“Magnolia City” is one of the earliest of Houston’s many nicknames, dating from the 1870s.
Houston is the largest city in the state of Texas and the fourth-largest in the United States. The city covers more than 600 square miles (1,600 km²) and is the county seat of Harris County—the third-most populous in the country. As of the 2005 U.S. Census estimate, Houston had a population of more than 2 million. The city is at the heart of the Houston–Sugar Land–Baytown metropolitan area, the largest cultural and economic center of the Gulf Coast region and the seventh-largest metropolitan area in the U.S. with a population of 5.3 million in 10 counties.
Officially, Houston is nicknamed the “Space City” as it is home to NASA’s Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center, where Mission Control Center is located. Because of this, “Houston” was the first word spoken on the moon. Many locals, however, prefer to call it the “Bayou City.” Other nicknames include “H-Town,” “Clutch City,” and “Magnolia City”.
25 April 1878, Galveston (TX) Daily News, pg. 1:
Three companies of our fire boys returned yesterday from the annual parade at Houston delighted with the magnolia city and their free ride.
4 June 1884, Galveston (TX) Daily News, pg. 3:
To see the depot platforms covered with small boys, who themselves are covered with flowers, must be an interesting sight to the strangers of the North, where flowers are rare in the early spring, and will ere long give Houston the distinction of being the city of flowers, in addition to her being already known as the Magnolia city.
September 1885, St. Nicholas, pg. 874:
Houston is called the “Magnolia City,” and Galveston, about fifty miles south, is called the “Oleander City,” because its streets are lined with beautiful oleander trees.
Houston (TX) Press
Houston 101: Yet Another New Nickname For The Bayou City, Er, Space City, Um, H-Town…
By John Nova Lomax, Tuesday, Mar. 9 2010 @ 8:01AM
Unlike, say, the Big Apple or the Eternal City, Houston has never quite settled on one definitive nickname. A Canadian newspaper has just announced that we have a new one, but more on that in a second…
Beginning in the 1870s, locals were calling Houston the Magnolia City, in honor of the fragrant native magnolia groves that were even then being fast devoured by urban development. Today, that name and association lives on pretty much only in the Magnolia Brewery building on Franklin downtown, and the Brewery Tap bar is about all that remains of Magnolia Beer, the city’s most prominent locally-owned and brewed brew prior to the recent advent of St. Arnold’s.