Baytown grew from a small sawmill and store settlement in 1824. Among its early settlers was Nathaniel Lynch who set up the Lynchburg Ferry in 1822. A Confederate shipyard was established nearby at the mouth of Goose Creek in 1864, and oil discovered in 1916.
Industries today feature oil refineries, petrochemicals, and synthetic rubber, as well as, recreational facilities for sailing, saltwater fishing, and water sports activities. Baytown is the home of Lee College.