La Marque, also known as Highlands and as Buttermilk Station, is an incorporated residential community on Interstate Highway 45, State Highway 3, and Farm roads 519, 1765, and 2004, some twelve miles northwest of Galveston in northwestern Galveston County. The community was originally known as Highlands, probably for its location near Highland Creek, and was renamed in the 1890s when residents learned of another mainland community of the same name. Madam St. Ambrose, postmistress, chose the new name, which in French means "the mark."
The community's post office operated from 1887 until the 1930s. During the Civil War, the town was known as Buttermilk Station after the soldiers' practice of purchasing buttermilk there on the trip between Galveston and Houston. In 1867 the town had six families and its residents raised cattle or rice. The local population rose from 100 in 1890 to 175 in 1896, when the community had a Baptist church and several fruit growers. A school with fourteen students existed before 1895, when Amos Stewart gave land for a larger facility. By 1909 two teachers served an enrollment of fifty-five students, and in 1913 further construction began.
By 1914 the community had been reached by four railroads: the International and Great Northern; the Galveston, Houston and Henderson; the Missouri, Kansas and Texas; and the Interurban. At that time La Marque had both a railroad station and general store located in a private home. The town's population reached 500 in 1914 and 1,500 by 1952, when it had ninety businesses. As it grew together with nearby Texas City, La Marque served as a residential community for employees at a nearby Union Carbide plant and other plants in the La Marque-Texas City area, as well as the Galveston Island Medical Center. The town had a population of 17,000 and 130 businesses in 1977. In 1988 it had 15,697 residents and 158 businesses, and in 1991, some 14,258 residents and 272 businesses.
In the 2000s, rising real estate costs in Galveston forced many families to move to other areas, including La Marque. This meant an influx of children from the Galveston Independent School District into other school districts. In spite of this fact, the number of children enrolled in the La Marque Independent School District has continued to fall.
La Marque is located at 29°22′00″N 94°58′26″W (29.366684, -94.973922).
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 14.3 square miles (37 km2), of which, 14.2 square miles (37 km2) of it is land and 0.04 square miles (0.10 km2) of it (0.28%) is water.
As of the census of 2000, there were 13,682 people, 5,237 households, and 3,713 families residing in the city. The population density was 962.0 people per square mile (371.5/km2). There were 5,732 housing units at an average density of 403.0 per square mile (155.6/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 55.84% White, 34.69% African American, 0.46% Native American, 0.47% Asian, 0.03% Pacific Islander, 6.21% from other races, and 2.31% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 15.43% of the population.
There were 5,237 households out of which 30.4% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 48.3% were married couples living together, 17.2% had a female householder with no husband present, and 29.1% were non-families. 24.7% of all households were made up of individuals and 10.7% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.58 and the average family size was 3.06.
In the city, the population was spread out with 25.7% under the age of 18, 9.0% from 18 to 24, 26.2% from 25 to 44, 23.5% from 45 to 64, and 15.6% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 38 years. For every 100 females there were 90.4 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 86.9 males.
The median income for a household in the city was $34,841, and the median income for a family was $39,081. Males had a median income of $32,099 versus $27,292 for females. The per capita income for the city was $17,518. About 13.5% of families and 17.5% of the population were below the poverty line, including 26.6% of those under age 18 and 9.8% of those age 65 or over.
The United States Postal Service La Marque Post Office is located at 509 Laurel Street.
Most of the city is served by the Texas City Independent School District (TCISD). La Marque High School serves that portion.
Small portions of La Marque are served by the Dickinson Independent School District, Hitchcock Independent School District, and the Santa Fe Independent School District.
On December 2, 2015, Texas Education Agency (TEA) Commissioner Michael Williams announced that TCISD would absorb the former La Marque Independent School District (LMISD) effective July 1, 2016.
All of La Marque is served by the College of the Mainland.
The city owns the La Marque Public Library, which is located at 1101 Bayou Road.
Greyhound Bus Lines operates the Texas City La Marque Station at McKown Air Conditioning in nearby Texas City.
The Galveston County Department of Parks and Senior Services operates the Wayne Johnson III Community Center at Carbide Park.