Official Texas Historical Markers
Texas historical markers commemorate diverse topics — from the history and architecture of houses, commercial and public buildings, religious congregations and events that changed the course of local and state history, to individuals who have made lasting contributions to the state, community organizations and businesses, churches, and many more. Age, significance and architectural requirements govern the eligibility of topics and sites when applying for either a subject marker. The historical markers listed below were issued by the state to Catholic organizations in the Diocese of Corpus Christi.
Brooks County Historical Marker
Local geographic names show that the Catholic faith arrived here before 1800. This area was in the Diocese of Monterrey until the Diocese of Texas was formed in 1847. In the new Diocese it was in the Brownsville Parish until transferred to San Diego in 1866. Fathers Claude Jaillet (1843-1929) and Peter Bard (1846-1920) of San Diego traveled this area for about 40 years, ministering on the scattered ranches. In 1904-05 the Mission of San Ysidro (Saint Isidore) was built in Falfurrias. The Rt. Rev. Paul Joseph Nussbaum, first Bishop of Corpus Christi Diocese, erected the Parish of Saint Isidore in 1914. The Chapel of Saints Peter and Paul was built nearby in 1916 for English-speaking communicants. In 1925 the mission was merged with Saint Isidore to form Sacred Heart Church, which is now on Garza Street and renamed Our Lady of Guadalupe. In Brooks County there are also the Church of Saint Anne at Encino and other Catholic facilities and organizations. The school of the Ursuline Sisters prospered for 38 years before closing its doors in 1965. Some mainstays of the church have been Lino Trevino (1857-1935), Charles Premont (1867-1941), J.J. Allan (1871-1943), Mrs. J.T. Maupin (1875-1967), and Mrs. R.E. McBryde (1879-1966).
Location: W. Blucher and S. Caldwell Streets, Falfurrias
Gussetville Historical Marker
Founded by Irish Catholics of McMullen and McGloin colony in 1830's. Called "Fox nation" for the Fox family, was renamed Gussettville in 1850's in honor of N. Gussett, owner of general store. First Catholic church in Live Oak County built here 1874. Land for church and part of the cemetery was given by Thomas Shannon and his wife Anne. A stagecoach stop on San Antonio-Brownsville line, town prospered until by-passed by railroad. Typical of hundreds of early towns that faded as train service diverted traffic. Church is chief remaining structure.
Location: From George West take US 59 east about 2.5 miles turn south on FM 799 and continue about 3 miles to cemetery
James Power, Empresario, Refugio Historical Marker
Born in Ireland, Colonial James Power came to New Orleans in 1809 and to Texas in 1823. With fellow Irish Empresario James Hewetson (1796-1870), he was awarded contracts to settle Irish Catholic and Mexican families between the Guadalupe and Lavaca Rivers. Their territory was extended in 1830 to the Nueces. Power went to Ireland to recruit colonists. On the return voyage sickness and shipwreck tragically reduced their numbers. In 1835 he urged his colonist to garrison Goliad, and battled staunchly against hostile Indians. He was a fine diplomat and helped secure Indian neutrality during the Texas Revolution. A close friend General Sam Houston, Power signed both the the Texas Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. In 1838 he was commissioned to conclude a treaty with the Lipan Indians. In 1842 he was briefly imprisoned by a Mexican invasion force. He represented Refugio in the Republic of Texas Senate and at the Annexation Convention of 1845. Power married twice, to Dolores (d. 1836) and later Tomasa Portilla, Spanish-born daughters of Empresario Felipe Portilla, and had seven children. He died at Live Oak Point, his principal home, in 1852, and was reintered at Mount Calvary Cemetery, Refugio, about 1872.
Location: Courthouse grounds, Commerce & Empresario Sts. Refugio
John Dunn Jr. Homesite Historical Marker
John Dunn, Sr., (1803-1889) immigrated to the United States from Ireland in 1851. He began acquiring large amounts of property in Nueces County, including this site which he purchased in 1868 from Jonas Pickles. This section of his landholdings was inherited by his youngest son, John Dunn, Jr. (1853-1941). Dunn, Jr., began working as a young boy herding sheep for his father. He received most of his schooling in Father Gonnard's School for Boys in Corpus Christi. As a young man, Dunn participated in posses that captured Mexican raiders and horse rustlers. He eventually acquired nearly 12,000 acres of ranchland and was known throughout the Corpus Christi area for his philanthropic land donations, particularly to the Roman Catholic Church. The one story section of this home was built by Dunn in 1889 in anticipation of his marriage to Mary Tom (1856-1937). The home served as headquarters for Dunn's ranching operations and was enlarged as his family grew. Located on land that has been in the Dunn family since 1868, the homesite stands as a reminder of early Nueces County settlement. (1985)
Location: 5800 block of Up River Road, south side of road, across from Interstate Grain Port Terminal grain elevators, Corpus Christi
Moravian Club of Nueces County Historical Marker
An organization vital to the preservation of the area’s rich heritage, the Moravian Club of Nueces County first formed to build and maintain a meeting hall for the many settlers of Czech descent, primarily Moravian, who migrated to southwestern Nueces County. Stanley L. Kostoryz (Stanislav Kostohryz), who in 1904 sold his Czech-language newspaper in Nebraska and resettled near Corpus Christi, led the migration. He purchased property which he renamed Bohemian Colony Lands, advertising it in Czech-language newspapers throughout the United States. Settlers soon arrived, coming mostly from Czech communities in central Texas in pursuit of affordable farmland. The new community became known as Kostoryz.
In 1923, the Moravian Club of Nueces County, originally named the Moravian Recreational Lodge of Nueces County, formed to meet the need for a social facility in the growing settlement. Members built the first Moravian Hall in 1924, replaced with a larger structure in 1939 financed by the KJT (Katolická Jednota Texaská), a Catholic Czech fraternity. After the U.S. Navy bought land, then including the second hall, for Cabaniss Air Field, members built a third hall (1941). The various club halls served as centers for social and church activities, including dances, informal gatherings after Sunday mass, Kostoryz School programs, meetings for Czech organization and other events. Additionally, form the 1940s until the 1960s, the club hosted semi-pro baseball games in a field behind its main hall. Additional club activities focused on the promotion of Christianity, as well as Czech history and music. Today, the Moravian Club of Nueces County continues to maintain the Moravian Hall, celebrating the area’s cultural heritage.
Location: 5601 Kostoryz Rd. , Corpus Christi
Old Saint Patrick Historical Marker
St. Patrick's parish included only 19 families when the Rev. Bernard O'Reilly (1821-75) became first resident pastor in 1853. He supervised construction of Corpus Christi's first Catholic Church. The adobe building stood on Tancahua Street property donated by Henry L. Kinney. In 1880 construction was begun on a larger building, located at the same site but facing Karankawa Street. Designed by architect Charles Carroll, a parish member who donated his services, the second St. Patrick's was a frame structure with two towers. Bells for the church were given by Mifflin Kenedy, whose wife was a parishioner. Dedicated in November 1882, the church soon became a Corpus Christi landmark. For many years, services were held in both English and Spanish. St. Patrick's was designated a cathedral March 23, 1912, during the pastorate of the Rev. Claude Jaillet (1843-1929), who served there for 30 years. Growth of the congregation and fire damage to the frame church in 1938 prompted construction of the present Corpus Christi Cathedral. Erected on property donated by the John Kenedy family, the Spanish Colonial style edifice was dedicated July 17, 1940. The old frame structure was dismantled in 1951 and used in building Our Lady Star of the Sea Church on East Causeway Blvd. (1976)
Location: Corpus Christi Cathedral ground, North Upper Broadway at Lipan, Corpus Christi
Our Lady of Refuge, Refugio Historical Marker
This Church traces its history to Nuestra Senora del Refugio (our Lady of Refuge), a Spanish mission established in 1791 (30 mi. NE). The mission relocated here in 1795. The 1868 building was razed, and in 1901 an impressive Victorian/Romanesque sanctuary was completed here. School, convent, and auditorium facilities were added in 1946. This church, which represents the area's unique blend of Spanish and Irish heritage, continues to serve the local community. (1995)
Sacred Heart, Rockport Historical Marker
Roman Catholic priests visited the Rockport area as early as 1838. The first Mass in the town of Rockport was celebrated in the home of County Judge John Hynes in 1860, and services continued there for a number of years. Although property was deeded to the church in 1871, the first church building was not erected until 1889. It was destroyed in a storm that same year and was replaced by another structure which served the congregation until 1954. In addition to its parochial school, Sacred Heart Church has served the community with many outreach programs. (1991)
Location: 704 Cornwall Street at Church St., Rockport (corner of Church Street and Cornwall).
Saint Anthony's, Robstown Historical Marker
In November 1909, the Rev. J. Goebels called a meeting to organize St. Anthony's parish for the recently settled German Catholic farm families in the community of Land Siding, later known as Violet. Louis Petrus donated five acres for a church site, and five additional acres were purchased. The parishioners began construction of this building in 1910, with John W. Hoelscher (1866-1941), one of the earliest settlers here, as foreman of the project. Originally measuring 26 feet by 40 feet, the frame structure served as a schoolhouse and church. The congregation enlarged and extensively remodeled the building in 1919. Three towers were added at that time. A bell, purchased earlier from Spohn Sanitarium in Corpus Christi, was installed in one. The rectory, which served as a schoolhouse and living quarters for visiting priests, was attached to the church building in 1920. Members then fenced and landscaped the area. In 1952 the parish built a larger church, and this structure was moved to serve the parish mission of Our Lady of Mount Carmel in nearby Clarkwood community. In 1975, after that congregation erected a new church facility, the old St. Anthony's building was relocated 200 feet east of its original site and restored as a museum by the Violet Historical Society. Recorded Texas Historic Landmark - 1978
Location: SH 44 and south Violet Road, from Robstown take SH 44 about 4 miles east
Saint Patrick, Old San Patricio Historical Marker
Empresarios John McMullen and James McGloin brought irish catholic immigrant families to Texas about 1829 to form a new colony, San Patricio de Hibernia. Under the direction of the Rev. Henry Doyle, the colonists established Saint Patrick's Catholic Church about 1830. A fire in 1858 destroyed the original frame church building and all church records. The Rt. Rev. Jean Marie Odin, first Bishop of Texas, dedicated a replacement church building about 1859. Local citizens built a two and one half story building for a convent and school on the grounds of Saint Patrick's Church. After an 1875 hurricane destroyed facilities at Indianola, nuns from the order of Sisters of Mercy relocated in San Patricio and operated Saint Joseph's convent and school from 1876 until 1884. After a 1919 hurricane completely demolished the church facilities, the congregation rebuilt in 1922. A need for a larger facility led the congregation to build a fourth structure in 1961. Through the years Saint Patrick's Catholic Church has served the community with sunday mass and the sacraments and missions given by visiting priests.
Location: FM 666 (Main Street) San Patricio
St. Francis de Paula, San Diego Historical Marker
Established in 1867 by Father Claude Jaillet, St. Francis de Paula Catholic Church was built through the contributions of its members and was the center of religious activity in the area. Father Jaillet served until 1872, and returned again from 1875-1884. This church was constructed in 1908 during the pastorate of Father Pedro Bard. The church was enlarged and remodeled and Parochial Hall was added by 1950. The church celebrated 100 years of service to its members and the surrounding communities in 1967, and continues to serve the area. (1996)
Location: 405 South Victoria Street, San Diego
Stella Maris, Lamar Historical Marker
Irish immigrant James W. Byrne (1787-1865), a veteran of the Texas Revolution, was an early settler of this area. He established the town of Lamar and, with his wife Harriet, sold land on Aransas Bay to the Catholic church for a chapel site. Byrne engaged a French architect to design the structure, which was completed in 1858. Called Stella Maris (Star of the Sea) Chapel, it was built of shellcrete, a shell-aggregate masonry. An important link with the area's early Roman Catholic heritage, the chapel was moved to this site in 1986. (1986)
Location: From Rockport, take SH 35 north about 7 miles to Goose Island State Park (just north of causeway). Then follow P13 east then NE to Lamar Cemetery