Wednesday, July 02, 2008

M is for Matagorda

Needville is our home; Matagorda is our playground.

Matagorda Beach

You know about the beach, the fishing and kayaking, but did you know Matagorda is the third oldest town in Texas?

Welcome To Matagorda
Where Texas History Began

Matagorda was established in 1827. Several patriots of early Texas are buried in the Matagorda Cemetery. One is Samuel Rhoads Fisher, a signer of the Texas Declaration of Independence. Another is Albert C. Horton, the first lieutenant governor of Texas.

Albert C. Horton

The houses of both of these men are still standing, which is amazing considering the number of hurricanes and tropical storms that have gone through this area. Fisher's house was built in 1832. It is the oldest building in Matagorda. Now fully restored, it operates as the Stanley-Fisher House B&B. John and I plan to stay here some day.

Stanley-Fisher B&B

Other old buildings in town include the old post office (built before 1872) and the old meat market (early 1900s). Recognize the yellow bench on the post office porch?

Old Post Office and Old Meat Market

Christ Episcopal Church is the oldest Episcopal church in Texas. The original building was destroyed by a hurricane in 1854. This building was erected nearby. Some of the materials from the 1841 building were salvaged for use in the new structure.

Christ Episcopal Church

One of the two remaining swing bridges on the Texas coast is in Matagorda. It's been in operation for over 50 years. The Matagorda bridge spans the Intracoastal Waterway connecting the town of Matagorda to Matagorda Peninsula where the beach is. I have never witnessed it, but twice a year since 1919 hundreds of head of cattle are herded across this bridge. In the fall they are driven from inland ranches to coastal grazing land near the beach. In the spring before hurricane season starts, they are driven back.

Matagorda Swing Bridge

The Matagorda Cattle Drive will be a thing of the past with the opening of the new bridge that's being constructed to replace the swing bridge. I've been told there will be one last drive this fall. I would love to see it.

Bridge Construction and Shrimp Boats

There's no telling what other changes this new bridge will bring to the community of Matagorda. No doubt, it will be the start of a new chapter in the history of Matagorda, Texas.

Matagorda History:
Matagorda Area Chamber of Commerce
Matagorda Texas.com
Historical Markers Guide
News Article/Dallas Morning News

13 comments:

  1. I learned a lot from this post. Thanks!

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  2. What an interesting place. Thanks for sharing a bit of local color and history.

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  3. How did I know that was coming? ;-)
    I do hope you can live in Matagorda one day.

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  4. No wonder you love Matagorda. It's beautiful!

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  5. How interesting - it is sad I live in Texas and know so little Texas history (my excuse is that I grew up in Minnesota - not Texas). I know the basics and that is it. Maybe you should consider a second career - Tx history teacher!

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  6. Lovely I only have one question when can I leave for a vacation. It makes me want to pack up and spend the long weekend on one of the boats or benches.

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  7. That looks like an interesting area - I would love to see the cattle cross the bridge!

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  8. such a a beautiful shot of the ocean -
    and interesting history of matagroda. I, too, would love to see the cattle drive across the bridge. I hope you can get some shots of it.

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  9. did you see the cool rainbow with the Albert C. Horton picture? was that your lens, or was it actually there?

    I am so jealous of your Matagorda...I can pass on Texas summers, but that close to the beach...well,...

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  10. Anonymous8:42 AM

    I grew up in Matagorda and used to get stuck in the cattle drives while riding the bus to school. We always loved watching the cowboys ride by our bus windows. However, I remember my parents being a little annoyed because the cattle would leave terrible ruts in the front of our property. Thanks for all the great facts. I grew up there and didn't know all of this!
    We're going for a visit this week, and I'll make sure to take my kids to the old post office and cemetery.
    -Crystal

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  11. Crystal,

    We actually got to see the cattle drive in May. We were heading to the beach when we met the cattle and cowboys on the beach road. We pulled over to take pictures and I posted one on my photoblog--onesnap.blogspot.com. We had been in town all week, but no did not hear about the drive. It was just by chance we got to see it.

    The new bridge is supposed to be open on Thursday, according to someone we asked in Stanley's. If you get to Matagorda before then, you drive over the swing bridge one last time.

    Tracy
    6/21/09

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  12. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  13. Sorry for all the typos above.

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Thank you for commenting!
~Tracy