In 1873, when the Gulf, Colorado, and Santa Fe Railway wanted to build a station about 15 miles out of Galveston, the widow of Lent Munson Hitchcock offered the land as long as the town was named after her husband. Previously, the area had been settled in the 1840s and known as Highlands Bayou. ​

Many had speculated that oil could be found near the salt dome. Oil was discovered in 1916, and a major oil boom took place throughout the 1930s and 1940s.

When are farmers produced an over abundance of various crops, progressive Hitchcock farmers negotiated with railway officials to facilitate shipping fruits and vegetables to other states. This brought prosperity to regional farmers.

Although in decline by the 1930s, the town gained attention during WWII when Camp Wallace and the Naval Air Station were built to operate a blimp base.
Hitchcock Naval Air Station during World War II