What are your Pathways in Rockport, Fulton and Aransas County?

History Center

The History Center for Aransas County showcases local heritage.  Outdoor and indoor exhibits tell the stories of the real people of Aransas County. The Center provides space for displays, workshops, meetings and gatherings.

The Bruhl-Paul-Johnson house is a Queen Anne-Victorian cottage that was a popular style in the late 1800s. The house has had many owners including A.L. Bruhl, early 1900s pharmacist and Rockport mayor; Simon Paul, surveyor; and Chester Johnson who salvaged and moved the house from Wood and Laurel Streets in 1978 to make way for a bank parking lot. Even by the early 1900s, tourism began to play a significant role in the area’s economy.

Local history enthusiasts formed the Friends of the History Center for Aransas County in order to promote this historic venue of Aransas County and have applied for a non-profit 501(c)(3) corporation.

Aransas History Center added 3 new photos.

Come by the History Center and see artifacts which were found during the renovation of two historic homes in Rockport. The stories of the homes built between 1868 & 1930 and their owners are told through tablets and other venues. Open today from 10-4 & Sunday 1-4.
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Come by the History Center and see artifacts which were found during the renovation of two historic homes in Rockport.  The stories of the homes built between 1868 & 1930 and their owners are told through tablets and other venues.  Open today from 10-4 & Sunday 1-4.

Hello to all the History Cruisers out there. We have had to cancel the History Cruise scheduled for Tuesday, May 23. I will let everyone know when the next one is scheduled. We apologize for this inconvenience. ...

Hello to all the History Cruisers out there.  We have had to cancel the History Cruise scheduled for Tuesday, May 23.  I will let everyone know when the next one is scheduled.  We apologize for this inconvenience.

NOTICE: History Cruise changed to Tuesday, May 23 due to unforeseen conflicts. If you still want to go on Tuesday, please let me know. Tickets are available $45 per person. Leaving Fulton Harbor at 5:15 pm. Refreshments are included. ...

NOTICE:  History Cruise changed to Tuesday, May 23 due to unforeseen conflicts.  If you still want to go on Tuesday, please let me know.  Tickets are available $45 per person.  Leaving Fulton Harbor at 5:15 pm.  Refreshments are included.

The History Center has reached another milestone. We are now an official Monarch Way Station & Wildlife Habitat. Wildscape created & implemented by a group of volunteers from The History Center & Texas Master Naturalists lead by Pat Garland. Rebecca Stapleton was able to secure the certification. Thanks so much to all the volunteers, who devote their time to making the History Center a special place. ...

The History Center has reached another milestone.  We are now an official Monarch Way Station & Wildlife Habitat.  Wildscape  created & implemented by a group of volunteers from The History Center & Texas Master Naturalists lead by Pat Garland.   Rebecca Stapleton was able to secure the certification.  Thanks so much to all the volunteers, who devote their time to making the History Center a special place.

Aransas History Center shared their post.

A fantastic trip....check off this on the bucket list. What an absolute privilege to visit this Texas Historical Lighthouse.
...

A bit of history on the Aransas Pass (Lydia Ann) Lighthouse we visited today. "The majority of Texas’ 400-mile-long coastline is protected by a necklace of barrier islands and peninsulas, broken only by a few openings or passes that provide access to protected bays and harbors. Aransas Pass is one such gap, located between Saint Joseph Island to the north and Mustang Island to the south. The pass leads to the port of Corpus Christi some twenty miles away to the west. On March 3, 1851, Congress authorized $12,500 for the construction of Aransas Pass Lighthouse. That same year, Lieutenant Commander T.A. Craven of the Coast Survey, while mapping this part of the Texas coast, recommended that a lightship be used to mark the pass, which was known to be slowly creeping south as currents deposited sand on the southern end of Saint Joseph Island and cut away the northern tip of Mustang Island. Before settling on the type of light to mark Aransas Pass, the Lighthouse Board ordered a second survey of the coast, which occurred in 1853. H.S. Stellwagen visited the area and concluded that a screwpile lighthouse located inside the pass would be most useful on this “coast where there is so much sameness as to make it almost impossible to distinguish one place from another.” Adding another option for the lighthouse, District Inspector Walter H. Stevens in Galveston recommended a prefabricated cast-iron tower like those in use at Bolivar Point and on Matagorda Island. The task of determining which of the lights was most suitable to the area was then turned over to a committee that, perhaps a bit surprisingly, concluded that a brick tower, the most permanent style of lighthouse, should be used. The federal government purchased twenty-five acres on Harbor Island, located just inside the pass, and the state of Texas shortly thereafter ceded jurisdiction over the land on June 20, 1855. A schooner carrying the bricks for the tower foundered on the sandbar at the entrance to Aransas Pass during high seas in late December 1855. The crew was rescued, but the ship and its cargo were a total loss. During 1856, new bricks arrived at the island, followed later by the lantern room, and finally a fourth-order Fresnel lens. The keeper’s dwelling and the fifty-five-foot, octagonal tower, with a coat of brown paint, were completed by the early part of 1857. The light from the tower’s lantern room first illuminated the night sky above the pass later that year. Sometime after the start of the Civil War, the lens was removed from the lantern room for safekeeping. Control of the tower passed repeatedly between Confederate and Union forces. Then, on Christmas Day 1862, Confederate General John B. Magruder ordered the destruction of the tower. Two kegs of powder were exploded inside the tower, damaging the upper twenty-feet of brickwork and destroying most of the circular staircase. After the war, Texas’ lights were gradually repaired or rebuilt and returned to service. Early in 1867, a work crew arrived to repair the upper portion of the damaged tower at Aransas Pass. Acting District Lighthouse Engineer M.F. Bonzano described a winter storm that hampered the work: “During the progress of the repairs one of the severest Northers ever experienced on the Texas coast occurred. The cold was so severe that frozen fish were hove ashore by the hundreds and birds of all sorts sought refuge in the tower and camp of the workmen where they perished in large numbers.” Aransas Pass Lighthouse was the last principal light along the coast to return to service, doing so in the spring of 18 Parry W. Humphreys was appointed keeper of the lighthouse on June 3, 1869. To supplement the provisions supplied by the Lighthouse Service, the family maintained a vegetable garden on Mustang Island. While the two previous keepers had lasted only a year at the station, Keeper Humphreys spent over sixteen years and apparently didn’t leave the station willingly. In 1885, the District Inspector felt that Keeper Humphreys, who was about seventy-four years old at the time, was unfit to maintain the station. The superintendent visited the station and urged the dismissal of Humphreys not only on account of his age but also for “drunkenness, disobedience of orders and refusing to pay his debts.” The Humphreys finally left the station in March 1886. At the time of their departure, Jane Humphreys had been serving as assistant keeper to her husband for a decade. Hurricanes periodically swept through the area, inflicting varying degrees of destruction on the station. The most damage was caused by the hurricane of August 18, 1916, which prompted Congress to allocate “$20,000 for repairing buildings and dwellings, out buildings, and appurtenant structures, damaged or destroyed in the hurricane.” The brick keeper’s dwelling was leveled, while the porches were torn away from the frame assistant keeper’s dwelling and the station’s wharf was wrecked. A temporary walk was built and repairs were made to the assistant keeper’s dwelling, but work on more permanent structures didn’t begin until May 1918. A double-dwelling of hollow-tile construction was built about thirty feet southwest of the lighthouse atop twenty cast-iron columns that were each supported by a concrete footing that capped a nineteen-foot yellow-pine pile driven into the marsh. The dwelling had three rooms in each of its two apartments and its roof extended out over a wrap-around porch. Detached kitchens were built behind the dwelling and were linked to it by a four-foot-wide covered gallery. Facilities, in the form of a two-compartment, frame privy set atop a brick foundation supported by a creosoted pile foundation, were also separate from the dwelling. A thirty-foot-long and six-foot-wide wharf was built parallel to the nearby bayou, and a five-foot-wide walkway that was roughly 270-feet-long connected the wharf to the dwelling, oil house, and tower. On September 13, 1919, two days after the new structures were practically complete, another devastating hurricane struck the station. The workmen weathered the storm in the new hollow-tile keeper’s dwelling, but the old assistant’s dwelling was swept away. A second small dwelling was subsequently built just behind the tower and adjacent to the double-dwelling. These edifices survive to this day, along with a third dwelling added around 1940. Electricity reached the station in 1928 when diesel generators were brought in to power a newly installed radiobeacon. Using a signal from at least two such beacons, mariners could determine their precise position along the coast. On April 11, 1935, the keeper at Aransas Pass was forced to operate the radiobeacon continuously for two days as the air was filled with dust, limiting visibility to about a quarter mile. The keeper reported: “The dwelling, tower, and radio room, are covered, inside and out, with a coating of dust that is as fines as chalk." When the Coast Guard assumed responsibilities for all lighthouses in 1939, a civilian keeper and three Coast Guard assistants staffed the station. Together, they shared the responsibility for the lighthouse and forty minor beacons marking the channels in the area. By the middle of the twentieth century, Aransas Pass had slowly inched over one mile south of the lighthouse. To better mark the entrance, a new light was established in 1952 at the Port Aransas Coast Guard Station, and Aransas Pass Lighthouse was deactivated, just a few years shy of a century of service. The Lydia Ann Channel, which runs north from the pass, was now the closest waterway to the tower, and the lighthouse started to be referred to as the Lydia Ann Light. The origin of the name Lydia Ann is a bit uncertain. A historical marker near the tower indicates that the channel was “named for the daughter of the first keeper.” Keeper Frank Stephenson did have a daughter named Lydia Ann, who married her father’s assistant, Thomas P. Roberts, but Stephenson was the station’s ninth keeper, not the first. Local historians believe Lydia Ann Channel was named for Lydia Ann Dana Hastings Hull Wells, wife of James B. Wells, a veteran of the Texas Revolution who settled on St. Joseph Island with his family and raised cattle for several decades until his death in 1880. In 1955, after no government entities expressed interest in the abandoned Aransas Pass Lighthouse, it was sold into private hands. Everett Bohls, of Austin, Texas, submitted the winning bid of $25,151, while the mineral and oil rights were sold separately to Jack Rowe." It has remained in private ownership since then. Keepers: Head: Elmanson Lewis (1856 – 1859), William R. Roberts (1859 – 1861), Sylvanus Dunham (1867 – 1868), Jerome Tuttle (1868 – 1869), Parry W. Humphreys (1869 – 1886), W.L. Penn (1886 – 1888), William Egly (1888 – 1895), Anton Anderson (1895 – 1897), Frank Stephenson (1897 – 1918), Thomas P. Roberts (1918 – at least 1921), George W. Anderson (1923 – 1932), Homer D. Merrick (1938 – 1939), William G. Browder (1939 – at least 1940), Edward J.W. Carter (1941 – 1942), W.A. Jones (1944 – 1952). First Assistant: Walter Edmonston (1867 – 1869), Michael Daly (1869), Caleb Jordan (1869), Parry Humphreys (1869 – 1874), William C. Clubb (1874 – 1875), Alexander S. Goodbread (1875 – 1876), Maria A. Humphreys (1876 – 1877), Jane W. Humphreys (1877 – 1886), Thomas Baker (1886), William H. Clements (1886 – 1887), William H. Seward (1887 – 1888), John Devine (1888 – 1892), Frank Stephenson (1892 – 1897), Thomas P. Roberts (1897 – 1918), Lydia L. Roberts (at least 1919), Englisbee K. Peyton (1929), Samuel F. Draim (1929 – 1934), Wilbur D. Bardwell (1934 – 1935), Albert Davis (1935 – 1937), Clifton Lee Roy Hinson (1938 – 1941). Second Assistant: L.P. Mayon (at least 1930), Howard G. Bardwell (1931 – 1933), David W. Bardwell (1933 – 1934), Clifton Lee Roy Hinson (1937 – 1938), Carl W. Kohn (1938), Earl A. Marshall (1938 – 1939), E.A. Marshall (1939 – 1940), Everett M. Woodruff (1940 – 1941), Edward J.W. Carter (1941 – 1942). Third Assistant: John W. Jones (1935 – 1936), Clifton Lee Roy Hinson (1936 – 1937), Carl W. Kohn (1937 – 1938), H.D. Merrick (at least 1940).

A fantastic trip....check off this on the bucket list. What an absolute privilege to visit this Texas Historical Lighthouse.

Aransas History Center added 5 new photos.

A bit of history on the Aransas Pass (Lydia Ann) Lighthouse we visited today.

"The majority of Texas’ 400-mile-long coastline is protected by a necklace of barrier islands and peninsulas, broken only by a few openings or passes that provide access to protected bays and harbors. Aransas Pass is one such gap, located between Saint Joseph Island to the north and Mustang Island to the south. The pass leads to the port of Corpus Christi some twenty miles away to the west.

On March 3, 1851, Congress authorized $12,500 for the construction of Aransas Pass Lighthouse. That same year, Lieutenant Commander T.A. Craven of the Coast Survey, while mapping this part of the Texas coast, recommended that a lightship be used to mark the pass, which was known to be slowly creeping south as currents deposited sand on the southern end of Saint Joseph Island and cut away the northern tip of Mustang Island.

Before settling on the type of light to mark Aransas Pass, the Lighthouse Board ordered a second survey of the coast, which occurred in 1853. H.S. Stellwagen visited the area and concluded that a screwpile lighthouse located inside the pass would be most useful on this “coast where there is so much sameness as to make it almost impossible to distinguish one place from another.” Adding another option for the lighthouse, District Inspector Walter H. Stevens in Galveston recommended a prefabricated cast-iron tower like those in use at Bolivar Point and on Matagorda Island. The task of determining which of the lights was most suitable to the area was then turned over to a committee that, perhaps a bit surprisingly, concluded that a brick tower, the most permanent style of lighthouse, should be used. The federal government purchased twenty-five acres on Harbor Island, located just inside the pass, and the state of Texas shortly thereafter ceded jurisdiction over the land on June 20, 1855.

A schooner carrying the bricks for the tower foundered on the sandbar at the entrance to Aransas Pass during high seas in late December 1855. The crew was rescued, but the ship and its cargo were a total loss. During 1856, new bricks arrived at the island, followed later by the lantern room, and finally a fourth-order Fresnel lens. The keeper’s dwelling and the fifty-five-foot, octagonal tower, with a coat of brown paint, were completed by the early part of 1857. The light from the tower’s lantern room first illuminated the night sky above the pass later that year.

Sometime after the start of the Civil War, the lens was removed from the lantern room for safekeeping. Control of the tower passed repeatedly between Confederate and Union forces. Then, on Christmas Day 1862, Confederate General John B. Magruder ordered the destruction of the tower. Two kegs of powder were exploded inside the tower, damaging the upper twenty-feet of brickwork and destroying most of the circular staircase.

After the war, Texas’ lights were gradually repaired or rebuilt and returned to service. Early in 1867, a work crew arrived to repair the upper portion of the damaged tower at Aransas Pass. Acting District Lighthouse Engineer M.F. Bonzano described a winter storm that hampered the work: “During the progress of the repairs one of the severest Northers ever experienced on the Texas coast occurred. The cold was so severe that frozen fish were hove ashore by the hundreds and birds of all sorts sought refuge in the tower and camp of the workmen where they perished in large numbers.” Aransas Pass Lighthouse was the last principal light along the coast to return to service, doing so in the spring of 18

Parry W. Humphreys was appointed keeper of the lighthouse on June 3, 1869. To supplement the provisions supplied by the Lighthouse Service, the family maintained a vegetable garden on Mustang Island. While the two previous keepers had lasted only a year at the station, Keeper Humphreys spent over sixteen years and apparently didn’t leave the station willingly. In 1885, the District Inspector felt that Keeper Humphreys, who was about seventy-four years old at the time, was unfit to maintain the station. The superintendent visited the station and urged the dismissal of Humphreys not only on account of his age but also for “drunkenness, disobedience of orders and refusing to pay his debts.” The Humphreys finally left the station in March 1886. At the time of their departure, Jane Humphreys had been serving as assistant keeper to her husband for a decade.

Hurricanes periodically swept through the area, inflicting varying degrees of destruction on the station. The most damage was caused by the hurricane of August 18, 1916, which prompted Congress to allocate “$20,000 for repairing buildings and dwellings, out buildings, and appurtenant structures, damaged or destroyed in the hurricane.” The brick keeper’s dwelling was leveled, while the porches were torn away from the frame assistant keeper’s dwelling and the station’s wharf was wrecked. A temporary walk was built and repairs were made to the assistant keeper’s dwelling, but work on more permanent structures didn’t begin until May 1918.

A double-dwelling of hollow-tile construction was built about thirty feet southwest of the lighthouse atop twenty cast-iron columns that were each supported by a concrete footing that capped a nineteen-foot yellow-pine pile driven into the marsh. The dwelling had three rooms in each of its two apartments and its roof extended out over a wrap-around porch. Detached kitchens were built behind the dwelling and were linked to it by a four-foot-wide covered gallery. Facilities, in the form of a two-compartment, frame privy set atop a brick foundation supported by a creosoted pile foundation, were also separate from the dwelling. A thirty-foot-long and six-foot-wide wharf was built parallel to the nearby bayou, and a five-foot-wide walkway that was roughly 270-feet-long connected the wharf to the dwelling, oil house, and tower.

On September 13, 1919, two days after the new structures were practically complete, another devastating hurricane struck the station. The workmen weathered the storm in the new hollow-tile keeper’s dwelling, but the old assistant’s dwelling was swept away. A second small dwelling was subsequently built just behind the tower and adjacent to the double-dwelling. These edifices survive to this day, along with a third dwelling added around 1940.

Electricity reached the station in 1928 when diesel generators were brought in to power a newly installed radiobeacon. Using a signal from at least two such beacons, mariners could determine their precise position along the coast. On April 11, 1935, the keeper at Aransas Pass was forced to operate the radiobeacon continuously for two days as the air was filled with dust, limiting visibility to about a quarter mile. The keeper reported: “The dwelling, tower, and radio room, are covered, inside and out, with a coating of dust that is as fines as chalk."

When the Coast Guard assumed responsibilities for all lighthouses in 1939, a civilian keeper and three Coast Guard assistants staffed the station. Together, they shared the responsibility for the lighthouse and forty minor beacons marking the channels in the area.

By the middle of the twentieth century, Aransas Pass had slowly inched over one mile south of the lighthouse. To better mark the entrance, a new light was established in 1952 at the Port Aransas Coast Guard Station, and Aransas Pass Lighthouse was deactivated, just a few years shy of a century of service. The Lydia Ann Channel, which runs north from the pass, was now the closest waterway to the tower, and the lighthouse started to be referred to as the Lydia Ann Light.

The origin of the name Lydia Ann is a bit uncertain. A historical marker near the tower indicates that the channel was “named for the daughter of the first keeper.” Keeper Frank Stephenson did have a daughter named Lydia Ann, who married her father’s assistant, Thomas P. Roberts, but Stephenson was the station’s ninth keeper, not the first. Local historians believe Lydia Ann Channel was named for Lydia Ann Dana Hastings Hull Wells, wife of James B. Wells, a veteran of the Texas Revolution who settled on St. Joseph Island with his family and raised cattle for several decades until his death in 1880.

In 1955, after no government entities expressed interest in the abandoned Aransas Pass Lighthouse, it was sold into private hands. Everett Bohls, of Austin, Texas, submitted the winning bid of $25,151, while the mineral and oil rights were sold separately to Jack Rowe."

It has remained in private ownership since then.

Keepers:

Head: Elmanson Lewis (1856 – 1859), William R. Roberts (1859 – 1861), Sylvanus Dunham (1867 – 1868), Jerome Tuttle (1868 – 1869), Parry W. Humphreys (1869 – 1886), W.L. Penn (1886 – 1888), William Egly (1888 – 1895), Anton Anderson (1895 – 1897), Frank Stephenson (1897 – 1918), Thomas P. Roberts (1918 – at least 1921), George W. Anderson (1923 – 1932), Homer D. Merrick (1938 – 1939), William G. Browder (1939 – at least 1940), Edward J.W. Carter (1941 – 1942), W.A. Jones (1944 – 1952).
First Assistant: Walter Edmonston (1867 – 1869), Michael Daly (1869), Caleb Jordan (1869), Parry Humphreys (1869 – 1874), William C. Clubb (1874 – 1875), Alexander S. Goodbread (1875 – 1876), Maria A. Humphreys (1876 – 1877), Jane W. Humphreys (1877 – 1886), Thomas Baker (1886), William H. Clements (1886 – 1887), William H. Seward (1887 – 1888), John Devine (1888 – 1892), Frank Stephenson (1892 – 1897), Thomas P. Roberts (1897 – 1918), Lydia L. Roberts (at least 1919), Englisbee K. Peyton (1929), Samuel F. Draim (1929 – 1934), Wilbur D. Bardwell (1934 – 1935), Albert Davis (1935 – 1937), Clifton Lee Roy Hinson (1938 – 1941).
Second Assistant: L.P. Mayon (at least 1930), Howard G. Bardwell (1931 – 1933), David W. Bardwell (1933 – 1934), Clifton Lee Roy Hinson (1937 – 1938), Carl W. Kohn (1938), Earl A. Marshall (1938 – 1939), E.A. Marshall (1939 – 1940), Everett M. Woodruff (1940 – 1941), Edward J.W. Carter (1941 – 1942).
Third Assistant: John W. Jones (1935 – 1936), Clifton Lee Roy Hinson (1936 – 1937), Carl W. Kohn (1937 – 1938), H.D. Merrick (at least 1940).
...

A bit of history on the Aransas Pass (Lydia Ann) Lighthouse we visited today.

The majority of Texas’ 400-mile-long coastline is protected by a necklace of barrier islands and peninsulas, broken only by a few openings or passes that provide access to protected bays and harbors. Aransas Pass is one such gap, located between Saint Joseph Island to the north and Mustang Island to the south. The pass leads to the port of Corpus Christi some twenty miles away to the west.

On March 3, 1851, Congress authorized $12,500 for the construction of Aransas Pass Lighthouse. That same year, Lieutenant Commander T.A. Craven of the Coast Survey, while mapping this part of the Texas coast, recommended that a lightship be used to mark the pass, which was known to be slowly creeping south as currents deposited sand on the southern end of Saint Joseph Island and cut away the northern tip of Mustang Island.

Before settling on the type of light to mark Aransas Pass, the Lighthouse Board ordered a second survey of the coast, which occurred in 1853. H.S. Stellwagen visited the area and concluded that a screwpile lighthouse located inside the pass would be most useful on this “coast where there is so much sameness as to make it almost impossible to distinguish one place from another.” Adding another option for the lighthouse, District Inspector Walter H. Stevens in Galveston recommended a prefabricated cast-iron tower like those in use at Bolivar Point and on Matagorda Island. The task of determining which of the lights was most suitable to the area was then turned over to a committee that, perhaps a bit surprisingly, concluded that a brick tower, the most permanent style of lighthouse, should be used. The federal government purchased twenty-five acres on Harbor Island, located just inside the pass, and the state of Texas shortly thereafter ceded jurisdiction over the land on June 20, 1855.

A schooner carrying the bricks for the tower foundered on the sandbar at the entrance to Aransas Pass during high seas in late December 1855. The crew was rescued, but the ship and its cargo were a total loss. During 1856, new bricks arrived at the island, followed later by the lantern room, and finally a fourth-order Fresnel lens. The keeper’s dwelling and the fifty-five-foot, octagonal tower, with a coat of brown paint, were completed by the early part of 1857. The light from the tower’s lantern room first illuminated the night sky above the pass later that year.

Sometime after the start of the Civil War, the lens was removed from the lantern room for safekeeping. Control of the tower passed repeatedly between Confederate and Union forces. Then, on Christmas Day 1862, Confederate General John B. Magruder ordered the destruction of the tower. Two kegs of powder were exploded inside the tower, damaging the upper twenty-feet of brickwork and destroying most of the circular staircase.

After the war, Texas’ lights were gradually repaired or rebuilt and returned to service. Early in 1867, a work crew arrived to repair the upper portion of the damaged tower at Aransas Pass. Acting District Lighthouse Engineer M.F. Bonzano described a winter storm that hampered the work: “During the progress of the repairs one of the severest Northers ever experienced on the Texas coast occurred. The cold was so severe that frozen fish were hove ashore by the hundreds and birds of all sorts sought refuge in the tower and camp of the workmen where they perished in large numbers.” Aransas Pass Lighthouse was the last principal light along the coast to return to service, doing so in the spring of 18

Parry W. Humphreys was appointed keeper of the lighthouse on June 3, 1869. To supplement the provisions supplied by the Lighthouse Service, the family maintained a vegetable garden on Mustang Island. While the two previous keepers had lasted only a year at the station, Keeper Humphreys spent over sixteen years and apparently didn’t leave the station willingly. In 1885, the District Inspector felt that Keeper Humphreys, who was about seventy-four years old at the time, was unfit to maintain the station. The superintendent visited the station and urged the dismissal of Humphreys not only on account of his age but also for “drunkenness, disobedience of orders and refusing to pay his debts.” The Humphreys finally left the station in March 1886. At the time of their departure, Jane Humphreys had been serving as assistant keeper to her husband for a decade.

Hurricanes periodically swept through the area, inflicting varying degrees of destruction on the station. The most damage was caused by the hurricane of August 18, 1916, which prompted Congress to allocate “$20,000 for repairing buildings and dwellings, out buildings, and appurtenant structures, damaged or destroyed in the hurricane.” The brick keeper’s dwelling was leveled, while the porches were torn away from the frame assistant keeper’s dwelling and the station’s wharf was wrecked. A temporary walk was built and repairs were made to the assistant keeper’s dwelling, but work on more permanent structures didn’t begin until May 1918.

A double-dwelling of hollow-tile construction was built about thirty feet southwest of the lighthouse atop twenty cast-iron columns that were each supported by a concrete footing that capped a nineteen-foot yellow-pine pile driven into the marsh. The dwelling had three rooms in each of its two apartments and its roof extended out over a wrap-around porch. Detached kitchens were built behind the dwelling and were linked to it by a four-foot-wide covered gallery. Facilities, in the form of a two-compartment, frame privy set atop a brick foundation supported by a creosoted pile foundation, were also separate from the dwelling. A thirty-foot-long and six-foot-wide wharf was built parallel to the nearby bayou, and a five-foot-wide walkway that was roughly 270-feet-long connected the wharf to the dwelling, oil house, and tower.

On September 13, 1919, two days after the new structures were practically complete, another devastating hurricane struck the station. The workmen weathered the storm in the new hollow-tile keeper’s dwelling, but the old assistant’s dwelling was swept away. A second small dwelling was subsequently built just behind the tower and adjacent to the double-dwelling. These edifices survive to this day, along with a third dwelling added around 1940.

Electricity reached the station in 1928 when diesel generators were brought in to power a newly installed radiobeacon. Using a signal from at least two such beacons, mariners could determine their precise position along the coast. On April 11, 1935, the keeper at Aransas Pass was forced to operate the radiobeacon continuously for two days as the air was filled with dust, limiting visibility to about a quarter mile. The keeper reported: “The dwelling, tower, and radio room, are covered, inside and out, with a coating of dust that is as fines as chalk.

When the Coast Guard assumed responsibilities for all lighthouses in 1939, a civilian keeper and three Coast Guard assistants staffed the station. Together, they shared the responsibility for the lighthouse and forty minor beacons marking the channels in the area.

By the middle of the twentieth century, Aransas Pass had slowly inched over one mile south of the lighthouse. To better mark the entrance, a new light was established in 1952 at the Port Aransas Coast Guard Station, and Aransas Pass Lighthouse was deactivated, just a few years shy of a century of service. The Lydia Ann Channel, which runs north from the pass, was now the closest waterway to the tower, and the lighthouse started to be referred to as the Lydia Ann Light.

The origin of the name Lydia Ann is a bit uncertain. A historical marker near the tower indicates that the channel was “named for the daughter of the first keeper.” Keeper Frank Stephenson did have a daughter named Lydia Ann, who married her father’s assistant, Thomas P. Roberts, but Stephenson was the station’s ninth keeper, not the first. Local historians believe Lydia Ann Channel was named for Lydia Ann Dana Hastings Hull Wells, wife of James B. Wells, a veteran of the Texas Revolution who settled on St. Joseph Island with his family and raised cattle for several decades until his death in 1880.

In 1955, after no government entities expressed interest in the abandoned Aransas Pass Lighthouse, it was sold into private hands. Everett Bohls, of Austin, Texas, submitted the winning bid of $25,151, while the mineral and oil rights were sold separately to Jack Rowe.

It has remained in private ownership since then.

Keepers:

Head: Elmanson Lewis (1856 – 1859), William R. Roberts (1859 – 1861), Sylvanus Dunham (1867 – 1868), Jerome Tuttle (1868 – 1869), Parry W. Humphreys (1869 – 1886), W.L. Penn (1886 – 1888), William Egly (1888 – 1895), Anton Anderson (1895 – 1897), Frank Stephenson (1897 – 1918), Thomas P. Roberts (1918 – at least 1921), George W. Anderson (1923 – 1932), Homer D. Merrick (1938 – 1939), William G. Browder (1939 – at least 1940), Edward J.W. Carter (1941 – 1942), W.A. Jones (1944 – 1952).
First Assistant: Walter Edmonston (1867 – 1869), Michael Daly (1869), Caleb Jordan (1869), Parry Humphreys (1869 – 1874), William C. Clubb (1874 – 1875), Alexander S. Goodbread (1875 – 1876), Maria A. Humphreys (1876 – 1877), Jane W. Humphreys (1877 – 1886), Thomas Baker (1886), William H. Clements (1886 – 1887), William H. Seward (1887 – 1888), John Devine (1888 – 1892), Frank Stephenson (1892 – 1897), Thomas P. Roberts (1897 – 1918), Lydia L. Roberts (at least 1919), Englisbee K. Peyton (1929), Samuel F. Draim (1929 – 1934), Wilbur D. Bardwell (1934 – 1935), Albert Davis (1935 – 1937), Clifton Lee Roy Hinson (1938 – 1941).
Second Assistant: L.P. Mayon (at least 1930), Howard G. Bardwell (1931 – 1933), David W. Bardwell (1933 – 1934), Clifton Lee Roy Hinson (1937 – 1938), Carl W. Kohn (1938), Earl A. Marshall (1938 – 1939), E.A. Marshall (1939 – 1940), Everett M. Woodruff (1940 – 1941), Edward J.W. Carter (1941 – 1942).
Third Assistant: John W. Jones (1935 – 1936), Clifton Lee Roy Hinson (1936 – 1937), Carl W. Kohn (1937 – 1938), H.D. Merrick (at least 1940).

Hallie Anne Hollenback, Richard Schendel and 23 others like this

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Aransas History CenterTo learn more about our local history, please join us for the History Cruise hosted by Aransas History Center, a venue of Aransas Pathways. On Tuesday, May 23 leaving Fulton Harbor at 5:15 pm, the Skimmer will take us to the Forgotten Ports of Copano Bay. $45 per person and includes refreshments and a narrated Tour. Message me for more information. Hope you can join us.

1 week ago
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Brian BeasleyThe Bay Yacht Club in Corpus would have a cruise event once a year to this lighthouse. When I was 14, I was bound and determined to make 14 trips to the top of the lighthouse!

1 week ago   ·  1
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Eugene ChernoskyAn interesting read, thanks for sharing!

1 week ago   ·  1
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Karen WebbThanks for the history lesson.

1 week ago   ·  1
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Emil SpechtVery interesting.

1 week ago   ·  1
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Robert PolstonThis I a very good read, thanks for posting it

1 week ago
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Adrie JeffersUncle Frank, was this what you were looking for?

1 week ago

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Aransas History Center added 4 photos and a video.

Fun and informative Historical Tour of the Aransas Pass Light Station today which, we learned from County Surveyor Jerry Brundrett, is actually in Aransas County. Board Members and special friends and supporters of the History Center viewed the houses and climbed up in the Lighthouse, thanks to the generosity of the current owner, an ardent preservationist. A wonderfully restored treasure in Aransas County.
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Fun and informative Historical Tour of the Aransas Pass Light Station today which, we learned from County Surveyor Jerry Brundrett, is actually in Aransas County.  Board Members and special friends and supporters of the History Center viewed the houses and climbed up in the Lighthouse, thanks to the generosity of the current owner, an ardent preservationist.  A wonderfully restored treasure in Aransas County.

Patsy O'Neill Baca, Chuck Lucas and 12 others like this

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Aransas History CenterA truly wonderful trip.

1 week ago
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Mary Shivers CulpinWe spent a delightful Fourth of July here a number of years ago. Our great-great grandfather, William Redmond Roberts, was appointed lighthouse keeper in 1859. Later another another Roberts, Thoms, was an assistant, then keeper. Our mother, Virginia Shivers use to stay there with a cousin. It is a wonderful place and beautifully preserved.

1 week ago   ·  2
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Ruth HoeseSome people have all the fun, what a great trip.

1 week ago   ·  1
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Cheryl A. LivingstonWow, wonderful opportunity.

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Happy Mother's Day to all the Mothers of Aransas County, all those who researched their family history, took photographs and wrote in dairies, letters and journals to document our heritage; raised money for baseball and PTA and scholarships; packed lunches and cooked for Fourth of July picnics; started businesses and mentored employees; volunteered countless hours for countless churches, schools and organizations; raised children and nurtured families in hard times; and were role models for all those values we cherish in Aransas County. We salute you and wish you the happiest of days. ...

Happy Mothers Day to all the Mothers of Aransas County, all those who researched their family history, took photographs and wrote in dairies, letters and journals to document our heritage; raised money for baseball and PTA and scholarships; packed lunches and cooked for Fourth of July picnics; started businesses and mentored employees; volunteered countless hours for countless churches, schools and organizations; raised children and nurtured families in hard times; and were role models for all those values we cherish in Aransas County.  We salute you and wish you the happiest of days.

Aransas History Center shared their photo.

The History Center is a venue of Aransas Pathways.
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The History Cruise is scheduled for Tuesday, May 23. Leaving Fulton Harbor at 5:15 pm on The Skimmer. I have some tickets reserved. Each ticket is $45 & includes refreshments. This is the last history cruise until fall. Tickets will be available at The History Center this Sat between 10-4 or Sun 1-4. A truly one of a kind narrated trip.

The History Center is a venue of Aransas Pathways.

The History Cruise is scheduled for Tuesday, May 23. Leaving Fulton Harbor at 5:15 pm on The Skimmer. I have some tickets reserved. Each ticket is $45 & includes refreshments. This is the last history cruise until fall. Tickets will be available at The History Center this Sat between 10-4 or Sun 1-4. A truly one of a kind narrated trip. ...

The History Cruise is scheduled for Tuesday, May 23.  Leaving Fulton Harbor at 5:15 pm on The Skimmer.  I have some tickets reserved.  Each ticket is $45 & includes refreshments. This is the last history cruise until fall. Tickets will be available at The History Center this Sat between 10-4 or Sun 1-4.  A truly one of a kind narrated trip.

 

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Printed Map of Sites

A printed 'take it with you' map of the Aransas Pathways project sites is available for your use now. The Birding and Kayak sites are over-laid on a map of the full Live Oak and Blackjack peninsulas with a legend. The inside of this folded map are aerial shots of the area with the Bike trails marked with their Ease of Use level. Expanded views of Downtown Rockport and Downtown Fulton with a legend of Historical sites is also included. Plan your custom tours with this valuable map.

Click here to download your personal copy.

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