The Texas Riviera
"Come Sea the Beauty and Charm of Rockport!"
Location of Rockport, Texas
|Incorporated||August 18, 1870|
|• Mayor||Patrick Rios|
|• Total||18.5 sq mi (48 km2)|
|• Land||14.0 sq mi (36 km2)|
|• Water||4.5 sq mi (12 km2)|
|Elevation||7 ft (2 m)|
|• Density||470/sq mi (180/km2)|
|Time zone||UTC-6 (Central (CST))|
|• Summer (DST)||UTC-5 (CDT)|
|Area code(s)||361 Exchanges: 727,729.790|
|GNIS feature ID||1345420|
Rockport is a city in Aransas County, Texas, United States. The population was 8,766 at the 2010 census.It is the county seat.
Rockport is adjacent to the town of Fulton, and many refer to the combined communities as "Rockport-Fulton"; however, Rockport and Fulton are legally separate municipalities.
Following the Civil War, a number of people considered developing the Live Oak Peninsula. Joseph F. Smith, who had founded the nearby town of St. Mary's in 1850, joined with Thomas H. Mathis and his cousin J.M. Mathis, who were agents of the Morgan Steamship line, and built a wharf at the site of what would later become the town of Rockport, in 1867. The same year, George W. Fulton and his wife, Texas heiress and Joseph Smith's cousin, Harriet Smith Fulton moved to her extensive land holdings on the peninsula. Fulton also took an interest in the development of Rockport, as well as creating the town of Fulton farther up the coastline. In response, a nascent cattle-slaughtering and packing operation at the wharf expanded rapidly, allowing Rockport to be officially incorporated as a town in 1870; its name arising from the rock ledge that runs along the shore. Thomas Mathis became Rockport's first mayor after being appointed by the governor.A year later in 1871, the town achieved "city" status after continued growth.
In 1871, the Mathis cousins teamed up with local ranching families of George W. Fulton and Thomas M. Coleman to raise and slaughter cattle for shipment out of the city's wharf on their steamship line. The partnership proved highly successful, and continued to draw people and businesses to the city. The national Panic of 1873 took its share of the town's prosperity and caused a slump for the next few years. The meat packing market was slow to recover, and the Mathis cousins abandoned the ranching partnership in 1879. Fulton and Coleman then re-formed their ranching partnership, an organization that continued into the 1930s. For many years Fulton and others petitioned for the railroad to extend their lines to Rockport to provide a second source of transportation and break the Morgan Line's monopoly on the Coastal Bend ports. After offering free rights of way across the Coleman-Fulton ranch, and hundreds of acres in town lots, finally, in 1888 the railroad arrived. The Morgan Steamship company now had competition, and as the local cattle ranchers began shipping live cattle by train, The Morgan Line withdrew from serving the Coastal Bend. Another brief growth spurt began and soon ended, here and across Texas, due to some bad winters and the development of the cattle industry in the mid-west. The railroad, however, brought tourists, and the city's economy grew with several large hotels catering to that industry. Rockport's economy soon came to be dominated by shipbuilding and tourism toward the end of the 19th century. At the same time, the railroad offered speedy transportation for crops, and a land boom caused by farming followed until brought to a halt with the national Panic of 1893.
Rockport's economy continued struggling into the early 20th century and took another hit in 1919 when a major hurricane decimated the region. A slow recovery ensued stalling additional development. The city's fortunes however began to improve in 1925 following the establishment of a lucrative shrimping industry which grew further during the 1930s and benefited from the construction of a harbor in 1935. Shrimping activity decreased during World War II but recovered thereafter, boosting the town along with an important boat-building industry that developed in this period as well. By the century's end, shrimping continued to be an important part of the Rockport economy alongside fishing and tourism.
On August 25, 2017 Hurricane Harvey (name now retired)made landfall near the city as a Category 4 storm on the Saffir–Simpson scale. Causing one death and catastrophic damage. One person died in a house fire in the city, unable to be rescued due to the extreme weather conditions, entire blocks were destroyed by the hurricane's violent eyewall winds, the city's courthouse was severely damaged when a cargo trailer was hurled into it, coming to a stop halfway through the structure, the gymnasium of the Rockport-Fulton High School lost multiple walls while the school itself suffered considerable damage, many homes, apartment buildings, and businesses sustained major structural damage from the intense winds, and several were completely destroyed. Numerous boats were damaged or sunk at a marina in town, airplanes and structures were destroyed at the Aransas County Airport, and the Fairfield Inn was severely damaged as well, About 20 percent of Rockport's population was displaced, as they were still unable to return to their homes a year after the hurricane.
Rockport is located at 18.5 square miles (47.9 km2), of which 13.9 square miles (36.1 km2) is land and 4.6 square miles (11.8 km2), or 28.84%, is water.(28.048645, -97.041185), on the Live Oak Peninsula, which divides the western shore of Aransas Bay, an arm of the Gulf of Mexico, and the eastern shore of Copano Bay. According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of
The climate in this area is characterized by hot, humid summers and generally mild-to-cool winters. According to the Köppen Climate Classification system, Rockport has a humid subtropical climate, abbreviated "Cfa" on climate maps.
|U.S. Decennial Census|
As of 2018 (estimated) there are 10,759 people, an undisclosed number of households and 3,651 families residing in the city.
Rockport is a popular tourist destination for its access to various forms of marine recreation and attractions such as boating, fishing (bay, offshore, wade, beach, and pier), duck hunting, waterskiing, swimming, birdwatching, and seafood. The city's largest public beach, Rockport Beach Park,offers an array of community facilities including a playground and two beach pavilions.
The city hosts several fairs and expositions each year including the Oyster Fest, Seafair, and a Wine Festival. The Rockport Art Festival, held annually since 1970, is a major event with art exhibitions, auctions, and vendors congregating in the city around the Fourth of July holiday. A more recent addition to the city's list of popular annual attractions is the Rockport Film Festival which has screened and judged entries since its founding in 2007.
Rockport is also home to an aquarium and multiple historic sites such as the Fulton Mansion and the city's heritage district. The community also hosts the Texas Maritime Museum,as well as numerous art galleries, restaurants, and shops. Area visitor accommodations are provided by a wide range of lodgings, from small bed and breakfasts to major hotels and RV facilities.
Large windswept live oaks are a dominating feature of the area, and the state's oldest live oak, the "Big Tree", resides on nearby Lamar Peninsula.
Rockport Beach Park is a large public beach fronting Aransas Bay. It features two pavilions, a saltwater pool, boat-launching ramps, and various other amenities.
There are a number of marinas, boat-launching ramps, marine service businesses, and ship chandlers in the area (catering to both recreational and commercial vessels of either the sail or power variety). Several marinas are operated by the Aransas County Navigation District.The Key Allegro Marina, with its home-lined canals and party atmosphere, is a popular destination among visitors.
The Big Blue Crab is a local park and attraction located on the banks of the Little Bay next to the historic Sea View Motel. It features an elevated blue crab sculpture that is the world's largest. Originally constructed in the 1950s, the crab fell apart in the 1970s, but the city rebuilt the attraction in 2012 to even larger proportions. The crab suffered major damage five years later in Hurricane Harvey.
The area around and in Rockport is noted as a prime birdwatching center, located on a major North American migratory bird route, the Central Flyway.
Whooping cranes winter in the large Aransas National Wildlife Refuge located nearby. Local organizations such as the Aransas Bird and Nature Club have helped preserve unique birdwatching reserves like the Connie Hagar sanctuary and Aransas Woods that are easily accessible. Located along the migration route of several species of hummingbirds, the city hosts an annual "Hummer and Birding Expo" which includes tours of local residences where hundreds of ruby-throated hummingbirds can be viewed at feeders.
All of Rockport is served by the Aransas County Independent School District, and the city is home to the Rockport-Fulton High School Pirates. Sacred Heart School, a private school, also serves the community.
The Aransas County Public Library is located at 701 E. Mimosa Street in Rockport.
San Patricio County is a county in the U.S. state of Texas. As of the 2010 census, the population was 64,804. Its county seat is Sinton.
Aransas County is a county located in the U.S. state of Texas. As of the 2010 census, the population was 23,158. Its county seat is Rockport. The county was formed in 1871 from Refugio County and organized the following year. It was named for the Rio Nuestra Senora de Aranzazu, a Spanish outpost in early Texas.
Fulton is a town in Aransas County, Texas, United States. As of the 2010 census, this South Texas coastal fishing community had a population of 1,358. The town is named for George Ware Fulton, a land developer in the area.
Port Aransas is a city in Nueces County, Texas, United States. This city is 180 miles southeast of San Antonio. The population was 3,480 at the 2010 census. Port Aransas is the only established town on Mustang Island. It is located north of Padre Island and is one of the longest barrier islands along the Texas coast. Corpus Christi Bay, the Gulf of Mexico, the Lydia Ann Ship Channel and the Corpus Christi Ship Channel make up the surrounding waters.
Mathis is a city in San Patricio County, Texas, United States. The population was 4,942 at the 2010 census.
Taft is a city in San Patricio County, Texas, United States. The population was 3,048 at the 2010 census.
Hurricane Celia was the costliest tropical cyclone in Texas history until Hurricane Alicia in 1983. The third named storm, second hurricane, and first major hurricane of the 1970 Atlantic hurricane season, Celia developed from a tropical wave in the western Caribbean Sea on July 31. Initially, the depression tracked north-northwestward without significantly strengthening, and crossed over western Cuba on August 1. Heavy rains on the island caused severe flooding, leading to five fatalities. The depression entered the Gulf of Mexico and was upgraded to Tropical Storm Celia later on August 1. Due to warm sea surface temperatures, Celia rapidly intensified into a major hurricane on August 1 and after the creation of the Saffir–Simpson hurricane wind scale in 1971 she was estimated to have been a Category 3 storm. Storm surge and swells lashed the west coast of Florida, especially the Panhandle, causing eight people to drown. Early on August 2, Celia began to weaken. However, the storm underwent rapid deepening again and peaked as a Category 3 hurricane with winds of 125 mph (205 km/h) on August 3.
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Aransas Bay is a bay on the Texas gulf coast, approximately 30 miles (48 km) northeast of Corpus Christi, and 173 miles (278 km) south of San Antonio. It is separated from the Gulf of Mexico by San José Island. Aransas Pass is the most direct navigable outlet into the Gulf of Mexico from the bay. The cities of Aransas Pass and Port Aransas are located at the southern end, and Rockport is found on the central western shore. The bay is oriented laterally northeast-southwest, and is extended by Redfish Bay to the southwest, Copano Bay to the west, Saint Charles Bay to the north, and Mesquite Bay to the northeast. Aransas Bay is part of the Mission-Aransas National Estuarine Research Reserve.
North American area code 361 is a state of Texas telephone area code for numbers in the Corpus Christi area. It was created prior to February 13, 1999, in a split from area code 512.
The 1916 Texas hurricane was an intense and quick-moving tropical cyclone that caused widespread damage in Jamaica and South Texas in August 1916. A Category 4 hurricane upon landfall in Texas, it was the strongest tropical cyclone to strike the United States in three decades. Throughout its eight-day trek across the Caribbean Sea and Gulf of Mexico, the hurricane caused 37 fatalities and inflicted $11.8 million in damage.
Aransas County Independent School District is an independent county-wide school district based in Rockport, Texas, United States. The district serves a 486-square-mile (1,260 km2) area that covers most of Aransas County, including the city of Rockport, the town of Fulton, and the unincorporated communities of Holiday Beach and Lamar.
The Corpus Christi Metropolitan Statistical Area is a metropolitan area in South Texas that covers three counties—Aransas, Nueces, and San Patricio. As of the 2000 census, the MSA had a population of 413,280.
The Corpus Christi-Kingsville-Alice Combined Statistical Area is made up of six counties in South Texas. The statistical area consists of the Corpus Christi Metropolitan Statistical Area the Kingsville Micropolitan Statistical Area, and the Alice Micropolitan Statistical Area. As of the 2010 census, the CSA had a population of 501,500.
Copano Bay is a northwestern extension of Aransas Bay, west of Rockport, Texas in Refugio and Aransas counties. It is supplied with seawater from the Gulf of Mexico via Aransas Bay, and fed freshwater from the Aransas River, Mission River and Copano Creek. As an estuary, the bay is home to a diverse ecosystem consisting of various birds including the endangered whooping crane, and numerous finfish including the redfish as well as shellfish such as oysters. It is classified as a nursery for shrimp, which prohibits production from the bay. Copano Bay is also a historic location for human usage and settlement that dates back to the 18th century, beginning with the historic port of El Copano and the 19th century settlements of St. Mary's of Aransas and Copano. The present-day towns of Bayside, Copano Village and Holiday Beach were all founded in the 20th century. Oil and natural gas are pumped from below the bay's surface, and contribute to the livelihood of the local economies. Recently, areas around the bay were affected by Hurricane Harvey which crossed over the bay as a Category 3 hurricane.
Rockport-Fulton High School is a public high school in Rockport, Texas, United States, located on the Texas Gulf Coast. It is the only high school in the Aransas County Independent School District and classified as a 4A school by the UIL. In 2013, the school was rated "Met Standard" by the Texas Education Agency. Parts of the school collapsed in August 2017 due to Hurricane Harvey.
Corpus Christi is a coastal city in the South Texas region of the U.S. state of Texas. The county seat of Nueces County, it also extends into Aransas, Kleberg, and San Patricio counties. The population was 277,454 at the 2000 census; in 2006 the U.S. Census Bureau estimated the city's population at 285,175, making it the eighth-largest city in the state. It is the principal city of the three-county Corpus Christi Metropolitan Statistical Area as well as the larger Corpus Christi-Kingsville Combined Statistical Area. The translation from Latin of the city's name is Body of Christ, given to the settlement by the Spanish, in honor of the Blessed Sacrament (Eucharist). The city has been nicknamed The Sparkling City by the Sea, or "Corpitos" particularly in literature promoting tourism.
Holiday Beach is an unincorporated community and census-designated place in Aransas County, Texas, United States. As of the 2010 census it had a population of 514. This was a new CDP for the 2010 census.
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Hurricane Harvey was a Category 4 hurricane that made landfall on Texas and Louisiana in August 2017, causing catastrophic flooding and many deaths. It is tied with 2005's Hurricane Katrina as the costliest tropical cyclone on record, inflicting $125 billion in damage, primarily from catastrophic rainfall-triggered flooding in the Houston metropolitan area and Southeast Texas. It was the first major hurricane to make landfall in the United States since Wilma in 2005, ending a record 12-year span in which no hurricanes made landfall at the intensity of a major hurricane throughout the country. In a four-day period, many areas received more than 40 inches (1,000 mm) of rain as the system slowly meandered over eastern Texas and adjacent waters, causing unprecedented flooding. With peak accumulations of 60.58 in (1,539 mm), in Nederland, Texas, Harvey was the wettest tropical cyclone on record in the United States. The resulting floods inundated hundreds of thousands of homes, which displaced more than 30,000 people and prompted more than 17,000 rescues.