The land in this area, initially known as Highland Bayou, was part of a Republic of Texas land grant awarded to John D. Moore in 1838. The Galveston, Houston, and Henderson Railroad linked Galveston and Houston by 1860, and Highland Bayou, directly on the rail line, began a period of significant growth.
A post office opened in 1869, and in 1886, in response to a request from the U.S. Postal Service, a new name was chosen for the settlement. Alternately spelled Lamarque and La Marque, the new name appeared in official records as La Marque by 1900.
The construction of an interurban electric railway line from Galveston to Houston in 1911 led to increased settlement in La Marque. The primary local business was agriculture, particularly dairy farming. Along with homes and businesses, social, education, and religious institutions flourished, as well.
The rise of the petrochemical industry along the bay in the 1930s, 1940s, and 1950s changed the area's economic base, and La Marque developed as a residential area to serve industrial workers in nearby Texas City. An attempt by Texas City to annex La Marque in 1953 failed, and La Marque citizens voted to incorporate that same year.