Friendswood, situated in the northwest corner of Galveston County half-way between Houston and Galveston, has the distinction of being the only permanent town in Texas that started as a Quaker colony. It was established in 1895 by group of Quakers led by T. Hadley Lewis and Frank J. Brown. They were looking for a "promised land" to start a colony of the people who belonged to the religious denomination called Friends or Quakers.
From its beginning, life revolved around church and school. After their small church and school building was demolished in the 1900 Galveston Storm, the two-dozen families erected a large two-story frame structure for their church and school. The building, called The Academy, housed the school and sanctuary until a larger, stone building replaced it.
Through the 1940s, Friendswood was predominately a small, remote farming Quaker community with less than 500 persons, whose economy depended largely on growing
and preserving Magnolia figs. After 1950, it became increasingly a suburban bedroom community as Houstonians discovered the idyllic country setting and farmlands were converted to subdivision home-sites. The community became a city when it incorporated in 1960.
The Frank J. Brown Heritage Museum, located at
108 Skyview in Friendswood, honors settlers Frank and Mary Jane Brown, founders of Friendswood. The museum is a reconstruction of their home, the first house built in Friendswood. The first floor is furnished as an early 1900s Quaker home with furniture and artifacts used by the Frank Brown family and other early settlers. The rooms on the second floor contain artifacts, photos and graphics illustrating the first 50 years of Friendswood. The museum is open on Saturdays from 10 a.m. to noon. There is no charge for admission. Donations are appreciated.