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Friday, October 14, 2016

Researching Local History: The Fulshear Race Track

Where was Churchill Downs?
by Bruce Grethen, Fort Bend County Historical Commissioner

I am certainly not the first to be interested in this question. I ran across some clues through my work at the Fort Bend County Historical Commission and thanks to the help of local historians. I believe we are much closer to solving this puzzle.


In 1850 the Fulshear, Texas area was a small agricultural community centered around the Fulshears' cotton gin and flour mill. The Fulshear area was less populated than Pittsville located three miles to the northwest. In 1888 Churchill Fulshear, Jr. granted the San Antonio and Aransas Pass Railway a right-of-way through his land. Many families moved to the developing Fulshear community from Pittsville, which had refused the railroad, and in 1890 the town of Fulshear was laid out and granted a post office.

Churchill Downs

From 1850 to 1870, after his father and brothers had all died, Churchill Fulshear, Jr. operated a race course called Churchill Downs on the family plantation in Fort Bend County. It is believed that it was located on land that is now in the northern part of the City of Fulshear. His pupil, John Huggins, won world fame by training the first American horse to win the English Derby. Click here to read Bruce Grethen's entire article.