Beautiful certificate from the Aransas Pass Land Company
issued in 1888. This historic document was printed by the Dallas Lithography Co. and has an ornate border around it with a vignette of an ship. This item has been hand signed by the Company’s President, and Secretary, and is over 130 years old. Cut right border.
A Brief History of Aransas Pass, Texas
Aransas Pass, across Redfish Bay from Port Aransas in Aransas, San Patricio, and Nueces counties, is named for the pass between Mustang and St. Joseph's islands. The town's early developers wanted to found a great deepwater port city on the Gulf of Mexico. The first attempts to develop the area were made by Pryor Lea,qv who founded the Aransas Road Company to link the coast with San Antonio by means of both a railroad and a turnpike. The enterprise, however, was a failure. Lea succeeded in building only a short distance of road, and the railroad never advanced beyond the planning stage. In the late 1850s the Central Transit Company, backed by English investors, sought to turn Lea's dream into reality by financing construction of a harbor and the railroad. But with the outbreak of the Civil Warqv the work was interrupted and funding dried up.
Efforts at making the port also began before the Civil War. The United States Army Corps of Engineers studied the possibility of a deepwater port at Aransas Pass harbor in 1853. But it was not until 1879, when a group from Rockport raised $10,000 for the project, that work began in earnest. Congress passed a resolution in 1879 authorizing the deepening of Aransas Pass. Samuel M. Mansfield worked unsuccessfully on this project from May of 1880 to 1885.
The Texas Homestead and Farmers Association (renamed Aransas Pass Land Company in 1888) took out a charter in 1882 with the intention of purchasing and subdividing land. In 1890 the Aransas Pass Harbor Company and the Aransas Harbor City and Improvement Company were chartered by largely the same people. The harbor company planned to dig a channel from the Gulf to the site where the Harbor City Company proposed to develop Harbor City. Russell B. Harrison, son of the late president William Henry Harrison, and Thomas Benton Wheeler,qv former lieutenant governor of Texas, were two of the key organizers.
Nationwide publicity generated interest from all over the United States. The three-story Hoyt Hotel (later renamed Bay View) was opened in 1893 to accommodate and impress the flood of prospects who flocked in by rail and sea to inspect the new port city. The so-called Terminal Railroad that would link Aransas Pass to the mainland began in 1891. Rock for the planned jetty was shipped in on the San Antonio and Aransas Pass Railway, transferred to the Terminal Railroad, and then off-loaded to barges to be taken to the pass.
A double-barreled blow ended the dream. The panic of 1893 dried up funds, and the channel-deepening project turned out to be a failure. People who had flocked into Aransas Pass now vanished just as fast. The promoters eventually offered to turn their $401,554 channel-deeping project over to the federal government at no charge, and in 1899 the United States Corps of Engineers was authorized to tackle the project. By 1907 a second jetty had been installed, and a deepwater channel had been extended to Harbor Island. Deep water had finally arrived after a fifty-year struggle.
History from Wikipedia and
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