Minnesota investors and brothers Jacob R. and Henry H. Myers and Augustus B. Wolvin formed the Texas City Improvement Company in 1893 and developed a port facility and townsite here. By 1897 the company had built a rail spur line linking its port facilities with national railroad systems 4.5 miles inland.
Wolvin acquired the company in 1898 and created the separate Texas City Company for the townsite and the Texas City Terminal Company (TCT) for the railway and docks. He persuaded the U. S. Congress to fund dredging of the channel for ocean-going vessels by 1904 and to designate Texas City as a U. S. port of customs in 1905.
TCT official Hugh B. Moore persuaded the Pierce-Fordyce oil refinery company to move to the port industrial area in 1908. He continued to attract oil companies, and by the 1920s oil and petroleum refined products made up over 80 percent of the tonnage handled at the port.
The Texas City Terminal Railway Company provided Texas City its early water, electric, and sewage utility systems and established the community's first telephone, newspaper, and banking operations. Despite a catastrophic 1947 dock explosion, national recession, and hurricane damage in 1983, TCT continued to expand and upgrade its port and rail facilities.