Why did Newland Communities name our new community Elyson?
Friday, May 13, 2016
At first, the name Elyson may seem unfamiliar to even the most knowledgeable residents of Katy and the surrounding area. But dive a little deeper, and it becomes clear that the name is a meaningful tribute to the legacy of this storied land, located along the new Grand Parkway, about six miles north of the Katy Freeway.
Elyson is named after Ely Freeman, one of the original members of the Freeman family, who first settled this land in 1898. That was two years after the town of Katy was laid out a few miles to the south, and the same year that Katy High School was founded.
Like so many newcomers who continue to arrive in Texas to this day, the Freemans left their family home in search of new opportunity.
Shortly after arriving from Centerville, Iowa, they built their first family home on the north side of where Freeman Road and Peek Road intersect today. Though most of Freeman Road is now called FM 529, the section east of the Grand Parkway retains the original Freeman family name.
Through six generations, the Freeman family prospered as they raised cattle and rice on the fertile Katy Prairie. To this day, Ely Farms is an ongoing cattle enterprise in the Katy area, operated by members of the Freeman family.
Fast-forward to Fall 2016, and the grand opening of Elyson will showcase a new community that honors the history of the land in several important ways.
One is the opportunity for new generations of families to find their perfect home on the Katy Prairie, as the first Freemans did nearly 120 years ago. The vision for Elyson includes more than 6,000 single-family homes, with five different price ranges offered in the first phase.
Natural open space is another important feature of the master plan for Elyson, where more than 750 acres are being preserved for parks, trails, waterways and recreational amenities.
Farming was hard work for the early Freeman family, but play was also important.
In his self-published autobiography, “When It Just Had To Be There, It Was,” Jesse Lewis Freeman, Jr. recalls getting his first official job on the family farm. He was 10, and he worked as a water boy for the crews harvesting the rice fields.
“This chore was my first taste of adult responsibility and I loved it,” wrote Jesse. He is the grandson of Joe Freeman, who with Ely Freeman was one of the original family settlers in 1898.
The land also provided plenty of opportunities for Jesse and his brother, Harold, to play outdoors. “The natural thing was to go out and explore the world,” he wrote. “There were all sorts of things to discover, from birds that nested in the large oak and Chinese elm trees, to gophers that dug in the sandy loam soil. With an abundance of frogs, insects, snakes, lizards and even an occasional horned frog, we had much to discover.”
This sense of discovery and connection to nature is one of the cornerstones of the vision for Elyson. While the extended Freeman family provided a strong sense of community on the frontier prairie, Elyson seeks to provide its residents with even more opportunities to connect with their neighbors.
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