|Texas (Aransas County), Rockport — 179 — Aransas County|
|Created out of the coastal portion of Refugio County in 1871, Aransas County is the second smallest county in Texas. Within its boundaries are three bays of the Gulf of Mexico: Copano, St. Charles, and Aransas. The area was the site of early Indian inhabitation and Spanish exploration, as well as Anglo colonization efforts of the 1830s and 1840s. Aransas County communities are supported by such industries as fishing, agriculture, off-shore oil production, bird watching, and tourism. The county . . . — Map (db m53582) HM|
|Texas (Aransas County), Rockport — Aransas County|
|Created September 18, 1871
from Refugio County;
Organized in 1871 with
Rockport as the County Seat.
Named for the River
Nuestra Señora de Aranzazu — Map (db m53705) HM|
|Texas (Aransas County), Rockport — Aransas County Veterans Memorial|
Some gave some • Some gave all
In loving memory
of our fallen heroes
of Aransas County
Erected Nov. 11, 1984
the Rockport American G. I. Forum
Chapter 324-F, Texas
Jose “Pepe” Zambrano, Chairman
Santiago Martinez, vice-Chairman
Candelario Torres, Secrety
Richard L. Dominguez, Treasurer
Emanuel Cabano, Sgt. at Arms
Lupe Montez, Chaplain
Rockport Ladies Auxiliary
Olivia Zambrano, Chairperson
Anita Dominguez, Vice . . . — Map (db m53745) WM|
|Texas (Aransas County), Rockport — Baldwin-Brundrett House|
|Aransas County Judge W.H. Baldwin, who promoted Rockport as a deep water port, lived in this house in the 1890s. George A. Brundrett, Jr., was a Confederate veteran and cattle rancher on 15,000 acres on Matagorda Island; his family lived here from 1917-1942. Brundrett’s second wife, Flavilla, often turned the parlor into a makeshift hospital, and it is said that 200 people took shelter here during the 1919 hurricane. This one-story house retains its basic design from the 1880s and exemplifies . . . — Map (db m61067) HM|
|Texas (Aransas County), Rockport — 343 — Baylor-Norvell House|
|Located on the waterfront in a community that has survived many hurricanes, this house was built about 1868 by Dr. John W. Baylor. In addition to his medical practice Dr. Baylor owned a local meat packing business, ranched, and worked to bring a railroad to the county. School-teachers Elisha (1857-1933) and Irene (1865-1944) Norvell moved to Rockport from Goliad in 1888 and rented the house before buying it in 1890. Elisha also worked as an agent for the San Antonio and Aransas Pass Railroad . . . — Map (db m53593) HM|
|Texas (Aransas County), Rockport — Bracht House|
|Adolph L. Bracht (1872-1961) was born in Rockport and worked at lumber and grocery stores before establishing his own wholesale and retail grocery in 1899. He was a charter member of the Intracoastal Canal Association and active in the Chamber of Commerce and Sacred Heart Catholic Church. For many years he shipped vegetables raised by growers in this area and the Rio Grande Valley. He ran his grocery business until his retirement in 1947. Adolph and his wife Gertrude (Prophet) had nine . . . — Map (db m53746) HM|
|Texas (Aransas County), Rockport — 1041 — Connie Hagar — (June 14, 1886–November 29, 1973)|
|Born Conger Neblett in Corsicana, and married to Jack Hagar in 1926, Connie Hagar received early training as a musician. She and her sister became interested in birds and worked as volunteers with the U.S. Biological Survey. The Hagars moved to Rockport in 1935, shortly after Connie made her first visit here. She became a self-taught authority on Texas birds, and her expertise was sought by professional and amateur ornithologists from around the world. In 1945 the Texas legislature designated . . . — Map (db m53706) HM|
|Texas (Aransas County), Rockport — 1669 — First Baptist Church of Rockport|
|Organized in 1873, the First Baptist Church of Rockport originally was located on S. Church Street. L.D. Young served as the first pastor. The hurricane of 1919 destroyed the first church building, but the members built a new structure at the corner of Live Oak and Main Streets the following year. They joined with Rockport’s Methodist and Episcopal congregations to form an Ecumenical Sunday School. Throughout its history, the First Baptist Church of Rockport has served the community with a variety of worship, educational, and outreach programs. — Map (db m53703) HM|
|Texas (Aransas County), Rockport — 1767 — First Methodist Church of Rockport|
|The Methodist Church has been in existence in Rockport since about 1870. The Rev. H.G. Horton was assigned as pastor of the Rockport Church in 1872. The original Methodist Church building, erected at the corner of Live Oak and Bay Streets, was used by a number of other congregations until their own facilities were completed. The Methodists relocated to this site in 1914 and later built new structures to meet the needs of the growing membership. With an emphasis on educational programs, this . . . — Map (db m53590) HM|
|Texas (Aransas County), Rockport — 1799 — First National Bank of Rockport|
|Chartered on October 8, 1890, the First National Bank of Aransas Pass (now Rockport) was organized by a group of businessmen led by John H. Traylor, James M. Hoopes, George W. Fulton, Jr., James C. Fulton, and Richard H. Wood. Located at Main and Water Streets, the bank played a vital role in Rockport’s growth and development. Its name was changed to First National Bank of Rockport in 1903. After surviving both the 1919 storm and the Great Depression, the bank moved to new quarters across the . . . — Map (db m53748) HM|
|Texas (Aransas County), Rockport — 1846 — First Presbyterian Church of Rockport|
|This congregation traces its history to 1869. Although deactivated in 1879, it was reorganized with twenty charter members in 1889. The members met in facilities provided by other churches until their first house of worship was completed at Market and S. Magnolia Streets about 1906-07. After surviving several hurricanes, the church moved to this site in 1949. An integral part of local history for over a century, First Presbyterian Church counts among its members many community leaders and descendants of its founding families. — Map (db m53580) HM|
|Texas (Aransas County), Rockport — 11685 — Frandolig Island|
|Dubbed “Nine Mile Point” by early settlers, this island was first used commercially by the Cushman Meat Packing Company in the late 1860s. Austrian Franz Joseph Frandolig, a horseman who had delivered cattle to Cushman & Co., homesteaded property at this site when the company vacated the land in 1878. Frandolig and his family established a large fig orchard. They sold the fruits and vegetables in Rockport and Fulton. Frandolig also kept a vineyard, where he produced and sold wine by . . . — Map (db m53760) HM|
|Texas (Aransas County), Rockport — 2084 — Fulton-Bruhl House|
|Built about 1868, this vernacular early Texas home was purchased in 1872 by James C. Fulton, a noted early business and civic leader. Fulton sold the home in 1907 to his son-in-law, Albert L. Bruhl, a pharmacist and civic leader who served three terms as mayor of Rockport. The home exhibits Greek revival elements and features Italianate porch supports, a five-bay entrance, and oversized dormers. It has remained in the Bruhl family for over eight decades.
Recorded Texas Historic Landmark – 1988 — Map (db m53749) HM|
|Texas (Aransas County), Rockport — 9 — Historic Shellcrete Square — Leadership Aransas County XIV Class Project – June 2010|
|Between 1935 and 1939, the Texas Highway Department constructed several roadside parks along Highway 35 in Aransas County. Local residents ~ Mrs. J.L. Bell, Harry Hertzberg, Mrs. Eli Hertzberg, Joe S. Sheldon, Arnold K. Sheldon, Harry Traylor, and W.W. Wendell ~ donated the land for these parks.
You are standing at one of those parks that overlooked a spectacular lake, as shown in the photo to the left, now referred to as Tule Creek West.
The park photograph, shown to the right, was . . . — Map (db m53774) HM|
|Texas (Aransas County), Rockport — 2557 — Hoopes-Smith House|
|Prominent local businessman and land developer James M. Hoopes (1839-1931) had this home built between 1890 and 1892. The home later served as a hotel and boardinghouse between 1894 and 1930. It was sold in 1934 to T. Noah Smith, Sr. (1881-1955), a prominent oilman and shipbuilder. Features of the late Victorian Queen Anne home include milled woodwork, roof cresting, a turret, and stained glass windows. It is regarded as a local landmark.
Recorded Texas Historic Landmark - 1989 — Map (db m53587) HM|
|Texas (Aransas County), Rockport — 3256 — Mathis House|
|John M. Mathis (1831-1922) had this home built for his family in 1868-1869. Instrumental in platting the town of Rockport, he served as its first mayor in 1870. In 1880 he deeded the house to his cousin, Thomas H. Mathis (1834-1899), a leading rancher, shipper, and banker. Exhibiting Italianate, Classical, and Greek Revival details, the raised cottage features center passage plan, arcaded basement, and entry portico with paired flutted columns.
Recorded Texas Historic Landmark – 1989 — Map (db m53594) HM|
|Texas (Aransas County), Rockport — 13692 — Moore House|
|Built in 1906, this house was the vision of James Edward (J. Ed) and Josephine Kennedy Moore. The two were married from 1903 until 1915, when Josephine passed away. J. Ed was a business owner who served several terms as Rockport’s mayor between the 1920s and 1940s. He was instrumental in establishing a yacht basin and a a public beach park, both of which are still in use today. Moore also helped plan a modern sewer system for the town. He sold the house to family in 1943 and passed away in . . . — Map (db m53743) HM|
|Texas (Aransas County), Rockport — 4073 — Port Bay Hunting and Fishing Club|
|Danish native Andrew Sorenson (1864-1941), established a reputation as a hunting and fishing guide in this area in the early 20th century. He bought 240 acres of land (.5 mi. W) in 1909 and in 1912 incorporated the private Port Bay Hunting and Fishing Club. Charter members included prominent citizens from Texas and the U.S. Adjacent waters teem with ducks and geese in season. Despite hurricane damage to club structures over the years and a reduction in size to 46 acres of land, the club . . . — Map (db m53761) HM|
|Texas (Aransas County), Rockport — 4325 — Rockport|
|The town of Rockport was founded by cattlemen J.M. and T.H. Mathis in 1867. Originally a part of Refugio County, it became county seat of newly formed Aransas County in 1871. Shipping and fishing provided the primary economic base of the town in its early years. The railroad arrived in 1888 and with it came a decline in the shipping industry, although shipyards were in operation during World War I and World War II. Rockport has been a popular recreation center over years, and tourism continues to be important to the local economy. — Map (db m53704) HM|
|Texas (Aransas County), Rockport — 4326 — Rockport Cemetery|
|This cemetery has served the citizens of Rockport and Fulton for over a century. The oldest marked grave is that of Emma Fulton (d. 1876), granddaughter of George Ware Fulton, who was instrumental in the development of the area and was interred in the cemetery in 1893. A large number of burials took place here in 1918, the year of a devastating influenza epidemic. The cemetery contains the graves of veterans of the Texas Revolution, Civil War, World War I, World War II, Korea, and Vietnam. The . . . — Map (db m53596) HM|
|Texas (Aransas County), Rockport — Rockport Marine Laboratory|
|In 1935, Rockport Marine Lab was set up aboard the houseboat “Vivian” in Rockport Harbor to assist the Texas Game, Fish and Oyster Commission with Fisheries management. In 1947, a permanent lab was built on the harbor, a state of the art facility including a public aquarium. When the Commission merged into the Texas Parks and Wildlife Dept., the lab began support of its Coastal Fisheries Division in long-term management of fisheries populations to ensure sustainable stocks of . . . — Map (db m64468) HM|
|Texas (Aransas County), Rockport — 13653 — Rockport School|
|Rockport School has served the town of Rockport for many years as both an educational and community institution. It dates to 1935, during the era of the Great Depression. One of President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal programs to combat the Depression was the Federal Emergency Administration of Public works, later the Public Works Administration (PWA), part of the National Industrial Recovery Act. Workers completed construction on the Rockport School, labeled project number 2813, under the . . . — Map (db m53578) HM|
|Texas (Aransas County), Rockport — 4 — Rockport’s Grand Hotels|
|Before the arrival of the railroad in 1888, hotels in Rockport generally served clientele of the several local packeries. The Congdon Hotel was the leading hostelry of early Rockport and once served as a boarding home to the prominent Robert Driscoll family in the 1880s.
Rail service changed Rockport from a cattle town to a tourist resort. The Congdon became the Orleans Hotel, and the Bruhl Hotel, located on South Water Street, became the Bay Side Inn. This two-story exclusive hotel was . . . — Map (db m53769) HM|
|Texas (Aransas County), Rockport — 8 — Rockport’s Harbor|
|In 1866, James Doughty and Richard H. Wood, searching for a safe harbor location to ship cattle, built pens and a livestock-shipping wharf on “Rocky Point,” a prominent limestone protrusion that extended into Aransas Bay near present-day Wharf Street. Other wharves and pens followed. Soon, a regular schedule of Morgan Line shallow-draft steamboats arrived with merchandise for distribution inland, and then departed with cattle and packer products.
The arrival of the railroad in . . . — Map (db m53787) HM|
|Texas (Aransas County), Rockport — 7 — Rockport’s Seafood Industry|
|Rockport’s commercial seafood companies have been operating for more than one hundred years. By 1903, David Rockport Scrivner had opened a fish house. In 1907, he sold to Roy Jackson who named the operation the Jackson Fish Company. A few years later, Luis Cobilini and a Mr. Gentry began the Union Fish Company. Cobilini later sold the firm to Ernest Camehl. The 1919 hurricane destroyed the Union Fish building, but Camehl rebuilt and, in 1932, the building became a ship’s chandlery.
About . . . — Map (db m53772) HM|
|Texas (Aransas County), Rockport — 5 — Rockport’s Wharves and Pavilions|
|Since 1866, wharves and piers have been a part of Rockport’s shores. The first wharf, constructed to ship cattle, was at Rocky Point. Other wharves handled commercial shipping and passenger traffic. Sorenson’s Wharf extended into the bay behind the Sorenson & Hooper mercantile and ship’s chandlery store (1406 South Austin Street), which was established in 1887. Cargo was carried to and from ships on carts that rolled on rails on the wharf.
When the San Antonio & Aransas Pass Railroad came . . . — Map (db m53770) HM|
|Texas (Aransas County), Rockport — 4428 — Sacred Heart Catholic Church|
|Roman Catholic priests visited the Rockport area as early as 1838. The first mass in the town of Rockport was celebrated in the home of County Judge John Hynes in 1860, and services continued there for a number of years. Although property was deeded to the church in 1871, the first church building was not erected until 1889. It was destroyed in a storm that same year and was replaced by another structure which served the congregation until 1954 in addition to its parochial school, Sacred Heart . . . — Map (db m53585) HM|
|Texas (Aransas County), Rockport — Shipyards in Rockport|
|Shipbuilding was a natural industry for Rockport. The earliest recorded ship built here was the Connie, constructed in 1880 by Bludworth & Company. The Bludworth family specialized in building pleasure craft and scows.
In 1917, World War I prompted construction of a large shipyard at the south end of Water Street by Fred and C.A. Heldenfels. With over 900 employees, the Heldenfels company built four 281-foot wooden cargo vessels for use in the war effort, but these were not . . . — Map (db m58824) HM|
|Texas (Aransas County), Rockport — 183 — Site of Aransas Hotel|
|Built in 1889 by civic leader and politician John H. Traylor, the Aransas Hotel covered this city block. The three-story structure, a major tourist attraction in Rockport had about 100 rooms and a massive open dining room with a 200 person capacity. Guests were entertained by orchestras, plays, a mounted bird display, and beach facilities. They could also cruise in Traylor’s yacht, or tour in surreys from the livery stable. Remodeled and named the Del Mar in the mid-1890s, it was sold in 1910. . . . — Map (db m53583) HM|
|Texas (Aransas County), Rockport — 2427 — Site of Heldenfels Shipyard|
|Shipping industries flourished on the Rockport waterfront by the 1880s. Heldenfels Shipyard was established here on 12.9 acres in October 1917. Four 281-foot wooden cargo vessels were to be built for military use in World War I; the “Baychester” was launched on July 31, 1919, and the “Zuniga” on September 9, 1919. At the height of construction, over 900 men were employed at the shipyard. The need for ships fell as the war ended. Despite hurricane damage to the shipyard . . . — Map (db m53595) HM|
|Texas (Aransas County), Rockport — 15535 — Sorenson-Stair Building|
|Simon Sorenson, a native of Denmark, bought Brunner’s Mercantile at this site in 1886. The building was originally two stories, rebuilt after an 1895 fire. The Sorensons received weather reports by telegraph, posted updates in the display windows and raised warning flags as necessary. Hurricane Celia damaged the building and stock in 1970. In 1978 the Estelle Stair Gallery and the Rockport Art Association were housed here. Stair nurtured the growing art community. The load-bearing masonry . . . — Map (db m53592) HM|
|Texas (Aransas County), Rockport — 5078 — St. Peter’s Episcopal Church|
|The Rt. Rev. Alexander Gregg, Bishop of the Diocese of Texas, officiated at the dedication of St. Peter’s Episcopal Church in Rockport on November 30, 1871. Led by lay ministers for much of its early history, St. Peter’s first was located at the corner of Live Oak and Wharf Streets near the railroad depot, where services often were halted due to the noise of arriving and departing trains. Relocated to this site in 1954, St. Peter’s became a self-sustaining parish ten years later. It continues to serve the community with a variety of programs. — Map (db m53581) HM|
|Texas (Aransas County), Rockport — The Big Blue Crab|
|Rockport’s original Big Blue Crab started out on the Del Mar Grill on Austin Street. In 1957, the Grill was run by Dorothy and Sal Silverman, and the specialty was Dorothy’s famous crab cakes. The Big Crab was 18 feet wide and 22 feet deep and was made of rebar, chicken wire, and papier mache’.
The Crab weathered both hurricanes Carla in 1961 and Beulah in 1967. In 1965, the Grill closed and the Chamber of Commerce bought the Crab for $200. It was to be used as a background for photographs . . . — Map (db m63660) HM|
|Texas (Aransas County), Rockport — The Cedars|
|Tourism has been a major part of the Rockport economy for generations, but in the 1920s and 1930s with the rise of the automobile, more visitors began to travel to the area. The Cedars, built in 1928 by Dr. Joe and Mabel Bryant, became a popular tourist destination with seven “resort houses” on the property. The property was sold to H.M. Daggett in 1929. Stanley Daggett, his son, and his wife, Flossie, gained the property in 1930 and added two cottages. Annual gatherings of fishing . . . — Map (db m60573) HM|
|Texas (Aransas County), Rockport — The Hagar’s Rockport Cottages|
|This property was the site of the famous Rockport Cottages purchased in 1934 by Connie and Jack Hagar from Corsicana, Texas. Jack managed the cottages while Connie (1886–1973) pursued her passion for nature. Birds were Connie’s major interest, which ultimately gained her international recognition and the nickname, “The Bird Lady from Texas.”
When Connie began reporting her bird findings in Aransas county, she was looked upon with suspicion by ornithologists and serious . . . — Map (db m63659) HM|
|Texas (Aransas County), Rockport — 1 — The Old Beach Road|
|In early Rockport, many prominent families lived on what was called the Old Beach Road, now Water Street. Paved with white crushed shell, the road was lined with huisache, anacua, wild persimmon, prickly ash trees, dewberry vines, and stately homes. Before the 1919 hurricane, its residents included the Evans, Thrall, Peelers, Bartell, Myers, Westies, James, Kurtell, Clearman, Sedan, Sorenson, Norvell, Hanks, Perrenot, Stevens, Mason, Gruey, Herring, and Soule families. Edgar A. Stevens served . . . — Map (db m53767) HM|
|Texas (Aransas County), Rockport — 3 — The Old Courthouse|
|For more than 60 years, Rockport’s skyline was dominated by an imposing, three-story Moorish-inspired courthouse. It was the first major building designed by J. Riely Gordon, who would become one of Texas’ most famous architects. Born in Virginia in 1863, Gordon moved with his family to San Antonio in 1874, where he started his career. He subsequently designed 18 Texas courthouses, 12 of which are still standing. His unique Aransas County Courthouse was demolished in 1955.
Constructed from . . . — Map (db m53768) HM|
|Texas (Aransas County), Rockport — 6 — The Packeries of Rockport|
|After the Civil War, Rockport became an important cattle ranching and shipping center. In 1866, James Doughty, T.H. Mathis, and John M. Mathis constructed cattle pens, with a long wharf that extended out into Aransas Bay from “Rocky Point” (the landmark from which Rockport gets its name). Cattle were shipped to New Orleans on the Morgan line. The painting below, “The Last to Load,” illustrates the first shipment from Rocky Point in 1866.
Initially, packeries were . . . — Map (db m53771) HM|
|Texas (Aransas County), Rockport — 4327 — The Rockport Pilot|
|The earliest newspaper in this area was “The Vaquero”, published by Charles F. Bailey and Geraldo A. Beeman in St. Mary’s in 1868. In 1869 Bailey moved to Rockport and founded “The Transcript”, which continued in operation until 1886. Two years later “The Rockport Enterprise” began, and in 1916 it merged with the new “Rockport Pilot”. Other local newspapers existed for short periods, but since its beginning “The Pilot” has been the . . . — Map (db m53588) HM|
|Texas (Aransas County), Rockport — 4522 — The San Antonio and Aransas Pass Railroad in Rockport|
|During its early years Rockport relied on Gulf shipping for goods and services. After the arrival of the San Antonio and Aransas Pass Railroad in 1888, however, the town’s economic focus changed to include rail shipping and a burgeoning tourism industry. The town’s population grew from 600 in 1888 to 2,500 by 1890. Businesses and hotels were built to serve the new tourism trade, and four trains arrived at the Rockport Depot daily. By the 1940s passenger rail service to Rockport ended. Freight . . . — Map (db m53589) HM|
|Texas (Aransas County), Rockport — 15786 — Woman’s Club of Aransas County Building|
|In March 1948, Mrs. Fred B. Hunt issued a call to organize the Woman’s Civic Club. One of the club’s major early activities was financing a permanent building for the organization. Later that year the recreation building for Humble Oil Company employees at Ingleside went up for auction, and the club put in a bid that was accepted. The building was then brought to Rockport in three sections by barge. The hip roof, rectangular plan building features a five-bay entrance porch with stone columns, . . . — Map (db m53586) HM|