Sitting on the Dock of the Bay

 

It’s summer time again and we hope that all of you are enjoying this traditional time with family and friends. In commemoration of the summer season, we offer this Flashback Friday which will take us on a little journey down memory lane towards the great Texas Coast.

Port Aransas, Texas, also known as “Mustang Island”, has developed from a small port and fishing village into a booming tourist attraction for many travelers who desire a trip to the Gulf Coast. Although the island was originally inhabited by the Karankawa Indians and several Spanish explorers reached its coast, the first recorded permanent settler in Port Aransas was Captain Robert Mercer of Lancaster, England. He established a sheep and cattle ranch known as El Mar Rancho in the mid 1850’s. Herds of wild horses “mustangs” traipsed over the rangelands of the island when Mercer first settled there. Also in the 1850s, a regular steamship service route for cargo and passengers was established between New Orleans and Mustang Island. As the pass became more commonly traveled, local pilots were needed to guide the ships safely across. For this, permanent settlements were required to house the pilots, including docks, a lighthouse, storage, jetties, and a general store. In the early 20th century, tarpon fishing began to attract tourists from across America to Port Aransas. In fact, in 1937 President Franklin D. Roosevelt visited Port Aransas and while Congress was debating his Judiciary Reorganization Bill ’37, he fished for tarpon. Prior to the “Port A” moniker, the town was also known as “Ropesville” and then “Tarpon”.

Today, Port Aransas is revered as a popular fishing, beach, and resort destination, with summer populations swelling to over 60,000 visitors. Due to the ever increasing demand for vacation homes, in 2006 G.W. Mitchell Construction was contracted to build a beautiful, new condominium project overlooking the main harbor in Port Aransas. This 90,000 square foot, three-level condominium complex was built with eighteen high-end units, an inviting pool overlooking the harbor and an outdoor entertainment area for residents. Due to its coastal location and susceptibility to hurricanes, the foundation and structural design included over 200 Auger Cast Drilled Piers that were placed 50 feet deep under a cast in place concrete column system and a steel reinforced Concrete Hollow Core Plank System for the upper level floors. This sturdy structure, designed by Paul Casseb AIA and Jaster Quintanilla Engineering , was constructed to withstand 200mph winds and a 13 foot tide surge, in accordance with the latest hurricane resistant criteria. The result is a strikingly beautiful complex, enjoyed by owners and visitors alike, that will literally stand the test of time.

From such humble beginnings, Port Aransas has grown into an iconic Texas landmark and attraction. From the footprints of the original Tarpon village, to the tasteful addition of beautiful, upscale condominium developments like The Harbour’s and the ever expanding dining options and amenities, one can enjoy all that the new glamourized version of Port Aransas has to offer as well as reminisce on the memories of childhood days spent vacationing there. With its inviting beaches and enticing opportunities to fish the local waters for redfish or trout, it is no wonder that Port Aransas continues to lure us back time and again.

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