In 1838, when Seguin was known as Walnut Springs, the population of the city was smaller than most area high schools’ graduating classes.
Now, more than 175 years later, one could say the city’s population has hit a milestone number.
“Reaching 30,000 population is a good thing for the city for a number of reasons,” Mayor Don Keil said.
During a recent meeting, city council voted in a resolution, declaring the city of Seguin’s new population at 30,006.
“Thirty thousand is the ‘magic number’ that gets the attention of retailers and developers,” Keil said. “Anything below that number will automatically be rejected by many national companies that are looking to expand. It puts us in the ‘big leagues’ so to speak for retail recruitment.”
When more retail establishments come to town, the mayor said it allows for other positive things to happen to Seguin.
“Jobs are created initially by the construction of the facilities and then by the management and staffing of those facilities,” Keil said. “Sales tax and property tax revenues for the city go up, so the city can improve services, parks, recreation, police and fire protection, and infrastructure for the entire city.”
Moreover, Keil said with the addition of retail stores, area consumers can save money by not having to travel.
“All those ‘quality of life’ things that Seguin residents have been longing for will be right here,” he said. “Increasing the quality of life is a vital part of recruiting top-notch manufacturing and distribution companies (in other words, jobs) to our city. It’s all about momentum caused by the ‘multiplier effect.’ Each thing just builds on another.”
Even though the mayor ultimately says the growing population is good for Seguin, there are certain concerns that come with a greater number of residents.
“Many of them have to do with adequate police and fire protection and utilities infrastructure,” he said. “We recognize this, and we are trying to keep up with it. For instance, we’ve done extensive additions to our sewer service lines, and there are many projects under construction or planned as we speak.”
Likewise, Keil said the new million gallon water tower on the HWY 123 bypass should allow for expansion all the way to SH 130.
“Our SSLGC water source in the Carrizo/Wilcox aquifer is vast and will allow for growth far into the future — assuming there is no Post Oak Dump to mess it up,” he said.
The city also is in the process of building a new utilities service center and has contingency plans for new fire and police stations in various locations.
“Our police and fire chiefs are constantly monitoring the need for additional personnel,” he said. “Luckily, we are blessed with a forward-thinking city council, and remarkably professional city staff that is doing everything they can to keep up with all that is going on.”
Looking back at Seguin through the years
According to data retrieved from the U.S. Decennial Census, other time periods Seguin has notched milestone population marks were the 1870s, 1920s, 1950s and 1990s.
Local historian and Seguin-Guadalupe County Heritage Museum director John Gesick said in his book “Seguin and Guadalupe County (Images of America)” that the Seguin Fire Department was established in 1877.
With Seguin’s population breaking 1,000, Gesick said, “the 1870s railroad era saw Seguin and Guadalupe County having tracks from Houston to Luling through Seguin to Schertz-Cibolo and San Antonio.”
Within the heritage museum, one can also learn that in 1870, bathing dresses for swimming were introduced in the area.
“At one time, Kingsbury’s population was greater than Seguin’s,” Gesick said. “This was especially so during the oil boom of the late 1920s through the 1940s.”
The Seguin Convention and Visitors Bureau’s website said the discovery of Darst Creek Field intensified the oil boom in the area possibly helping the city to reach 5,000 residents.
“Other boom-towns sprang up like gushers and as quickly fell into decline,” the website said. “But because Seguin was already an established city, it survived its oil boom and accumulated a prize collection of civic buildings and park facilities from the period.”
Other notable occurrences in the ’20s include Seguin’s first formal post office being built and the Guadalupe River Bowl being established between Seguin and New Braunfels high school football teams.
Known for performing tricks on his horse deputy for area school children, Phil Medlin was a popular county sheriff in the 1950s when the population surpassed 10,000.
“He was a noted singer and gave swimming lessons at the Starcke Park pool,” Gesick said.
The city also saw Hispanic businesses being birthed during the ’50s including Salazar’s Grocery Store in 1954.
“Ramon Salazar Sr. opened Salazar’s Grocery Store ... which sold traditional items, including many of the foods cherished in the Hispanic community,” Gesick said.
Another historic moment happened in 1950, when President Dwight D. Eisenhower’s popular wife, Mamie, made an appearance at the Seguin train depot.
“She was presented with a bouquet of roses and the applause of her and the president’s admirers,” Gesick said.
Moving forward, in the 1990s, Seguin’s population was recorded with more than 20,000 residents living in the city.
Texas Lutheran College officially became Texas Lutheran University in 1996, and the greater Seguin area was the setting for author Janice Woods Windle’s novel “True Women” in 1993. Unfortunately, the area also saw one of the most devastating flooding disasters to date in October of 1998.
Still, the city’s population continued to increase with it reaching a momentous 30,000 this year.
“Vibrancy, hard work, a blending of local government working with community participation, and planning and execution constantly draw businesses, churches and education opportunities into Seguin, its county and its region,” Gesick said.