Thursday, November 17, 2016

Those Places Thursday: City Hall Annex, Then (1977 and 1981) and Now (2004 and 2016)

Only one of the three buildings that I worked in while I lived in Corpus Christi (1979-1984) is still standing.  The building at 100 North Shoreline Boulevard was the City Hall Annex during that time, but it has a long history.  It started out as a USO, and is the second oldest one in the United States, chartered on April 4, 1941, by President Franklin D. Roosevelt.  I haven't been able to determine just when the original part of today's building was constructed, but it was probably sometime after that, as it is built on a landfill created when the Corpus Christi Seawall was built, and that project was not completed until March 29, 1941.

In the late 1950s, the original building(s) passed to the Nueces County government.  As can be seen in the circa 1977 photograph below and an earlier one in the Corpus Christi Library archives from November 28, 1964, the building served as the Nueces County Tax Department offices at least between those two dates.

The tax assessor and collector had offices in this building, as well as the auto license department.  The photograph below was taken in 1977, likely in August just before Hurricane Anita.  Often when a storm surge was forecast, owners of small boats in the City Marina just across from this building would pay to have their boats pulled out of the water and put on blocks.  My husband did so with his first sailboat when Hurricane Allen hit in August 1980 (and it was a good thing he did).

Above:  Hurricane Watch (circa 1977) / Jay Phagan / CC BY 2.0

Below:  Image from the map I bought when I moved to Corpus Christi in 1979.  It still shows this building as the County Tax Office, just to the left of the L-Head in the Marina (the green extensions into Corpus Christi Bay on the right) and just north of Sherrill Park, City Hall, and the Exposition Hall and Memorial Coliseum. Click on this image to enlarge it.  

Although the 1979 map above indicates that this building was still the County Tax Office, it was gone by the time I started working for the city on April 2, 1979.  The county completed a new, larger courthouse in 1977, and consolidated their offices.  Meanwhile, the City of Corpus Christi was outgrowing City Hall, and took over the building.  During the time I was there, it housed the office of Personnel and Information Services (where I worked October 1981 through March 1983), among others.

Below:  Detail from the photo above, showing what was then City Hall Annex.

The building (pictured above) at that time was L-shaped, with a two-story section with a gable roof, with some one-story wings on each side, and the other part of the L being a single-story flat-roofed area.  The Information Services offices, as I recall, were in the corner of the L.

In 1988, after the new City Hall was built and offices were consolidated, the City of Corpus Christi leased City Hall Annex (slated for demolition) to the Art Center of Corpus Christi, a nonprofit established in 1972.  They renovated the building in a Spanish Colonial style, adding a tile roof and a courtyard to square off the L shape.  The building, still owned by the City, underwent a major remodel and expansion in 2000, and is now appraised at $4.7 million.

The Memorial Coliseum is visible in the background of the photograph below, taken in 2004:

Above:  Corpus Christi (View of Art Center looking south, 12 October 2004 / Cliff CC BY 2.0

Below:  Art Center of Corpus Christi, north side, 18 June 2016

Art Center of Corpus Christi, northeast (above) and southeast (below) corners, 18 June 2016.

The building has had French doors on the first level since at least 1964:

Above:  Courtyard of Art Center of Corpus Christi, 20 June 2016.

Below:  Sherrill Park viewed from the site of the 1952-1988 City Hall, looking north to the south side of the Art Center (City Hall Annex 1979-1888), Corpus Christi, Texas, 18 June 2016.

I would have liked to go into the building, but we were visiting the city during the heat of summer, and it was not open during my early morning walks.  Besides the Art Center with its clay studio and exhibit galleries, it also contains a gift shop and a bistro (open for lunch), and has a number of venues for rent for weddings and parties.

© Amanda Pape - 2016 - click here to e-mail me.

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