Telling Our Stories: “Destination, Port Isabel!” by Manuel Hinojosa 4/27 7p

Queen Isabel Inn. Rio Grande Railroad. Arrival in Port Isabel from Brownsville.

The Museums of Port Isabel and the Laguna Madre Museum Foundation are proud to present its “Telling Our Stories” Series of 2017 on Thursday, April 27th, at the Treasures of the Gulf Museum, 308 Queen Isabella Blvd. at 7pm. This month’s topic will focus on “Destination: Port Isabel” by Manuel Hinojosa.

Public is invited. Refreshments will be offered. Call 956/943-7602 for more information.

Queen Isabella Market Day 3/8 9a-4p PIECC

Queen Isabella Market Day, April 8 at Port Isabel Event & Cultural Center. The City of Port Isabel hosts an annual Market Day at the Port Isabel Event & Cultural Center in April! Vendors, music, food and family fun! For more information call Jeannie Flores at 956/943-7602 or email Vendor-Application-Info.

NEW Location: Due to the ongoing renovation on the Port Isabel Lighthouse, Queen Isabella Market Day will be held at the Port Isabel Event & Cultural Center, 309 E. Railroad Ave., Port Isabel.

BACKGROUND: Queen Isabella Market Day dates from the 75th Anniversary of Port Isabel. Celebrated in 2003, the 75th Anniversary of Port Isabel included a street parade, open house at the Museums and the Lighthouse and the first ever Queen Isabella Market Day. The City of Port Isabel also minted a limited edition coin to commemorate the historic event. Queen Isabella Market Day continues as an outreach of the Museums of Port Isabel.

THE QUEEN ISABELLA CONNECTION: In 1492, Queen Isabella financed Christopher Columbus’ exploratory expedition to this part of the New World. Community leaders in the Laguna Madre area recognized the importance of this partnership and named not just one causeway in her honor in 1954, but again in 1974, when the second causeway was constructed it too was named in her honor. On July 4, 1954, the grand opening of the first causeway was graced by the Consulate of Spain who was among the dignitaries on hand to cut the ribbon. Queen Isabella is further honored at our annual Market day each April.

EVENT INFORMATION:  Jeannie Flores, Museum Director 956/943-7602


Booth 1 – “Aperitivos La Duena” – Raspas, Corn in a Cup & Tostadita

Booth 9 – “Crafty lee Creations” – Homemade Crafts

Booth 10 – “Perla’s Vintage Jewelry Boutique” – Vintage Inspired Jewelry

Booth 11 – “MarMyra Origami Owl” – Custom Jewelry & Signature Living Lockets

Booth 12 - “A Eleganica” – Jewelry

Booth 13 – “Texas Kettle Corn” – Kettle Corn

Booth 14 – “Doggie Blind & Cats Too” – Dog Leash, Toys, Books & Dog Collars

Booth 15 – “Laguna Madre Youth Club” – Information

Booth 17 – “Pangea Phytoceuticals dba Aloe Re-Leaf” – Aloe Vera & Natural Skin Care Products

Booth 27 – “A Eleganica” – Jewelry Booth 31 – “Sweet azz Glass” – Locally Hard Blown Glass Pendants & Art

Booth 34 – “Faith Ballesteros” – Hair Clips & Jewelry

Booth 35 – “RGV Leggings & Wind Stuff” – Leggings, Wind Spinners & Balloons

Booth 42 – “Manny Collectables” – Military Items, T-Shirts & Collectables

Booth 43 – “Manny Collectables” – Jewelry

Telling Our Stories: “Treasures & Historical Museums” by Mary Gorball 3/23 7p

 “Museums of Port Isabel Presentation”

The Museums of Port Isabel and the Laguna Madre Museum Foundation are proud to present its “Telling Our Stories” Series of 2017 on Thursday, March 23rd, at the Treasures of the Gulf Museum, 308 Queen Isabella Blvd. at 7pm. This month’s topic will focus on “Museums of Port Isabel Presentation” by Ms. Mary Gorball.

Mary Gorball grew up in Iowa and raised her three (3) children.  When the children were in school her husband agreed to let her get a job.  Her day started when the kids left for school. She returned from work when the kids returned from school, changed their clothes and ate snacks.

Ms. Gorball job was at the local bank which she started as a clerk in the Trust Department of the bank which she soon became an Investment Officer.  She was then asked to do the bank books which eventually ended up as investing banks funds.  When banking laws were changed, it allowed banks to offer non-traditional investments to be handled on the premises and Ms. Gorball became a securities broker and insurance agent.

In 1999, Ms. Gorball and her husband, Richard began their annual visits to relatives in Port Isabel and decided to purchase property for their winter quarters.  They sold their land locked home and purchased property in the lake.  In 2002 Richard, Ms. Gorball passed away.

Ms. Gorabll continued annual trips to the South and North, filling her time quilting, writing books and became a community activist.  She joined non-profits organizations wherever she felt she could be useful: American Legion Auxiliary, Friends of the Library, Chamber Ambassador, Garden Club Community Improvement.  She also joined the Laguna Madre Museum Foundation which was the first one to join and started volunteering as a docent at the Museums of Port Isabel in 2003.

In 2010, Ms. Gorball sold her property in Iowa, purchased a new condominium in Port Isabel and became a citizen of Texas. She still quilts, writes, volunteers and enjoys piquing the interest of visitors to the Museums and the community which she encourage them to enjoy the history that is contained in our Museums and further explorations of our area.

Please join us for an entertaining evening with Ms. Gorball on giving a presentation of the history of the “Museums of Port Isabel” with emphasis on the Port Isabel and local area. All locals and visitors are welcomed to attend this free presentation. Complimentary drinks and hors d’oeuvres will be provided.

‘Telling Our Stories” is an educational program aimed to preserving the heritage of the City of Port Isabel and the Laguna Madre area. Our goals are to preserve and educate our local and natural history through presentations and exhibits. The program is co-sponsored by the Museums of Port Isabel and the Laguna Museum Foundation. “Telling Our Stories” is presented on the fourth (4Th) Thursday of each month from January through September at the Treasures of the Gulf Museum. Admission is FREE. 

Sponsored By:  Mr. Manuel Hinojosa 

For more information on Telling Our Stories or to help sponsor an event, contact Jeannie Marie A. Flores at (956) 943-7602 or visit or you may also send an email to

“We Bleed Blue Art Exhibition Reception” 3/22 5:30p




The Museums of Port Isabel and the Art Students of Port Isabel Junior High are proud to present its “We Bleed Blue Art Exhibition Reception” on Wednesday, March 22nd, at the Treasures of the Gulf Museum, 302 Queen Isabella Blvd. at 5:30 pm.

The art students of Port Isabel Junior High are proud to present their artwork from the 2016-2017 school year. The students have shown major growth since the first day of school as they experimented with a variety of art styles and mediums. The artwork presented in the show titled “We Bleed Blue” are a combination of skills and techniques they have learned through observation and practice.

India ink was a completely new medium to most students, however they quickly picked up the various methods associated with India ink drawings. Students learned different brush strokes to create value as well as how to produce washes with ink and water. At first, the dip pen was difficult since they were not used to the style, but with enough practice the students were able to create wonderful illustrations.

Students learned of color theory and how to mix colors from the primary colors. Watercolors were soon introduced and using their previous knowledge of color theory they produced various wonderful watercolor paintings. Perspective drawings were tough for students to grasp but once they understood the concept they ran with the idea. The still life paintings seen here were created with watercolors, India ink, and colored pencils and were the end result from the first semester.

In this semester, the students were eager to study 3-dimensional mediums. Students learned of the various techniques, processes, vocabulary and Native American history of ceramics. Using the ancient coil method of creating pottery, students successfully created bowls, cups, and random figurines. Not only did students learn clay techniques but they were surprised to learn about how to find natural clay in their environment. Classes were taken outside around the school to observe signs of naturally formed clay. Students experimented in digging and figuring out for themselves the difference between clay and mud. Many students even took this clay and successfully created various pieces. These pieces are a great addition to our show, We Bleed Blue.

The energetic artists of Port Isabel Junior High are filled with great creativity and extraordinary imagination. As you can see in the displayed artwork the students from grades 6th, 7th and 8th grade have shown exponential achievement with the challenges presented to them. Students were given a chance to vote for the name of the art show and school pride prevailed with We Bleed Blur beating the competition. The wining poster design, created by 8th grade student Devin Rea was inspired by the local community and wildlife. We greatly hope you enjoy the artwork from the future artist of America.

Please join us for an entertaining evening with the art students of the Port Isabel Junior High. All locals and visitors are welcomed to attend this free art reception. Complimentary drinks and hors d’oeuvres will be provided.

For more information contact the Museum Director, Jeannie Flores at 956/943-7602 or by email:


Historic Port Isabel Lighthouse Gets Needed Repairs: Scheduled Reopening Date late May / early June

The historic Port Isabel Lighthouse, which has been closed since October 2016 in preparation, begins the re-stuccoing process today (March 1, 2017). A reopening date of late May / early June has been tentatively set.

March 1, 2017. Port Isabel lighthouse begins re-stuccoing.



The Port Isabel Lighthouse has long been a dominant feature at the southern tip of the Texas Gulf Coast. Its heavy brick walls have stood against the elements for more than a century, and for most of that time, its light has been a familiar aid to seafarers.

This area, long known to coastal Barrado Indians, was discovered by the Spanish explorer Pineda in 1519 while on a mapping expedition of the Gulf shores. Spanish control was established here in the late 1700s, as ranchers began moving into the vicinity from Mexico. By the 1830s a small settlement El Fronton de Santa Isabella, served as headquarters for a large Mexican ranch owned by Don Rafael Garcia.

The Point Isabel region passed almost uneventfully through the period of the Texas Republic to statehood, but it gained widespread attention in 1846. In late April, General Zachary Taylor moved his troops into this area north of the Rio Grande when hostilities between the United States and Mexico seemed imminent. Within two weeks war had begun. The opening battles of Palo Alto and Resaca de la Palma were fought north of present-day Brownsville. Point Isabel received the wounded form these initial struggles and served as an American supply depot for the duration of the war.

1930s photo of the historic Port Isabel Lighthouse.

The point continued in use after the war to supply two military stations on the Rio Grande–Fort Brown and Ringgold Barracks. Because of the heavy shipping traffic through Brazos Santiago Pass to Point Isabel, a navigational light became a necessity. Land at the point was made available by the War Department, money was authorized by Congress, and construction of a lighthouse was underway by 1851. Two years later, the brick tower had been completed and was topped by a stationary white light that could be seen for almost 16 miles. The Civil War brought armed conflict once again to Point Isabel. Confederate forces held this area in the early stages of the war but gave way in 1863 to Federal troops who were sent to strengthen the blockade on Southern shipping. Both sides used the lighthouse as an observation post. At nearby Palmetto Ranch, Union and Rebel soldiers clashed on May 13, 1865, more than a month after General Robert E. Lee’s surrender at Appomattox, in what has since been acknowledged as the last battle of the war.

1940s picture postcard of the historic Port Isabel Lighthouse.In 1866 the lighthouse was repaired and relit. For the next two decades its beacon guided large numbers of commercial vessels to southernmost Texas. The light was extinguished between 1888 and 1894 during negotiations over ownership of the site; when finally reactivated, its years of service were numbered. The lighthouse was abandoned permanently in 1905 after shipping traffic declined. And although the coast was later active with defense measures during the two world wars, the tower at Point Isabel stood a dark watch.
The lighthouse and its associated buildings were donated to the state in 1950 as a historic site by Mr. & Mrs. Lon C. Hill, Jr. and the Port Isabel Realty Company. The State Parks Board remodeled the tower by replacing the iron platform with concrete and by raising the glass dome to provide easier access for visitors. Additional repair work by the Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD Point Isabel Lighthouse Flyer) was completed in 1970. At present, the tower with its mercury-vapor light is marked on sea charts as an aid to navigation. Of sixteen lighthouses constructed along the Texas coast, Port Isabel Lighthouse is the only one now open to the public.
Port Isabel Lighthouse.Upon Re-opening:
Hours of Operation: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., daily (weather permitting). Tickets may be purchased in the Lighthouse, the Keepers Cottage (Chamber of Commerce & Visitors Center), the Treasures of the Gulf Museum and the Port Isabel Historical Museum.
Admission: Adults ($4.00); Seniors ($3.00); Students with id ($2.00). Last ticket sold 1/2 hour before closing. Children 5 & Under (must be at least 38″ and 4 years old tall to climb the lighthouse): Free.

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