Webster was begun in 1879 as an agricultural community alongside the Galveston, Houston and Henderson Railroad tracks. It is most famous for being the place where Seito Saibara, a former member of the Japanese Diet and former president of Dashisha University in Kyoto, Japan, came in 1904 with a colony of Japanese families and Japanese seed rice to promote rice cultivation in the Houston-Galveston area. The opening of NASA's Manned Spacecraft Center ( AT27), three miles east of Webster, in 1963 transformed the community. Its pre-NASA, small-town origin is still quite evident in comparison to the sprawling development that has filled in former rice fields and pastures between the Gulf Freeway (I-45) and Clear Lake City.
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