KATY, Texas (FOX 26) – In the late 1800s, as the ports of Galveston and Houston began to grow, a railway company was making its way to a watering stop before heading to port.
This city was a water stop for a train line called the Missouri-Kansas-Texas line. It was shortened to MKT and some people think the KT is how this city got its name.
“The guys that worked the train kind of slurred it, called it the MKT, then the KT rail,” Katy Historian Trish Johnson says. “So when the postmaster was asked the name of the town, he just called it Katy. “
Farmers who had moved to the area hadn’t had any success with various crops, until the early 1900s when rice was introduced. The area then took off.
“Land was plotted out, sold and people started growing their rice,” Johnson says. “At one time, we had 80,000 acres and 300 rice farmers.”
An example of the machinery that helped Katy prosper can be found in the Johnny Nelson Heritage Museum – named after a former mayor and city administrator.
“He wanted to preserve that which was, is no longer, because we don’t really have the rice farmers here in the Katy area we used to,” Johnson says.
In addition to the farming equipment, there are also pick-ups, touring cars, and an early Model T that can be converted with an extra part.
In another room of this museum, you’ll see more personal items – things that may have been used by someone or items that were used by local businesses.
“This would have been something that you would have had on a train or on a ship,” Johnson explains. “It was called a steamer trunk. You carried all your possessions. You had drawers. You had hanging clothes. You had fold out things. It’s metal, and it’s heavy. “
You can browse through Katy’s past here. Since the city’s beginnings are tied so closely to the railroad, just a few blocks away from this museum is a replica train depot that takes you back to a time when Katy was growing into the city it has now become. Just don’t call it Houston’s bedroom community.
“No. We’re not a bedroom community. We’re our own town. We are Katy, Texas,” Johnson says.