A native of Philadelphia, Morgan had come to Texas in 1830 and served at various times and places as merchant, civic leader, and land agent. While away from his home, serving as a colonel during the Texas Revolution, Mexican troops burned the town of New Washington. After the war, Morgan and others rebuilt New Washington, and the townsite began to flourish. Morgan realized, however, that it could never compete with the growth of nearby Houston, and during the 1850s he began to promote plans for a channel along Buffalo Bayou that would increase the region’s trade potential. That dream was completed in 1876 with the dredging of the Houston Ship Channel by steamship tycoon Charles Morgan. As Houston continued to grow, New Washington was recognized only as a major bend for the ship traffic along the bayou. Now known as Morgan’s Point, the townsite was incorporated in 1949 and stands as a reminder of the early commercial history of Harris County.
The peninsula on Galveston Bay known as Morgan’s Point was named for early landowner Colonel James Morgan. Later the area became a favorite summer retreat for wealthy Houston residents who sought refuge from the oppressive heat and humidity of the city. The bluff attracted Gulf breezes and boasted spectacular views and recreational potential. In 1893 twelve prominent Houston families formed the Bay Ridge Park Association and acquired 40 acres of land on which they constructed a resort community for summer residency. To allow each family beachfront property the land was platted into long narrow lots chosen by ballots. The first houses built were modest one-and two-story frame dwellings with verandas; most featured Eastlake and Queen Anne style detailing. Homes built in the early 20th century were designed by renowned architects and reflected various styles including Mediterranean revival, colonial revival, and prairie school. Among the many grand houses is one patterned after the White House built for Texas Governor Ross Sterling and his wife Maude. Listed on the National register of Historic Places, the area is one of Texas’ most significant seaside residential developments.