Visitor Guide Relocation Guide About the Chamber


Our Roots Go Deep and Our Businesses Grow

John Henry Kirby

The genesis of Silsbee, Texas can be traced to the timber and railroad industry. In 1893, a young Houstonian named John Henry Kirby came to East Texas with a vision of capitalizing on the vast timber resources found with the area. He wasted no time in organizing a group of investors to help accomplish this dream. One investor, Nathaniel D. Silsbee, realized that the town’s first major obstacle was the lack of a rail system in the eastern part of Hardin County. With this in mind Kirby and Silsbee began the construction of the Gulf, Beaumont and Kansas City Railroad from the city of Beaumont to be completed at the city of San Augustine. After the completion of the railroad Kirby sold it to the Santa Fe Railroad Company. The developing town was eventually named Silsbee after Nathaniel D. Silsbee.

Since this time, Silsbee has emerged as the principal economic center of Hardin County through a diverse economic base consisting of manufacturing, health care, retail, and tourism industries. According to the State of Texas’ state sales tax rebate report, Silsbee consistently accounts for approximately 50% of the sales tax rebated to Hardin County and is the fastest growing city within the three counties with a 14% increase in sales tax rebates for 2005 (Southeast Texas Business Monthly, May 2005).

Silsbee has a proactive city government and Economic Development Corporation who provides assistance to existing and new businesses to maintain and grow the local economic base.