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In 1866, James Doughty and Richard H. Wood, searching for a safe harbor location to ship cattle, built pens and a livestock-shipping wharf on “Rocky Point”. Other wharves and pens followed. Soon, a regular schedule of Morgan line shallow-draft steamboats arrived with merchandise and departed with cattle and packery products. In 1888, the railroad ignited a boom in Rockport, prompting local businessmen to begin advertising a strategic harbor near the Gulf. They also pushed to deepen it and create a deep-water port, but the effort ended when Corpus Christi opened its port in 1926. However, abundant harvests of fish, oysters, and shrimp fueled a thriving seafood industry. By 1910, fish houses anchored the southwest side of the Rockport Harbor and numerous fishing boats moored at harbor wharves. By 1940, a new breakwater and a concrete piling and steel seawall created a small-craft safety basin which became Rockport’s famous “fish bowl” harbor.

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