Monday, March 20, 2023

Corpus Christi - North Beach Tourist Camp - Christi Court

Two weeks ago, someone posted this picture in a Corpus Christi (Texas) Facebook group:

Lee, Russell, photographer. Insignia of nationally affiliated tourist courts. Corpus Christi, Texas. Oct. 1939. Photograph.  Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division, FSA/OWI Collection, LC-USF34-034513-D.

The photo - and all the other black-and-white photos from October 1939 and December 1940 that you'll see in this and future posts about North Beach in that era - were taken by Russell Lee for the Farm Security Administration - Office of War Information.  They are in the public domain and are available at the Library of Congress.  

Someone in the group asked where this Christi Court was.  As my in-laws were living in Corpus Christi in 1939 and 1940, I knew there were some city directories available at  Sure enough, on page 100 of the 1940 city directory for Corpus Christi, I found Christi Courts at 3207 C Avenue.

But where exactly was C Avenue?  The street guide in the 1940 city directory said (page 641) said that it was on North Beach, "2nd w[est] of Av A."  Well, where was Avenue A?

The street names on North Beach have changed a number of times over the years.  I'd figured out some of these before, but here is the process I used this time to figure out just where Christi Courts were.

The Sanborn maps aren't especially helpful for this situation.  The last one that is freely available online, from January 1927, only has details for the parts of the peninsula that were developed at that time.  Later updates, in 1931 and in May 1950 (which I cannot display here as they are still under copyright), did not expand the covered area, despite great development in this area in the 1940s in particular.  Avenue C does not show up on any of these maps.

However, one can make some assumptions from the 1927 map.  Here's a cropped, edited portion of Sheet 1, the key map for that year:

Cropped and edited from Sanborn Map Company. Corpus Christi 1927 Sheet 1, map, 1927; New York. ( accessed March 19, 2023), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History,; crediting The Dolph Briscoe Center for American History.

Some of the streets that run southwest to northeast are marked "F", "G", etc.  From that it's pretty easy to figure out where Avenues A through E lie.  In addition, in the top right corner of the map (click on the image to see a larger version), one can see a street marked Ave. "C", that is also Timon and Chaparral further southwest.

In addition, the May 1950 update does show both old and (then)-new names for these southwest-to-northeast streets.  For example, Avenue A, which is Rincon on the 1927 map, is labeled both Avenue A and N. Shoreline in May 1950.  

It's also important to note that the construction of the Harbor Bridge in the 1950s altered North Beach - particularly these avenues - significantly.  Parts of them were completely obliterated.

Here's what I figured out for Avenues A through E:
- A became Rincon and later N. Shoreline (and further north, disappeared entirely).
- B became N. Water AND Hamilton (due to the orientation of the Southern Pacific Railroad line, visible on the 1927 map), and is Surfside (on the southern end) and Gulfbreeze (on the northern end) today.
- C was Chaparral on the 1927 map, and later became Timon and Surfside, or W. Surfside (yes, confusing), which it mostly is today.
- D was Bluntzer on the 1927 map, and later became Seagull (what it is today).
- E was Mesquite on the 1927 map, and later became E. Causeway (what it is today).

The streets that crossed these Avenues - the ones that run northwest to southeast on the map - also changed names - or disappeared - over the years.  One thing that did not change was block numbering.  That helps with matching up streets - and addresses - from the past.

Starting at the south end of North Beach:
2600 block - from Bessie (gone today) to Bennett (also gone today).
2700 block - from Bennett to Pearl.
2800 block - from Pearl to Market (now Breakwater).
2900 block - from Market (Breakwater) to Garner (now Bridgeport).
3000 block - from Garner (Bridgeport) to Vine (now Coastal).
3100 block - from Vine (Coastal) to Elm.
3200 block - from Elm to Plum (which is Golf today east of Timon/Surfside and the Harbor Bridge).
3300 block - from Plum (also Golf) to Walnut (which is Paul today east of Timon/Surfside and the Harbor Bridge).
3400 block - from Walnut (also Paul) to Siegler (only a small piece of this remains, thanks to the Harbor Bridge and North Beach ramps on and off it).
3500 block - from Siegler to Burleson (which is Breaker east of Timon/Surfside).
3600 block - from Burleson (also Breaker) to Custom (now Churchdale).  This street roughly lines up with Bushick east of Timon/Surfside.
3700 block - from Custom (Churchdale) to St. Charles.
3800 block - from St. Charles to St. Nichols (now Tourist).
3900 block - from St. Nichols (Tourist) to Oxford (now Treasure).
4000 block - from Oxford (Treasure) to Perry (now Surfboard).
4100 block - from Perry (Surfboard) to Davis (now Gulfspray).
4200 block - from Davis (Gulfspray) to Neal.
4300 block - from Neal to Ohio (now Hayes).
4400 block - from Ohio (Hayes) to Walldue (now Beach).
4500 block - from Walldue (Beach) to Annie (now Reef).
North of this point, Foggs became Sandbar, and Woodrow and Hull streets disappeared.

So 3207 C Avenue would be 3207 Timon/Surfside - or W. Surfside - today, between Elm and Plum streets.  But which is it?  Timon, Surfside, or W. Surfside?  The routing of the Harbor Bridge really affected this area.  The image below is from a topographic map from 1971.  The area outlined by the yellow square is the area in which the Christi Courts would have been.

Cropped and edited from Geological Survey (U.S.). Corpus Christi Quadrangle, map, 1971; Reston, Virginia. ( accessed March 19, 2023), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History,; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.

My next strategy was to search the deed records for Nueces County, to see if I could find a legal description for the Christi Courts property that would line up with Nueces County Accessor District data for today.  I was lucky that an advanced search in the field "Document Image" for "christi courts" brought up this backfile deed record from 1949, volume 734, page 408:

So according to this, Christi Courts was located on "...All of Lots Three (3), Five (5), and (7) in Block Fifty Six (56) Brooklyn Addition of the City of Corpus Christi, Texas, as shown by the map or plat thereof recorded in Volume "A", page 32 of the Map Records of Nueces County, Texas..."

I was able to pull up that November 6, 1909, plat as well, with the volume and page number:

Here's a closeup of the relevant section of the map:

On this, you can just make out the Avenue A and Avenue C labels, to the right.  The title box for the map provides a little more information:

Note that Avenues A, C, and E are 100 feet wide - other streets are 60 feet wide.

So knowing that Christi Courts was in Block 56, we can find that on the present-day Nueces County Appraisal District map:

This proves that Christi Courts was at the present-day address of 3207 W. Surfside Blvd. in Corpus Christi.  The southeast edge of the property was likely taken in the construction of the Harbor Bridge in the 195os, hence the legal description for the property is BROOKLYN NW POR[TION] OF LTS 3, 5 & 7 BK 56.

Stay tuned for future posts on North Beach establishments from the 1940s.

© Amanda Pape - 2023 - e-mail me!


  1. Great detective work! Once a librarian, always a librarian. I love reading all you posts!