Sunday, November 27, 2016

Sentimental Sunday: Corpus Christi's Seawall

It may seem silly, but for me, my favorite thing in Corpus Christi is the seawall.  This two-mile stretch of steel-reinforced concrete connects my three places of work in the city, as well as other special spots for me.

It's also a link to the past for my husband, whose parents were living in the city while the seawall was being constructed (and were married during that time too).  My spouse remembers fishing on the seawall with his father in the late 1940s.

Above:  Two million dollar seawall now being completed at Corpus Christi, Texas. December 1940 /  Russell Lee / U. S. Government work, Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division, FSA/OWI Collection, [LC-USF34-038306-D].

Below:  South end of the Corpus Christi Seawall.  McGee Beach is to the left, McGaughan Park is to the right.  The benches and the Mirador (the white gazebo) were added after we moved away.  The Emerald Beach Hotel can be seen at the end of McGee Beach; it was the Holiday Inn - Emerald Beach when we lived there in the late 1970s and early 1980s.

The seawall has an interesting history.  I had not realized that Mount Rushmore sculptor Gutzon Borglum was invited to design a seawall for the city in 1927 (his design was not adopted).  I also did not know that the two million dollar project (from bond funds and from the state's share of property taxes from seven South Texas counties) also built the two T-heads and the L-head of the Marina.

The Corpus Christi Seawall is a Texas Historic Civil Engineering Landmark, designated by the American Society of Civil Engineers Texas Section.

Above:  P1000835.JPG [16 April 2007] / John M. P. KnoxCC BY-SA 2.0

Below:  State historical marker installed in 2015 has an error in it.  I think a zero is missing.  It's not 1,100 feet long - that would be just two-tenths of a mile.  Two miles is 10,650 feet, so I think the 1,100 is supposed to be 11,000 (or maybe 11,100).

The seawall, of course, also created the beautiful downtown bayfront area, by adding five hundred feet of mostly-city-owned land.  Prior to its construction, Water Street - so named because it was then at the water's edge - was the eastern boundary of downtown.  The wide sidewalk of the seawall itself is a great place to walk, run, bike, skate, and pedal.

Above:  Aerial view of city [of Corpus Christi] looking northwest from [Corpus Christi] bay, ca. 1984. (Dated by construction of Corpus Christi Central Library building.)  Professional photograph by unidentified photographer furnished to KZTV-10 for use in advertising.  Kenneth L. Anthony Photographic Collection, Item 212-118. Special Collections and Archives, Mary and Jeff Bell Library, Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi.  Used with permission of Kenneth L. Anthony.  
Click on the photo to enlarge it.

Below:  Detail from the aerial view of city looking northwest from bay, ca. 1984, cropping out much of the top and bottom.  Kenneth L. Anthony Photographic Collection, Item 212-118 (detail). Special Collections and Archives, Mary and Jeff Bell Library, Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi.  
Used with permission of Kenneth L. Anthony.  Click on the photo to enlarge it.

Unlike my husband, I never did any fishing from the seawall, but I have lots of good memories.  Sometimes it was as simple as walking over from my place of work to have lunch and catch a little sun and seabreeze on its steps. I watched the activity in the marina, from shrimp boats returning in the early morning with their overnight catches, to Wednesday night regattas.  I watched Bayfest boat parades and Anything-That-Float-But-A-Boat races, and Fourth of July fireworks from those steps.

Above:  Image from the map I bought when I moved to Corpus Christi in 1979.  The seawall runs all along the right side of the city on this map, from the Art Museum of South Texas in the Bayfront Science Park (the green area at the top) all the way down to the south end of McGaughan Park and McGee Beach (the green area at the bottom).  What is called the "sea wall" on this map is actually the breakwater, which was constructed in 1924 to facilitate the port. 
Click on this image to enlarge it. 

Below:  These markers appear periodically along the seawall sidewalk, all in blue with a palm tree and different numbers.  I have not been able to find out what they mean.  I don't think they were there when I lived in Corpus Christi, 1979-1984.

It's still a spot that calls to me.

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

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