Corpus Christi History 1937
Times changed. Vast herds of cattle replaced the buffalo of the coastal plains. Packeries were established. Endless thousands of cattle were killed for their hides. Shipments were waterbourne over a shallow canal connecting the waterfront here, with the deep waters of the Gulf of Mexico. Later, sheep came into ascendency, and between 1870 and 1880, Corpus Christi was one of the largest wool markets in the Americas. Cattle replaced them. But still there was change. The black lands of the hinterland proved suitable for cotton, now the king of this area’s agricultural commodities
Corpus Christi, from its colorful beginning, has grown to a city of 50,000 people. It struggled along until 1920, when the Federal census gave it 10,544 inhabitants. The year before, the city was visited by its most disastrous hurricane, many lives having been lost. But upon adversity came prosperity, as the maritime disaster led to the establishment of the Port of Corpus Christi, which was opened to the commerce of the world on September 14, 1926.
Although Corpus Christi has become the “Oil Capital of South Texas,” it has not lost its charm as a summer and a winter resort. The summers are cool, the average temperature for 47 years being about 80 degrees. The winters are as balmy as the summers are cool. All in all, the visitor will find Corpus Christi blessed with the fairest weather to be found in any section of the nation. Outdoor sports, such as fishing and hunting, sailing or swimming, or golfing, may be enjoyed without weather interference, as this area knows no rainy seasons. In the winter months, duck and geese prefer the nearby feeding grounds, while fish, including trout, reds, flounder, pike, drum, and other varieties, can be taken in almost any season. For real sport fishing, the silver tarpon is always ready to challenge a deep water fisherman’s skill. You’ll find him at his best in the Corpus Christi waters.
Turning from pleasure to business, the readers of the State of Texas Book will be interested in Corpus Christi’s commercial possibilities. Within the last two years the city has become the center of oil producing and oil exploration activities in the South Texas field. Although oil in commercial quantities was discovered in 1923, when the first production was obtained in the Saxet field, about four miles west of the city, it was not until two years ago (1935), that Corpus Christi began to come into its own as an oil town of the first magnitude. At this time there are approximately 95 oil fields within a 150-mile radius of the city; the combined daily allowable production, being around 200,000 barrels. Eleven fields are located in Nueces County, and more will be discovered as exploration is being carried on rapidly. The industry has had a great influence upon the growth of the Port of Corpus Christi, as much of the oil produced in the South Texas field finds a water outlet here. Terminal facilities are able to handle approximately 2,000,000 barrels of oil. Last year (1936), in excess of 15,750,000 barrels of crude and refined oils were shipped through the Port, and the movement is far greater at this time. In fact all types of commodities moving through the local waterway are increasing in amount rapidly, navigation district statistics showing that about 1,000,000 tons of cargo are being handled monthly. For a port a little over ten years old, the record is regarded as outstanding.
Available at this time for shippers’ use, are 500,000 square feet of storage space, divided among nine modern wharf sheds. Navigation district officials are drawing plans at this time to construct two new additional sheds, bringing the total to eleven. A significant fact is that the expansion program will be carried out without increasing the bonded indebtedness.
In 1927, the first full year of the local Port’s operation, 67 vessels called here, bringing in or taking away 98,514 tons of cargo.
In 1936, nearly 3,000,000 tons of cargo were handled by 582 vessels. It is believed that this year’s tonnage total will reach 10,000,000 tons.