Victoria Texas Lawyers 361-575-3101
We handle matters in Victoria and surrounding locations through our Victoria office location located at
One O’Connor Plaza
101 W. Goodwin Suite 750
Victoria, Texas 77901
Located next to Anderson, Smith, Null and Stofer
The Hernandez family has been in the Victoria area for three generations. Alex R. Hernandez Jr.’s father was a Victoria lawyer practicing on North Wheeler in the 80’s and 90’s. Now Alex R. Hernandez Jr. practices and has lived in Victoria. Alex R. Hernandez Jr. graduated from Victoria College with an associates degree before heading to the University of Texas at Austin.
Call today to schedule an appointment with Victoria Texas lawyer Alex R. Hernandez Jr. Ask for Alex, speak with him directly for your Victoria Texas legal issues. 361-575-3101
Victoria, centrally located in Victoria County at the convergence of U.S. highways 59, 77, and 87, is the county seat, the largest city in the central coastal region, and the commercial focus of the surrounding counties. It is also one of the state’s old, historic cities. The town was named Guadalupe Victoria for the first president of the republic of Mexico and established in 1824 by Martín De León on the Guadalupe River at a site known earlier as Cypress Grove. Guadalupe Victoria was platted by José M. J. Carbajal and developed an early importance as a stop on the La Bahía Road, as a stock-raising center, and as a shipping point for the port of Linnville. By 1834 about 300 people were living in the municipality, which was governed by a Council of Ten Friends from 1824 to 1828 and by four alcaldes from 1828 to 1836; the four were Martín and Silvestre De León, Plácido Benavides (elected twice), and John J. Linn. Though primarily a Mexican settlement, Guadalupe Victoria contributed volunteers, supplies, and arms to the Texas cause against Antonio López de Santa Anna. Its superior defensive position on the banks of the Guadalupe induced Sam Houston to order James W. Fannin to retreat there from Goliad in 1836. After Fannin was defeated at the battle of Coleto, however, Guadalupe Victoria was occupied by the Mexican army under José de Urrea until the Texas victory at San Jacinto. Soon thereafter, the Mexican residents were ostracized; they fled, and their town, resettled by Anglos, became known as Victoria. Victoria was incorporated under the Republic of Texas in 1839. The first mayor was John J. Linn, who, together with five aldermen, set down various ordinances and concentrated on leasing ferry operations across the Guadalupe River and making the river navigable for trade. The mayor and board of aldermen, who exercised authority over both county and city, first assessed property taxes in 1843.
In August 1840 several citizens were killed in the great Comanche raid that destroyed Linnville (Port Lavaca). In 1846, the year the Victoria post office was established, the town suffered a terrible cholera epidemic. Victims died so rapidly that proper burials were impossible, though valiant efforts were conducted by German immigrant Dillman Mantz and his son and by a legendary black man called Black Peter. Nevertheless, Victoria continued to grow as a trade center, especially as Indianola became an important port of entry for both goods and the thousands of immigrants who settled in the area. By 1850 Victoria had three public houses, a variety of stores, a weekly newspaper, and a courthouse.
A variety of settlers-Americans, Germans, Bohemians, Italians, Jews from several countries, and Mexicans-had transformed the essential character of the town by the 1880s. The German element was particularly large. From that decade onward, technological, economic, and social forces combined in a foundation for growth that rapidly accelerated after World War II. The decade of 1910 to 1920 is the most critical time in Victoria’s development. During those years the county’s population increased 21.9 percent to 18,271, while the city’s population rose by 62.2 percent to 5,957. Though the county shift in population from rural to urban was not recorded until the census of 1950, the momentum of the 1910–20 decade was a culmination of events that began during the 1880s, when immigration, devastating hurricanes (which drove Lavaca Bay residents inland), improved transportation facilities, and social amenities attracted a population base for subsequent growth.
County Judge J. L. Dupree sponsored the community’s first highway in 1889. It ran about three miles, from the Guadalupe River bridge to Goldman (or Canaan) Hill, southwest of Victoria, where the Refugio, Goliad, and Mission Valley traffic merged. In 1917 a $100,000 bond issue inaugurated the era of “hard-top” streets, and Uvalde Rock Asphalt Company received a contract to improve fifty-three blocks of downtown Victoria.
Some of Victoria’s commercial ventures are unique in both state and national business annals. A safe and vault company was the only institution of its kind south of Cincinnati, and the Texas Continental Meat Company, established in 1883, was a harbinger of new techniques. Combining prairie grass, cattle, railroads, and business acumen, Continental pioneered in the slaughtering and packing of swine, sheep, and poultry, as well as beef. With a branch in Fort Worth-which ultimately inherited Victoria’s equipment-the company utilized the first refrigerator cars and manufactured from animal fats the first oleomargarine and gelatin. The second Kraft-Phoenix Cheese Corporation plant to be built in Texas, established in the city in 1934, took advantage of local dairy farming.
Ranching was the area’s first major enterprise and the one that ensured Victoria’s early success. Tobias D. Wood introduced Sussex cattle from Tennessee in 1898, and Al M. McFaddinqv brought Brahmans to Victoria in 1904. Thomas M. O’Connor brought more Brahmans two years later.
By 1900 three banks served the area-the Henry and Abraham Levi mercantile and banking establishment, the Farmers’ and Merchants’ Bank, and the First National Bank. The Levi enterprise dated to the 1860s; it became Levi Bank and Trust in 1910 and Victoria Bank and Trust in 1923. The Farmers’ and Merchants’ Bank was chartered in 1894. The First National Bank was organized in 1899 and merged immediately with the John M. Brownson and Eugene Sibley banking interests, a business dating to 1882. The First National Bank became the First Victoria National Bank shortly before it took over the Farmers’ and Merchants’ Bank in 1914.
The Victoria Advocate, the state’s second oldest existing newspaper, first appeared in 1846 and by 1897 was publishing a daily edition. Editors of the Advocate were advance agents in adjacent counties and states. Many of the paper’s early owners or editors took seriously the masthead motto advocating new business, city services, fair associations, and other innovations. John Stilwell Munn, editor in the 1880s, coined the city’s first and still cherished epithet-City of Roses-to express civic pride in the town’s gardens.
In the 1880s local governmental agencies were housed on Municipal Square, a block just east of De Leon Plaza, or Constitution Square. Municipal Square accommodated a new courthouse built in 1892, a jail built in 1884, a small city hall, and a fire station. A lengthy controversy between city and county ended in 1910 when the Texas Supreme Court divided Municipal Square property between the two branches of local government.
With wood as a primary building material, Victoria suffered from frequent, costly fires. During its early years the volunteer fire department earned the respect of the community. The organization owed its vitality to Vincent S. Fritz, chief for thirty-six years. In 1914 the city abandoned its handsome, spirited teams of fire horses in favor of an American-La France pumper and hose truck. Two years later the department moved into new quarters at Central Fire Station.
The city’s first lighting network consisted of oil lamps attended by A. Musselman, who continued after the advent of electricity to superintend the new “chained lightning.” In 1890 the Victoria Light, Power, and Ice Company contracted with the city fathers for forty bulbs of thirty-two candlepower. The Texas Southern Electric Company succeeded Victoria Manufacturing Company, and after 1925 Central Power and Light supplied the city’s electrical energy.
Architectural style became an obvious indication of change, as stone and brick replaced cypress lumber in the 1880s. This facet of the turn-of-the-century transition has been largely obliterated by later structures, but examples do remain, such as those designed by Jules Carl Leffland. Older buildings, such as the homes of William L. Callender and Alexander H. Phillips (still extant) and the first courthouse, of 1849 (demolished in 1892), represent the earlier era.
Victoria has long enjoyed a cultural amalgam that has produced distinguished performers and appreciative patrons. The Casino Hall was the center of cultural events after 1854, and in 1893 the city welcomed the opening of G. H. Hauschild’s Opera House. This landmark drew large audiences for nearly four decades, during which local and nationally renowned musicians, politicians, and orators graced the stage. Motion pictures offered no competition to the Opera House until 1912, when Victoria’s first movie house opened in the Welder Building on Forest Street.
Before 1936, when the Texas Centennial prompted a long list of historical markers, Victoria displayed Pompeo Coppini’s statue Last Stand (1912). The White Way-bronze plates on twelve lampposts around De Leon Plaza and four more on Market Square, dedicated to Victoria’s pioneers-had also taken shape. In later years flowers were added below the light fixtures in imitation of a practice in Victoria, British Columbia. An old bandstand, built on Constitution Street about 1899, was moved to the center of the square in 1923 in place of the standpipe. The plaza, changed little since these alterations were made, still gives downtown Victoria a flavor of the past.
During the post-World War II era Victoria became one of the fastest-growing cities in Texas. Its historic industries have contributed to an increased prosperity. The city hosted Foster Army Air Field until 1957; afterward the facility became Victoria Regional Airport. In 1986 the city had a symphony orchestra, a fine arts association, a nationally recognized Bach Festival, numerous historic homes, museums, and libraries, a branch of the University of Houston that complemented Victoria College, and the Texas Zoo, the only zoo in the world that featured native Texas wildlife exclusively. Victoria also served as the medical center for a seven-county area.
Today Victoria is a vibrant small city with new festivals like BootFest, MajicFest, Memorial Day Bash and other festivities. Alex R. Hernandez Jr. often sponsors these things in his hometown and loves Victoria and its rich vibrant history. The University of Houston Victoria continues to grow.
If you need a Victoria lawyer call Alex R. Hernandez Jr. today.