Champion Building Fish Mural Restoration


Historic Champion Building’s Fish Mural Undergoes Restoration

Port Isabel, Texas

In 1906, just seven years after the 1899 construction of the Champion building, local fisherman and artist, Jose Morales was commissioned to paint a fish mural on the front of the 2-story structure. It was meant to promote sport fishing in the area. Over 200 images represent the species that can be found in the Laguna Madre Bay and the Gulf of Mexico off the beaches of South Padre Island.

Over the decades, the mural has been restored several times. Weather and other factors create conditions that require periodic restoration, so it was early in the spring of 2017 that plans were made to undergo this latest restoration. The Museums of Port Isabel has commissioned local artist, Angel Hernandez, to restore the 212 images that grace the building.

Restoration of the Champion Building Fish Mural


Other improvements also being made on the grounds of the Champion building includes the reconstruction of the walkway that leads to the Port Isabel Historical Museum entrance. Designed using the architectural details on the front of the Champion building, the walkway will feature the same millwork, proportions and colors that make up the gallery on the south side of the structure.


The Museums of Port Isabel will be fundraising for the historical fish mural. Those interested in participating can select the fish they would like to sponsor and contact Museum staff for payment processing. Selections are first come, first served. The project is estimated to be completed in the next couple of months.

The Fish Mural will be celebrated on October 28th at 4 p.m. Festivities will include recognition of the donors and a presentation of the history of the fish mural. Details to follow. For more information on the fish sponsorship, please visit:, email or call 956/943-7602.

See what’s sold and what’s available:


Image # Species Donor Amount
1 Background Sherwin-Williams
2 Mullet
3 Shad
4 Angel Fish
16 Pelican Mary Ann Brown 200
17 Yellowtail Pompano
18 Amberjack
19 Tiger Shark
20 Sting Ray
21 Needle Gar
22 Sea Turtle Mary Laddis 85
23 Sargent Major
24 Rock Grouper
25 Angle Fish
26 Ray
27 Sunfish
29 Mako Shark
31 Snook
32 Yellow Grouper
33 Mangrove Snapper
34 Shad
38 Sunfish
39 Sea Turtle Mary Laddis 85
43 Sea Turtle Kristi Collier 200
45 Mullet
46 Croaker
47 Yellow Tail Snapper
48 Flying Fish
49 Angel Fish
51 Sea Trout
52 Grouper
53 Flounder
56 Snapper
64 Sea Bird Valerie Bates 200
65 Lady Fish
71 Spanish Mackeral
78 Piggy Perch
80 Stripped Sea Bass
82 Lane Snapper
83 Red Snapper
84 Flying Fish
85 Snook
86 Flounder
87 Grouper/June Fish
88 Barracuda
89 Squid
90 Spanish Mackeral
91 Shark
92 Trigger Fish
93 Hake Fish
98 Skate Fish
100 Blue Fish
101 Mako Shark
104 Red Snapper
105 Sunfish
108 Whiting
109 Rock Grouper
110 Shark
111 Snook
112 Mangrove Snapper
114 Snook
118 Trigger Fish
119 Jack
121 Red Snapper
122 Eagle Southwind Inn 200
123 White Marlin
124 Barracuda
125 Spanish Mackeral
126 Pompano
127 Redfish
128 File Fish
129 Yellowtail Grouper
131 Angel Fish
132 Whiting
135 Rock Grouper
136 Mangrove Snapper Mary Gorball 85
138 Skate Fish Manuel Hinojosa 85
140 Wahoo Charlotte & Edward Champion 85
141 Lily, James & Justine Jacobs 85
142 Christopher Champion 85
143 Tuna Sarah & Jake Champion 85
144 Carlos & Patricia Champion 85
145 Triple Tail Fred & Benita L. Champion 85
146 Jason & Cristina C. Sims 85
148 Black Tip Shark Mary Bertha Mallet & Family 200
149 Angler Fish Debbie Green 85
150 Sea Bass
151 Tiger Shark
152 Snook
155 Angel Fish
157 Jack Crevalle
158 Jack Fish
159 Guitar Fish Duane A. Rasmussen 85
160 Tarpon Bobbie Wells 500
161 Sheephead
162 Flounder
164 Black Drum
165 Sting Ray Edith R. Rasmussen 85
166 Redfish
168 Angler Fish Emery Green 85
169 Shark Mary O. Gonzalez 200
170 White Shrimp
171 Spot Shad
173 Sunfish
174 Redfish
175 Snook
176 Jackfish
177 Angel Fish
178 Dolphin Laguna Madre Art League 85
180 Sailfish Frank Yturria Family 700
181 Hardhead Catfish
183 Flounder
184 Sheephead
186 Grouper
188 Whiting
190 Skip Jack
192 Spot Shad
194 Flying Fish Debbie Green 85
195 Black Tip Shark
199 Hake Fish
201 Lightening Whelk
203 Blue Crab
204 Menhaden
205 Crab
206 Look Down Fish
207 Mako/Tiger Shark
208 Skate Fish Rey & Rose Champion 85
209 Spotted Sea Trout
210 Manta Ray Charles A. Champion Family 600
212 Snook
213 Lighthouse Gloria Bates 200


Contact Information:

Valerie Bates
City of Port Isabel Marketing Director
(956) 867-7002

Lighthouse Establishment Cinema ~ Summer 2017 (Cancelled)

RESTORATION CONTINUES: The Port Isabel Lighthouse will be closed until late August 2017 as Texas Parks & Wildlife undertakes some much needed renovation on the historic structure. The Visitors Center in the Keepers Cottage is still open to the public. Stop in and say hello!  LIGHTHOUSE ESTABLISHMENT CINEMA: The Summer 2017 movie schedule will be cancelled. Plans are underway for the Summer 2018 movie showings.RESTORATION CONTINUES: The Port Isabel Lighthouse will be closed until late August 2017 as Texas Parks & Wildlife undertakes some much needed renovation on the historic structure. The Visitors Center in the Keepers Cottage is still open to the public. Stop in and say hello!

LIGHTHOUSE ESTABLISHMENT CINEMA: The Summer 2017 movie schedule will be cancelled. Plans are underway for the Summer 2018 movie showings.

BACKGROUND: The LHEC is a unique program which utilizes the historic Port Isabel Lighthouse as the backdrop for the projections of movies. Since 2004, during the summer months, family friendly movies are projected onto the side of the lighthouse. The public is invited to bring their lawn chairs, blankets and picnics for a memorable evening under the stars. Mentioned in Texas Monthlyas one of three reasons to get in your car and GO!We invite you to get in your car and go to the Port Isabel Lighthouse and grab a memory of your own! Admission: Free. Public invited. Pets allowed, but must be kept on a leash and mindful of their well trained owners who are prepared to clean up after them. Concessions offered. No alcohol allowed.

For more information:

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

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