Hitchcock was created as a station of the railroad between Galveston and Houston in 1873 and around the turn of the 20th century became a vegetable shipping center. The settlement's economy crashed in the 1930s after insect plagues in the surrounding areas, and the area stayed impoverished until the establishment of the Camp Wallace anti-aircraft training base and the Hitchcock Naval Air Station at the beginning of World War II. After the end of the war, the bases were used as discharge centers, and some former soldiers settled in the area. Hitchcock was established in 1960 as the area's population boomed, topping out at nearly 7,000 by the end of the 1960s. Today, the town serves as a suburb of Galveston and houses workers from the Johnson Space Center.
Since 1984, Hitchcock has been home to the Galveston County Fair & Rodeo. The Galveston County Fair & Rodeo began in 1938 and was held at facilities in Runge Park in Arcadia. In the early 1980s, the County Fair had reached its limits of growth at Runge Park, and plans began for a move to Jack Brooks Park in Hitchcock. The move to Jack Brooks Park was completed in time for the 1984 fair.
Hitchcock was affected by Hurricane Ike in 2017. The director of community development, D. Joe Wood, stated that bankruptcy was a possibility in the post-Hurricane environment.