OLD RIVER-WINFREE, TEXAS. Old River-Winfree is a city in Chambers and Liberty counties, Texas, United States. The City of Old River-Winfree had a population of 1,371 as of July 1, 2016.
The primary coordinate point for Old River-Winfree is located at latitude 29.8744 and longitude -94.8268 in Chambers County. The formal boundaries for the City of Old River-Winfree (see map below) encompass a land area of 1.57 sq. miles and a water area of 0 sq. miles. Chambers County is in the Central time zone (GMT -6). The elevation is 36 feet.
Old River-Winfree, formerly known as Winfree and also referred to as Old River Winfree's, is at the junction of Farm roads 565 and 1409, thirty-five miles east of Houston in northwestern Chambers County. It derived its name from the Old River, which cuts through the community, and an early pioneer land grantee in the area. Robert Wiseman was among the first settlers of the hamlet in 1827. One letter indicates that the "Town of Archer" existed here during the 1830s. The river provided the main source of nineteenth and early twentieth century transportation, and local farmers raised cattle, hogs, sheep, cotton, corn, and rice. A brickyard operated at Winfree during the 1870's, and the Old River Rice Irrigation Company served area farmers during the early 1900's. The community had a post office named Straddle from 1880 to 1881, and the Winfree post office operated from 1885 to 1919. A Winfree school was consolidated with the Barbers Hill district in 1929. The development of Mont Belvieu as a petrochemical complex and the location of industries in southwestern Chambers County during the 1960s and 1970s were factors that influenced community voters to incorporate the town as Old River-Winfree in 1979. In 1980 Old River-Winfree had a population of 1,058 and several businesses. The Texas Historical Commission set up a marker to commemorate the Old River waterway in 1982. In 1992 the community had 1,233 residents. By 2000 the population was 1,364.
Formed as a channel of the meandering Trinity River, Old River rises in southwestern Liberty County and flows to the southeast, joining the trinity in northwestern Chambers County. During the 1820's and 1830s the tributary was the center of early area settlement. Among the first pioneers to migrate here were Robert and Eleanor (Dorsett) Wiseman, who settled on nearby land grants in 1827. Fertile soil for farming and abundant grassland for raising cattle made the Old River area an important early agricultural center of southeast Texas. Goods from the community, including animal skins, timber and charcoal, were shipped to market in Galveston. Commercial activity in the Old River settlement grew as the population increased. Dr. James P. Alford pioneered in the area's shipping and business trade with Galveston, which led to the development of shipbuilding firms such as that of Capt. William Icet. Other significant businesses here included the brick kiln of P. Almeras and river ferry operations. The early residents of Old River set patterns of residential and industrial growth which are evident today. Descendants of the pioneer southeast Texas settlers still live in the area.
Old River-Winfree is served by Barbers Hill Independent School District.
Some areas north of Old-River Winfree are within Dayton Independent School District.