Port Isabel in Cameron County, Texas — The American South (West South Central)
The son of Joseph Champion, an Italian immigrant who settled in Texas in 1855, Charles Champion was born on February 2, 1870, in Old Point Isabel. He served as district clerk in Hidalgo County before purchasing the Hess General Store in Old Point Isabel in 1894. He renamed it "The Champion Store," and continued to operate the business in the small frame structure. In 1899, Champion erected this two-story brick building and named it "The Key of the Gulf." The first floor housed the general merchandise store, the U.S. Customs House, and the post office. Champion served as the second postmaster of Point Isabel.
In the early 1900s, Champion provided the impetus for the fishing industry that employed many local citizens and became an integral part of the local economy. By 1908 Champion and Judge J.B. Wells owned the Santa Isabela land grant, which included Point Isabel.
Long a proponent of a deep water port in Point Isabel, Champion died in 1926 before its completion in 1933. Champion was buried next to his wife Margaret Orive and other family members in the Point Isabel Cemetery.
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Industry & Commerce • Waterways & Vessels.
Location. 26° 4.572′ N, 97° 12.432′ W. Marker is in Port Isabel, Texas, in Cameron County. Marker is at the intersection of South Tarnava Street and Railroad Street, on the left when traveling north on South Tarnava Street. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Port Isabel TX 78578, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 3 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Port Isabel, C.S.A. (within shouting distance of this marker); Site of Fort Polk (about 500 feet away, measured in a direct line); Old Port Isabel Lighthouse (about 600 feet away); Port Isabel Lighthouse (about 700 feet away); Queen Isabel Inn (about 700 feet away); Port of Matamoros (about 800 feet away); Port Isabel Cemetery (approx. ¼ mile away); Padre J. Nicolas Balli (approx. 2½ miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Port Isabel.
Also see . . . Charles Champion (1870–1926).
When the railroad came to the area in the early 1900s, Champion was instrumental in creating the area's fishing industry. Not only did he employ a number of people, but he also shipped products to cities in North Texas. Source: The Handbook of Texas(Submitted on January 26, 2021, by James Hulse of Medina, Texas.)
Credits. This page was last revised on January 27, 2021. It was originally submitted on January 26, 2021, by James Hulse of Medina, Texas. This page has been viewed 26 times since then. Photos: 1, 2. submitted on January 26, 2021, by James Hulse of Medina, Texas. • J. Makali Bruton was the editor who published this page.