Port Aransas history

June 01, 2011 @ 03:57 PM -- by

As a Port Aransas Jones Act maritime lawyer, I am very interested in the history of Port Aransas. Mustang Island, on which Port Aransas sits, was originally called "Wild Horse Island" because of the many wild horses (called "mesterios") which the Spaniards brought in the 1800's. There were many famous pirates on the island at this time also. Jean Lafitte, the French pirate, and his group of buccaneers spent a lot of time on Mustang Island in the 1820's until his death in 1823. People still think that his buried treasure is somewhere on the Island.

The pass from the Gulf inland was very important for commerce. In 1833, a map showed the location of what is now Port Aransas. At the time it was called Sand Point. The pass was then given the name Aranzazu, and eventually became known as Aransas. In the 1850's, there was regular steamship service running between Mustang Island and the important trade center of New Orleans. This helped the town grow.

Port Aransas was known as Ropesville in the early 1890's. However, because of the tremendous tarpon fishing, it was known as Tarpon starting around 1899 because of the large numbers of the fish being caught in its waters. The population at the turn of the century was about 250. Around 1910, the people began calling their city Port Aransas. Citizens began calling their town Port Aransas about 1910. The hurricane of 1919, which also did major damage in the Florida Keys, struck with 115 mph winds between Corpus Christi and Brownsville, almost wiping out the town.

In 1935 Dr. E.J. Lund, a successful zoologist from The University of Texas, came to Port Aransas to research a huge fish kill. Dr. Lund recognized the beauty and uniqueness of the area and the need for research of the natural resources of the Gulf. In 1941, The University of Texas Marine Science Institute ("UTMSI")was formed. Dr. Lund served as the Director. This is a great institution which we are blessed to have in Port Aransas.

Contact Port Aransas maritime and Jones Act lawyer Scott Nelson if you need help with a maritime issue.