Then & Now: Lighthouse Tour

In the 1920s, Point Isabel had a slogan, “Building A City Where A City Belongs”. “Free Excursions Daily” left points west of Port Isabel with potential buyers who had dreams of making a life on the southernmost coast of Texas. This shot was most likely taken from Garcia Street looking west towards the Lighthouse. The James Dickinson Company had made improvements to the downtown area which also included the structure behind the bus.

Then & Now!

On the left, an excerpt from the above photo with the bus, shows a crowd gathered on the top catwalk in the Lantern Room. They appear to be reading a broadsheet that the developer most likely affixed to the top of the Lighthouse. The glass in the windows was missing, so the visitors were left with the window frames for support! Seems it would take a determined potential buyer to trek to the top of the Lighthouse and cling to the structure to read the advertisement. On the right, a lone youngster stands on the same interior catwalk and peers east towards South Padre Island. The photo on the right was taken about 90 years after the photo on the left. At that time , the railing on the exterior catwalk had become so damaged that it had to be removed. Visitors could tour the Lighthouse but had to remain inside.

Today, the Lighthouse is open 7 days a week, weather permitting. Tickets are available at the Keeper’s Cottage Visitor Center or at the Lighthouse.

Throwback Thursday: When Shrimp Was King!

1940s real photo postcard of a Shrimp Catch in Port Isabel, Texas.Throwback Thursday: Port Isabel’s close proximity to the Gulf of Mexico meant that vessels had quick access to the gulf waters and abundant shrimp. By 1958 Port Isabel had 10 processing plants and 173 shrimp boats operated from local docks and was known as the Shrimping Capital of the World! A 1968 article titled, “They Farm the Sea”, boasted that Port Isabel had the largest tonnage of shrimp in the United States with an annual harvest of 20 million pounds. In 1967 the industry was valued over $100 million, exceeding tuna and salmon. Restaurants proclaimed, “The shrimp you eat here slept in the Gulf of Mexico last night”.

Museums of Port Isabel ~ Fundraiser 2/13


The Museums of Port Isabel are proud to announce its 18th Annual ‘TASTE of the LAGUNA MADRE’ Museum Fundraiser featuring SHRIMP & FISH & FARE & PELICAN WEST!

The Museums of Port Isabel will host this culinary event on Friday, February 13, 2015, from 7 to 10 p.m. at the Port Isabel Event & Cultural Center. Seafood, prepared by local restaurants will be top of the fare and includes side dishes, desserts and beverages.

Live music by PELICAN WEST, door prizes, a silent auction and a Port Isabel Adventure Package raffle are all part of the $25 ticket price. This IS the Museums of Port Isabel’s major fundraiser. Donations will be used to upgrade Museum’s exhibits and support programs.

Info: 956/943-7602 or Tickets can be purchased at the door, Port Isabel City Hall, Port Isabel Public Library, Port Isabel Chamber of Commerce, South Padre Island Chamber of Commerce or at the Museums of Port Isabel. Facebook event:


Thanks to our RESTAURANT donors! Pirate’s Landing Restaurant ~ Rincon Veracruzano Restaurant ~ Whitesands Restaurant

Online ticket sales:

Thanks to our SILENT AUCTION donors!

  • Déjà vu Consignment Apparel – Beaded W/Shells beige w/Dust Cover Purse (Mary Frances)
  • O’Reilly Auto Parts – Socket Set
  • Tip to Toe – (1) $25 Gift Certificate
  • Holiday Inn Express, SPI – (1) Gift Certificate / One Night Stay
  • Art Sea gallery & Goods – (2) Port Isabel Lighthouse Stoneware Mugs
  • Welcome Aboard – South Padre Island Tote Bag
  • The Inn @ South Padre – (1) Gift Certificate / 2- Night Stay & Hot Breakfast
  • Coastal Winds – Dot Painting
  • Bridgeview Flowers & Gifts – Red Orchid Flowers / Black Ceramic Vase
  • Kool Kuts Barber Shop / Beauty Salon – (1) Gift Certificate $60 Value Short Hair / Perm & Cut
  • Sea Ranch Restaurant & Bar –  (1) $50 Gift Certificate
  • SouthWind Inn – (1) $100 Gift Certificate
  • Laguna Madre Art Gallery – Marge Ford Print “American Bold Eagle”
  • Veronica’s Beauty & Barber Salon – (1) $30 Gift Certificate
  • Schlitterbahn Waterparks – (4) 2015 All-day Admission Tickets
  • T. Leeman Company – Painted Print – PI Lighthouse Framed
  • Rusty Pelican Nautical Gifts & Home Décor – Wood Handle Holder / Glass Hurricane w/Candle
  • The Light House Lighting Center – 52’ White PRO Builder Ceiling Fan
  • Vida’s Barber Shop & Beauty Salon – Free Hair Cut
  • Pearl South Padre – (1) Gift Certificate / 2 Night Stay
  • Osprey Cruises – (1) Gift Certificate for 2 persons / Thriller, (1) Gift Certificate for 2 / Pirate Adventure Cruise, (1) Gift Certificate for 2 / Bay Fishing & (1) Gift Certificate for 2 / Sea-Life Safari

The Museums of Port Isabel is a complex consisting of three diverse facilities, the Port Isabel Historic Museum, the Treasures of the Gulf Museum, and the Point Isabel Lighthouse. All three are within walking distance of each other and are open year around to the public.

Constructed in 1852, the Point Isabel Lighthouse was built to protect and guide ships through Brazos Santiago Pass and the barrier islands. In 1952, the Lighthouse was opened as a State Park and remains the only lighthouse on the Texas Gulf coast open to the public. The Lighthouse Keeper’s Cottage which is on the grounds of the Lighthouse, is open to the public and houses the Chamber of Commerce and the Port Isabel Visitors Center. There is no admission charge to the Keepers Cottage. Lighthouse tickets can be purchased at the Keepers Cottage or at the Lighthouse. A combination ticket is available. Last ticket sold at 4:30 p.m. or 1/2 hour before closing.

  • Summer Hours: Daily 9a – 7p
  • Winter Hours: Daily 9a – 5p

Keepers Cottage Hours (year around): Monday – Friday 9a – 5p. Saturday 10a – 4p. 421 E. Queen Isabella Blvd., Port Isabel. 956/943-2262.

Port Isabel Historical Museum is a state-of-the-art facility located in the Champion Building. Built in 1899 as a dry goods store and residence, it now houses two exhibit levels, a theater, gift shop and one of the largest collections of Mexican artifacts from the U.S.-Mexican War. The facade features the famous ‘fish mural’ painted in 1906 by a local fisherman. Last ticket sold at 3:30 p.m.

  • Hours: Tuesday – Saturday 10a – 4p. 317 E. Railroad Ave., Port Isabel. 956/943-7602.

Treasures of the Gulf Museum spotlights three 1554 Spanish shipwrecks. Meeting their fate just 30 miles north of Port isabel, they are brought to life with murals, artifacts and hands-on activities. Also featured is a Children’s Discovery Lab, Ship Theatre and Nautical Gift Shop. Last ticket sold at 3:30 p.m.

Hours: Tuesday – Saturday 10a to 4p. 317 E. Railroad Ave., Port Isabel. 956/943-7602

Individual Site Ticket:

  • to the Port Isabel Lighthouse OR the Treasures of the Gulf Museum
    OR the Port Isabel Historical Museum.

    • Adults: $3.00
    • Senior Citizens*: $2.00
    • Students**: $1.00
    • Children 4 & Under (must be at least 38″ and 4 years old tall to climb the lighthouse): Free
    • Museum Member***: Free

    Combination Site Ticket:
    to the Port Isabel Lighthouse AND the Treasures of the Gulf Museum
    AND the Port Isabel Historical Museum.

    • Adults: $7.00
    • Senior Citizens*: $5.00
    • Students**: $2.00
    • Children 4 & Under (must be at least 38? tall to climb the lighthouse): Free
    • Museum Member***: Free

    Planning a Tour? For rates and information regarding organization and school group tours call Jeannie Marie A. Flores at 956/943-7602 or email: Tour form here> mopi_tour_infoform.

    *Senior Citizens (55 & over); **Students (K – College with ID); ***Museum Member (with Membership Card)

    All ticket sales are final. Tickets can be purchased at any of the Museum facilities or at the Visitors Center in the Keepers Cottage and need not be redeemed in the same visit.