Petroleum has been the basis of Humble's economy since its beginning. The city was the namesake for Humble Oil and Refining Company, which later merged with the Exxon corporation.
HistoryThe first settlers began moving into the Humble area in the early 19th century. Joseph Dunman was thought to be the first person to settle here and was believed to have arrived in 1828. A ferry was built nearby, over the San Jacinto River, and the area of Humble became a center for commercial activity due to the region's large timber industry.
The city got its name from one of the original founders/settlers, Pleasant Smith "Plez" Humble, who opened the first post office in his home and later served as justice of the peace. In 1883 a city directory reported that he operated a fruit stand. In 1885, he was a wood dealer, and in 1900, the District 99, Justice Pct. 4, Harris Co., Texas Census reports his occupation as attorney at law.
Humble became an oil boom town in the early 20th century when oil was first produced there. The first oil was produced a couple years after the famous Spindletop discovery in Beaumont, Texas. Railroad linkage was established in 1904 and shortly thereafter the first tank car of oil was shipped out of Humble's oil field. The Humble oil fields are still active and have produced over 138,835,590 barrels (22,073,095 m3) of oil. When the oil boom receded, many land owners returned to truck farming, dairy farming and the timber industry.
It remained a rather small, quiet city until the opening of the Houston Intercontinental Airport in 1969.