Katy is a city in the U.S. state of Texas, within the Houston–The Woodlands–Sugar Land metropolitan area. The city is located in Harris, Fort Bend, and Waller counties. The population was 14,102 at the 2010 census. City-Data estimates the population in 2012 at 14,661
Dr. James M. and Dove Stewart House, on the National Register of Historic Places
In the mid-1800s Katy was known as Cane Island, named for the creek that still runs through the area (now a branch of Buffalo Bayou). The creek was filled with cane, presumed to have been planted by earlier residents to aid in fur trapping. In the middle of the flat coastal prairie, this ‘island’ of cane was surrounded by an ocean of tall grass; thus the area became known as Cane Island. The trail from Harrisburg to San Antonio, known as the San Felipe Road, ran right through it.
In 1845 James J. Crawford received a land grant that included this area. The hot summers, cold winters, thick mud and voracious mosquitoes made it difficult to attract settlers to the area. Thirty years later Crawford, John Sills, and freedmen Thomas and Mary Robinson were the only recorded residents of Cane Island. In 1893 the Missouri–Kansas–Texas Railroad (now a part of Union Pacific) started laying rails through Cane Island. The railroad began operation in 1895.
That same year James Oliver Thomas laid out a town and in January 1896 the town of Katy was named through Thomas’s post office application. The name was based on the MKT Railroad (which was called ‘the Katy’ by railroad officials) and anticipations of prosperity its arrival would bring to the new town. The town developed around the original train stop and railroad tracks.
By the early 1900s many families had come by train and wagon to establish Katy. Several hotels, stores, livery and saloons were prospering, and farms and ranches were being developed on the wild prairie. Cotton and peanuts were the first successful crops but rice soon became the primary commodity crop. Katy later became known for rice farming; the first concrete rice driers in the state of Texas were built here in 1944 and still stand as landmarks.
In 1945 the City of Katy was incorporated as a municipality. Boundaries were determined by finding the area that contained the most residents and was reasonably sized so that it could be managed by city services. The City of Katy is now the anchor for the greater Katy area, defined by the boundaries of the 181 sq mi (470 km2) Katy Independent School District.
The construction and opening of IH-10 in 1966 allowed for rapid development of the area, as Houston expanded westward. The city has grown to a population of approximately 15,000 residents who enjoy state of the art government support and services. Almost 270,000 people live in the Katy area, which has won national accolades for growth and sustainability.
In 2009 the Gadberry Group named Katy as one of "9 from 2009" most notable high-growth areas in the United States.
Katy Mills mall, Texas
Several corporations are headquartered in areas surrounding Katy.
Igloo Corporation is headquartered west of Katy in unincorporated Waller County. Academy Sports and Outdoors has its corporate offices and product distribution center in unincorporated western Harris County.
BP America is headquartered in the Energy Corridor and is the Corridor's largest employer, with 5,500 employees on its Westlake campus as of 2009. BP's Katy operations include engineering and business support for much of BP's onshore operations in the Contiguous United States, as well as its operations in the Gulf of Mexico.
With the economy improving after 2009, retail centers were developed throughout Katy to accommodate the rapid residential growth. The major retail growth is taking place along Katy Fort Bend Road near the east entrance to the Katy Mills shopping mall.
In August of 2010, H-E-B Food & Drug opened a new UP format store at I-10 and Pin Oak. It introduced many innovations to grocery shopping and services not yet available to the City of Katy proper.
In July 2013, Costco announced that it would open a store at the South-West corner of Grand Parkway and I-10 in 2014. Construction began in August 2013. The new store was planned for completion by early spring 2014 and would be Costco's fourth Houston-area location.