Pearland is a city in the U.S. state of Texas, within the Houston–The Woodlands–Sugar Land metropolitan area. Most of the city is in Brazoria County, with portions extending into Fort Bend and Harris counties. As of the 2010 census, the city’s population was 91,252, up from a population of 37,640 at the 2000 census. Pearland’s population growth rate from 2000 to 2010 was 142 percent, which ranked Pearland as the 15th-fastest-growing city in the U.S. during that time period, compared to other cities with a population of 10,000 or greater in 2000. Pearland is the third-largest city in the Houston MSA, and from 2000 to 2010, ranked as the fastest-growing city in the Houston MSA and the second-fastest-growing city in Texas. As of 2015 the population had risen to an estimated 108,821.
The area that is now Pearland had its humble beginnings near a siding switch on the Gulf, Colorado and Santa Fe Railway in 1882. When a post office was established in 1893, the community was originally named “Mark Belt”. On September 24, 1894, the plat of “Pear-Land” was filed with the Brazoria County courthouse by Witold von Zychlinski, a man of Polish nobility. At the time Pearland had many fruits harvested by residents. Zychlinski saw the pear trees and decided that “Pearland” would make a good name for the community.
Pearland was promoted by developers Allison & Richey Land Company as an “agricultural Eden”. The first subdivision was called “Suburban Gardens”. The Galveston hurricane of 1900 and the Galveston hurricane of 1915 destroyed most of the fruit trees and slowed growth for a considerable period of time, and caused a period of desertification in the area. In 1914, with agriculture rebounding and the end of desertification, Pearland had a population of 400, but a devastating freeze in 1918 was another setback to the local farming enterprises. Oil was discovered nearby in 1934, which led to the development of the Hastings Oilfield, though it did not spur much growth, as the population fluctuated between 150 and 350. From the 1970s, the town has grown to its present-day population.
In the 1800s, Pearland consisted of prairie. Residents harvested fruit and vegetables such as cantaloupes, corn, figs, pears and watermelons. In the 1930s and 1940s Pearland had many dance halls and beer joints that entertained people from the Hastings and Manvel oil fields.
By 1990, the city limits had extended into Harris County. In the 1990s, home developers began buying large tracts of land, changing the geography of the city. Former rice fields filled with houses. The historic town center of Pearland is at the intersection of Texas State Highway 35/Main and Broadway. West Pearland has a lot of suburban development, while East Pearland has older houses and, according to Maggie Galehouse of the Houston Chronicle, Pearland’s “rural roots still show” in the east side. Pearland’s main east-west corridor is Farm to Market Road 518/Broadway.
Pearland’s labor force and job base grew substantially with its population growth. The number of jobs in the community grew from 9,169 in 2000 to 17,552 in 2008. The total labor force that resides in the community increased from approximately 20,000 in 2000 to 45,368 in 2010. A majority of the community’s labor force commutes daily into the Texas Medical Center and other employment centers in the region. Pearland also has many people employed by NASA at the Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center.
Pearland’s workforce and community amenities have made Pearland an attractive location for large medical-related companies seeking new quarters. Kelsey-Seybold Clinic’s new 170,000-square-foot (16,000 m2) administrative office building in Shadow Creek Ranch was expected to open in the fall of 2013, with 800 employees. This follows two other medical manufacturing facilities: Cardiovascular Systems, which opened in 2010, and Merit Medical Systems, which began construction in 2011. The Merit project, 118,000 square feet (11,000 m2), will provide facilities for 220 research and development employees.
Other employers are a reflection of Pearland’s suburban economy, with the vast majority of it retail.
In 2010 Geri Maria Harris of the Houston Press wrote that, while Pearland was not known for its restaurants, “if you happen to live there, you know there are plenty of places to get a good bite.”
- C.V. “Vic” Coppinger Family YMCA Branch is located in Pearland.
- The Pearland Parks and Recreation Department is a large, active city entity and strives to be the leader in providing quality services that connects the community through people, parks, and programs.
- The Pearland Recreation Center and Natatorium is the largest recreational indoor facility in the city.
Eighty-three percent of Pearland is residential, which is a major contributing factor to the high population. The city is home to many master-planned communities; Sunrise Lakes, Southern Trails, Southdown, Lakes of Highland Glen, and Shadow Creek Ranch are among the most popular master-planned communities in Brazoria County. Country Place and Silverlake are in unincorporated areas near Pearland.
Primary and secondary schools
Most of Pearland is a part of the Pearland Independent School District. Other portions of Pearland are part of Alvin Independent School District (including most of Shadow Creek Ranch), Fort Bend Independent School District (including some of Shadow Creek Ranch), Clear Creek Independent School District, Houston Independent School District, and Pasadena Independent School District.
- All schools in Pearland ISD, including Pearland High School and Glenda Dawson High School, serve the Pearland ISD portion of Pearland.
- The Alvin ISD portion is served by several elementary and middle schools as well as Shadow Creek High School (in Pearland) and Manvel High School (in Manvel).
- Most of the Fort Bend ISD portion is zoned to Blue Ridge Elementary School, McAuliffe Middle School, and Willowridge High School. A small area is zoned to Parks Elementary School, Lake Olympia Middle School, and Hightower High School.
- Some of the Pasadena ISD portion is served by Moore Elementary School and the rest is served by South Belt Elementary School. One part is served by Morris Middle School and Beverly Hills Intermediate while the other is served by Melillo Middle School and Thompson Intermediate School. All Pasadena ISD residents in Pearland are zoned to Dobie High School (in Houston).
- The Clear Creek ISD portion is served by Weber Elementary School, Westbrook Intermediate School, and Clear Brook High School, all in unincorporated Harris County).
- The Houston ISD portion is served by Almeda Elementary School, Lawson Middle School (formerly Dowling Middle School), and Worthing High School (in Houston).
- St. Helen Catholic School, a K-8 Roman Catholic School operated by the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston.
- The Eagle Heights Christian Academy is operated by the First Baptist Church and is located in Pearland on Pearland Parkway. It offers grades Pre-K – 12
- Heritage Christian Academy is located in Pearland. First Christian Academy Pre-k – 12th grade.
- The Montessori School of Downtown is also an option for children Infant through 5th grade, with two locations in Pearland.
As of 2017 Awty International School in Spring Branch, which includes the Houston area’s French international school, provides bus services for students to and from Pearland.
Colleges and universities
The Pearland ISD and Alvin ISD portions are served by Alvin Community College (ACC), and the Pasadena ISD portion is served by San Jacinto College.
The University of Houston–Clear Lake (UHCL) has a satellite campus, located within the city.
The Pearland Library at 3522 Liberty Drive is a part of the Brazoria County Library System. As of September 13, 2008 the library was closed for many months due to Hurricane Ike storm damage. It reopened in March 2009.
The system also operates the Pearland Westside Library, located on 6,000 square feet (560 m2) of space in the Shadow Creek Ranch Town Center.