Topics (click on a topic to jump to that section).
San Antonio and Aransas Pass Railroad in Rockport | Aransas County | Aransas Pass Light Station | Baylor-Norvell House | Cementerio San Antonio de Padua | Fagan, John | Frandolig Island | Fulton | Fulton, Home of George W. | Site of the Town of Lamar | Site of Marion Packing Co. | Rockport | Stella Maris Chapel
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Marker Title: The San Antonio and Aransas Pass Railroad in Rockport
Address: 105 S. Magnolia Street
Year Marker Erected: 1994
Marker Location: 105 S. Magnolia, Rockport.
Marker Text: 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 service continued until 1985, when highway trucking replaced railroad service. (1994)
Marker Title: Aransas County
Address: 301 N. Live Oak (courthouse grounds)
Year Marker Erected: 1990
Marker Location: 301 N. Live Oak, Courthouse Grounds, Rockport
Marker Text: 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 is home to the Aransas National Wildlife Refuge, created in 1937. (1990)
Marker Title: Aransas Pass Light Station
Address: On Harbor Island, 2 mi. NE of east end of island, private and accessible only by boat.
City: Port Aransas
Year Marker Erected: 1973
Marker Location: About 2 miles NE of E end of Port Aransas (on island), private and only accessible by boat.
Marker Text: Construction of 67-foot tower was started in 1855. The French lens was lighted in 1856, to mark natural Gulf pass to Aransas and Corpus Christi Bays by way of Lydia Ann Channel -- named for the daughter of the first keeper. During Civil War, Confederates (in 1863) buried lens for safety before damaging tower to avert use of light by Federal forces. The auxiliary structures were rebuilt after 1919 hurricane. One of original Texas stations of U.S. Lighthouse Service (merged into the Coast Guard in 1939), this light was decommissioned in 1952 after pass shifted southward. (1973) INCISE ON BASE: Lighthouse not open to public. INCISE ON BACK OF MARKER: Restored in 1972 by Charles C.
Marker Title: Baylor-Norvell House
Address: 617 S. Water Street
Year Marker Erected: 1991
Marker Text: 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. Schoolteachers 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 and was a realtor. Irene, a musician, sold the house in 1935. (1991)
Marker Title: Cementerio San Antonio de Padua
City: Aransas Pass
Year Marker Erected: 1998
Marker Location: 0.9 mi. N of Aransas Pass on Bus. SH 35
Marker Text: According to local lore, George Lewis (1859-1895) donated one-half acre of land at this site to the Hispanic citizens of the area for use as a cemetery, provided that he be buried in the center of the land. Handmade stones indicate burials dating from the 19th century; the first recorded deed was signed in 1933. Years of wind and rain have rendered many stones illegible. A number of children who died in an influenza epidemic in 1940 and many veterans of U.S. and international conflicts are interred here. A statue of San Antonio holding a child, crafted in Mexico, was brought across the border by the local priest for placement in an open chapel on the cemetery grounds. It is revered by the families of those interred here. (1998)
Marker Title: John Fagan
Address: Old Lamar Cemetery, 7 mi. N on SH 35 to Goose Island State Park, follow P-13 east, then northeast 2.5 miles.
Year Marker Erected: 1962
Marker Location: Located in Lamar Cemetery. From Rockport, take Highway 35 north about 7 miles to Goose Island State Park (just north of causeway). Follow P-13 E then NE about 2.5 miles to cemetery, Lamar.
Marker Text: Soldier in the Texas War for Independence at Goliad, 1835-1836. Erected by the State of Texas, 1962.
Marker Title: Frandolig Island
Address: 1797 Bayshore Dr.
Year Marker Erected: 1999
Marker Location: 1797 Bayshore Dr., Rockport
Marker Text: 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 the barrel, and built a salt works. The Frandolig family sold the property between 1901 and 1903. The severe hurricane of 1919 returned the island to its natural and uninhabited state. In 1958 the local navigation district began to offer it for development. (1999)
Marker Title: Fulton
Address: Fulton City Hall, 205 N. 7th Street
Year Marker Erected: 1988
Marker Location: Fulton City Hall, 205 N. Seventh Street, Fulton.
Marker Text: Located on Aransas Bay, the city of Fulton has a history closely associated with the fishing and shipping industry. The town was founded in 1867 by George Ware Fulton, whose mansion is an important local landmark. Schools, churches, and businesses were quickly established in the town. A one-room schoolhouse, built in 1886, was relocated and adapted for use as a city hall. In recent years tourism and commercial fishing and shrimping have become the city's most important economic pursuits. The city of Fulton was incorporated in 1978. (1988)
Marker Title: Home of George W. Fulton
Address: corner of Henderson and Fulton Beach Road
Year Marker Erected: 1936
Marker Location: Corner of Henderson and Fulton Beach Road, Fulton.
Marker Text: Born at Philadelphia, June 8, 1810; served in the Texan Army in 1836. A pioneer resident of Refugio County. After an engineering career of distinction elsewhere he returned to Texas and became a cattle baron. Died October 31, 1893. The town of Fulton bears his name.
Marker Title: Site of the Town of Lamar
Address: 10 mi. N on SH 35, 1/8 mi. N of causeway
Year Marker Erected: 1936
Marker Location: 10 miles north of Rockport on SH 35, 1/8 mile north of causeway, (1/8 mile south of P 13).
Marker Text: Named for Mirabeau B. Lamar 1798-1859, President of the Republic of Texas 1838-1841. Established in 1838; made a port of entry in 1839. Sacked by Union troops Feb. 11, 1864. Survived until 1914 but never flourished.
Marker Title: Site of Marion Packing Co.
Address: Fulton Beach Rd. and Chaparral St.
Year Marker Erected: 1976
Marker Location: Fulton Beach Road and Chaparral Street, Fulton.
Marker Text: The ruins of this rendering vat mark the location of the Marion Packing Co. (spelled "Meriam" in some records), one of the dozen or more meat packing plants built in the Rockport-Fulton area in the 1860s and 1870s to process the huge herds of range cattle that roamed Texas after the Civil War. Here beef was dried, salted, or pickled before shipping. The by-products such as tallow, hides, horns, and bones were sent to eastern factories. Like most of the coastal plants, Marion Packing Co. flourished until about 1880, when shipping cattle to northern markets proved more profitable. (1976)
Marker Title: Rockport
Address: on Orleans St., between N and S lanes of SH 35
Year Marker Erected: 1988
Marker Location: Orleans Street and SH 35, Center Island, Rockport.
Marker Text: 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 the years, and tourism continues to be important to the local economy. (1988)
Marker Title: Stella Maris Chapel
Address: 7 mi. N on SH 35 to Goose Island State Park, then follow P13 east, then NE to Lamar Cemetery.
Year Marker Erected: 1986
Marker Location: From Rockport, take SH 35 north about 7 miles to Goose Island State Park (just north of causeway). Then follow P13 east then NE to Lamar Cemetery.
Marker Text: Irish immigrant James W. Byrne (1787-1865), a veteran of the Texas Revolution, was an early settler of this area. He established the town of Lamar and, with his wife Harriet, sold land on Aransas Bay to the Catholic church for a chapel site. Byrne engaged a French architect to design the structure, which was completed in 1858. Called Stella Maris (Star of the Sea) Chapel, it was built of shellcrete, a shell-aggregate masonry. An important link with the area's early Roman Catholic heritage, the chapel was moved to this site in 1986. (1986)