention and Visitor Bureau

Alvin Schools

Alvin Manvel Chamber

City of Manvel

Alvin Community College

BrazosPort Chamber

BrazosPort ISD

Alvin Golf and Country Club

Hillcrest Golf Club

 

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